From the moment I discovered Solis, I knew I had struck gold. Meaningful clothing for people with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, Solis was a fashion brand with a purpose. Encouraging its wearers to embrace hope, positivity, and light, its colourful t-shirts would bring a ray of light into anyone’s life. Take it from me: as someone who has severe anxiety, and depression, I know all too well, what it is like to struggle with mental health. No matter how much mindful self-care you practice, learning how to be positive, when the world seems upside down, can seem like a tough feat indeed.
There are the days that you struggle to get out of bed, lacking all motivation, as you sucumb to the deep darkness of depression. Tears roll down your face miserably, as you hyperventilate, in another one of your anxiety attacks, hoping for a better tomorrow. You always find yourself cascading from one side of the spectrum to the other. There are days where you are so depressed that you are going through the motions, struggling to feel anything but numbness, sluggishness, and general lowness. Then there are the days where you are highly anxious, feeling on the edge, spiralling out of control, struggling to stay grounded. Most days you are anxious, but the days that you are both anxious, and depressed, are the hardest ones of all.
That is why I have partnered with Solis, as they are helping people with depression, trust that there is hope for the future. To know that we are not alone, and that there is someone who is looking out for us, who has our back. No matter how isolated our illnesses make us feel, there are the real people around us, who will never leave our side, despite how unpredictable our mental health can be. For me, that is my partner, who has seen me at my worst, at my most painful, at my saddest, most anxious, most stressed. Who has watched me have manic depressive, and anxious episodes, and still been my rock no matter what. Even though he does not understand the extent of what I am going through, he tries his best, no matter what.
I always follow the mantra that there is always light at the end of a dark tunnel, but it can be hard to see that far ahead. Especially when your mental health affects your personal, professional, and everyday life. From jobs, to socializing, to trying to get enough sleep, mental health issues have a profound impact on the way we live our lives. For me, I have dealt with mental health issues all my life, and look forward to a time where I am free from Depression and Anxiety. Yet I must accept that at the moment it remains a huge part of my past, present and future. Like Justin, the founder of Solis, I have always felt like there is a black cloud following me, engulfing me hungrily. At times I am a shell of my former self, struggling to live life, the way that I want it to. But I never let it take away my voice, never let it rob me of my identity.
Despite its attempts to knock me down, I always fight against it, with strength. Because no matter what mental health journey you are on, you are a warrior. People don’t see your mental scars, and dismiss mental health, with a trivial pft, and a dismissive hand. Yet, little do they know that mental health is one of the hardest illnesses of all, affecting you physically, and mentally. I have felt all the spectrums of emotion that you can imagine, and in the past have been suicidal, had harming thoughts, and a lack of will to live. Yet somehow, I pulled myself out of my darkest days, and entered a new era, where I know that I matter, and that people care. What was once severe depression, has now been replaced with severe anxiety, which is just as bad. To feel like you are always spiralling out of control, and have forgotten how to breathe, is terrifying.
Though I still have Depression, having CBT, changing my mindset, and medication, helped me through dark times. And yet with anxiety, I have struggled immensely the past two years, without knowing how to help myself feel better. Which is why I know exactly how Justin feels, who struggled to find enjoyment or happiness in his life. Who felt like he had wasted his life due to mental health issues. Who found living with mental health trauma exhausting and debilhitating. But do you know what I identified with the most? His journey to self-love, and breaking self-imposed limitations, realizing that he did deserve love, attention, and friends. Like Justin, it took me a very long time to love myself for who I was. In fact in the 28 years that I have been on earth, nearly all of those have been filled with self-loathing, disappointment, and hatred.
It might sound dramatic, but I didn’t love myself for the longest time. In fact I hated myself, and was overly critical, negative, and down on who I was, what I represented, and where I had gone in life. I focused on the wrong things, and while there could have been 5 amazing, and positive opportunities, I always focused on that one, traumatic, and negative scenario, clutching onto it, while I struggled to let go. Now, I can confidently, and genuinely say that I do love myself, I do live for my happiness, and I do put myself first. Despite the mental health issues that I still have, I know that there is still alot to live for, and I have so much to be grateful for. I am grateful for my wonderful partner, who is here for me no matter what. I have so much love for my family, and friends, who are full of love, joy, and heart.
