Today’s #SameHere🤙 Hero: Hayley Edwards from Western Australia!
Hayley is just one of those personalities that’s a bright light, that you’re drawn to. I know that two of our volunteers – Erin and Gina felt the same, as they both got to know her through social media as well.
Despite her energy, she has an incredible story of challenges she’s had to overcome to get right here, right now – including abuse by a coach, military service, the suicide of a friend, & an attempt of her own.
I spoke with Hayley from across the pond last night & I’m beyond excited to announce her as one of the new Directors of our Advocacy Alliance, as we continue to grow relationships outside of just the US. Her passion & enthusiasm is also going to help us bring #SameHere Programming to schools in Australia. Please help us welcome her to the community.
“This is actually pretty hard for me to write, as a lot of my friends & family would have NO idea about the Mental Health issues I had growing up, & the demons I still have today.
At the age of about 9 I was unfortnately a part of a group of girls that was abused by a male swimming teacher. At the time it didn’t feel like I had experienced anything affecting me emotionally. I think it was disassociation from the situation & I buried it.
As I got into my teens my behaviour (my relationship with myself) started to decline. I developed an out of control eating disorder, & my life was filled with pure guilt & self loathing. Most of the time I was able to function & hide it well. I even played Netball & Basketball at state level whilst hiding this from everyone, except my Mum.
I received years & years of treatment (anti-depressants & CBT) & my Mum was an exceptional source of support for me. Even after all the help, I attempted to end my life at 16 years of age. I was out of control.
I joined the Military at 19 & became a Medic in the Royal Australian Airforce. I was exposed to a lot things, good & bad during my time in service. My best friend Annie, whom I lived with, died by suicide in her room during a course we were both taking. She was married with a 4 year old son, & I had no idea anything was wrong.
I got deployed in the AME Team to the Op Bali Assist (Bali Bombings 2012) where I witnessed a lot of trauma. I struggled with this internally, but no one would have had any idea I did. As hard as these years were, they made me grow stronger.
I studied to be a Paramedic & worked as a Qualified Paramedic with Ambulance Victoria, & I LOVED this job dearly. I was able to help people, & make a difference at ground level – human to human.
After having two kids, I became seperated & began life as a single Mum.
Today I own two Anytime Fitness Gyms in Perth WA, & recently the light bulb has gone off for me & I have found my ‘why’- Sharing Lived Experiences #SameHere!! I met two of the women volunteering with this Global Mental Health Alliance & have enjoyed their friendship & am looking forward to bringing #SameHere Programming to Australia, where it is desperately needed.
We ALL face troubles in life, 90% of life is how we deal with the 10% of crap that gets thrown our way. Three pieces of advice that have helped me & that I want to pass on:
✔Build resilience in our youth
✔Develop self empowerement