New Series | Building a Brand With PTSD, Depression, and Other Mood Disorders

Hello Lovelies, this is a new series I want to share with you on my personal journey of building a brand from the ground up while coping with chronic mental illness. I am not a medical professional and therefore do not offer medical advice, only stories of my personal journey in hopes that others might be inspired as well. Mental illness lies to us every day, and it is my hope through sharing my stories, my truths, that you might find hope and strength too. Thank you for being here!

Larkindesign Building A Creative Brand With Mood Disorders

Today I thought I would just write a few notes to you, just from my heart. This week has been a learning week for me, and I feel some changes are on the horizon, so I want to share a little more about that. Ultimately my goal here at Larkindesign is to inspire you, dear friend, and empower you in your creative life. I truly believe we can be our best selves when we are our best creative selves. But creativity takes an inevitable toll. It costs us something – an emotional cost, if you will.

I know that many of us turn to creative ventures in an effort to calm chaos and/or to express things within ourselves that maybe have no words. Sometimes we just need to get away and work with scissors and papers just to have fun. Most of us in the scrapbooking world are here because we treasure our memories enough to record them, document them, and curate them. So much value in creative work, and also a cost. Yes, it costs money, but it also costs us energy and time. Sometimes in the social sharing world it can cost us perspective too!

For the past three years I have been sharing my own work here and have been slowly building a brand. I have made so many beautiful friendships and have connected with artists, designers, customers, YouTubers, and bloggers around the world. If you read my Brand Story you will know how this industry helped me stay alive, actually. And all I have wanted to do is give back. So I created content, and videos, and classes, and collections, and have been sharing them here with you. It has been a joy to create products and it has been empowering to grow this little spot on the Internet. It has also come with a tremendous cost. An emotional cost.

I decided this week to stop creating digital collections – maybe just for a little while, I don’t know. I so very much appreciated those of you who have purchased and downloaded the products here, and they will remain up in the Shop if you are still interested. I am also planning to open up a Facebook group for Hybrid Project Lifers, and am excited to get that going. Growing a brand is really hard work, and it takes years. It also takes seeing what works and what doesn’t, what brings joy and what doesn’t, and being constructive enough to tell what you do well and what you don’t do well. Your feedback and your responses really help in that regard, so thank you every time you have told me my work is beautiful.

As I have shared in the LD Brand Story, I function every day with the remnants and in the midst of trauma recovery. I don’t know that I will ever recover fully, and I do know that I will always cope with it on some level. What happened to me as a child and in my 20’s had a profound impact on me, as I continue to work through that, and as such it has an impact on my business as well. I want to share a bit about that because I know I must not be alone in this. If you are trying to run a business with trauma and PTSD and depression or any other emotional challenge, please know you are not alone. Please reach out to me, to others, because we can be powerful emotional support to each other.

I have learned this week that it is incredibly hard for me to see the beauty in my own projects and products that I create. Abuse does this thing to you – it breaks trust. People who abused me told me things to make me believe things about myself or to make me do things that broke boundaries, and as a child I believed what they told me. What they told me, however, was designed to manipulate me and control me, so the horrible things they told me became truths, and the good things they told me were lies. I have had to fully realize that any time some one is communicating with me, my inner child is not trusting what they are saying. In fact, the voices of my childhood are often much louder and much more insistent that the voice of the present, and that means it sometimes drowns out the good I am hearing now.

I realized several years ago that this truth meant that any relationship I have ever had has been impacted by this – because when someone says they love me I am not fully able to hear that. Now, when someone says my work is lovely, again I am not fully able to hear it. I am working on this within myself, because I deserve to hear good things about myself and I deserve to believe good things about myself. And please, continue to provide feedback because it is important for me and for our community. And again, I know I am not alone so whenever you leave feedback you might be telling someone who really needs to hear that today. Feedback is so very important! If you are a Creative, you may feel similar ways as well. It can be hard to hear the good things about ourselves, or to trust the good things we are hearing about ourselves, because of our past trauma or depression. I strongly encourage you to reach out to professionals and to others who are understanding, to help in your journey.

Larkindesign Building A Creative Brand With PTSD, Depression, and Other Mood Disorders

I have also learned just how important it is in our community to raise each other up. There are designers and creatives here who pour their hearts into everything that we consume – the products we purchase, the Feeds we scroll, the videos we view. So I am committing to making a part of my work lifting others up however I am able. I welcome your feedback on ways to make that possible, and would love to hear from you in that regard. I also plan to open a Facebook group for Hybrid Project Lifers and hope you will join that and participate there. Thank you for being here, thank you for supporting me and for being part of our amazing community. Sending you creative vibes and energy wherever you are.