When I was 16, I was diagnosed with depression.  I remember the day I realized something was wrong.  I drove home from hockey practice still in my gear because I was too exhausted to change, not from practice, but from constantly battling my own mind.  I dropped my gear on the floor in front of my parents and said I didn’t want to do it anymore.  I didn’t want to do anything anymore.  I wanted to quit every club and sport I was involved in and I never wanted to see another human being ever again.  I was trying to dodge the punches that were being thrown at me like a seasoned boxer, but my opponent knew my every move before I did, because my opponent was myself.  It was a losing battle.

The importance of counselling was never emphasized to me, and I believe this had a major effect on how enduring my mental illness has been.  It wasn’t until I was 22 that I started to see a therapist.  After some changes in my life, I enrolled in the winter semester at STU in 2013.  In a somewhat cathartic manner, I finally realized that my role in this world is to help other people so that they can get the help they need to face their own opponents.  I have a passion for helping those who are experiencing challenges, and I’m a huge advocate for removing the stigma attached to mental illness. Ultimately my goal is to become a social worker and therapist.

At this point in my life, I can truly say I’m the happiest and most content and confident I’ve ever been.  I love my school, I love my program, and I love my life.  Of course there are bad days and things that don’t go according to plan, but now I have the tools to combat the negative and invasive thoughts that are common with depression and anxiety. I still have panic attacks, I still get sad, I still have moments when I fear I will fall back into the depression I worked so hard to overcome, but now I know there is always a reason to stay alive and keep fighting.

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