Bronwen is a busy wife and mother working full-time in mental health and substance use services. Born and raised in Vancouver, Bronwen first realized that she had mental health concerns when she tragically lost her first husband to a terminal illness in 2003. Several years later she experienced a bout of situational depression—a short-term form of depression that can happen after a traumatic life change—that resulted in a more general diagnosis of anxiety, mood disorder and depression. Not wishing to take medication to manage her condition she looked at alternate options.
“After completing an assessment for depression and anxiety within her office, my GP gave me the video, Bounce Back Today,” explains Bronwen. “She advised me that my assessment indicated that I was struggling with moderate to severe anxiety and depression and asked if I would be interested in a referral to the Bounce Back® program to help develop useful skills for handling my challenges.”
Being a person who likes tasks and checklists, Bronwen responded well to the idea of learning tools and skills that she could pull on as issues arose in her life and found the booklets to be very motivational. She also found the regular check-ins with her Bounce Back coach helpful for keeping her on track.
“I liked having a plan, someone that I was accountable to (the coach) and goals. It fit my personality” she explains. “I wound up combining Bounce Back with a mindfulness meditation course for people suffering from anxiety and stress. The combination of [cognitive behavioural therapy] with mindfulness really worked for me, putting me on track to improve my overall mental health!”
Bronwen found that Bounce Back played an important role in helping her realize that she wasn’t alone, that there were tools that she could utilize in her lowest moments and that she could get better. After completing the workbooks, she was even motivated to take further steps to improve her life.
“Bounce Back was good for reminding me that my mental health would fluctuate and that when it did, I just needed to refresh my coping skills. I have found that practicing the skills I learned has reduced the number of episodes of anxiety and depression I have experienced in recent years. I won’t say that I don’t have relapses, but I’m kinder to myself and those around me in those lows and am able to ‘bounce back’ quicker and in those instances, I am able to refer back to my learnings and mindfulness training to get back on track.”
We asked Bronwen if she had any words of advice for people considering asking for a referral to Bounce Back and she told us that although it required some discipline and could be challenging at first to set the time aside to work through it, she found it to be very rewarding. These were her parting words.
“It’s a great program and well worth the time commitment if you invest yourself in the materials and take advantage of the learning opportunities. I would recommend it to someone who likes structure, writing and self-reflection. Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t feel motivated at first; take small steps each day and the rest will come. Explore all the topics—they all are relevant and integrate in some way. Kindness to oneself is important—you are worth the effort!”