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Series 1 Episode 16 – Richard Trudel

Richard Trudel recently finished learning about mindfulness and how to manage the anxiety he’s experienced since childhood, as part of a program Anxiety Canada created at Chilliwack Alternate Schools.

He says, “MindShift CBT has all the tools that help me get on track and stay on track.”

John Bateman (JB): Hi, Richard. What’s, you’ve been your experience with anxiety?

Richard Trudel (RT): Well, at all, it’s just kinda been most people’s experience, just no one of that, a good time trigger in that situation, stuff like that. Yeah. A little bit of a, the explaining parts, kind of a simple one because of, it’s just the fairly basic experience of not a fun, definitely erect, definitely not a fun thing to have to deal with. Yeah.

JB: Yeah. So you started experiencing anxiety as a youngster and you got linked up with Anxiety Canada program you did in your school. How did that do it for you?

RT: Here’s the thing, it did a lot. It opened up a lot of options and ideas which were very helpful to use. The MindShift app also helped the anxiety become a lot easier to manage.

JB: Yeah. In my experience anxiety comes and it goes but you can always have it. Is that your experience now?

RT: Yep. Yep.

JB: Is MindShift good for maintaining a more level lifestyle?

RT: Yeah, it not only gives you ideas to stay on track, but it gives you ideas to even get on track in the first place.

JB: Yeah! So, when do you first remember experiencing anxiety?

RT: I only experienced in bits and bobs in first grade, but it really started like hitting me in like second or third mostly. That’s when I really started noticing and I was like, ‘Oh, this isn’t a very fun feeling. I don’t know what this is, but this sucks.’

JB: I remember having a similar experience to that. And so you didn’t have a name for what happened for you to get to put a name on it as anxiety. How long did that process take for you?

RT: I heard some people call it that in fourth grade and that was when I learned what it was.

JB: What were your first forays into getting help with anxiety? Did you see anybody before MindShift and working with Anxiety Canada?

RT: Before that it was the normal things to help you cope with that, like family, friends. And sometimes it helped, and certain times it didn’t.

JB: It’s kind of hard to explain anxiety and especially for parents kinda hard to help you deal with it.

RT: My anxiety when I was younger manifested as temper. If I was nervous and didn’t want to do something so I would lash out at people and throw a tantrum. Was yours like that?

JB: Mine mainly was like yours, kind of like a temper, but there were some times where I would just kind of shut down too. I just wouldn’t communicate with anyone. It depends on how bad I got. If it got really bad, I would just go full shutdown. And just not do anything. What parts of the MindShift app do you find you use most?

RT: I’ve noticed I use a lot of the exercise stuff where they say, let’s do this today.

JB: Right. And have you gotten to the point where you kind of employ those even without opening the app?

RT: I can do that without opening the app now. MindShift gave me the tools to start my own track and keep me on track. And now I use those tools outside of the app or with it if I ever do need it.

JB: That’s a great effect. Finding those tools that work for you is so important.

RT: Yeah. What I like about MindShift is it has so many different parts, there’s bound to be something for you on there if you actually look and try. That’s the other part too is a lot of people when they try these things, they don’t really try. They’re just like, ‘This probably won’t work but I’ll do it anyway’. And then they just assume it’s not gonna work so when it doesn’t help them they’re not surprised.

JB: Yeah. It doesn’t mean opening it once and then that’s it. That doesn’t work. There’s something about MindShift that hooked you right away that made you open the app more than once, started opening it every day or every few hours or however long or however often you used it.

RT: Yeah. It was because I knew there were techniques that would work. Why I opened it in the first place was mostly just curiosity of what was in there to help me cope. And then I looked through it and realized there’s so much!

JB: Yeah! It’s nice to know that there’s that much support and that’s ultimately why we’re we’re here talking to is to let people know.

RT: High school was the time when I finally had a grip on anxiety and was able to deal with it quite well, which made the last bit of my schooling easy. It was just everything before that was basically hell. Once I finally got to high school, I had the tools and everything available that helped me out.

JB: Do you find there’s a structure set up in your school to help people with mental health issues?

RT: I’m not in school anymore, but at the middle school I went to for a while it was through our counselor Cathy who was very active in getting kids to learn about mindfulness. When she showed us MindShift kids in my class were all like, this could work.

JB: Your generation seems way more connected in terms of social media and handheld devices. Do you think because of that, the MindShift app made more sense as a tool for you?

RT: Yes, that definitely makes it a lot easier. What makes the app so nice is it’s so easily accessible.

JB: Well that’s fabulous. You know, Richard, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me. I’m really glad that MindShift CBT is working for you and it’s great you’re letting other young people know about the success you’ve had with it. Take care. Bye.