Archive for the ‘Mental Health Awareness’ Category

New Release – Mental Health Trackers

Notepads to track your mental health on a daily or weekly basis

The last (but definitely not least) of our newest release is our Mental Health Trackers! These notepads a new product category for Steel Petal Press. They also mark the beginning of me talking more openly about Mental Health.

Mental Health is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. Having Steel Petal Press as a public company I wanted to be able to use this platform as a way to share my story and to help others feel less alone.

There was quite a bit of discussion about what would be constructive way to use Steel Petal Press as a platform. Would I just share my story on Social Media? Take the form of written blog posts? Be a product I created? What would that product look like?

I wanted more than an inspirational quote or words of encouragement. When someone is suffering from mental health issues inspirational seem trite and hopeless. (For me they actually made me feel worse.) I wanted to create a product that would actually be helpful, while also help me tell my story. My goal is to help others feel less alone. After much thinking, and overthinking, I decided to create these notepads.

I designed these Mental Health Trackers as a tool to aid anyone looking to improve their emotional well-being. The simple act of writing down your emotions on paper can often help us see the causes – and therefore – solutions more clearly.

It was a difficult decision for me to talk about my mental health issues publicly, but it’s a conversation that needs to be had. As vulnerable and uncomfortable as sharing my story makes me feel, the thought that it could help someone far outweighs the negatives.

Not only do I want to destigmatize the public opinion of what it means to struggle with mental illness but shed light on how isolating, painful and dangerous it can be.

I want to share my story but also the stories of others, because no one experience is the same. The more we talk about mental health the better we can understand each other, maybe together we can lessen the stigma and shame by sharing our experiences. I hope that through story telling, it can help others who are suffering can help feel a little less alone.

Mental Health Awareness Month | One

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

I’ve been sitting here at my computer running through my mind all the things I want to say about my personal mental health struggles:
“What is my story?”
“Why is it important?”
“What do I want to say?”  

The truth is, there are so many reasons to share my personal history with mental health. It has been challenging to organize my thoughts.  

For me, it all starts with understanding what I can control and what I cannot.  Mental illness, depression and anxiety runs in my family. It’s a genetic disease that has been passed down, not through actions and habits of my family, but through brain chemistry.  It took me a really long time to understand that feeling depressed and anxious is actually NOT something I can control. I struggled through many years trying to contain my emotions and then beating myself up when I couldn’t, it only made me feel worse. The tricky thing about mental illness (specifically anxiety in my case) is that sometimes an emotional reaction cannot be regulated by reason.  After years and years of ups and downs I met with the right psychiatrist. He helped me understand that some things are beyond my control. I was finally able to let go of trying. Rather than fighting an impossible battle with my brain chemistry, I was able to focus on the things I actually could control, like lifestyle, surroundings, situations and triggers that lead those feelings to surface.

So, What is my story?
It’s over 20 years of struggling with anxiety and resulting depression. Within those 20 years I experienced five episodes that completely debilitated me from functioning in everyday life.  HOWEVER, I want to reiterate, this is *not* a sob story. This is a story of someone who struggled and prevailed, and then fell and got back up again. I write this now from a positive, productive and rational place. In those moments of despair it’s the absolute worst. It feels hopeless and helpless and isolating and completely alone. But it has always gotten better.

So, why share my story? Why now?
I’m finally at a place where I feel like I have a much better understanding of myself and my illness.  With better perspective of my own story, I feel much better sharing what I know. Anyone else who feels similarly, I want you to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

The more we talk about mental health the better we can understand each other, maybe together we can lessen the stigma and shame by sharing our experiences. I hope this blog series can help add to the conversation.