May 18, 2016

The People →
Sally

40 → Toronto, Canada → Mental Health Activist & Entrepreneur → Anxiety & Depression → Self Care, Therapy, Yoga, Meditation.

1. Introducing Sally

R: Hi Sally, so, who are you?

S: hmm, I always answer this question with the same answer, I am still trying to figure that one out.

R: Where do you live?

S: Toronto, Canada.

R: How old are you?

S: 40.

031_Sally_Content_1

R: What do you do?

S: I am an entrepreneur.

R: How long have you been doing it?

S: 3 months.

R: Do you enjoy it?

S: I am loving it so far.

R: What did you do before?

S: My background is in hairstyling, which I still work as part time.

R: Did you study?

S: Not for business but I did for hairstyling.

R: What does home life look like – pets / kids?

S: I am married with 2 kids and have a pet cat named Feenie.

R: What makes you happy?

S: Connecting with people in an authentic way, meaningful conversations and being of service.

2. Anxiety & It’s Impact On Everyday Life

R: When did your Anxiety begin?

S: I would say my anxiety began when I was fairly young, probably 8 or 9 years of age.

“I was very fearful as a child, I feel like I missed out on a lot because of the anxiety. I was always very worried and self conscious which lead to a lot of isolation.”

R: Has it got worse over time? or better?

S: It was probably the worse in my early twenties and then again in my mid 30’s.

R: How did Anxiety affect you as a child?

S: I was very fearful as a child, I feel like I missed out on a lot because of the anxiety. I was always very worried and self conscious which lead to a lot of isolation.

R: How would you describe Anxiety in your own words?

S: Anxiety is for me a permanent knot in my belly that seems to consume all of me. From thoughts to behaviour, it can feel so overwhelming and almost debilitating at times.

R: How does Anxiety interfere with a normal day?

S: It used to affect my daily living by causing a lot of isolation, I would avoid so many social situations because of it.

3. Depression & It’s Impact On Everyday Life

R: Do friends or colleagues notice you have Depression?

S: I was pretty good at hiding my depression and lying about it too. I would make something up about another illness, which looking back now is just so silly.

“I think that depression has caused a lot of pain but also a lot of awareness. It’s quite the paradox.”

R: Does it affect your relationship with them?

S: I would say that depression affected my marriage, it is just as difficult for the spouse to deal with as it is for us having it.

R: Have you found any positive aspects of Depression?

S: Once I came clean about having depression, everything changed for the better. My relationship with myself deepened and with everyone else. I felt free.

R: Do you think your life would be different without Depression?

S: Yes, I think that depression has caused a lot of pain but also a lot of awareness. It’s quite the paradox.

R: If you had the option to lose your Depression would you?

S: Yes, I feel that depression is probably the worst thing I have ever experienced, for me it is worse than grief. I would actually take grief over depression that is how bad it can be.

4. Outta

R: Introduce us to getouttayourhead.com it’s a really great initiative. What is your primary aim?

S: My goal is to create a mindfulness/ self care movement. Our company advocates the importance of self care and we support mental health programs from sales of our apparel while we are at it. It is really about bringing awareness surrounding the mental health community, to begin an honest and comfortable discussion about how we can move forward and take care of ourselves.

“I am beginning mindful movement parties, where a certified yoga teacher attends and teaches us a practical way to incorporate meditation into our day.”

R: How long has it been running?

S: I have been working on the idea for a couple of years but it just launched in February of 2016

R: Is it going well? Are you receiving any positive feedback?

S: It is going very well, so far we have been able to sponsor a school yoga program that a group of students began. I also had the honour to speak at a high-school assembly during mental health week, another initiative that was created by a group of students. I am beginning mindful movement parties, where a certified yoga teacher attends and teaches us a practical way to incorporate meditation into our day. The group also gets to pick which charity the proceeds from sales will go to from their purchase. So, very positive and interactive. So lots going on, it’s so great and really makes me feel like what I have gone through has all been worth it.

R: How does your Anxiety & Depression interfere with your working process?

S: Well, I have social anxiety. So, it’s been pretty interesting how I have been able to stand up in front of 800 high school students and tell my story. I had a lot of anxiety that day but I got through it.

R: How do you manage to stay on top of it?

S: I have a daily self care routine which consists of morning meditation and prayer. I also do yoga or exercise daily which I find helps with the anxiety. My support system is amazing, I have a group of friends I turn to and they are my rock.

