Mental Illness Is My Driving Force

Mental illness no longer has to be a life sentence. And that’s more true today than ever before in history and that that really gets me excited. Hi my name is Brent Seal and I run a social enterprise called Mavrixx which is dedicated to empowering young people to overcome their mental health struggles and perform at a higher level and have fun and just live more fully so we do that through speaking and workshops and training programs that we’ve developed. Well the early days of my mental health struggles that I can remember are the early days my college years and I just spent a couple years in a ski resort after high school just partying, working, snowboarding and I thought I’d give university a try and transform myself into an active, engaged student and just start learning more about the world. And I thought that’d be a pretty simple, straightforward process, but in fact it was quite challenging and what I did was essentially isolate myself and really that’s when I started to struggle and get paranoid and just my mental really started slipping. A psychologist actually idetified what I was going through as psychosis and I didn’t understand what that meant at first but I got on medication and made a decent recovery, but I sort of got back to my old routines and had a relapse about a year-and-a-half later which was much worse and the result of that was attempting suicide just not seeing a way out and just seeing my future getting worse and worse. Fortunately, my family was close enough to me and around me to get me to a hospital get stabilized and that was the point at which I realized “Okay this is real” I was diagnosed with schizophrenia in the hospital and you might think that was devastating which is sort of was but at the same time it was a big relief because that gave me something to latch onto, something to study, something to understand. And by doing that and just committing myself to get it fit and healthy as possible to never experience that again and to share my story my journey to help other people that’s been a driving force for my recovery since. One important part of my journey in recovery has been tapping into and really stumbling into the mental health community which is essentially a collection of people and groups and organizations, nonprofits that are dedicated to supporting young people with their mental health. So if you’re struggling with your mental health, I really encourage you to tap into that and seek out that support and education and guidance, because it’s one of the most empowering things you can do in your journey of recovery. One of the most powerful parts of my journey has been tapping into the outdoor sports. Hiking and mountains, rock climbing, trail running because early in my struggles I mean I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t go to school, hang out with my friends, drive a car, read a newspaper. And my mom was always a big hiker consistently for decades and I remember I said “Mom take me on a hike” and we went on a very simple, short hike and I’ll never forget the peacefulness I felt in that forrest. I was an incredible feeling in a time where I just felt horrible, horrible, horrible mentally all the time. And it just drove me to do it more and I just that whole summer we just went hiking and hiking every weekend it was the one thing each week I looked forward to was that weekly hike with my mom. And it was so therapeutic and eventually I got into the outdoor club at my university and the Alpine Club of Canada and into eventually mountaineering and then climbing some big mountains and and just taking it to the next level and just that whole process of growth and peacefulness and therapeutic nature of the outdoors is something that’s been a huge benefit to not only my mental health, but my overall health. And so for you watching this I mean I don’t I don’t promote the idea that you have to climb mountains you have to do outdoor sports to recover to feel good. You gotta find that thing for you that makes you come alive that gets you excited, that you care about that allows the stress of your daily life to melt away because you get so into it. That’s what the outdoors and mountains is to me that’s this one of the benefits it provides and I think you can find that in anything.

One thought on “Mental Illness Is My Driving Force

  1. Great work Brent! Inspiring stuff, I love your story and ability to articulate yourself and what you're doing. Keep it up!

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