Shaina

Youth Facilitator

“Your are the medicine, your story full of living teachings only you carry…

The journey from constantly questioning my self-worth to being in compassionate self-love has been a long road. Since I could remember, I found myself in a chronic state of self-judgment and anxiety that would impact my capacity to maintain healthy relationships. Hyper self-criticism led to a chronic sense of disconnect and disassociation from myself and isolation from others.

It all brought to me a crucial point of calling a crisis helpline expressing that I wanted to change who I was. I feel so grateful that this same year, I made a few close friends through a  Filipino Students Network and in classes with folks who shared my experiences as a racialized, working-class background queer person

In being able to connect with a community of support, I was able to connect more with myself in a non-judgmental way. As I found others who shared similar experiences and allowed myself to be vulnerable and reach out for support, I realized I wasn’t isolated in my struggle.  I began  to join other collectives that were connecting and sharing our similar lived experiences and challenges around mental health and identity for the purpose of  healing and wellness.

Today, I continue to learn and realize the strengths, medicines and gifts of my story – especially the parts that I once felt shame and judgment around. Today, I continue this deep journey to re-story what I once experienced as weaknesses due to the internalized shame and judgment. I am grateful to be in a community of mental health advocates transforming their challenges into community wisdom through the power of story-telling.”