5. Treatment for Anxiety & Depression

R: Have you been officially diagnosed by a health professional?

S: Yes, I was diagnosed years ago with depression and anxiety.

R: What made you see a doctor?

S: When I could not get myself out of bed and that dark cloud settled in, I knew I had to get help.

R: Did they prescribe medication?

S: Yes, however I found the antidepressant made me worse so I stopped taking that.

“Through meditation and self talk. I actually talk to my anxiety and learned that it is a sensation.”

R: Do you / Did you take medication?

S: Yes. I still take meds for anxiety when I have to.

R: Have you seen a therapist?

S: Yes, I have seen several therapists. The last one I saw was spiritual based and she really gave me the right tools to mange everything.

R: How do you best manage Anxiety? (medication, meditation, yoga, alternative medicines or ?)

S: Through meditation and self talk. I actually talk to my anxiety and learned that it is a sensation. I picture it in my belly and say that it can hang out and I thank it for the message it is sending me. It seems to help alleviate the heaviness and I feel in control.

R: How do you best manage Depression? (medication, meditation, yoga, alternative medicines or ?)

S: I really navigated myself through depression through beginning a self care routine which consisted of finding a support system, yoga and meditation. Which I still do today.

R: Did any treatments work?

S: Self care and therapy really helped me

R: Do you feel as if you’re in control now?

S: Yes, I feel in control now most days. I am not afraid anymore of what comes up, I just let it be and that seems to work the best for me.

6. Advice To Your Younger Self

R: If you could go back and give yourself some advice on Anxiety & Depression, what would you say?

S: I would tell myself to not be afraid of feeling whatever it is I was feeling. I would be kinder to myself and just be there in a compassionate way.

“We need to speak up and be comfortable expressing that our minds are not feeling well. Just like we do with everything else in our body.”

R: What would you do differently?

S: I would of spoken up earlier, that really is the big issue. We need to speak up and be comfortable expressing that our minds are not feeling well. Just like we do with everything else in our body.

7. Being Proactive

R: Do you tell friends, family and colleagues that you suffer through these conditions?

S: I do now, and I do it without shame.

R: Do you know others with similar conditions?

S: Yes, I know many people who have anxiety and depression.

“I read a bit on line and I also talk about it openly and then others do as well. You learn a lot from others experiences.”

R: How do you educate yourself on management and resources? Do you read specific blogs, magazines or news articles?

S: I read a bit on line and I also talk about it openly and then others do as well. You learn a lot from others experiences.

R: Have you read any great books about Anxiety or Depression?

S: Eckart Tolles book A New Earth really spoke to me, I like to read quotes about connection to ourselves and the universe. It seems to put things in perspective for me.

R: Do you follow any youtubers or other activists?

S: Not really, I may come across someone or something but I can’t say I follow anyone in particular.

8. Like-Minded Network

R: Can you recommend any therapists / doctors / specialists / coaches / mentors / clinics / foundations?

S: My therapist who is more spiritual based is Viola Fodor www.violafodor.com, she changed everything for me and actually inspired the name of my Company and our message which is to “get out of your head” Emotions Anonymous actually has a website and a book that I highly recommend if you are looking to connect on a deeper level with yourself.

031_Sally_content1

9. What’s Next?

R: What’s on your horizon for 2016?

S: Well, I have many hopes and goals for my company Outta. It’s not only about selling apparel for me, I am serious about creating a mindfulness movement and bringing it to the masses. Learning to quiet your mind chatter is so powerful and really simple to learn. It just takes a bit of commitment and consistency, like anything else you are trying to learn.

“I hope that we can continue to speak about mental health and change our perspective about what it really is. It’s getting better and I do believe that change will occur within the community.”

R: What next for your Anxiety?

S: Anxiety has learned to hang out with me, it doesn’t take over anymore.

R: What next for your Depression?

S: If I become depressed again then I have my tools to use, I know I can get through it because I have already in the past.

R: Anything else you’d like to add?

S: I hope that we can continue to speak about mental health and change our perspective about what it really is. It’s getting better and I do believe that change will occur within the community. For me, self care is so important and can be a game changer with your mental health.

10. Connect With Sally

Website: www.getouttayourhead.com
Facebook: Outta on Facebook
Twitter: @outta_ca

Credits
Rodger Hoefel in conversation with Sally Goncalves
Cover Photo supplied by Sally Goncalves
Other images from Outta’s Twitter

back to top