Community: Mental Health Week
Mental Health Week took place earlier this month and, while we’re a bit late, we wanted to do our part to keep this important conversation going. We believe it’s so important to create awareness and understanding on such a serious issue that truly affects so many. Blake Loates is one of the bravest, strongest and most honest people we know and we are so proud of her for sharing her struggles and breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness. She has recently re-launched We All Believe in You, a platform where she shares the stories of so many people who have deal with mental illness on a daily basis and we are just so, so proud of all she has accomplished.
Earlier this year, Blake joined us at our February Made Social workshop at Pura Botanicals during a really difficult time in her life. She was struggling and hospitalized to get her illness back on track.
We still get emotional thinking about how of all the things she could have done to bring a little light during such a dark time, she chose us. She convinced her doctor that crafting (yes, crafting) was the hospital pass she needed. It felt so good to just hug her and feed her and shower her with love, crafts, cake and confetti. Honestly, it feels like we did so little, but knowing that we brought her even the slightest bit of relief makes our hearts so full. Blake has shown us how to be raw, real and strong (even through the worst of times) and reminded us that a little kindness really does go a long way.
I’ve been wanting to write this for a while…but wasn’t really quite sure how to express in words just how much a simple act of kindness went such a long way.
I was hospitalized in January. I have struggled with my mental health for over 20 years…but haven’t required hospitalization in 17 years. It was a really dark time. I didn’t want to live…and my brain was consumed with a barrage of negative thoughts and I couldn’t turn it off. And I felt so alone. Like a giant burden to everyone around me. I didn’t feel like anyone would really care if I was around. And then you two showed me otherwise.
I begged my doctor for a pass off hospital grounds for a few hours. “You want to do what?” he asked. “I want to go crafting.” “What do you mean by ‘crafting?” “Well my friends offered me a spot in one of their craft workshops to help get my mind off of things. I’ll go and hang out with some other women and make crafts for a few hours.” He said “Well, that might be good for you.” I flew out of that hospital so quick…and I was off to crafting at Made Social.
Normally when I’m in a Made Social workshop i go with a couple girlfriends. But this time I was on my own. I got there and I was greeted with the most loving and kindest hugs by Andrea, Christine and Lane. The kind of hugs where you know they’re trying to take away the sadness and you just feel totally safe. I immediately exhaled and knew I would be okay. And for two hours I did nothing but craft in the comfort and safety of strangers and people who loved me. Oh…and are a ton of delicious snacks because hospital food is THE WORST.
I’ve been learning a lot about mindfulness in my wellness journey. Hospitals and other healthcare professionals are now teaching it to their patients because it’s effectiveness in treating mental illnesses.
Mindfulness is described the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other practices.
Andrea and Christine, you two are teaching your clients one of the most effective techniques in treating mental illness…mindfulness. For two hours I didn’t think of how worthless I am or how insurmountable my illness is…I just made something. I was completely present in the task I was doing…you know, while not making runs to the snack table. You gave me two hours of freedom from my brain and I really can’t thank you enough for that peace. I don’t exactly know how to say thank you for that.
Thank you for what you did for me that day. Thank you for making me feel so loved and valued. Thank you for making me feel at peace for a few hours. Thank you for making me mindful. Thank you for tossing confetti with me.
You guys have quite the gift. Thank you for sharing it with me and thank you for always supporting the conversation around mental health.
I love you.