What I’d tell my 2 year ago self and anyone going through Mental Health issues….

When it comes to speaking about mental health, it’s often still a very taboo thing in today’s society. It’s not understood by enough people because it’s not something that can be “seen”, only felt by the person going through that very fight. The thing with a mental health issue is that no one ever chooses it, or puts it in their life. It just shows up. It’s a disease that at some points is beyond your control and that’s something that is often misunderstood. A year ago, when I was going through depression and anxiety I was told to “snap out of it”, and believe me, if I could snap myself out of it I wouldn’t have been going through any of that in the first place. A year later and now being a much stronger person, I wish I could’ve told myself and others going through similar battles that it’s okay to be vulnerable. To ask for help when you feel as though you can no longer keep fighting. To not feel ashamed of the person you are, or of the hard times you are facing. To not get upset at your self and to treat yourself with more kindness. To realize that the people who are closest to you and love you are your biggest supporters and have your best interest in mind. To not alienate yourself because that will only lead to worse feelings when alone. To not suffer in silence, to always speak up. To try and keep yourself calm when others say they understand what you’re going through, even if you feel they don’t. To realize it’s okay to not feel okay and to not understand what’s going on in your head, or why you’re feeling this way. To not hide under a mask that isn’t a representation of your true self and to realize that it’s okay to let your guard down. To get help from a professional and to not privatize your struggles. That it’s alright to scream, cry, get angry, upset, and sad, as long as you never give up.

Even though it’s not easy to see the finish line, I promise you will get there. It only takes one small step at a time. The most courageous of people are those who fight battles no one even knows about. In today’s society, we need to be more open with mental health as it’s no different than if you were to have an ailment. It’s not right that people have to hide their feelings or suffer in silence, in fear of judgement from others who are ignorant or quick to make assumptions on something they don’t even understand. My challenge to you all is to fight and raise more awareness on mental health and to tell YOUR stories, as your struggles shape you in to the incredible person that you are today. The take away of this message is to care less about what others think because at the end of the day being honest about how we feel does not make us weak, it makes us human. Please raise awareness for #mentalhealth… Thank you❤️ ~Sierra xoxo

 

Help lines:

ConnexOntario (Mental Health, Addictions)-1-866-531-2600

Suicide Prevention Line-1-833-456-4566

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A QUOTE A DAY

Hello everyone, I’ve decided to bring back “a quote a day” where I share with you a quote that I find inspirational every day of the year.  That’s right, 365 days!  I hope that these messages can bring meaning and impact you in a positive way and can allow you to change the way you go about your life for the better.

Here is today’s quote:

“Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow”. – Unknown

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A Trip of a Lifetime…

I left on July 9th and embarked on my first adventure and solo trip at the age of 17, it was 2am that morning when I had to get up and get dressed and ready to head to the Toronto airport for my 6am flight.  I honestly can’t even begin to describe how I was feeling, it really was a mixture of nervousness and excitement.  I’d never taken a trip by myself before and heading to a third world country not knowing the 50 something people I would be staying with for the 10 days was definitely a worry in the back of my mind.  Would I fit in? Would I make friends? Would I enjoy myself? Would I arrive safely? These were all the questions running through my head at the time.  Then saying goodbye to my parents and walking through security and immigration alone, landing in the Miami airport and having to navigate myself around to my next gate, and then getting off the plane to meet my new friends who I wasn’t even acquainted with, were all big accomplishments for me.  However, it also taught me that all those worrisome thoughts in my head weren’t even worth it at the end of the day because none of them were true.  Once landing in Costa Rica (which is beautiful by the way!!) I was greeted with so many friendly and smiling faces and I can’t even begin to express how nice all these fellow travelers were.   We took a bus about an hour and half to our home base which was an eco resort called Playa Janquillal and I was put in a cabin with 9 other girls who quickly went from friends, to people I consider family and who I’m still talking to right now.  Once orientated around our new home we were split into 6 different service projects with 9 kids in each group.  I was selected into the Huerta Vida Y Salud group, which is an organic farm in the Santa Cruz, Guanacaste region and is run by Radolpho and his one friend.  I learned so much from the simple way him and his family lived their life.  They are some of the happiest people I know, even though they don’t have much at all.  He was so optimistic and energetic about the simplest of things in life.  Seeing his admiration and gratefulness for the bio diversity on his farm and for the role that the butterflies, birds, worms, bees, and bugs, played on the growth of his crops was something I wish everyone could see for themselves.  As well as his drive to make the Costa Rican ecosystem healthier by changing from standardized farming to organic farming.  It just goes to show you that the simple life, having no expectations, and not needing to compare yourself to others is what creates some of the happiest people and some of the most accomplished.  The whole time I was down there I was welcomed by the locals with open arms, I had children teaching me their juggling and soccer skills, I got countless sun tattoos from a little boy, and I was invited back in to the homes of Radolpho and Dona Lida any time I plan to go back and visit Costa Rica.  Even though my adventure days with the zip lining, catamaran and snorkel ride, as well as the jungle tubing were so much fun, its not what I remember most or took away most from my trip.  It was the service days and the time spent building relationships with the locals and hearing what they had to say. I’ve learned that even though my stay was short and that I wasn’t able to accomplish the world like I always hope to, it was truly the relationships I built with the people that inspired me and warmed my heart so much that mattered.  Seeing the amazing things the locals are doing for their community even though they don’t have much, is something I feel everyone needs to see because it kicks you in the butt to create change and betterment and to appreciate the people and things you have in your life when you come home.  Being able to build relationships with the locals was so important because ultimately they live there year round and know what needs to be accomplished most in their community.  So being able to create a foundation where you can aid their needs is really what gets the most done and what brings the most change. I’ve also learned that the Pura Vida is not just the simple life for them, it is THE way of life for all the people living there.  It is their, “hello nice to meet you”, their “no problem”, their voice of encouragement, welcomeness, inclusion, and happiness.  I am so thankful that I went on this trip because I feel like I’ve returned home as a new person who knows my direction and I feel like I’ve gotten a bit wiser as well from all the lessons I was taught while there.  I’m so proud of how far I’ve come and I definitely feel as though I’m a more confident person and that I can accomplish anything put in front of me, I know I wouldn’t have felt this way if it wasn’t for this trip and that is something so important for me.  It really made me discover myself and the things that inspire and matter most to me, and I truly encourage each and everyone one of you to try and embark on of these journeys yourself at some point in your life.  It is truly life changing.

Anyways, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read about my travels, I hope it sparks something within you.  Here are some pictures I took from beautiful, sunny, Costa Rica!!

 

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Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Currently, my trip to Costa Rica is only a short 20 days away and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m slowly getting packed up and ready and as the days go by I ponder the whole meaning of the trip. I’m so blessed that I have the ability to travel to another country to help others. I am so lucky. From teaching English in schools, to rebuilding community centres, cleaning up ocean waste, releasing baby sea turtles, snorkling, and jungle tube riding, I know that these are memories I’ll never forget. Ultimately, I hope that this 10 day trip gives me insight as to what it is I’m doing here and what I can do to help others as I continue on through life. I will make sure to post tons of pictures and write all about my travels and adventures, so that you, my readers, can get a glimpse into my life and see what it is that I love to do. The countdown is on!!! Thanks,

-Sierra xoxo