Adria is a confident person who is not afraid to speak her mind. She feels strongly that it is important for her to share the challenges that she lives with in order to help break the stigma that surrounds them.
Adria lives with schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety. As a Peer Support Worker with Communitas Supportive Care Society, Adria walks alongside others who are on the journey towards mental wellness. She loves her work as it gives her a chance to offer hope to others.
“I know that some people are not able to, or do not desire to share their experiences and that’s okay,” she says. “I know that some can benefit from hearing about someone else’s journey and I hope that by giving voice to mine, others can relate to that and perhaps it will help others in their life journey.”
Last year, Adria was given a very unique opportunity to share her story more broadly. Adria took part in a CBC documentary series called “You Can’t Ask That”. The program confronts prejudices and breaks down taboos in society by giving those they interview a chance to respond authentically and honestly to “the awkward, inappropriate or uncomfortable questions they hear all the time, offering them a platform to speak candidly for themselves.”
In fall of 2019, Adria travelled to Toronto for two days of filming. It was the first time that she had flown within Canada and the first time traveling alone, which she found “nerve wracking” because of her anxiety. Still, Adria was grateful that she’d been given a flight and a hotel room.
“It was surreal to be offered so much, just to share about my experience,” she says.
Talking about her journey with mental health is a way for Adria to process what she’s gone through. Having a chance to do this on a national platform was a gratifying because mental illness still carries stigma and Adria knows that people may want to ask questions but don’t feel comfortable doing so. Having a platform where the barriers are removed and one is free to talk openly is important.
“Having the chance to voice my experience out loud helps me to validate my experience, more so than when I do this alone,” she explains. “I want people to understand how I feel about what I’ve dealt with and still deal with. It also brings us together as humans, which is a beautiful thing!”
Adria also appreciated the opportunity to meet some of the other people who were being interviewed and to interact with the film crew. It was encouraging to see the commitment to talking about disabilities and challenges, both physical and mental, and in doing so make it feel less uncomfortable.
“It’s helping the world progress and work on understanding people who have a disability,” she says. “It’s helping people be able to success in life because we understand each other better.”
Adria’s episode of “You Can’t Ask That” will air on CBC on Friday, October 30th, at 8:30 pm or you can visit the CBC Gem website and view it right away.
John and his daughter, Himali both work for Communitas. Though their work is in different settings, they’ve had the same meaningful career experience.