Jade came on board with us in April of this year, and since graduating our training has proved to be a superstar! This 18 year old Boston native tells an amazing story of resilience through her struggles with mental illness, assault, and how she powered through it all to better herself. We had the time to sit down with Jade and ask her a few questions, and here’s what we got…
(laughs) Hi Mike, how are you?
I’m well, thanks. So I wanted to start of this interview by asking you to tell us a little about yourself and how you heard about The NAN Project
Well, I guess you could say that I’m a little quiet, but very enthusiastic. I actually found out about The NAN Project when I tried to attend GIFT (DMH funded Peer Mentor training), but learned that it would be too far of a commute. I was then referred to you guys by Dr. Kim Bisset (who runs GIFT).
It’s been a few months since you’ve started working with us, how do you like it?
I love it, and it makes me feel good inside, you know? After we finish presenting, more times than not the faces of those in the audience are ones of shock. And hearing from those who come forward to speak with you at the end makes me so happy. Often I’m thanked for sharing, and told how brave I am. I’ll quote a past audience member “I can’t believe how well you are doing after all you’ve been through. I can’t believe how strong you are.” This shows (the audience) that if I can make it through my struggles, why couldn’t you?
Even the strongest of people have their off days. What are some resources you use when you are feeling worked up?
A coping skill I use when I am overwhelmed is Box Breathing. Imagine tracing around the four sides of a box, it only takes you one second to get from one corner to the other. You travel around the box and inhale for four seconds, take another trip around for four as you hold your breath, and finally exhale for five seconds. It gives me a short mental break and takes me out of the negative space that I am in. Also, my psychiatrist is a big support, and is amazing to talk to.
So, besides working for us and your other job. What are some things you like to do for fun?
I mainly just hangout with my niece and my friends; we could be doing anything really. Just being with those I care about and simply enjoying their presence sounds like a good time to me.
What would your dream career be?
(Laughs) Wow, that was fast. You seem to have a pretty clear goal set. What makes you want to be a psych nurse?
Because when I was in the hospital the nurses helped me, like very very much. I don’t think that I’d be here without them. I think that having my lived experience would help me as a Psych Nurse connect with those who need support like I did.
Besides being a successful psych nurse, do you have any other plans for the future?
(Smiles) I don’t know, psych nursing is what I’ve been thinking about for the future for some time now. Maybe once I have enough money saved, I could travel to Greece. It’s so pretty! All the pictures you see in social media are just like..wow!
Well, I wish you the best of luck for the future! One last thing before I let you go. You’ve talked in the past about how important music is to you. Can you speak a little on that?
There’s just some songs that get me out of the situation that I am in, and the way the lyrics feel when they pass through my body. I don’t know, it kind of puts me in a new space
Thank you for your time Jade, I’ll talk to you soon!
Thanks Mike, it was good talking to you!
To learn more about our Peer Mentors check out our Peer Mentor Spotlight or to learn more about the work Jade does with The NAN Project visit our page What We Do.