I’ve recently sent out some jewelry to a blogger I follow, Jen Yates of Epbot, who’s frank discussion of her own struggle with anxiety and depression has made me more aware of my own problems. A dear friend of mine has recently gone through a serious depressive episode, and we spent a lot of time together; meeting for breakfast was one of the few things that would help him get out of bed in the mornings. He kept apologizing for being depressed, and for talking about it, but his description of his symptoms and experience of being depressed, like Jen’s, helped me realize that I, too, was suffering from Depression. I was flat out astonished when I recognized some of the symptoms they were experiencing as things I, too experienced. “Wait, that’s not *normal*?”
Because of them, I got help. Because I got help, I had the spoons to start this business and blog. I thank my friend in person on a regular basis, and we still have breakfast pretty regularly; he still doesn’t like mornings. I wanted to thank Jen, though, because she put her own problems out there so very publicly. There is a huge stigma against mental illness in the USA (I can’t speak for anywhere else, since I don’t live there), and the only way we get to move past it is to talk about it openly, and like it’s normal. Jen is a pretty public figure; in addition to Epbot, she runs the site CakeWrecks, and has a pretty big following. I felt that she was very brave in putting herself out there, and I appreciate it so much. I feel like I would have had a much harder time getting myself and Heliotaxis off the ground without knowing someone who’s doing something I admire is going through the same things as I am.
And so I sent her some of my jewelry, as a gift, and as a thank you. I hope she enjoys it. The package arrived at her PO box this morning (USPS tracking is magic, and I can’t decide if it’s awesome, or horrible), and now, though I told myself I wouldn’t, I’m stressing out wondering if she’ll like it. Putting myself out there has been consistently the hardest part of having a business. In many ways, it’s walking up to random people and saying “please judge me”. And it’s hard. But it’s also kind of freeing. And I’m not the only one doing it.