Neurodiversity is neat!
Last December, I approached the Mental Health Association of Central Florida about creating an art collection that would benefit mental health and the work their amazing organization does in our community. I was so grateful that they were as excited about the project as I was to create it!
Why art for mental health?
As a mental health patient, I know how important it is to have a positive support system around you. After being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, I felt confused and defeated. It took a few years to get to where I am now - living without shame, acting as an advocate for myself, and actively participating in my own healthcare. Having a supportive husband, family and friends has made a world of difference.
Changing the conversation.
I wanted to make it easier for people living with a mental health diagnosis and their loved ones to talk about treatment and celebrate the little victories. There are so many Get Well Soon cards for physical illness and countless ways to express Congratulations for pregnancy, marriage, graduation, a new job, a new house… but finding a way to show support to our friends who are hospitalized for a mental health crisis or are in therapy to improve their well-being was almost impossible. I wanted to change that.
When I did see mental health greeting cards and art work, they were so focused on what a person is not. Not broken, not always going to feel down, not going to be this way forever.
But here’s the truth. I am going to have Bipolar Disorder forever. AND THAT’S OKAY! Because I’m in therapy and I’m thriving. I celebrate my neurodiversity. I love that I think differently. And I want others to feel the same way.
In therapy and thriving!
Sometimes, it’s hard to know what to say or how to offer support to a friend or loved one that has been diagnosed with a mental health condition. It makes sense, because we might be worried and just want them to be okay.
But what if we started to think of being in therapy or treatment as something to celebrate? After all, it means you’re on the road to being a happier and healthier you. That’s something to be proud of.
Since launching my line of neurodiversity artwork, and because of your support, I’ve been able to donate $500 to MHACF and I’m not done yet. More greeting cards and pins are coming soon and I can’t wait to show you!
What quotes, words, or messages would you like to see? I’d love to hear what makes you feel supported and celebrated.
Wherever you are in your mental health journey, organizations like MHACF can help. They offer free referrals for anyone seeking treatment as well as classes and support groups here in Central Florida. Give them a call at 407-898-0110 or fill out a referral form to learn more.