In dark times, it can be hard to focus on the good in our lives, but believe me there is always a rainbow, bursting with colour. Why do you think I am always so colourful? Because no matter how blue I feel, how anxious, depressed, or down I am, when I dress up, when I fill my heart, my room, my wardrobe with colour, I feel bubbles of happiness bursting through. Even though depression, tries to make me disatisfied, even though my high-functioning anxiety makes me a perfectionist, I push it aside, and make way for postivity. Not the positivity that is unrealistic, demanding, and high-pressure, but the positivity in the small things, the wins, the triumphs, the minor details. To me that is what matters.
I reclaimed my life from the throes of Depressions, and taught it to F**k off, because I deserve so much more. Like Justin, I knew that it wasn’t healthy to live life this way, I needed to make a change. It hasn’t been easy, and the journey is ongoing, but I know that lighter, brighter, and warmer days, are just around the corner. After all, when you deal with anxiety and Depression, you can often get in your own way. You get in the way of your own success, you self-sabotage, and hate on who you are, what you are, and everything you have achieved. There is always the feeling that you can always do more, and nothing that you do is good enough. You have a tendency to self-destruct, isolate yourself, and be overwhelmed with day-to day life. And yet, you do everything you can, to bat the dark clouds away. Still, there is always beauty in darkness.
My depression (although not my anxiety) helps me be a better writer, and when I am in the rhythm, I lose all sense of time. I forget to fixate on the bad, and the ugly, and pour all my feelings out on paper, letting the catharticism wash over me, in a purifying cleanse. My mental health issues, though dark, make me a warrior, and challenges me to live a life the very opposite of this, full of hope and love. After all, that’s why Justin created Solis for people with depression. From his own personal experience, he wanted to create a brand that represented the eternal battle between light and darkness. The light of course represented better days ahead, a future without suffering, calm thoughts. The darkness as we all know, was of course Depression, in its naked, ugly form.
Solis, meaning sun in Latin, expresses both a message of hope for mental health, and also a need to believe that brighter days were on the horizon. Though many of us battle with mental health issues, we can win. Our mental health journeys are different, and our stories are personal, but one thing mental health sufferers have in common, is that they are warriors. Solis helps to enlighten its wearers to seek joy, even when the storm clouds are brewing. With £5 from every purchase going to the Samaritans, you can feel good knowing that your money is going towards two brilliant companies. One that has beautiful t-shirts, that are vibrant and bold, to help you feel good on your ‘off days’ and the other, a helpline that provides free advice, and support to people across the country.
Although Solis does not claim to ‘cure your depression’, what it does do, is provide comfort. For me, colour brings me joy, and makes me feel good. I wear bright colours because for aesthetic and personal reasons. It looks good, it feels good, and it helps me find positivity, even if the darkness is lurking around the corner. Whether you are sad, down, stressed, tense, lonely, agitated, or anxious, we all need a bit of ‘Solis’ in our lives. As Justin says, when we view Depression as ‘the start of a journey’ rather than a ‘final destination’, the sun can begin to appear from behind the clouds. In other words, instead of denying the way we feel, we acknowledge our mental health, accept how it has impacted on your life, and then work out how to manage your symptoms. No two people are the same, so what might work for you, might not work for someone else.
For those who dismiss mental health issues, I urge you to remember that it is a silent illness that kills. Yes, on the outside we might look like we have it all together, but on the inside it can be a different story. You might feel like you are plunging into a black hole with no way out, and its not something that you are doing for attention. Despite catty comments, mental health issues is a disease, an illness and can take lives. It is demoralizing at times, and you shouldn’t have to hide the way you feel, or pretend that you are OK, when you are not. That’s why I speak openly about my mental health, and don’t shy away from talking candidly about it. You get the odd troll or two, who tries to take a s**t on you, when you are feeling low. But you pick yourself up, and keep on trying. You will never give up your battle against mental health.
