I spent my whole life dealing with a mental illness. A disorder of my brain that I was born with. For thirty-nine years, it felt like a curse. Growing up, I was told to live by the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” mentality. Well, once I was officially diagnosed at twenty-two. I grew up unknowingly battling a war I never chose to fight. And when I finally had an answer to what made me different, I shared it with the world. I lost job after job, and friend after friend. Not because I changed. I was still the most dependable employee that was hired, and the most loyal friend.
No. It had nothing to do with me. People were scared of the stigma that came with my official new label. They feared what they didn’t understand, only what they knew from tv and the news, which was never the whole story. The stigma taught me to fear being honest. Fear what people would find out. The answer I had to help them better understand when I wasn’t 100% only cost me everything due to their fear of the unknown.
Then a friend reminded me that I would never be able to truly love myself if I didn’t accept all of me. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I couldn’t keep quiet and keep showing the world only what I thought they wanted to see. And by finally being myself, I was not only able to feel the most free I have ever felt, but I was also much happier with myself. I was no longer ashamed for doing what I needed to be the best version of myself, and I wanted that for others.
I was having difficulty finding legitimate companies that provided mental health merchandise that gave back to legitimate organizations assisting with the war against mental health. So, I built my own. I will continue to add items, and 50% of the profits will be going to Bring Change To Mind. The organization set up by Glenn Close in honor of her sister to help fight the stigma on mental health, so people don’t have to hide and can get the care and help they need without feeling alone and ashamed.
It will take me a bit to gain representation for everyone, but I will be working on it off and on. Anything that is marked to represent mental health, breaking the stigma, or anything else, half the profits will be sent to Bring Change to Mind. The rest will go back into making more products.