Thank you for stopping by my page! Please take a few minutes to read a bit about my journey to gain a better understanding of why I participate in this worthwhile event and what it means to me.
My name is Tanya and I am 34 years old. I am a daughter, granddaughter, niece, sister, aunt, girl friend, friend, cousin, volunteer, executive director...yes, I wear many hats; but most importantly, I'm a WARRIOR! Of all the hats I wear, there's nothing I love more than being an aunt though...it's definitely my favorite hat!
I describe myself as a warrior, rather than a victim, or someone who suffers from/of mental health, because that's exactly what I've done my entire life - I've FOUGHT and SURVIVED every obstacle that's been thrown my way. I have survived being mentally/emotionally/verbally/psychologically abused, I've survived bullying, I've survived anxiety, depression, PTSD and alcoholism.
The abuse has been part of my life since as young as I can remember. My abusers? Family members. As many of us know, it's usually those who are supposed to love us and protect us most who are the one's that hurt us.
The bullying occurred all throughout my school years and sometimes, still to this day. Why was I bulled? I was overweight, I wasn't popular, I had THICK, CURLY hair, I had acne, I was smart, I was a Teacher's Pet, etc. I'm sure there were other reasons, but those are the one's that stick out the most.
The anxiety and depression? That was officially diagnosed in February of 2003, while away at university. It could have been (and probably should have been) diagnosed much earlier, but unfrotunately, it took weeks of missing class, not eating (or over eating), not sleeping (or only sleeping) and losing 30 lbs in 2 weeks to finally convince me that I needed help! Sure enough, here came the meds...was I ever ashamed! I was stronger than that! I didn't need medication to help me through! Look how far I've come without it! But it helped....15 years later and I am still on medication. Have I tried without? Most definitely! Can I do without? Sure...but you wouldn't want to be around me!
However, even while on medication, something just didn't seem right. When I told the doctors what was going on, it didn't take long and I was given another diagnosis - PTSD! That explained the nightmares, the flashbacks, being frozen on the spot...I'm still learning/identifying triggers, but the nightmares and flashbacks seem to be very minimal (thanks to more medication).
Finally....alcoholism! I am a grateful alcoholic in recovery. I have been sober since September 27, 2015. My alcoholism is definitely a combination of my upbringing, but also genetics (I won't get in to that though). Thanks to my amazing support system, my program and my Higher Power, I have managed (and worked hard) to be sober a little over 28 months!
My motivation? My desire to live....for the longest time, I didn't have that desire...but, I know I have so much to live for and that I am loved; but that didn't come over night. That doesn't mean that I don't still have moments of defeat, frustration or discouragement. But, what I do have is unconditional love and support from family and friends.
I am not afraid to speak out about ANY of this or share my experiences and my journey with anyone. The more I talk about it, the more awareness there is. The more people see that it can affect anyone! That mental health doesn't have to be and isn't always scary!
Being up all night for One Brave Night is nothing compared to countless sleepless nights that I've had and many continue to have!
That's why I’m stepping up to defeat mental illness!
The CAMH One Brave Night for Mental Health challenge is a Canada-wide challenge to inspire hope for Canadians living with mental illness.
That's why I'm taking the #OneBraveNight challenge because I want to inspire hope for people living with mental illness now – and to defeat mental illness. By making a donation to my One Brave Night, you are helping CAMH improve access to care, conduct research to find better treatments, and build more spaces for healing.
This is our chance to step up! Please donate generously and help me reach my fundraising goal.