Like most young people, Chloe began to ask big questions about her future in her late teens. She felt pressure to offer something meaningful to the world but didn’t feel she was being her authentic self when trying to follow the status quo. Although Chloe was preoccupied with ruminating thoughts that made her anxious and depressed, she kept things to herself. Everyone else was always showing their best side, so she preferred to keep quiet about her dark emotions. Her feelings of depression would come and go, right up to the time she started university. Things then worsened, as the pressure to succeed increased along with a heightened uncertainty about what she wanted to do post-graduation. Chloe would miss classes, preferring to sleep rather than stay awake. She felt terribly depressed and was frustrated with herself for feeling this way. With her mother’s support, she sought help. Finding the right professional to help her get better was not easy, but she succeeded after several tries. In therapy, she regained her self-worth and was able to understand, accept and redirect her negative thought patterns. She also came to understand that it was okay to want to fit in with social expectations one day and to want to run away from them the next. Chloe had come to own her true self.
In her final year of University, an announcement on social media grabbed Chloe’s attention. A student wanted to set up an initiative to help students with mental health issues. The idea was to create free, quick and accessible opportunities to talk to a neutral party for an hour. This resonated with Chloe, as it was exactly what she would have benefited from in the past. She quickly expressed her interest in getting involved and co-founded Vent Over Tea, an active listening service that takes place in Montréal cafes. Recently, Chloe set out to experience community-based lifestyles abroad. She spent time living off the grid with a sustainable community in the Panamanian jungle and joined a team of people living and working together on an education start-up in Rio de Janeiro. She has learned that her mental health is at its best when she adopts a community-based approach to life. Now back in Montreal, Chloe dedicates much of her time to organizing low-cost events, workshops and meet-ups in an effort to build a supportive and engaged local community.