At only 2 months old, tragedy struck Celina’s family, the loss of her 2 year old brother. While coping with this incredible loss, her family pressed on the only way they knew how, by keeping the family together, looking ahead, and staying busy. She came to take on an idea about how life should be: busy and full of distractions from what may be lying underneath. She came to believe if she just stayed busy, then she didn’t have to deal with the difficult emotions she was feeling. So that’s exactly what she did. The busier she was, the more validation she received that she was okay and doing well. 

In her pursuit of achievement and external validation, throughout middle school Celina excelled in numerous activities, but just below the surface, Celina was struggling with anxiety and the fear of not being accepted. This fear intensified in high school as she navigated social hierarchies and grappled with fitting into societal molds. The pressure to conform led her to sacrifice her true interests, passions, and authentic self for the sake of external validation.

Entering college, Celina continued to suppress her authentic self, engaging in harmful behaviors related to body image and exercise. She also entered an unhealthy relationship, seeking external validation to prove her worth. As her mental health deteriorated, she struggled with depression, insomnia, and eventually suicidal ideation.

A huge turning point came when Celina admitted she needed help, and subsequently sought therapy and medication. Celina didn’t know anyone else who had overcome mental health challenges before, and she didn’t even know if it was possible. That’s when she met a friend who shared her own story with mental health. Hearing a story of resilience gave Celina exactly what she needed, hope.Their connection and support provided Celina with the strength to face her struggles, leading to gradual recovery.

Celina emphasizes the ongoing nature of healing, sharing the coping mechanisms and practices that have contributed to her well-being. She highlights the importance of daily meditation, maintaining a connection with loved ones, seeking support when needed, and engaging in activities that bring joy. She acknowledges the non-linear nature of progress and encourages self-acceptance.

Celina delivers a message of empowerment, urging the audience to remember that they are enough as they are, they are not alone in their struggles, and they have a voice that should be acknowledged and shared. She concludes with gratitude for her journey and the certainty that her story is only just beginning, emphasizing the importance of individual stories in the collective human experience.

Celina is based in San Diego, CA. In-person speaking engagements beyond 90 miles may require a fee for travel expenses.

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