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Serenity |
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As a youth, it can be tough making it through life unscathed. But when you’re an Indigenous youth being bullied for things out of your control, life can be doubly hard. For Serenity, the realization that she carries this double dose of trauma became apparent when she struggled in her own life as a young person attending school. “I grew up with a learning disability,” she says. “I was picked on and bullied because of the community stigma around it”. Stigma—of being different, of having a disability—is an ongoing issue in Indigneous communities. But Serenity is not the only one. There are others who struggle with the same issues. “There are quite a number of kids my age who have been kicked out of school because of behavioural issues. The depression. The anxiety. They just don’t have the skills to cope with these kinds of problems” she says.

Reflecting on her own journey, Serenity says, “I’ve learned ways to cope, though. With help from my family, community, and my therapist I’ve learned how to talk about my issues.” She goes on to say, “When you get into a funk it can sometimes take days or weeks or months to get out of it. But there are things that really help as I go through it. Taking time for myself, spending time outside with my family, doing traditional things. They all help with my anxiety and depression.” She muses that if more kids from her community knew how to deal with their feelings in a healthy way, then perhaps her people would be in a better place. “Self care is so important. To know how to put yourself at ease, to express and communicate your feelings. These are things we need to feel comfortable doing.” She touches on an important element of healing from stigma and hardships: Through acceptance, kindness, and compassion our communities are elevated.

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