Stacy-Ann Buchanan has made a go of it in the high-wire worlds of acting and film-making for much of her adult life. This despite an ongoing history of anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation.
In 2015 she turned her lived experience of mental illness into an award-winning documentary, The Blind Stigma, that focused on mental health in the black community.
In 2017 she was named a CAMH Difference Maker for mental health.
The pandemic began shortly after she started a planned four-month hiatus from a television series to spend more time with her one-year-old daughter.
Travel was part of her original itinerary, but these days the furthest away she and her daughter can get away from it all is on stroller walks from one end of her wraparound condo balcony to the other.
As a mental health advocate, a lot of people have been coming to me for advice. I have felt pressure to put on the superhero cape and save everyone. But no one was checking in on me to see if I was OK. Do I pretend I’m OK because everyone expects that? Because I wasn’t OK and it wasn’t until about the third week (after the pandemic began) that I started feeling OK.
I went back and relearned a lot of things. I’m an extrovert and I have always been used to dealing with my anxiety by being always out. I’ve always had this go-go-go-go schedule. I think I needed this on a spiritual level. I needed this slowdown to really reflect, practise my deep-breathing and meditation and thinking about what is really important.
My mom is here. My partner is usually at the library 12 hours a day working on his PHD but now our daughter keeps interrupting him in his study every hour wanting kisses. It’s a beautiful circus around here.