If your hurt yearns to make a positive difference in the world, then you must do exactly that.
Trust that what is in your heart is there for a reason
As a part of my series about “Mental Health Champions” helping to promote mental wellness, I had the pleasure to interview Sasha Carrion.
Sasha is a Certified Hypnotherapist / Life Coach based out of Los Angeles. Her own story is a testament to the idea that regardless of the past, you can break free and live a life by your own design. Through her work, Sasha motivates, inspires and helps others to take control and create life-altering changes in their own lives. She is often seen and heard as an expert on both English and Spanish speaking TV and radio shows.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit how you grew up?
At the age of 5, my mother disappeared from our home. My sister and I who were 5 and 3 woke up to an empty house. After I was able to open up the door, we ran over to the neighbor’s house asking for food. They informed the police that my mother was missing. Two days later, my father disappeared. In a matter of days, our lives had completely changed. We became wards of the court. With time, my maternal grandmother adopted us. She became the oldest woman in the state of CA to adopt children.
It was hard growing up with Abuela (grandma). While she did her best, Abuela most definitely suffered from mental illness but she kept it hidden from everybody except us. She would wake up at 6:00am and start talking to herself, many times talking as though she was arguing with somebody. She suffered from high levels of anxiety. The stress of having to raise us and our mother going missing was too much for her.
It was clear that Abuela saw us as the product of my mother’s screw up. She hated that my father was both Mexican and part black. She would often make racist comments such as, “If I knew that I was Mexican, I would slit my wrists.” She would also put a lot of fear in us about our father possibly coming back to kidnap us.
Now that I’ve mentioned the not so pleasant aspects of my grandmother, I do want to mention the positive. My grandmother was a big believer in the American dream. She said that here, everybody had a chance and we had no excuse not to succeed. Every evening, she did homework with us until we were so far along that she could no longer help us. She also always kept us well-fed and clean. Given her flaws, I know that she did her best.
You are currently leading a social impact organization that is helping to promote mental wellness. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to address?
My goal is to promote the use of Hypnotherapy as a mental wellness tool. It’s natural, safe, empowering and highly efficient. By tapping into the subconscious mind, one can achieve goals that were unattainable with traditional therapy and by taking pills.
Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?
Imagine that I was 19 and at UCLA. I felt so different than the other kids. I had nobody and no emotional or financial support to speak of. I decided that I needed to find out what had happened all those years ago, so I started asking family members what had happened. A family member who had originally claimed to not know what had happened to either one of my parents, offered to take me down to Mexico to see if I could find something out.
I got to the airport and low and behold, after all those years, there was my father standing there. I asked him what had happened and he said that my mother had taken off with another man and that he was as much of a victim as I was. I had a lot of compassion for him.
Once reunited with my father, I felt like I at last had a family. This went on for 10 years. I was very giving and doting with my father. We travelled all over together, shared and bonded. I was so happy.
At the end of those 10 years, my father’s stories started to slip. I started to doubt him. I mentioned this to the same uncle that had originally taken me to Mexico all of those years earlier. A few weeks later, that same uncle told me that he had started having epileptic seizures and he was afraid that he would have to face my mother if he died.
Sitting on his lawn chair, he told me how my father had killed my mother in the same room that we, my 3 year old sister and I, slept in all those years ago.
From that moment, my life revolved around getting justice, but back then nobody had started extraditing people from Mexico. I teeter-tottered between anxiety and depression. I went to a psychologist and psychiatrist and took pills, but nothing worked.
Out of desperation, I turned to hypnotherapy. It was the one thing that worked. I could feel the difference. I figured that if it could help me with all of my issues, that it could also help others. That is why I’m passionate about what I do. I know that hypnotherapy can make a huge difference in one’s life.
Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?
Honestly, the majority of my life I felt clueless as to what I was meant to do. I felt like I was floating but once hypnotherapy helped me to unblock myself, I knew that I had at last found my calling. The light bulb went on and has never gone off since.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
My favorite story is that of a 14 year old who had suffered from a severe accident. His left hip, leg and foot were shattered. Numerous surgeries later, he was told that the chances of him walking again were next to none. The boy didn’t have it in his heart to give up. With his mother’s permission, I began to give his body suggestions to heal. Fast forward to now, he now walks. And even his own doctors are amazed at what he’s accomplished. It’s all mind over matter.
None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?
My main mentor was an ex-boyfriend in my mid to late twenties. It wasn’t that he did any form of business mentoring for me or anything like that. It was that for the first time ever, I felt unconditional love. He really believed in me. His high standards for me ultimately became my high standards. That mindset is something that I carry with me in everything I do.
According to Mental Health America’s report, over 44 million Americans have a mental health condition. Yet there’s still a stigma about mental illness. Can you share a few reasons you think this is so?
Old outdated stigmas continue to abound in the minds of so many Americans. They only lead to the shame that stops people from getting the help they need. As a society, we need to change how we view mental illness. The way I see it, if the body gets sick from time to time, why can’t the mind?
In your experience, what should a) individuals b) society, and c) the government do to better support people suffering from mental illness?
Our society needs to see mental illness as something that is part of the human condition. You get sick. You do whatever you need to do and you heal yourself: All without stigma.
What are your 6 strategies you use to promote your own wellbeing and mental wellness? Can you please give a story or example for each?
My mental self-care strategies include me hypnotizing myself at night. It’s a particularly good idea to hypnotize yourself at night before going to sleep because your subconscious mind will work on storing those concepts in your mind as you sleep.
I also focus on doing such things as hiking, swimming and sitting in a wet sauna. In those ways, I’m able to decompress and give myself clarity.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a mental health champion?
Honestly, it’s none of those. It has always been the feeling that since I’ve experienced so much injustice in my life, that the only way to do some form of justice was by me choosing to be the best that I could be for myself. I’ve been let down so much. I must come through for myself. I must be my own champion.
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
If your hurt yearns to make a positive difference in the world, then you must do exactly that. Trust that what is in your heart is there for a reason.
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!