Unbreakable Stories: Wannessa Badger

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, an important observance that focuses on educating people on the importance of mental health, provides ideas on ways to help those struggling, and strives to reduce the stigma surrounding these issues. 

In honor of this important time, we want to share some uplifting stories that highlight the power of mental resilience in the face of extreme personal challenges. These stories reveal the silver linings born from heartbreak, teach us the strength of endurance, and remind us of our true purpose. At TLC, we call these ‘Unbreakable Stories’, and want to share them to inspire others. 

TLC’s very own facilitator, Wannessa Badger, has an Unbreakable Story of her own. Wannessa’s understanding of the complexities that surround the teen years, and all of the challenges families face during that time, are the driving forces behind her passion to help. She believes in sharing education that can support the individual, the family, and the community. 

Here is Wannessa’s Unbreakable story. 


I was 10 years old when I realized that my past trauma was affecting my happiness. I remember asking myself, “why do I often feel sad? Why do I often feel anxious? Why do I often feel afraid of making a mistake? Why do I feel bad about myself?” When I answered my own questions, I realized that all the heavy emotions I was carrying around with me were tied to the traumas I experienced when I was younger, and were directly and negatively impacting my mental health.

When I did realize the effect that trauma was having on my day-to-day life, I had an empowering reaction. I remember telling myself “I am in control of my happiness! Nothing gets to have power over my choice to be happy!” I declared it with conviction because I no longer wanted to feel like a victim. I also knew we are all worthy of happiness. It’s our birthright!

On that day, I decided I wasn’t going to let my past traumas continue to have a hold over my joy. I was no longer going to let it cast a shadow on me. It took determination and a lot of self-love to commit to that promise (still does!), but it has been the best decision I have ever made for my mental health and emotional well-being.

Healing is a journey with layers and detours. It can weigh heavy at times. It can feel low. It can feel hopeless. But know this also… when it does feel this way — when it does start to take away your joy, it’s time to fight back! It’s time to fight for YOU and your right to be happy.

Our hearts. Our joy. Our peace. They’re ours to claim.

If you haven’t done it yet, do it today! Claim your joy. Start with a simple intention: “My happiness is my choice. My happiness is my responsibility.


We hope you’ve enjoyed Wannessa’s Unbreakable Story (we sure did!), and hope you can find the inspiration to think about a time when you truly felt unbreakable. If you do, please share them with us — we’d love to hear all about it. 

Tilly’s Life Center is dedicated to providing teens the tools they need to thrive, and educating the community about mental health. By allowing teens a space to cope with their emotions and learn how to navigate these formative years, we’re creating a better and healthier world for the future.