Around 6-7 years ago, I battled with severe depression, a fight that took two years to overcome.
Those two years were some of the hardest and most difficult times of my life. The things I used to love doing seemed to drain the life out of me. The people I would love to see became difficult to be around. As the days passed on, I felt more and more numb. Empty.
I was blessed enough to have an incredible support system. My friends and family members began to suggest that I seek help and that I see a therapist. For months, I strongly opposed the idea of therapy. I didn’t know anyone at the time who had gone or had even thought about it. Therapy, even a mere few years back, was considered for people who were “crazy”. And I wasn’t crazy.
Eventually I did go to a few sessions and it slowly began to “crack” the bubble of darkness that I was living in. I remember my therapist diagnosing me, and feeling the weight of her words fall on my shoulders like bricks as she said the words. It made sense but was still earth-shattering. Depressed? Me?
And so, I began my journey of healing. It was by no means an easy journey, or one that didn’t have many setbacks. There were highs and lows, and moments where I felt like I didn’t have the energy to battle all the negative thoughts of self doubt in my mind. Some weeks were relapses where I didn’t use any of my coping mechanisms and just shut off to the world again, and some random days would be sparks of hope where I’d feel something again.
It was during that journey that I began to come up with these mantras for myself. I considered them to be what helped push me out of my depressive state.
The first mantra I came up with was the idea that each time I battled a negative thought, I was growing. I was growing as a person, and it would make it easier to battle the next one, even by a little bit. I began to visualize this growth as flowers that blossomed from branches each time I pushed through something I didn’t feel like, or each time I didn’t let my depression or anxiety win. These became my flowers of strength.
The second mantra that really helped me in my journey was the idea that healing is not linear. I was constantly trying to be this “perfect” version of myself that I thought I needed to be. I could only envision THAT version of me getting better and pushing past the mental illness. But I realized that that in and of itself was causing doubt, grief, and more triggers for me. No one’s journey is smooth sailing! Instead of hating on myself for falling short of an impossible standard, I realized I had to find beauty in the journey. I had to understand that healing is different for each person and it’s messy. And that’s okay.
The last thing that I am still learning to this day is the concept that our mental journey’s don’t ever really end. If you have anxiety or have battled depression (or anything else) you may know that they are hidden, tucked away, but can crawl back into your life. It’s something we have to learn to live with, accept, and know that we are more than what we fight.
I decided to represent these mantras as a form of art in the scarves you see today. I kept thinking, “what if there was someone out there who could benefit from these messages in the way that I did?” I know I would have loved an opportunity to express myself with scarves specifically designed around mental health and representative of my growth. I hope someone out there is able to find comfort in knowing she is not alone.
This collection has been one that I have thought of for years. It is very personal to me and by no means, does this represent every person’s mental health journey. This letter is just a small glimpse into my mental health journey, and I pray it was able to bring some sort of insight to our collection, the message, and the fact that mental growth is not something to be ashamed of. Keep fighting - you’re stronger than you think.