“I think our youngest is 21 and our oldest is 81,” says Robyn Ellsworth, administrator of the Beacon Club, a day program and social club on Pier Street for adults with mental illness.
Somewhere in the middle of that age range – though admittedly closer to the upper end – is Holly-Anne Dobb.
Dobb will be one of many volunteers on hand at Robert Ostler Park June 11 supporting this year’s Defeat Depression Walk, which raises money for the Beacon Club’s programs and supports those in our community struggling with mental health issues like depression.
She’ll be there because it’s a struggle she knows all too well.
Thinking now about those times in her life, she says, “is a journey into darkness.”
“I can almost feel the empty pain in my gut and in my heart,” she says. “I can feel the chaos in my mind and the anguish of being lost in such a dark and lonely place. I wanted the pain to stop. I wanted my mind to stop. I wanted to get out of my body to escape the torment, but I knew what that would take.”
She promised her son she would never do it.
“I promised him I would never leave such a devastating legacy as suicide,” she says. “And that promise saved my life. When I surrendered to needing help, and risked telling my deeper truths, that is when my life began again.”
These days, life is much brighter. Dobb has a balanced level of daily medication, lives a healthy lifestyle and she wants her struggles and story to help give hope others struggling with the disorder.
“I fought taking prescription medications in the beginning,” she says. “I told myself they were not good. They were not natural. Now, I’d fight you if you tried to take them away from me. It took time but I found the right balance of meds for me. I would never go back.”
She still has to keep her focus on how her mind is working at any given time, she says, but she’s gotten pretty good at that.
“I have to be watchful of my moods, thoughts and behaviours, but have learned a great deal about what I need to maintain my mental wellness,” she says. “Despite my past, today I feel well, I feel happy and I feel hopeful for my future.”
And now, through her struggles, Dobb has learned how to help others with theirs. She is not only a member and supporter of the Beacon Club, she is also a peer support worker with Campbell River Mental Health and Substance Use.
And she’ll be at the Campbell River foreshore on June 11 to help out, as well, in whatever way she can.
For more on the Defeat Depression Walk, visit defeatdepression.ca or campbellriverbeaconclub.com
A direct link to register for the walk will be available within this story at campbellrivermirror.com