August 31, 2022
‘It just makes me feel better’: RBC Race for the Kids Supporting Sask. kids’ mental health
It began with what Kherington and her family call a “life-threatening event” on her way home from daycare. Kherington went from being her infectiously boisterous self to going completely silent in the car as she lost consciousness. This is the moment Kherington’s medical and mental health journey began.
It has been years since that initial life-threatening event. Kherington has received numerous treatments, procedures, and needles, but she has yet to receive an official diagnosis as her medical conditions are so complex.
For adults, having such a large mystery following you around through your day-to-day life can impact even the strongest of minds. For a 10-year-old like Kherington, those effects are even greater.
Since her journey began, Kherington has struggled with anxiety. “My brain starts asking me questions, a lot of questions, and it just won’t stop,” said Kherington when explaining what anxiety feels like to her.
Instead of keeping this inside her mind, Kherington spoke up. She talked to her mom Cara, a mental health professional, and her brother Maddox, who at the age of 13 has been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. Together, the family has worked on techniques to help Kherington when her anxiety reaches a level she can’t control like the “flower, candle breathing technique” and “challenging the negative thought process.”
But what has helped Kherington the most is just being able to talk about it.
“It just makes me feel better being able to talk to my friends and family about how I’m feeling,” said Kherington.
By gaining the skills to cope with her mental health as a child, Kherington says the biggest benefit for her is that she is now able to help her friends who are going through their own mental health struggles.
To Kherington, she knows that it’s important to learn these skills no matter how old you are. “It’s not a bad thing. Everyone has a certain level of mental health,” said Kherington.
Kherington’s medical and mental health journey has been one of ups and downs but it won’t stop her from living an amazing life. By facing her challenges head-on, Kherington has compounded these skills she’s learnt throughout her life to become a high-level Irish dancer, even competing in the Irish Dance World Championships in Ireland.
Because she has opened up about her mental health to her family and friends, Kherington knows her possibilities are endless and she wants other children to know that too because, “it’s a lot better to learn the skills to help your mental health now when you’re little than when you’re an adult,” said Kherington.
Register now for RBC Race for the Kids taking place on October 15 & 16, 2022, to support Saskatchewan families like Kherington’s and Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation.