Florence K

MENTAL HEALTH: BETWEEN WATER AND FIRE

 

There are times when we may feel like we’re wading in thick mud, a mud that is almost opaque, through which light can barely filter. However, if we ponder it a little more, how many times do we draw our most courageous initiatives, our most beautiful creations, our wisest decisions, during the times when we are covered in that same mud, when we find ourselves stuck in it up to our heads?”

 These words are those which Florence chose in her book Buena Vida to talk about her struggle with mental health. Near the end of 2011, at the peak of a promising artistic career, the young mother of a little girl was introduced, unwillingly, to chronic insomnia, anxiety and, subsequently, deep depression. This period of her life, which she referred to as “the abyss”, led her to hospitalization, then to the long road to recovery and, finally, after receiving a diagnosis of type II bipolarity, to a state of balance.

Since then, Florence chooses to use her personal experience to help raise awareness about mental health, a cause to which she devotes much of her time. After having added a psychology certificate to her bachelors’ degree in communications, she is now studying to earn a Masters’ degree in mental health. Florence was recognized in November 2017 by the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) as one of 150 Canadian leaders in mental health. As an ambassador for Bell’s Let’s Talk campaign, she gives nationwide conferences where she shares her story open-heartedly, offering her perspective on mental health in today’s society. Whether with the Canadian Armed Forces, with the college and university community, within businesses, the medical field, community resource centers, mental health prevention associations, or in the music industry, her testimony touches the heart of her audiences and contributes greatly to the breaking of taboos and demystification of mental health issues. In the Spring of 2019, she presented a prized radio-documentary, The Hole Inside, on the air of CBC Radio, in which she shared her story and talked about what her day to day life is with a type II bipolarity disorder.

Because she strongly believes that the time has come to overcome society’s standing prejudices and taboos around mental health issues, she offers today to share her story and vision of mental health, through an open-hearted testimony.

After all, we are never as alone as we may be led to believe.