For as long as I can remember being conscious of my thoughts and feelings, I remember feeling anxious. For nearly 3 decades I have felt the twinge of constant, ever present sadness. My mother described me as a sad kid; unable to properly socialize until I was in my late teens. I always felt like there was something inherently wrong with me, that I denied, pushed down, and ignored - just wanting to feel normal.
In my life I have achieved a lot, and done a lot that I’m proud of. Despite this, I still often feel like a failure. In late 2018 I ended a marriage, and a 9 year relationship because it was a highly toxic environment and had become emotionally abusive. Rather than seeing this as something I have overcome to help make me grow stronger, initially the break-up of my marriage felt like the ultimate failure. I felt worthless, and a little over a year ago, I seriously contemplated taking my own life due to feeling unbearably sad. Thankfully, in that moment, rather than do something harmful, I called my mom. If she hadn’t answered, I’m not sure I’d be writing this today.
I’ve done most things right. I speak to doctors regularly, I take medication to help regulate chemicals and make me able to cope with everyday life. I go to therapy to work on myself. I avoid drinking for the most part as it can make me depressed. I try to be healthy and sleep properly. But everyday is still a constant struggle, even though I am taking so many of the right steps. That’s because I am mentally ill. This is not something I can just turn off- just like I can’t magically re-grow the gallbladder I had removed when I was 20, I can’t just turn off these thoughts. Our brains are an organ like any other, and something we need to take care of and keep an eye on.
So many people are like me. We keep our mental illness to ourselves, or whisper about it to friends with the understanding that they will keep it ‘between us’. We are afraid to tell our bosses that we don’t really have the flu. It is tough to tell someone you’re experiencing debilitating anxiety, because it’s not a tangible thing people can see. Since anxiety can come and go, you might appear okay sometimes. You look okay from the outside. You aren’t pale or clammy, so you must be okay. But you aren’t, and that’s okay. It’s okay that you are a work in progress. What matters is that you’re working on it. That you don’t give up. You not giving up and growing gives me hope that I too can grow. We’re in this together.
I have been afraid to talk about this, and many people close to me don’t know about this, let alone how truly close I was to taking my own life last year. But I’m tired of feeling alone in my pain, and feeling ashamed, so I decided to share. I went through the toughest time of my life last year. I felt that I couldn’t bear to be alive. I’ve been told by many people that my brand made them feel accepted; made them feel okay to be themselves, and that has been the thing that keeps me going. In the throes of a depressive episode it is next to impossible to see value in your life, or find purpose. Knowing that I have made a small difference in some way by making people feel included was the thing that kept me going.
Life is complicated, and often we only share the simple things so we can control how we are perceived. If we can be more open, and share more, we will realize we are all complicated and beautiful. We’re all fighting a lot of the same battles everyday. Behind our fake smiles and stifled emotions, we are all fundamentally aware of the pain and fear of failure that can feel all-encompassing. The feelings of anxiety that feel like they will never dissipate. We all experience feelings of worthlessness. This is my attempt to put this tough time behind me, and to try to see the good in what I went through. We all go through things and sharing, and taking ownership over our feelings can help us try to see the path forward. This is my attempt to open up properly and express myself fully in regards to the mental health issues I have been experiencing. Many of our designs are a collaborative process that I share with my team in early stages. This specific collection is something I worked on solely by myself until it was ready to be released. It is very personal to me, and I hope it creates a conversation and perhaps lets somebody out there know that they are not alone, and they will be okay. Be proud to be who you are, because you’d made it really, really far.
Please check out the new additions to our Nausea Nostalgia collection here.