I was blessed with a beautiful little girl named Alishia. Alishia was into Competitive Dance and Sports. She was in the gifted program at school starting in grade 3 and was loved dearly by all of us.
At 12 on her way home from shcool, my daughter took a shortcut that utlimately changed her life. At 12 years old my little girl was raped. And if any of you have ever dealt with sexual assault, it is a hard thing to deal with as an adult never mind a child.
Alishia didn't tell me right away what had happened, she figured it was her fault for going home a way that I had always told her not to. But I started to notice drastic changes in my little girl, and two months after this happened to her, she attempted to slit her wrists.
That night at the Hospital, I had a doctor tell me that he was sending her home as she was not Suicidal because she didn't slit them the right way. And a Crisis Unit tell me that she was not in crisis enough. That was the beginning of our battle to save my daughter.
Over the next 15 years, I fought hard to help my daughter. Over those 15 years, I have learned a lot. And for the last 10 years what I have learned has helped me deal with my own Mental Health issues and it is why I speak openly about Alishia in hopes that maybe I can help someone else going through what we have.
For 15 years I watched my daughter try to fight the demons she had. She had good days and some bad days and some really bad periods of time. Like a lot of people with Mental Health issues, she became addicted to Drugs and Alcohol. Those Manic times where I would be looking for her for days. My daugher from 12 to 15 went missing 9 time and as a young adult would disappear often.
I learned early on that people with mental health issues were looked at or searched for differently....there was a sense that no one cared...they were crazy or just junkies after all. Well to me no matter what....whe was my daughter, my parents granddaugher and her children's Mother and I loved her.
All 9 times, I found my daughter....each time I hit the streets running, putting myself in places and situations I probably never should have, not sleeping or eating for days.
On July 6, 2008 my Daugher Alishia did die of Suicide, she was 27 years old and had given me my beautiful Grandchildren, Kody, Angel, Shyanne, Mercy (predeceased Alishia) and Chance. For them and anyone else that I may be able to help, I speak out about the Stigma associated with Mental Health.
CAMH One Brave Night is a chance to share a piece of myself with the world for a great cause. I am excited for our team to be a part of the One Brave night, so we can inspire hope for the one in five Canadians who experience mental illness every year.
From now until Friday, May 10th, in support of mental health I will be asking for your help. Please donate today and help me reach my fundraising goal.
Together we will break down stigma, fund innovative research, and provide access to new and promising treatments for people living with mental illness.