And you know why? Although our experiences of Depression might be different, we all see it as a platform for change. You can make a difference in not only your life, but others too. When I spoke out about things you shouldn’t say to someone who is struggling with depression, I had so many amazing messages. One particular person, told me how it helped her marriage, and got her husband diagnosed. She was on the verge of Divorce, because she didn’t understand what he was doing or what he was going through. When she read the post, she realized it was depression, something that the doctor confirmed. While I don’t know if the couple are still together or not, it shows that something as simple as sharing your story, can help others that are going through the same thing.
That’s why I admire Solis, and everything that they stand for. They show me that I am not alone, and there are many others out there, like me, who have similar struggles. Together we can make a change. Together we can make a lasting difference. After all, Depression dosen’t care you are, or where you are from. If it has you in its sight, its guaranteed to pay a visit. Whether you have mental health issues short-term, long-term or for the rest of your life, things will always get better. Even if it is temporarily or fleeting, those are the moments we should hold on to. After all, darkness pushes you to strive towards the life you need and want. It’s not about what other people think you should do, it’s about being the most authentic version of yourself.
Feeling lost and alone, is a common theme in mental health struggles. Even in the biggest group of people, you can feel like you are surrounded by noone. Depression dosen’t discriminate, and neither does anxiety. That’s why Solis is a brand I strive to champion, because their own founder has faced similar struggles like me and you. There is no rose-tinted glasses version of the truth, the facts are there, plain and simple. While its stark, and shocking, that’s exactly how mental health can be. It works overtime to make you question, and doubt yourself, and is endlessly devoted to bringing you down. I choose not to listen to the niggling thoughts, and the doubts, and try to drown it out with self-love, self-acceptance, and self-care. Although I acknowledge it is there, and its something I have to work on, I don’t let it take over my life.
Instead I fight it, with colour, therapy, and a good dose of laughter. Like the t-shirts I am wearing above, I try and radiate good karma, through the clothing that I wear. Wearing red and yellow is a common colour combination that I use, to boost my self-esteem, confidence, and bring cheer into my life. But why am I drawn to these two colours in particular? Well, red evokes energy, willpower, and courage, while yellow offers self-confidence, happiness and contentment. In colour theory, both colours are often associated with danger, warnings, and alerts, but in my mind, they have positive connotations. Even if I look like Ronald McDonald, I love pairing these two contrasts together, to boost my mood. After all, Solis’s colourology range is designed to set your intention for the day, by choosing a colour that reflects the state of mind you wish to manifest.
100% organic cotton, vegan, and FairWear foundation approved, every t-shirt sold, is a phone call answered. Your donation could save someone’s life, by providing the Samaritans with the funds to answer a call from someone who is in crisis. Samaritans respond to around 10,000 calls a day, listening without judgement or pressure to those in need. They are also taking action to help prevent a crisis from happening in the first place, by working with people who are going through a difficult time and training others to help. From personal experience, I have used Samaritans in my lowest moments, and they have given me a kind, and welcoming ear, allowing me to express the way I feel, anonymously. It has actually stopped me from hurting myself, and even going a step beyond, on several occasions, which I am forever grateful for.
So while mental health is an ongoing journey, you don’t have to suffer alone. Tell people about the way you feel, and open up. Don’t keep it locked away inside, afraid of how people react. People often hate on what they don’t understand, but never mind them. What matters is you, and how you choose to live your life. Live your live in the present, and try not to jump ahead. Try to take each day a step at a time, and focus on a day at a time. When you do, your world will slow down a little, and that feeling of spiralling out of control, will become easier, and easier to control. Go easy on yourself, you are deserving of self-love. Like Solis, who is helping people with depression, do your bit to help yourself, and others. The world is a little less lonely when we choose to share.
Do You Struggle With Mental Health Issues?
Please note this is a collaborative post, but all thoughts are my own, and are not affected by monetary compensation. Let me know in the comments below what your thoughts are on Solis, and how they help people with Depression. I think that the work that they are doing is amazing, and should be commended. Especially when the founder himself has depression. Believe me, it is difficult to balance your own business, and everything else when you are struggling with mental health. Props to them!