Sophie Grégoire Trudeau lends voice in support of mental health awareness

Rare is the woman or young girl who hasn’t heard that negative voice in her head telling her she’s not pretty enough, skinny enough, or good enough.

“What is the conversation that everybody here in the room has with herself or himself when you are in silence, when no one is looking?” Sophie Grégoire Trudeau said during an evening event Thursday organized by the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre.

“Whether it’s fake nails, fake hair, fake breasts, fake everything — you name it, it’s being done.”

Grégoire Trudeau, a champion for women and girls rights, spoke about her personal experience with bulimia, which she suffered from as a young girl.

About 600 people — professional women, mothers and daughters, and yes, some men — came out to hear the celebrity activist and former television personality speak.

Dozens lined up for a selfie prior to her speech.

“As someone who suffered from an eating disorder, we live in a culture that I easily call a culture of self-hatred,” Grégoire Trudeau said.

“Eating disorders, for example, are the tip of the iceberg. They are the excuse for deepened anxiety, a longing, a loneliness and isolation.”

As a mother of three and the wife to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Grégoire Trudeau has also had a front-row seat to the challenges and struggles facing families living with someone who suffers from a mental illness.

Margaret Trudeau, her mother-in-law, has fought a very public battle with depression and bipolar disorder. Over the years, she has emerged as an outspoken advocate for mental health.

“The challenges that people who suffer from a mental illness face are our own,” Grégoire Trudeau said.

Speaking from her own experience, Grégoire Trudeau said, the best way to combat that “negative self talk” is to be open about it.

“The only way to recovery is if we share our stories,” she said.

Grégoire Trudeau was the main speaker at this year’s event titled A Girlfriend’s Guide to Mental Health: From self-loathing to self-loving.

The event was hosted by CBC Ottawa Morning’s Robyn Bresnahan.

Bresnahan moderated a question-and-answer session with Dr. Ameneh Mirzaei, a psychiatrist with The Royal’s mood and anxiety disorders program.

“Stop trying to be perfect. No one is perfect,” Mirzaei said.

“Aim for good enough.”

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