A couple of months ago I read an absolutely inspiring blog post about the “Semicolon Project” posted by Heather Parrie. I’ve read many articles, sites, and posts about mental illness and Depression, however I have never felt as personally connected to any of them as I was with Heather’s post. This was the first article I had read involving a girl around my own age, with my own interests and hobbies, who is also struggling every day with crippling Depression. This was the first time I felt truly understood and that I wasn’t alone on the island inside my head anymore. Other people, just like me, struggle with ideas of self-worth, guilt, suicidal thoughts, and getting through each and every day. This epiphany inspired the idea for The Orange Bead Collective.
The Orange Bead Collective represents a community of people who struggle with, (or support someone who struggles with), Depression and/or Anxiety on a daily basis. The bracelet created for the Collective has a small, round, orange bead in order to signify this daily battle and, hopefully, start a conversation about the preconceived perceptions of the “face of depression”. The truth is that the “face of depression” is completely archaic and incorrect. There are MANY faces of Depression, as the individuals who have it are all different shapes, sizes, ages, races and genders. Depression isn’t picky… it will choose anyone it wishes. However, as I am reminded every day, Depression is also NOT a life sentence. The trick to curing your mind, body, and soul of the mental illness, I believe, is to allow others to carry some of the weight on your shoulders for you. To do this, one must feel comfortable enough to admit that they struggle with the illness, share their story with their loved ones, and allow others around them to help them heal. This is obviously easier said than done, especially because the common societal views on mental illness and Depression indicate that it is something to be hidden, ashamed of, and embarrassed about. By getting these little orange bracelets out into the world and therefore uncovering all of the uniquely gifted faces of Depression, I hope these stifling perceptions are altered. After all, societal norms and perceptions are completely constructed by society itself.
Together we will write a new story about Depression.