As I sit here on the first day of 2019, I am astonished at how much has changed since the beginning hours of 2018. What started as a vision, an intention, became a vivid reality with the birth of empowered interiors.
Yet, I’ve made major mistakes, ones that I will work through in the next few months , but there was one error that almost buried me when I opened the doors on September 21st.
I underestimated my depression.
I don’t think I can truly convey the immense pride and happiness I felt in those early days. I turned a dull and slightly neglected craftsman bungalow, into a warm and inviting space that offered vintage and unique home décor rarely found anywhere else. Not only had I established a shoppe, but I also started an interior design studio that aimed to make design available to everyone. I envisioned e.i. to be a gathering space for eager learners, shoppers, and colleagues. Ambitious I know, but this felt like destiny and nothing was going to stop me.
Well depression had another plan.
I have battled depression for as long as I can remember, but I was not formally diagnosis until Halloween 2017 (ironic, I know). I am what is called a functioning depressive. In short, I may tread in the sea of depression, but I can keep my head above water for a considerable amount of time by constantly finding new ways to function. I’ve done this pretty much my entire life, but in 2017, I hit rock bottom. I had skimmed the bottom before, and looking back, I’m surprised I pushed through, but that is what a functioning depressive does; they keep going, no matter what. But in 2017, I slammed into the rocks. The pain was excruciating and nothing I did made anything difference. While I had considered suicide in the past, this time it was not just fleeting thoughts. I really began to believe everyone would be better off without me. It was truly a scary moment in my life and I sought help.
For the past year, I’ve been on medication that has been tweaked, yet, opening a business ripped open old wounds far too easily and I found myself slipping under. See, no matter how realistically you try and keep your expectations, you still have fantasies of opening your doors and droves of people will just come in.
That totally did not happen for me.
I kept pushing forward, but this voice in my head kept telling using phrases like, “you suck,” “you should have known you were going to fail,” “why would you take this risk, knowing no one likes you?” and “everyone knows you’re a failure. They are laughing at you.”
Yet, throughout the past few months, I networked, I went to meetings, I held events, took on a few clients, spent (a lot) money advertising, and merchandised the shoppe for the holidays. I functioned, functioned, and functioned!
And the volume of the voices just increased.
Then an event I had on my calendar was canceled and my head slipped underwater.
And the voices began to scream.
All I can say at this point is thank god I have a fantastic psychiatrist, therapist, and card reader.
Yes, a card reader.
As I have written previous, I visited Enlighten Balance in July, where I was introduced to Kat. The reading was phenomenal, and I had thought about going back in the past few months, but never did. I was actually too scared to. But this time, I swallowed my fear, and I made an appointment with Kat. I decided to go because, while I knew my psychiatrist would adjust my meds and my therapist would help me turn down the voices in my head, neither could give me validation.
See, even in my darkest moments over the past couple of months, there was a whisper that said, “you are not going to fail.” I thought I was crazy. Thus, all I wanted and needed was validation that whisper was real.
Validation that I could believe the whisper.
Validation that I was where I belonged.
Validation that I was not a failure.
I had never been nervous when I went for a reading, but this time, there were knots in my stomach. What if the cards verified the voices condemnations?
What if the cards tell me I am going to fail?
The minute I walked into the room, the room became sad, dark, and filled with apprehension. But Kat embraced the darkness and gave me one of the most straightforward readings I had ever had.
I’m sure there are some of you who are just shaking your head, because should a small business owner rely on spiritual readings? Hey, I understand your disbelief, but there was a moment, just a few minutes in, when she paused, looked straight at me and said, “you’re just here for validation.”
I never felt so relieved in my life.
The past couple of weeks have been filled with new insights, new customers (and fans), and exciting ideas. The few months will be a crucial period, personally and professionally, but for the first time, the whisper has grown louder and stronger. I have new intentions that I repeat daily. Last week, I said out loud in the middle of the shoppe, “I am not going anywhere. Understand? I belong here!”
Now, I have financial challenges ahead of me, including finding part-time online work to bring in an income while the business picks up. But I’m here for the long haul.
So, what is my main objective sharing this? I know it is important to be honest about mental health and the influence it has in all facets in life. But I get the impression that in business, especially small business, depression is rarely mentioned because what would people think about your abilities to succeed? Would it hurt your business? I don’t think so. But for those business owners who are struggling, it is okay to say you need help and to seek it out.
It is scary to put your struggles into the public domain, but it nothing to be ashamed about. I know I am not ashamed. Yet, as I write this, I feel like I am restarting empowered interiors and making a promise to myself and to you all.
I am not going anywhere. This is where I belong.
So keep an eye on my blog and social media pages for upcoming posts, events, and sales.
Hey 2019, here comes empowered interiors.