Tell Us A Little About Yourself –
Are you a Lifelong Alaskan? What part of Alaska did you grow up in?
My name is Lisa Kangas and I’m Koyukon Athabascan born and raised in Alaska. I grew up in the village of Ruby, Alaska, located on the Yukon River, and moved to Fairbanks when I was twelve years old. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I worked as a Fisheries Biologist, mainly on the Yukon River, for a few years prior to my employment with the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. I’m a Field Environmental Coordinator with APSC and I have worked for the company a little over nine years. I love my work.
At Careline, we want Alaskans to know that we are not only a suicide prevention hotline, that we are a someone-to-talk-to hotline as well. We want Alaskans to reach out to us to talk whenever they need help or someone to talk to. There are many barriers to reaching out, including many internal barriers. What would you say to someone who needs help and someone to talk to but may not like the idea of reaching out to ask for help?
Please don’t hesitate to open yourself up. Sometimes we feel like being vulnerable is a weakness but it’s not. I urge you to reach outside of yourself or even your circle of friends and family when necessary. You’re not a burden. You deserve happiness and you’re not alone.
Please don’t hesitate to open yourself up. Sometimes we feel like being vulnerable is a weakness but it’s not. I urge you to reach outside of yourself or even your circle of friends and family when necessary. You’re not a burden. You deserve happiness and you’re not alone.L. Kangas
Alaska can be a challenging place to live. What are some things you do to cope and thrive in our unique Alaskan environment?
Alaska can be a challenging place to live, in large part, due to our long dark winters. There are many ways to cope. I find that exercise, connection with family and friends, self-care, and looking toward the future allow me to thrive in our unique environment. I’m doing a challenge right now. I want to finish the hoodoo half marathon strong in October 2021 with a handful of my closest friends and family.
During a time of great uncertainty and turmoil and transition, what gives you hope right now? And what makes you proud?
Our world is experiencing a time of great uncertainty and transition. It helps me to focus on what I can and cannot control. I also focus on the wonderful things in my life. My nieces and nephews make me proud. They are all different in their approach to the world and I’m so proud of each and everyone of them. I have hope that they will find their purpose and space, to be whoever they want to be, in the world.
During difficult times, is there a mantra or some sort of touchstone that you return to? Something that gives you strength or offers perspective during challenging times?
During difficult times I tend to bring awareness to what emotion I’m experiencing and allow myself to feel it. My next tendency is to think about what needs to be done in order to fix or make the best of the situation. Sometimes the only thing that can be done is to practice self-compassion and forgiveness. My mantra during difficult times is, “it’s going to be OK.” I know that I have resources to get me through.
During difficult times I tend to bring awareness to what emotion I’m experiencing and allow myself to feel it.L. Kangas
Looking back on times of acute stress and crisis in your life, what advice would you give yourself?
Breathe. You’re going to get through this moment in your life. What you’re going through will not be in vain. Something beautiful will come of it. Just wait.
Feeling joyful can seem complicated after times of crisis. What are some ways that you have let joy back into your life?
It can be complicated to feel joy after times of crisis or loss. I have experienced the loss and sadness that accompany heartbreak. After a particularly difficult breakup my world, at the time, had changed and it took time for me to heal. Awareness of what emotions I was feeling and allowing myself to wallow was where I started. I had family and friends to lift me up and eventually I stood on my own two feet even stronger and more resilient than before. I’m richer for the experiences that brought me to where I’m at and I hope that my perspective can help another person grow through their own trials.
In crisis or simply need someone to talk to?
Call anytime, toll-free:
or text 4help to 839863
3-11 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
Thank you Alyeska Pipeline Service Company for sponsoring Alaskan Stories of Hope & Healing