“How do you take care of your Mental Health?” - winning essay by Hannah Trombley

Hannah Trombley, a grade 12 student from Hazelton, wrote the winning essay for the “Score One for Mental Wellness” contest that Donaldson and a team of sponsors offered to young people in his riding. Hannah and one of her parents flew to Vancouver courtesy of HawkAir, attended the April 11th Canucks game courtesy of RBC, and got some cool Canucks swag thanks to Dan Hamhuis and the Vancouver Canucks. The Gitxsan Government Commission paid for accommodation, the Town of Smithers and the RCMP provided the judging of all the essays, and the Interior News and Moose FM donated advertising.

Click here to read our press release on the annual MLA youth contest.

Hannah's winning essay is below.

“How do you take care of your Mental Health?”

Hannah Trombley
Hazelton, BC

Mental health affects how you think, feel and act. It determines how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. It is equally as important as physical health, and is extremely important in every stage of life; from childhood to adult. Your mental health is the little voice inside your head making decisions and giving you positive or negative feedback on anything you do. It is also your quirks, personality traits, choices and thoughts. The little voice is you, yes, you are talking to yourself everyday and have been since you were born. Depending on who you are, the little voice of mental health can be your worst enemy and biggest critique. No one can be harder on you then yourself.

Being aware of your mental health allows you to have control over your psychological, social and emotional well being. My own interpretation of mental health is being connected to your body. My mind and body need to be on the same page in order to function adequately. The problem everyone is facing today is that this scale of mind and body within ourselves is almost impossible to keep balanced. We are constantly fluctuating inside, trying to keep up with society’s standards and demands.

Everything we encounter or see every day reflects how we feel inside. Different situations affect people differently; this is just a fact. However, the ways we react to these situations are completely up to our own individual selves. Alot of factors have made us who we are: how we were raised at home, our religious beliefs, the extent of our knowledge, peers, life experiences and so on.

With all the pressure put on people today, mental illness is becoming more and more prevalent in ever generation. Yet, mental illnesses are still the most misunderstood diseases. No one dares to talk about it. People are comfortable saying “I woke up with this huge headache today and can’t seem to shake it!” but can’t say “Gosh, I woke up and I just feel so depressed, its like I’m being buried alive.” Mental illness is an avoided topic in social conversations. The brain is a physical organ in the body, but having a psychological illness is frowned upon. Why cannot being mentally ill be treated the just like other illnesses? Like Diabetes or Cancer? Instead of people feeling stigmatized by a diagnosis. Our mentally ill population of 450 million globally are afraid to talk about their struggles because they don’t want to be labelled.

I have identified and accepted my mental health illness at a young age and I am grateful. I struggle with Anxiety. I constantly worry and assume the worst possible outcome of situations that are out of my control. Whether I was born this way, or Anxiety runs in my family, or the world has shaped me to be like this, I do not know. My anxiety has affected me largely at school. It has ruined relationships with my friends and it has made me afraid to try new things, to commit, and to trust.

I did not know the reasons behind why I felt so sick in my classes, or why public transit made my palms sweat while everyone around me always appeared so calm. I did not know why I would get so overwhelmed about little things and cry out of frustration or confusion. My anxiety is unique to me; everyone is different. The biggest struggle I face is that I worry myself sick to a point when I physically start to believe I am sick. I began missing school, and skipped extra curricular activities. Doctor’s appointments have been made for me before just so I am reassured that I’m not physically ill.

The turning point of my anxiety was when I finally talked to my mom and friends. I had come to the conclusion and understanding I do in fact suffer from anxiety. I first thought having this mental illness defined me as crazy, that I have ‘lost it’. I have learned I am not the only person who struggles with anxiety. My anxiety is a companion everyday and I have come up with coping methods in order for it not to control me life.

Talking about my anxiety has made a huge difference in my life. To take care of my mental health I continue to talk about it. The more you open up the better you begin to feel. I dance to relieve all the extra built up tension inside me. Having a physical activity or passion helps you get rid of any extra stress or worries. When I’m dancing, all of my concerns and frustration dissipates. My mind and body become balanced as one. I have learned to do what I love to give myself a break from it all. Dance has given me courage and more confidence in myself. I can express myself in ways I can’t put into words.

My advice to everyone is to take care of your mind and body, and to think only positive thoughts about yourself.  Your body listens to what you think and feel, and is impacted by it. So remember to take care of the little voice inside your head. Mental illnesses are so common; nobody in in this alone, I can’t stress that enough. Discover your passions and pursue them, always dream and try new things. Your mental health is you, and you are so important. You’re hard enough on yourself; do not let other people’s opinions and judgements affect or define you.

This quote is also good advice:

“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”  -Dita Von Teese

Once you start loving yourself exactly for who you are and want to be, the world becomes a much more beautiful and enjoyable place to live in. Impress yourself, not others.