Nels Christensen

March 26, 2021 12:01 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Nels Christensen

Tell Us A Little About Yourself –

I am 19 years old and a longtime resident of Fairbanks, Alaska.  My mother’s family is from Gwichyaa Zhee, otherwise known as Fort Yukon.  My parents met at UAF while my father was in the navy.  Due to this, I spent some years between Fairbanks and San Diego, CA at a young age before moving to Fairbanks permanently in 2007.

PC Grace Wilson

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?

When it comes to getting help, internal barriers for outreach prove to be the most damaging. I find it necessary to be honest with yourself regarding past trauma and where it has led you as a critical first step to recovery.  Living with depression and other mental illnesses it is natural and typical for your brain to try and work against you; whether by hiding things from your conscious self or by creating pathways through behavior to cope and deny.   

Living with depression and other mental illnesses it is natural and typical for your brain to try and work against you; whether by hiding things from your conscious self or by creating pathways through behavior to cope and deny.   

N. Christensen

It doesn’t matter how many resources are available for an individual when one is at odds with themselves.  Nobody’s support system can know everything that a person is going through.  There will always be bad nights.  If this can be accepted as fact, then it is only reasonable to acknowledge the importance of the individual to self actualize.  As members of someone else’s support group, we must keep this in mind and take it as our duty to help them get to the point where they are ready to help themselves.

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?

What helps me through difficult times are my hobbies of reading, writing, and listening to music.  Reading is not something I do everyday or even as much as I’d like to, however the few times I have over these past few months stick out in my mind as memorable and beneficial.  Making yourself do something you enjoy has a lasting effect on your subconscious, and may unknowingly stimulate you to be more active in what you enjoy.  In order to thrive living in Alaska, it’s important to have some sort of art medium to express yourself through.  Music has always been an essential part of my life, specifically hip hop and its historical socio political commentary.  I enjoy writing songs and poems at my leisure that often discuss issues faced by Indigenous peoples and Alaska as a whole. 

Making yourself do something you enjoy has a lasting effect on your subconscious, and may unknowingly stimulate you to be more active in what you enjoy.

N. Christensen

During a time of great uncertainty and turmoil and transition, what gives you hope right now? And what makes you proud?

Finding hope and meaning in life during these uncertain times is an everyday learning experience.  I have found great strength and comfort in the amount of young people talking about hardships they have faced that have long gone unaddressed.  It’s not always pretty, but my peers and I have been able to tackle some very unsettling topics in a progressive manner of discourse.  I’m proud of everyone who feels it’s the right time to open up, especially in a state that is plagued by significantly higher statistics of crimes that harm the community. 

It’s not always pretty, but my peers and I have been able to tackle some very unsettling topics in a progressive manner of discourse.  I’m proud of everyone who feels it’s the right time to open up, especially in a state that is plagued by significantly higher statistics of crimes that harm the community. 

N. Christensen

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?

My mantras at the moment are that there is hope in hopelessness and that there is no other choice but to live for life.  Hearing other success stories has had an impact on my way of thinking, and oftentimes I find the most growth comes out of those who believe they’re beyond help. 

Looking back on times of acute stress and crisis in your life, what advice would you give yourself?

If I could help my past self through intense struggles, my advice would be that the person you want to be still exists.  As a perfectionist I have dealt with problems of self hate on and off my whole life.  The conclusions I’ve arrived at that have helped me out of these slumps are that my hate was misguided and that it’s never too late to change yourself fundamentally; as well as the belief that happiness doesn’t come out of nowhere and it’s important to take exceptional care of yourself through healthy living before you get to a point where all around things are better.

Feeling joyful can seem complicated after times of crisis. What are some ways that you have let joy back into your life? 

Letting yourself experience happiness is one thing that is easier said than done.  I find it easiest to live each day as a stand alone adventure with the goal of seeing what there is to be appreciated and loved.   I’ve been able to find joy by opening my heart to the possibilities of where my life could take me, fully realizing the game is never over.  My surroundings have improved by putting my energy into hope for the future and belief in my abilities to make a difference.

In crisis or simply need someone to talk to?

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