My Mental Health Story

We thought it might be good to share some personal reflections from our school community. We all have mental health....sometimes we feel great, and sometimes we feel like the world is against us. We thought it would be inspiring for you to hear personal, anonymous stories of perseverance and resilience. Who knows, maybe you will get some ideas on how to lift yourself through challenging times! Most importantly, remember you are not alone! Please don't hesitate to reach out for support!

We all have mental health; share your mental health journey of perseverance and resilience!

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Finding my way back after significant loss

Approximately 19 years ago, I dealt with two significant losses; my mother and a very good friend. I was not ready for the feelings that would consume my every day. I am not an anxious person and for the most part I am pretty happy, go-lucky. These two losses changed me. I withdrew from friends, struggled with work and felt extremely sad and lost. I knew I needed help and went and spoke with a counsellor. That helped significantly. One of the things she challenged me to do was to focus on the present moment. She would tell me to 'Take 5'- find 5 things that I had not seen/noticed before, 5 things I could hear, etc. This helped me to live in the present moment. I also had to let go of the guilt I had for not getting home in time to see my mom before she passed away; this took time. This was one of my greatest challenges in life but yet I learned from it. I do feel that it helped me to understand anxiety and depression and how overwhelming and debilitating they can be. But I also learned that there are kind and compassionate people out there that care about you and will support you through these challenging times.....find them! You are not alone!

-Notre Dame staff member

Let people help you!

Very early on in my career I struggled to manage the job of teaching: the lesson planning, the marking, the emails, the phone calls home, the meetings, etc. While I understood these were all part of the job, my time management and organizational skills often left me scrambling to come up with something. Needless to say, what I came up with often fell well short of my best work. I knew I needed help, but I felt I couldn’t ask for it for fear people would think I was incapable of doing my job, and I didn’t want to burden others with my lack of self-discipline. This, of course, snowballed into having some pretty difficult conversations with people who were relying on me to perform at a higher level. I coped with the amount of work in front of me by avoiding it. I slept too little, and I ate too much. The stress of what needed to get done was consuming my thoughts to the point where I felt I would break. And I did. At work.

I found myself unloading in the middle of the day in a colleague’s office who patiently listened to me as I was fighting back tears of stress and embarrassment. My dam had finally broken. Without judgment, my colleague gently guided me through a plan to help me mend some fences and get on top of the deadlines that were looming. The mountain of stress that seemed insurmountable an hour prior, had been reduced to manageable tasks to be checked off a to do list. The weight of self-doubt, disappointment, and shame I had been carrying on my shoulders were lifted from me the moment I shared them with this kind soul.

That day taught me that reaching out for help is necessary for one’s own well-being. It is unrealistic to expect to be able to tackle life without the support of others. In the years since, I have learned to ask for help when I need it, and to be gracious in sharing my own guidance when others ask me for support. I look back at that day and wonder how differently things may have unfolded had I sought help months earlier, but I carry with me knowledge that people want to help. We just have to let them.

  • Notre Dame staff member