Peace Community: Nicole Gould

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Hi my name is Nicole Gould and this is #MyCanada story

When somebody hears the words "mental illness" or "mentally unstable" they can often come to very untrue conclusions. There is a perception that people with a mental illness are crazy or they are dangerous..the list can go on and on. The reality is...we are not crazy and we are not dangerous. We just need someone to listen, someone to care and someone to reach out their hand and grab a hold of ours.

I have suffered from mental illness since I was around the age of 14. I have struggled with anxiety and depression to the point where it crippled me. I was also diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder at 16 years old.

The high school years for me were the most difficult. Just to get out of bed every day and go to school was like trying to run through mud. There were many days where I stayed home from school because I couldn't bring myself to go. I secluded myself from people and had no friends. At lunch time I would either sit in the cafeteria at a table by myself while I was surrounded by tables of people laughing and talking with friends...or I would go home and sit in an empty house. I often would not return to school and would just sleep. I tried to end my life on multiple occasions because the internal pain and loneliness and suffering I had was too much to handle. I felt like my life was going nowhere. I didn't really have a plan for my future. I wasn't excited about any thing.

The internal dialogue I had with myself was painful. The fight inside my brain whether to live or end my life was so overwhelming, exhausting and frightening. I didn't love myself. I hated myself. Mental illness is not something that should be taken lightly or made into a joke. It's serious and is life altering to those who suffer from it. I saw numerous therapists and was put on numerous medications to try and stabilize my emotions. I spent a lot of time in the hospital because that is where I was the safest. I am one of the lucky ones who was able to get the help I needed and I have been able to learn how to manage my emotions. I have good days and I have bad days but I deal with them as they come. Mental illness is personal and different for everyone. I think our society needs to become more educated on how it affects people and instead of kicking a person while they are down we need to lift people up.

There is no sense in making it worse for someone who is already suffering. We need to end the stigma that for some reason still surrounds the topic of mental illness. It is nothing to be ashamed about. It doesn't define us as a's just the cards we were dealt with. We just need compassionate people around us who are willing to help us deal and cope with what we were dealt with. I am proud to say that I was able to turn my life around for the better and make my struggles into accomplishments. I have published 2 books about what I went through in my teen years and it speaks a lot to the topic of mental illness. I have been able to help teens who were in the same spot I was. I have also just recently finished nursing school. We need to be more compassionate and understanding towards people with mental illness. In my life time I want the stigma to be gone and for people to look at mental illness the same way they see physical illness. If we rallied around people with a mental illness the same way we do when someone we love has cancer...our world would be much better off. It is our duty and our job to make this happen.

If we don't then who will?