The idea for NMCD started back in 2016. I had hit a major depression. I have always struggled with depression and anxiety in the past but this was different. I told my husband it was serious. I needed help. I was going down a dark path and I didn't want to know where it would lead if I did not seek intervention. He was very supportive and I made the difficult decision to check myself in to an intensive in patient therapy center for a minimum of four weeks. My daughter was almost two and it was November. I was facing Thanksgiving, my birthday and Christmas away from my family but I knew I had to do it. I had been thinking about suicide for months and it was only getting worse. At the same time I checked myself in, I let a few of my closest friends know exactly what was happening. That is what we are all encouraged to do right? Break the stigma? Be open and vulnerable? The holidays and my birthday came and went and although I tried to call them and they had my number, none of those friends contacted me. I was devastated. I felt betrayed, broken and so, so stupid for thinking for a second that telling anyone the intense truth was the right thing to do. How could I have been so naive?
In the end I lost most of the "friends" I was close to. I was told by several that it was just too much for them. I switched jobs twice in the year following and made a serious effort to apply what I had learned in treatment and move on. The experience stuck with me though as I am sure it would for anyone. It was full of heartbreak and I grieved those lost friendships.
Fast forward to today and I have worked through much of the heartache, loss and general not enough-ness that came with it. I am grateful for the experiences I have had because I know I can use those experiences to help others. I am passionate about spreading a message of self-love, gratitude and contentment with life, as well as teaching empathy. I know that the truth is everyone has a least a small part of them that wants to do exactly what my friends did when I opened up about my struggles. That doesn’t mean we are heartless. I don’t believe my friends were heartless. The reality is that it is so much more comfortable to turn and run. In running we save ourselves the difficult feelings that come with jumping into the darkness with the person in our life that just shared something painful. I want to not just SAY break the stigma, but teach people how they can be a part of that movement by simply sitting with a friend or family member that is in pain.
The gifts I make are all handmade with a specific person in mind. They are geared toward promoting self-care, self-acceptance and supporting friends and family dealing with difficult issues such as depression, suicidal thoughts etc. The really dark stuff. The tough stuff. I think of the person really struggling to find a shred of hope and the friends and family that are doing their best to be there even though they don’t know how. The gifts at NMCD are designed so they can be given wordlessly when those friends and family members are at a loss for words. Giving one of these gifts can help you say “I don’t understand but I am here and I am not going anywhere”. They can say “I don’t even know what to say but thank you so much for telling me” Despite a lot of talk, there is still such a stigma and avoidance around mental health and those struggling with it and I want to shine the brightest light possible on it.
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