For those of you that don't know me, or have recently met me - my name is Vanessa, I'm 28 years old and have lived in Sudbury for over a year now. I was born in Richmond Hill and moved to Orillia when I was in grade 4. Mental health has been a topic in my life since I was 12 years old, when I was first put on antidepressants. I was on them for ten years and my last pill landed on my 22nd birthday, I have found life to be a continuous journey of finding who I truly am. Through the heart aches, the judgement and the self abuse - it has been a long but worthy road. A few years ago I got out of a really bad relationship, since then I developed PTSD, I laugh when people scream at me, I have a huge memory block where my brain goes completely foggy when I try to remember my past or am put on the spot, a simple decision is now super difficult for me and I developed a nervous laugh (it's hard to tell if I'm having fun or the worst time of my life.)
While I was single for over a year after my bad relationship, I was able to get my gun license just because I could, travel the states by myself (Stay with the most beautiful and amazing people I had only known online - crazy I know!) and I also got my Reiki level 1 certificate. My internal journey began once I started to look inside for all my answers. I read The Secret, Louis Hay became my guru and quotes shaped my life. I started to follow into a path of healing others, while I was healing myself.
Awakening Energy was born.
The word the Awakening, has always been with me. When I was a troubled teen my mom had printed it out a poem called "the awakening" for me to read and I disregarded it - until a few months later at a very low point in my life I decided to read it - it has never left me since. So much so that when I was looking for a tattoo to get, and as I went through the symbols the very last symbol of the book was "the awakening" and I knew it was meant to be. (It is worth the read: The Awakening by Sonny Carrol) Since then I have done free card readings for people all over the world, got my Indian Head Massage certification and also took an "Emotion Code" course which helps release trapped emotions causing stress and problems in your life. With that course I was able to meet Ashley (which I come back to in the next bit).
After finally finding a good relationship, my soul mate, and being long distance for over a year I decided to move with him to Sudbury. When I moved here I had no friends, no family within 3-5 hours away and all I had was my thoughts. When you slip into a depression its hard to look around for who loves you, and who would be an ear to listen to your pain. You don't want to burden anyone around you with your problems. After a few months of continually spiralling, drowning back into a depression, not sleeping well and hurting everyone around me I made the decision to get help. I walked into the crisis centre downtown Sudbury and word vomited all over the poor guy sitting on the couch. All he did was listen, judgement free and totally open to letting me vent. After discussing my next few steps and finally deciding that I didn't want to be put on medication because it took me ten years of my life to get off of it, he referred me to Dr. Charette who is an absolutely amazing psychiatrist in the crisis building. Dr. Charette understood and respected where I was coming from with no wanting to go back on medication (which is rare for a Dr.), he understood my bodies defence mechanisms from my past abuse and after crying to him each visit he would remind me "I feel you just need reassurance for what you're going through."
After weeks of counselling, appointments and my own personal Soul Coaching - I also started hypnosis and emotion code sessions online with Ashley who taught me emotion code. Every week she helped me release trapped emotions (which made SO much sense) and helped me filter out the bad to be replaced with the good. I was explaining to her how I felt so alone. I am at an age where I would rather be alone then have fake friends or be surrounded by people who wouldn't understand the true me - I don't go to bars or do anything adventurous (I don't even jay walk lol) so I had no idea how to meet new people. She came up with the idea of creating an event - A healing event. Together we came up with an idea - and the rest is history. I now know 80 of the best businesses in Sudbury and am blessed to be connected with so many beautiful, like minded people - which has given me a new purpose in life.
Back to the reason I'm writing all of this out - In my life I can't count on my fingers how many people I knew growing up that I have lost to suicide. I have been to more funerals then weddings. To this day, I still know so many people who suffer in silence. It's hard for me to write all of this out in fear of judgement because mental health has such a stigma attached to it but just as the news reporter asked "What my past is like with mental health" I was able to tell anyone who was watching the news that night that Yes, I did walk into the crisis centre 9+ months ago - and Yes I have a past with mental health - 99.999999999% of people in their full life time do. We all heal, and feel in different ways. It was completely raw, painful and vulnerable to share but there is no shame in needing help, and you are never truly alone although it may feel like it. When it first aired I cried, running a business I felt so raw and afraid of what people would think - but since then so many others have thanked me and shared their mental health journey with me. If one person that watched the news that night, went and got help because of my story - then all the raw feelings were completely worth it and I would do it 100 times over again. Our hospitals all over Canada have so many amazing and free services to help - it takes a baby step to start getting better. Don't hold it in alone, if no one knows - no one can help. Even if its a complete stranger, it is worth it. It is worth your life, and your future. I
have always been blessed with an absolutely amazing and supportive family that is always there for me and raised me to be empathetic, kind and aware of my emotions, and I am forever grateful for them but when you cannot control your thoughts and the deepness in your heart - it's ok to get help. Always look for that silver lining and trust that you are being moved to exactly where you're supposed to be. Let life's challenges shape you and help you grow - not stop you in your tracks.
Mental health is real, and it matters.
Help remove the stigma that goes with mental health and be kind to absolutely everyone you meet because you never really know what battle someone is going through deep inside. Be the light in someones darkness, be an ear to someone that feels they have no one - and above all listen to your feelings and be aware of why you're feeling that way. It may be a red flag that something needs to change. Reach out, and never close the door on your journey because it only takes away a chance of ever getting better.
My mental health journey continues to this day, and I will forever keep trying to better myself and better those around me.
This is raw, it's real and its beautiful. It's my life and I thank you for being part of it.