Let’s Talk – Mental Health Series

Ok, let’s talk…

I’ve setup my writing space perfectly. I’m ready to type up my ‘Let’s Talk’ series. Hitting publish will be the hard part, but maybe not. Last year, when my friend passed away on Let’s Talk day, everything started changing inside me. It wasn’t an immediate change. But I knew that life would never be the same. And a gradual shift started to take place, slowly throughout the year, toward releasing my fears and finally sharing.

You can survive and achieve anything. If you can find beauty and gratitude in a snowstorm.

This line came to mind as I looked out the window and imagined writing this series of posts on mental health. The series will dive into my own story and a variety of related topics.

My hope is that this will help be my “coming out” as more than a designer and saleswoman (store-girl my kids call it). I’ve been hiding in this role for a long time. There’s so much I want to talk about!

My friend was a beautiful, sweet, funny and kind 34 year old, who had struggled with bi-polar, eating disorder and other self destructive habits. She had fought her whole life to survive and still felt that no one really understood her.

She was my friend of 18 years. I never met her and I never really knew her. I think she had some trauma in her past, I think we talked on the phone once, I know she sent me letters, I know our shared history (more on that in the next post) mattered to her, and I knew she was suffering.

It’s important to understand that mental illness and mental health exist on a two way spectrum.

Most of us have something to add to the conversation on mental health, but a bunch of voices speaking out at once isn’t exactly helpful to someone who is suffering with mental illness. Especially one that most people don’t understand.

I beat myself up for a while, wishing I had done more to connect with and support her. Last winter was awful. The sporadic weather, me and my kids got a lot of colds, then with her passing, a gigantic shadow monster formed in my life. A depression that basically swallowed all of February. It just ate up the whole damn MONTH. But I survived. I felt like an excavator had unearthed my past, and as I sifted through the sand I think I found a tiny bit of treasure.

Self Awareness & Self Acceptance is more important that feeling understood & accepted

I realized I’d become this person who only talks about family and business. I’d spent over 10 years building this life, then suddenly, I found myself pulled into all my old patterns and feelings of not fitting in.

One day I went stomping along the icy trail… to a private spot where no one would hear me. I turned my phone camera on and recorded myself for the first time ever. “Plant your feet firmly on the ground, observe the sky and the empty space, and state, I belong”

“Plant your feet firmly on the ground, observe the sky and the empty space, and state, I belong”

The desire to move on, to forget, had caused me to bury parts of my story. By believing that the past either is or is not important, instead of shining light on it, I’d given it power over my life.

It might not help anyone else, but we can tell our stories, there is infinite space. You might know, if you’ve been connected with Tree Chic for a while, that we believe in taking up less space on the earth’s wild surface. But there’s infinite space for our thoughts, ideas and stories. And you have a right to take up space. You belong.

2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk – Mental Health Series”

  1. That was a wonderful read Emily. You can write Sister! Love the insight, wisdom and laughs , ninja store-girl. Kudos! Looking forward to reading many more of your entries. Hug.