I was in dialectical behavioural therapy for 15 months. I was very open in the program when we would have group therapy and things like that. I was always very talkative, very willing to share, very open, so they asked me to speak about it with incoming patients. They would have groups, and I would go in and I would speak to these incoming patients. Through that I became comfortable, and then when I started school at York University, I became even more comfortable speaking out about mental health and reaching out to people I thought were suffering or dealing with some stuff. Even people who had family members who I thought were having some issues. It was just a slow progression of me speaking to tiny groups, and the groups just kind of got bigger and bigger. I think the biggest group I’ve spoken to is 75 people.
I wanted to be involved in the project because I think it’s important to speak about it. I think a lot of people out there are suffering in silence, and they’re suffering alone, and I think it’s important to talk about it, and keep talking about it, over and over again until it becomes commonplace for people to openly discuss and share their experiences with mental health. I think that the only way we’re going to move forward as a society in the way that we look at mental health is to have open, honest dialogue about it, and to continue keeping the conversation going.
To my younger self I would say: it’s going to be okay. There’s lots of treatment options for you, and you’re going to be lucky enough to get on a really good medication that’s going to help you with some stuff. You live in a place in the world where you’re lucky enough to have access to really good mental health care - take advantage of it. Don’t be afraid. Just continue to be open and honest, that’s what I would say to myself.
*Blayre highly recommended St. Joseph’s Hospital’s mental health services which you can connect to here.