My journey into the world of mental health began at an early age, as I attempted to navigate the terrain of an emotionally turbulent environment.
By the time I was in my teens, my emotional operating systems were so hard wired, they spoke in absolute, irrefutable truths.
Everyone leaves. You're on your own. People will hurt you. Don't trust. Don't be vulnerable. Just survive.
Had I had any inclination to question those beliefs, I would have found evidence everywhere - when you constantly shut people out, they do tend to walk away. But I didn't question, and I didn't probe, and so the pattern continued.
Trauma is a great example of operant conditioning; when something hurts, we learn to be careful. When something really hurts, we learn to protect ourselves against it ever happening again. The impact is stronger, the learning is deeper, and the protective strategies are more rigid, broader reaching, and longer lasting.
I had learned well. I didn't trust. I wasn't vulnerable. I did survive.
And I was sick of surviving.
Healing was a process of unlearning and relearning, of challenging old beliefs and uncovering new truths. And somewhere between delving into my own emotional history and coming out the other side, I fell in love with the process.
I went on to pursue a career in integrative mental health, completing post-graduate work in Psychology and Naturopathic Medicine, and am registered with both the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario and the College of Naturopaths of Ontario.