Patrick Vaillancourt knew he needed to talk about living with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression once he was diagnosed. (Photo by Madison Simpson)

Patrick Vaillancourt knew he needed to talk about living with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression once he was diagnosed. (Photo by Madison Simpson)

Local resident inspires others battling PTSD with social media posts

Patrick Vaillancourt says living in Greater Victoria has improved his well-being

Patrick Vaillancourt, a social media influencer, was diagnosed with anxiety and depression in 2015 while he was working in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Originally from Toronto, he entered the Forces at 17 years old, and said he was broken down and built back up in a way that was unfamiliar to him.

He was exhibiting drastic moodswings, sleep deprivation, was always angry, would cancel plans and isolated himself, and was lacking motivation.

It got to the point where his friend in the Forces told him it was time to get help, to this day he is very thankful for the push. “He is my guardian angel, he saved my life,” Vaillancourt said.

He received counselling through the Toronto Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC), an organization he volunteered with when he was younger, and the help was effective.

He was able to work himself back into the military system, but after counselling there was no follow-up from the MFRC and he was left to his own devices to deal with the depression.

Vaillancourt said in the military, he didn’t have a voice, there was a chain of command and his opinions didn’t matter, which is very unnatural for his personality. He likes to engage with people, have discussions and share ideas. His mom always tells a story of when he was in Grade 1. Before his teacher had a chance to ask how everyone’s week had been, Vaillancourt already had his hand in the air.

He dealt with depression and anxiety through physical activity, especially biking, which is a passion of his.

With his love of biking, he decided to make some extra cash as an Uber Eats delivery person. Shortly after he started his new cycling gig, he was sideswiped in the downtown core of Toronto in a hit and run. This triggered a downward spiral of anxiety and depression and Vaillancourt feared to leave his apartment. Through assessments with health professionals after the crash, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

He never felt ashamed of his diagnosis, and found it therapeutic to talk about it. He started posting videos on Instagram of the good, bad and in between he was feeling each day.

It didn’t matter if only five people saw it, he felt a sense of power, being able to take control of a part of his life, that he felt had been suppressed for so long.

“I wasn’t looking for validation, I was looking for a voice I never had,” Vaillancourt explained.

He began receiving comments and direct messages, from new followers telling him it was nice to know that they were not alone. It’s a small and simplistic concept, but he said realizing you’re not alone is what mental health is about. His following started to grow, especially during the Instagram “Here For You” campaign for mental health awareness.

After seven years in the military and at a time when he felt his mental health deteriorating, he decided move to Victoria to be closer to his mother. It works for him, it’s calm and “one of the best places in the world,” he said, adding it’s helped his mental well-being.

He’s now a full time YouTuber, with more than 130,000 followers over five social media platforms.

His YouTube videos, which he calls his journal, are the most productive coping method he has used in dealing with PTSD, because it’s a safe practice and he can express himself creatively. And he tries to reply to everyone who messages him to create a community that helps one another.

Vaillancourt wants to spread the message that it’s important that people talk about mental health in school, career environments and personal lives so they feel comfortable with who they are and have good self-awareness to seek help if they need it.

He recommends Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) which is a program to increase awareness and decrease stigma of mental health disorders. For more information, visit Vaillancourt’s YouTube channel https://bit.ly/2K1IOGf and his Instagram account https://bit.ly/2oHjxKv.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

lindsey.horsting@goldstreamgazette.com

ptsd

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich is preparing to repave Quadra Street between McKenzie Avenue and Falmouth Road. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Repaving, culvert replacement begins on Quadra Street in Saanich

Lane closures, traffic impacts expected over several weeks

Langford Emergency Support Services marks its 25th anniversary this year.(Langford Emergency Support Services/Facebook)
Langford Emergency Support Services celebrates 25 years of community service

Group began in 1996 and was timely as a massive blizzard hit the region

James Taylor, a Saanich resident and member of the Curve Lake First Nation, walked all over Greater Victoria on May 5 in honour of Red Dress Day and the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (Devon Bidal/News staff)
Indigenous man walks Greater Victoria to honour missing and murdered women and girls

James Taylor, of the Curve Lake First Nation, marks Red Dress Day with healing walk, songs

A man who allegedly spat at and yelled racial slurs at an Asian family was arrested for hate-motivated assault Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man arrested for allegedly spitting, yelling anti-Asian racial slurs at a mother and kids

The man was arrested for hate-motivated assault near Quadra Elementary School Tuesday

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
Clash between loggers, activists halts forestry operations over Fairy Creek

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Island man sentenced in Nanaimo after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, of Nanoose Bay, given six-month sentence

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

Most Read