Photo by Prixel Creative

Many can relate to my story because it is far from unique. I graduated high school and left the comfortable, small-town I grew up in to pursue post-secondary education. It was a massive shift in my life where the responsibilities and expectations placed on me, and the ones I placed on myself, felt overwhelming. It was like I was drowning in a dense fog. To comfort myself, I turned to food.

It didn’t take long for me to realize I was experiencing clinical depression as well as an eating disorder. As I said at the start, it’s a common story yet many of us shy away from talking about our mental health. We fear the stigma attached. Yet talking about it was a crucial element of my mental health journey.

To work towards not only ending the stigma, but supporting youth with their own mental health, I founded The Vibrant Lives Foundation. This year, for the first time ever, we provided a scholarship to a 2016 graduate who submitted the most impactful creative writing piece on the topic of mental health.

We were amazed by the submissions received, and touched by the stories shared. Each application highlighted the importance of the work The Vibrant Lives Foundation does. This year, we were honored to present the first ever Vibrant Lives Foundation Award to Kennedy Z., a graduate of Chilliwack Senior Secondary in Canada.

Kennedy’s poem is a touching example of how conflicting living with bipolar disorder can be. After you give it a read, be sure to read it once more – but backwards.

Living with bipolar depression is impossible
I cannot say
Life has been fair to me
It is true
I cannot be happy
Why do people think,
I am okay on the inside.
That does not make sense
Being angry and anxious
Consumes me.
The support I receive from my family
Does not reach my thoughts
This “disorder”
Will win in the end
My perseverance
Is a joke
Giving up
Is the only option I have.
It will not work
Unless I turn it around.
—Kennedy Z

At Conscious, we are inspired by stories that cause us to think differently and think big-picture and so we set out to tell stories with the help of leaders and influencers within the social good community. You can read more stories like this when you join as a member.