For most of my life I have battled mental illness. Anxiety fuelled by my perfectionist tendencies began in elementary school, depression joined the party in my pre-teen years, and the past decade has been a rollercoaster of mental health challenges, misdiagnoses, and searching for answers to the darkness that has surrounded me. In 2019, following my hospitalization in the psychiatric ward, I was finally diagnosed with a trifecta of mental illnesses that name my struggles: Bipolar II Disorder (BD), Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with panic attacks. Nine letters that I work everyday to turn into 11 letters - EMPOWERMENT.
I focus my efforts on helping others dance with their darkness and pursue mental wellbeing. Using my own experience with mental illness and my road to recovery combined with my psychology background and ever-growing mental health toolbox, I work to educate, inspire, and empower others on their mental health journeys. My life’s purpose is to #SmashTheStigma and help reframe the way society views mental health.
Together we can create a world without stigma by sharing our mental health journeys and living our authentic truths. Go bravely, warriors.
Harley (AKA Harls Barkley/Miss Harley Queen) is an adorable terrier-mix who was abused and abandoned at a young age. When I adopted Harley she was scared, timid, and broken, but there was a fire behind her eyes that I was determined to unleash. It has been a true joy watching Harley blossom into the loving, silly, and light-spreading pup that she is today. Her transformation has been nothing short of inspirational. I can say with 100% certainty that we rescued each other. Beyond the day-to-day love and support she provides me with, she has stopped me from prematurely ending my life multiple times and is the reason my story is still being written today. As my emotional support dog she accompanies me pretty much everywhere and is an ambassador for the benefits of canine therapy. Her support dog role extends beyond myself as she is the beloved face that frequents Dancing With Darkness in her #HarleyTheSupportDog series.