Discovering Your Patronus with Pablo Campus

Adrianna Adame, Assistant News Editor

The stigma of mental illness can prevent people from seeking help. On April 26 from 11:30am to 1pm, Pablo Campos spoke about his journey with mental health, addiction and recovery at CSUSM. Campos is a mental health advocate who speaks at schools around the country to encourage students to speak up about their struggles in order to begin the process of recovery.


Cheryl Berry of the Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) and CSUSM’s Active Minds President Armando Zaragoza opened up the event by discussing the issues of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses that a third of college students go through. Campos then began his talk by saying that “stigma is the golden answer” for why mental health is such a taboo subject in society.


Campos grew up in Guatemala, then eventually came to the United States and resided in Virginia, where his parents worked hard to raise him and his sister. After living in America for some time, he said that “from fourth grade, I had to learn to mask my emotions.” Campos explained that he learned that American culture expressed emotions less than Guatemalan culture.


Towards the end of elementary school, Campos began facing high expectations to succeed in school and do something great with his life. Campos said that he felt like “You [I] have to succeed…otherwise your [he was] going to be a failure.” This was around the time that he found out that he had ADHD.


Once in middle school, Campos said that in “sixth grade, I got my first bout of sadness.” He eventually learned that what he was going through was depression. Campos “felt guilty for having depression” because he felt like other people in the world were going through worse things while he was never wealthy but had what he needed. He said that “I began to feel numb” with the depression and needed an outlet to feel again. Campos said that this made “an easy transition into violence and drugs.”


Campos said that “I started using [drugs] to self-medicate” around seventh grade. Things escalated throughout the years, with his Mom eventually finding him passed out with a bag of drugs in high school. This scare sent him to an outpatient program, where he failed at getting recovered.


After not being able to be the lead singer of his band and blowing all of his money on drugs one summer, Campos said that “my racing thoughts took off… I couldn’t see my future anymore.” That was when Campos attempted suicide by speeding on the highway and crashed into the side barrier. Instead of shooting him, a state trooper maced him instead.


After struggling through many inpatient and outpatient programs, relapsing three times on substances, and failing out of community college three times, Campos eventually recovered. He got rid of the bad influences in his life, adopted a dog to keep him responsible for something and read the Harry Potter series.


Campos claimed that “Harry Potter was a coping mechanism” that helped him find his “own means of recovery.” This is because the dementors in Harry Potter represent the negativity and depression of a person and the patronuses represent the positivity and the happiness that one holds. Campos encouraged students to find the patronus within themselves to help them get through their struggles.


After Campos’ talk finished, SCHS was available for students.