Julie Andrews sung the lyrics, “Let’s start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start…” but, for the purposes of this abridged autobiography, it isn’t a good place to start. I’ll start 34 years into my life, then I’ll jump to now and then I’ll go back to 1966.

7 February 2001:

Cardiac Arrest

I see a lot of things as a paramedic. I see elderly persons who are all alone, with not a single loved one. I see 50 year olds having chest pains and heart attacks. I see the devastating results of alcohol and drug addiction. And death. This one I think about the most: I met her mother first. She was inconsolably sobbing, and couldn't walk without falling over. A nurse had to help her into the hospital.

My story-turned-career path

I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder at age 22 but I'm certain I suffered from depression long before that. I experienced thoughts of suicide many times during my youth. By age 27, I had attempted suicide twice. One of the attempts landed me in a mental health unit in the hospital. Since I was just about to complete nursing school, I found the whole experience inspiring and interesting, from a nursing standpoint. Eight months later, I found myself working on that very unit, as well as two other mental health units, as a nurse.

How to turn your biggest challenges into your biggest opportunities

Brent Seal is founder of Seal Wellness, a social enterprise that helps students, entrepreneurs and young professionals overcome challenges and become high performers through consulting, coaching and speaking and his Signature training program ‘High Performance Wellness’. Brent was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2007 and since then has graduated from his 2010 SFU Business class as Valedictorian, shared his story across Canada and gotten heavy into adventures, having run a number of ultramarathons and taken part in mountaineering objectives around North America.