When the words “I’m fine” can mean something’s wrong – Stephanie from Lions & Tigers Apparel

Opening up about the struggles of mental health while caring for a child as a mother can be terrifying. The first thought that came to my mind after being diagnosed with postpartum depression was, “do I still get to keep my kids?”

Stephanie from Lions and Tigers Apparel has gained the courage to share her story through her newest design. Here she tells more:

I have OCD. It’s not something I’ve gone around advertising to many people (in total, 3 people actually know this about me), but it’s time I’ve come clean.

I’ve spent the majority of my 32 years hiding this aspect of my life or at least tried to. Most people who meet me think I’m just quirky or being funny and I think I’ve played that part pretty well but deep down I’m a mess.

It’s incredibly difficult to just come out and say “hey everyone, I’ve got OCD mixed with social anxiety” and not be plagued with the fear of judgment from others with me speaking up, but I’m tired of running from my problems. Some days are good, some days are not so good but it’s taken me this long to start to at least try to figure this all out.

Since having my daughter almost 2 years ago I’ve gone through a complete mental overhaul and it’s really been an interesting journey that I’m just starting to feel comfortable talking about. The first year postpartum I really struggled to deal with my fluctuating hormones and didn’t even realize my OCD and anxiety had completely flared up during this time. It’s only taken me until this point to start to feel “normal” again and I’ve really taken a good look at my issues so much so that I’ve put myself into therapy finally as of a month ago.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there is absolutely no shame in getting yourself the help you need, even if it is for mental health reasons. My OCD has ruined the better part of my adult life, is the sole reason I don’t drive right now, and has isolated me from enjoying life fully as I should. This may come as a shock to some who know me but I’m finally done wearing this mask and being ashamed of my journey. 

I’ve felt for quite a while now that I wanted to do something bigger and much more meaningful with my clothing business and this design idea hit me like lightning a few months ago. I use these two words a lot in my vocabulary, “I’m fine”. I say it whenever someone asks how I’m doing and it’s my go to response to use. I’m not saying I walk around every day feeling terrible but I am very quick to tell someone I’m fine when really I’m crumbling on the inside. I feel like those two words also resonate with many others out there.

The whole idea of this design is to not always take what someone says at face value when talking about themselves. If you feel like something seems off about your friend or family member but they brush it off as being “fine”, maybe try to dig deeper. Having any type of anxiety or depression can be a very lonely road to go down and almost always feels embarrassing for the person going through it. I wish for one day to end the stigma on mental health and open the door all the way for everyone to feel comfortable talking openly about their issues without the fear of judgment in doing so. 

I’ve partnered with the Brain and Behavior Foundation where $2 from every sale of these shirts will be donated to them. I chose this foundation as 100% of their donations helps fund scientists in mental health research to continue to find breakthroughs in mental health. Click Here to shop!

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