Cortney Edmondson, an activist, advocate and motivational speaker, discusses her mental health journey, and the tools that helped her overcome her anxiety…
For Cortney Edmondson, it all started with a simple conversation with a stranger. “I’m a Nashville native and I love to meet people who are new to Nashville. I met this guy, and he didn’t know anybody, so we grabbed dinner one night and he started to share his childhood trauma story, where he described being raised by his father and that his mother was an alcoholic,” she recalls. “It resonated with me because that was my story, and I had never met anyone that was a normal, successful human being that had a similar story to me.”
This interaction encouraged Cortney to discuss her own childhood, something she hadn’t felt comfortable speaking about before. “It created a safe place, and trust, so for the first time, I shared my story, and it was with a stranger! It allowed me to talk about what I had been through, I let him know very little, but to me, it was a huge deal, as I had never done that before.”
For years, Cortney had struggled with insomnia – something that she and multiple doctors saw as a result of her stressful job. However, following on from this conversation, she was able to sleep better than she had in years. “That night, I slept like a baby, and that got my attention because I thought, ‘What is this? Why did I sleep so well?’ And then I became obsessed with sharing my story with people, and I found that every time I did, they would share a very intimate thing as well. As I was liberating myself by talking, it was giving others a safe space too.”
Through the process of speaking to individuals who had experienced a range of trauma, Cortney started a platform for them to share their stories, entitled Thursday Thrive. Here, people from different backgrounds had the space to discuss their trauma narratives in order to grow. “Thursday Thrive is a project that showed me what my purpose was. And, it worked amazingly, it liberated a lot of people, and it was such a message of hope for so many,” she explains.
As a result of these experiences, Cortney began her journey working with trauma survivors, engaging with local communities and encouraging others to share their stories. “I speak on childhood trauma but also resiliency, overcoming adversity and finding purpose in your pain. I think that no matter what you’ve been through, every single time you face adversity, there are lessons that you can take from it. Most people don’t look for it, and that’s the problem. What I have found is that if you don’t repair it, you repeat it.”
“I speak on childhood trauma but also resiliency, overcoming adversity and finding purpose in your pain. I think that no matter what you’ve been through, every single time you face adversity, there are lessons that you can take from it.”
Cortney has spent years researching the impact of childhood trauma, as some studies indicate that incidents that occur in the early phases on the brain’s development can have significant repercussions throughout an individual’s life. “Childhood trauma and adversity is the best predictor of long term health problems. It’s a better predictor than genetics would show you,” she remarks.
Cortney will be sharing her story at the Nashville Health & Wellness Fest, which will take place on June 1 at Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center. Those who attend Cortney’s workshop will be inspired to recognize and challenge the social stigmas surrounding mental health and more specifically, anxiety. “Over 40 million people in the United States struggle with anxiety,” she says. “I have walked in those shoes and know how desperately people want to overcome it. I’m excited to share my experience and equip people with wisdom and tools that they can use to break free from the mental prison that anxiety holds them captive to.” One of the many tools she suggests is to bring shameful secrets to light by sharing them with a safe person. “When secrets are buried, destruction is present and sometimes that manifests in bitterness, rage or anxiety,” she explains. “The day I decided to boldly share my biggest secret, albeit with a stranger, was the day I started to take control of my mental health,” she says.
Don’t miss Cortney at The Nashville Health & Wellness Fest on June 1st.
Book your tickets today and save 30%. To find out more visit
www.nashvillehealthandwellnessfest.com and www.www.cortneyedmondson.com