Michelle wants the perception of mental illness to change.
She wants the judging to stop. She wants the blaming to stop. She wants both the language and conversation to change.
“People just don’t get it,” she says.
Michelle has spent years assisting her daughter, Nichole, through the mental health care system. Diagnosed with anxiety and depression, Nichole first required care at the age of two. Her daughter is now 23 and the amount of stigma encountered by the family throughout Nichole’s recovery journey is immeasurable.
It’s 4:00 a.m. and she can’t sleep.
She’s also exceptionally dehydrated after a day filled with incessant vomiting.
She’s constantly in a state of nausea. And it’s not the type of nausea that can be a little annoying after a ride on a roller coaster. It’s the type of nausea that makes you hesitant to leave the yard, house or bedroom.
She’s crying a lot and feels guilty about pretty much everything. About going on sick leave, about the perceived strain she’s putting on the people she loves and about the thoughts she’s had about being pregnant. Thoughts she didn’t believe she would ever have.
Melanie Corona sits in a booth at the Eastside Mario’s restaurant she owns and operates and has no trouble coming up with ways Utaya makes her north Oshawa business better.
“He excels at his job,” Melanie says of her dedicated prep cook. “He’s confident, very friendly and always has a smile on his face.”
In his role, Utaya worked tirelessly to prepare all of the food for the day in a healthy and safe manner.
“His position is really the backbone of the restaurant,” notes Melanie.