Your Story Isn’t Over: The Meaning Behind the Name

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Hey guys! I wanted to let people know that I AM SELLING T-SHIRTS and it would be wonderful if some of you guys bought some. This is initially for a school innovation project, but I wanted to extend it into something that I continued to make and enjoy, and maybe even do different designs and stuff, like having my own clothing line kinda. I made the logo in art last year, but I chose it for my project because I want to raise awareness for suicide and mental illnesses.

I’m hoping to be able to donate extra money to a trustworthy charity (I’m in the process of researching one). The shirts cost $7 as of right now. Now that it is pretty much summer, I can only get the shirt to you if we meet in person (only if I know you personally!!!) or I can ship them to you, but it would cost a little bit extra. Anyways, have an awesome summer everyone! Thanks!!!

~ Joanna

The Making Of:

Like I said in my note above, I came up with this idea for a logo in art class when we were learning about screen printing (the full story will be down below). When my English teacher first announced the innovation project, I had no idea what I was gonna do. I couldn’t seem to come up with any good, memorable ideas. Then, I remembered my logo. It was a very easy process to figure out how I was gonna make the shirts ( just a simple stencil and some clothing paint), but selling them was harder. I didn’t know who would even buy a shirt from me. I first decided to give away a few shirts, mostly to some close friends, so that they could get the word out and kind of kick start the project. Then I posted stuff on Facebook and told people in my classes about it. I decided to make the cost seven dollars so that it would cover the cost of the shirt (four dollars) and the paint, and then have some money left over to donate.  I honestly didn’t expect anyone to want a shirt. But, contrary to my prediction, I got some costumers. Now don’t get me wrong, I only got five people who wanted to buy it, including my teacher, but I saw these costumers as success. I had actually gotten my “product” out there. Even though the numbers are small, I have hopes of continuing the project throughout my high school career, and hopefully making a difference along the way.

Here is an ongoing photo “album” that I wanted to start that documents the process of making and selling the shirts. Please take a look if you guys are interested.

Behind the Scenes:

One of my best friends in the ninth grade, in my art class, was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. These are too very conflicting mental illnesses, and to say that dealing with them was hard would be a lie, because dealing with them was silently suffering everyday, and hard is too soft a word to describe it. The correct word would be something like a mix of unbearable and – to put it frankly – hell. Now, I got to know this as I got to know her, like you give certain pieces of your soul to those around you like giving crumbs to angry, squawking pigeons. But, long story short, this girl eventually enlightened me on the intricacies and complications of mental illnesses. She brought me past the barrier that is stigma, and for that I am forever grateful.

Later that year, I learned that another of my best friends was also struggling with depression. To this day, I have never actually talked to her about it. I will one day, but for now we have a shared silent communication.  It is acknowledged, but we both know better than to bring it up. It is too hard for both of us. I understand how she is feeling. The trouble is she has been a perfect example of a child all her life. She is and A+ student, she is in Girl Scouts, she does swim team and water polo, and is definitely not into drugs or parties or anything like that. She is an avid reader and Superwholockian. But she is battling every single day, and nobody knows, not even her parents. It is that fear of being shamed, that stigma that is unbearable.

I also have another friend, who I have known since pre-school, who has also been diagnosed with depression. The story, however, is different from the others. She sought help, got into counseling, got medication, etc. She did what she needed to do to help herself, and that is something that I want people to realize is very important. There is no shame in asking for help; I thought no less of my friend when she told me what she had been going through.

Even I am trying to realize that. Now, I have never been officially diagnosed with anything, but for a couple of years I have been internally struggling with myself. I really got bad when my aunt lost her battle to cancer. She was such a strong person. She was the sister my aunt looked up to, the one everyone looked to for advice or instructions. I remember visiting her in Maui, and going to chemo with her.  She never got down on herself. It was hard watching her go from my loving, solid rock of an aunt to someone who had to have her own sons help her bathe. I actually wrote a piece of prose about her, you can see it here. It did not help when my uncle, her husband, died less than a month later. It is hard watching their two sons become true adults. They are twenty-four and twenty-nine, but they were still too young for the responsibility and weight that losing your parents brings. It has been very hard trying to cope. Even though all this happened almost a year ago, I am still very much teary-eyed trying to write this.

I have just recently started to get help. I have met with our school counselor a few times to discuss things for the future, and I am actually more positive about it than I have been for a while. I feel like this project has given me hope, hope that I can make a difference, no matter how small. And I hope that each and every one of you gets to experience that kind of hope, sometime in your life.

Please remember: it is never to late to reach out for help. Your story isn’t over. 

If anyone needs someone to talk to, please contact me in some way. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

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