HEATHER SPENCER’S STORY
Heather has been living with depression and anxiety for more than three decades. At the age of 15, Heather started experiencing mental health issues. A few years later, at the age of 18, Heather was hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt where she was given an official diagnosis. Since her mental health issues began, Heather has survived seven major episodes of depression as well as periods of dysthymia (a mild but long-term form of depression).
When she was in her 20s, Heather tried a new medication, Prozac, and the effect was very positive. She has also tried a variety of traditional treatments – various medications, one-on-one counselling and group therapy.
“I also employ non-traditional forms of treatment and self-care including exercise, yoga, meditation, massage, acupuncture, nutritional supplements, assertiveness training, EFT (tapping) therapy, aromatherapy and continually read about new research findings and treatments.”
HEATHER GETS LOUD
Heather has been busy getting loud about her depression. She organized a fundraising event, with the help of CMHA Weyburn, called Defeat Depression. CMHA Weyburn invited Heather to speak at the annual fundraising luncheon, and she has collaborated with the CMHA Weyburn staff to promote several mental health awareness events, such as Clara’s Big Ride, the Canadian Student Leadership Conference and Being Human – a peer support group. Heather has donated her time and money to support CMHA Weyburn.
“I continue to live with depression and speak publicly to mental health organizations, workplace gatherings and service groups as a means to reach out to others, share my experience, and hopefully by doing this remove the stigma of mental illness.”