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  • Writer's pictureCandace Sanchez

My Journey Through Trauma, Motherhood, and Mental Health

Updated: Apr 23


In the intricate tapestry of my life, "Healthcare" emerged as a lifeline, and the "Pandemic" became an unexpected catalyst for self-discovery. Through my story, I hope to shed light on the profound connection between adverse childhood experiences, mental health, and the transformative power of embracing one's past.

Early Challenges of Motherhood

By the age of nineteen, the weight of motherhood rested on my shoulders, with two precious daughters depending on me. Reflecting on those early years, I realize now that I was still a kid myself, grappling with the complexities of parenthood. Despite my deep love for my children, the echoes of my trauma undeniably influenced our family dynamics. It wasn't until later in my life, during what I now call my lifelong healing journey, that I could articulate the impact of adverse childhood experiences on our lives.

Inter-generational Impact

The events of my childhood swiftly imprinted themselves onto my daughters' lives, shaping their experiences at an early age. This realization became a turning point in my journey towards healing and self-discovery.

Healthcare as a Lifeline

Entering the workforce at nineteen became a necessity, as I had to support my girls. Working full time not only provided for my family but also granted me access to crucial healthcare benefits. These benefits proved instrumental in obtaining the mental health services I desperately needed.

Recognition and Support

The turning point in my healing journey came when a compassionate leader recognized behaviors and characteristics rooted in my trauma. Their genuine concern propelled me towards seeking help. Their belief in my intelligence and potential fueled my determination to understand the roots of my reactive tendencies, defensiveness, and trust issues. Addressing these traits not only improved my professional life but also contributed to personal growth.

Pandemic Realizations

Amidst the quietude imposed by the pandemic, I found solace in working on my autobiography, "Unspoken" and recording my podcast series, "Unspoken: Conversations with Candace."

(Dawn Helmrich was one of the first guests on my podcast. After hearing Neil Parekh speak at a forum for male survivors of sexual abuse, I dedicated Season 3 to male survivors. He was my co-host.)

Simultaneously immersed in Healthcare/IT, the relentless reports of COVID-related deaths took a toll on my mental well-being. The fear of succumbing to the virus and leaving my creative endeavors unfinished weighed heavily on me, manifesting as physical and emotional distress.

Seizing the Moment

The pandemic, paradoxically, became the impetus I needed to ensure the completion of my book and the launch of my podcast. The convergence of these life events made me acutely aware of triggers, as I found myself reliving painful memories, experiencing isolation, and battling depression. The forced solitude of lockdown provided the necessary space for me to realize that my struggles were not unique; countless others shared similar experiences.

In the crucible of adversity, I discovered strength, resilience, and the universal thread of human connection that binds us all.

I will be discussing these issues and more on a new show launched by Dawn and Neil, “Shining Light on Shadows: A Candid Conversation About Mental Health.” We’ll be live Thursday, February 22 on Facebook, Twitter*, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Neil’s website. If you can’t watch the show live, you can always watch it later, at your convenience.

*We won't know the exact urls for Twitter and Instagram until we go live. The Twitter link goes to Neil's Twitter account. The Instagram link goes to Dawn's Instagram account.


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