Up Close and Personal
My name is El and I am the Founder of Deep Seas.
I created Deep Seas as I found myself, like many others, drowning unseen by our current mental health and child welfare system. For years I had been told to 'get over it' and to 'just do better', when I was attempting to work through my childhood and intergenerational traumas. During that time, I lost connections with the people that mattered most to me and I shut myself off from the world.
But something in me changed. I had convinced myself that I was the only one who was experiencing this and that is why there was no hope or help out there. Then I saw other peers and young people experiencing similar traumas and injustices and no one could reach them.
A lot of this came down to money and resources. My peers and other youth did not have the money to access any of the services that were around... it made me angry. Which shifted my mindset of hopelessness to indignation. I refused to have others struggle through the system like I did. If I could help it, I refused to have someone feel alone in their story.
The night that my mindset changed, and I became determined in making Deep Seas a reality, was April 4th 2021.
I had headed to Semaphore Beach, and it was about 11:00pm at night.
I had been overwhelmed by the past week and I was struggling... mentally, physically and emotionally and for me, Semaphore is the place I go to when I am at my lowest.
That night, I thought, to be completely and utterly alone in water... Unable to see the bottom with nothing but stars and the lights of the jetty to lighten the sky above my head. I was in a moment of emotional limbo, both terrified and content.
I wondered, how was that possible? No one was close to hear me scream or splash. There was nothing in the water, but myself and my thoughts. There was so many scenarios running through my head but also so much quiet.
I felt the weight of the darkness wanted to push me under the water but I also felt weightless as I floated. Laying on the surface of the ocean, made all the troubles of the week insignificant.
And it was in that moment that I realised:
I had big dreams.
I had big inspirations.
I wanted to share and show them.
I wanted to do better for myself and for those around me.
Families deserve to be content in their connections.
Children and youth should not be burdened by trauma, and
Adults should not have to be haunted by their childhoods.
In that moment, I was determined to change that.
Stepping out of the water I had felt recharged, just as the beach had done for me after every visit. My happy place.
And so Deep Seas was born.
Aside from that, I am a digital and watercolour freelance artist, an avid lacrosse player and a lover of study! So, when I am not busy working for Deep Seas, I am tucked away in a park or at beach somewhere painting or napping.
Professionally, I am a certified Disability and Family Support Worker, a certified DBT Skills Trainer and an Endorsed / Accredited What's the Buzz Facilitator.
As of the end of November, I have also finished my Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy and am on my way to finishing my Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy.
Day in and day out, I’m constantly taking on new and interesting projects and adventures that help me build my personal brand. From youth wellbeing-related tasks to unusual and sporadic opportunities, each experience I’ve had has turned me into who I am today.
This includes, four years as a volunteer youth mentor and food security liaison, a year as a volunteer researcher and event planner for families and youth.
For the past year though I have been helping build the social and junior profile of my local lacrosse club (and love every minute of it).
By 18, I was diagnosed with C-PTSD which was added onto my initial diagnosis of depression and anxiety.
These diagnoses do not define or limit me in my ability to reach for the stars, or support others in reaching for the stars too. I want to make a difference in the world and support those that have been in similar situations like me.