Emily White has battled depression and anxiety her entire life. White has been practising natural techniques such as integrated body psychotherapy in addition to medication as treatment.

Emily White has battled depression and anxiety her entire life. White has been practising natural techniques such as integrated body psychotherapy in addition to medication as treatment.

Nanaimo woman wants to get people talking about mental health

NANAIMO - Emily White shares her life-long struggle with overcoming depression and anxiety.

For Emily White, anxiety and depression have been a part of her life for as long as she can remember.

“Looking back, I struggled with depression and anxiety on an off since I was very young. But it wasn’t identified as that then,” she said.In fact, White can remember not wanting to walk into her kindergarten classroom because she was so nervous and anxious. “I can look back and pinpoint moments from kindergarten where I was having anxiety from high sensitivity,” she said. “I would not go into the kindergarten classroom because I was panicking.”

By the time White was in university, the anxiety, panic attacks and depression became serve and often left her unmotivated and exhausted. “I went through periods of time where I felt like I couldn’t eat and where I couldn’t even get out of bed. I felt like I couldn’t even get up and face the world that was ahead of me,” she said.White is just one of the millions of people who have dealt with mental health issues, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association’s website, which says roughly seven million Canadians – equal to the entire population of Quebec – will experience a mental illness during the course of their existence.

On Wednesday (Jan. 25), Bell Canada will donate five cents to mental health initiatives across Canada each time someone uses the #BellLetsTalk hashtag on Twitter or Instagram, watches the media company’s Bell Let’s Talk video on Facebook, or sends a snap using the Bell Let’s Talk geo-filter on Snapchat.

White, a life-long Nanaimo resident, said she suffers from generalized anxiety and that the simple things such as meeting a friend or missing her cat would trigger her anxiety.

“Little things that just seem pointless but I could give you a thousand reasons why that seemed like an impossible task.”

However, about 10 years ago, White decided to take control of her life and got the help she needed. She said it’s important to talk and seek out help, adding that support is critical to dealing with mental health issues effectively.

“I think that is key. I understand that there are families out there that aren’t supportive. If that’s the situation that somebody is in, then seek someone else.”

Although she was prescribed medication, White has also spent countless hours studying and practising natural techniques to help her deal with anxiety and depression, including the integrated body psychotherapy.

White said another technique involves doing a simple exercise that requires her to name five objects around a room, which she said can help in her the event that a panic attack begins.

“Look around the room and say five things that are here right now. Now look around the room and say five things that you hear right now and smell right now,” she said. “In sense that is bringing me back to the present. Right now these things are not hurting me and I have nothing to worry about with these five things in this immediate time.”

Today, White is a special education teacher and has found happiness and fulfillment in her life. Her advice to those who are struggling is that one treatment alone won’t solve everything.”It’s not just one thing. You don’t just go to the gym. You don’t just go to counseling. You don’t just go on medication,” she said. “If you really really want to be successful, you take all the pieces of the puzzle and you put them together.”

For more information on Bell Let’s Talk, please visit http://letstalk.bell.ca.

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