My name is Meagan…and I suffer from a mental illness. Ever since I became an author I've been pretty open about my mental illnesses (my depression and anxiety)...but lately that has changed. I've found myself withdrawing from pretty much everything, and everyone. I noticed changes in my mood and my behaviour and those changes were noticed by my family, too. That's when I decided I need to speak up. I told my therapist and my doctor that things had changed for the worst and after describing my symptoms they too quickly realised that something wasn't right. I went back to see a psychiatrist, and I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Now if you're not familiar with BPD (which I, along with my family, were not), and you missed the latest episode of TYMO (my podcast, which you can find here) you may have missed me talking a little bit about this. I'll add in part of it here.
"Something I learnt from my new diagnosis is when you tell people you have BPD they think it’s not serious because it’s not Bipolar (which is understandable since Bipolar is more well-known, whereas BPD isn’t quite as well known, yet). I’m not going to go too much into my new diagnosis right now, as I'll do that in an upcoming episode, but to quickly explain what BPD is, its: Struggling with instability, switching between emotions very quickly, and a lot of what it is are characterised by a long-term pattern of unstable relationships, distorted sense of self, and strong emotional reactions. It is chaotic and uncontrollable, and it is something that cannot be controlled, and despite being able to get help, for me it is personally something I will never not live without. It’s like being in a roller coaster and I struggle a lot. My self-image, goals, and even my likes and dislikes can change quickly and that often feel confusing and unclear. A lot of my friends don’t know about this, as it’s something I’ve had to process on my own, but again, I felt like it was something I needed to share since I’m being so open and honest about my experience in order to try to help others out there who may feel to scared to speak up about things they may be feeling. I’m going to go into more detail about my personal journey and my new diagnosis next month, but I felt it was important to include at the start of this episode, too."
I’ve always wanted to do something positive with the one negative that is with me day after day, 24/7, rain, hail or sunshine. I've wanted to try to help break down the walls that still surround mental illnesses. If I can, then all the bad days won't be so bad. And I truly believe that education and talking about stuff like this is what will lead to the changes we need to make.
In saying that I’ve had a burning desire to take this negative and turn it into something positive, I've been never sure on how to achieve to that. After spending months thinking about it, something hit me as I was reading a book. I placed my paper bookmark in and realised I’d been through a number of them over the years…and then I knew what it was that I wanted to do. What if I could take my love of books and bookmarks and make something from scratch that could help raise money for mental health charities? And what if I could take my love of scrunchies and do the same? And that’s how Meagan Jane Designs was born. I plan on donating HALF of every sale to Lifeline, and the ultimate dream/goal is to be making enough money to be able to donate to a bunch of mental health charities.
I will also continue to offer my book deal where I offer both of my books for a special price, with half of the sale going to The Kai Eardley Foundation, you can find out more information on that here.
I'll also be doing the Meagan Jane Designs book buddy bundle, which is similar to blind date with a book. Essentially, you'll be able to pick from a list of keywords already available on the website (without actually knowing what the book is), and I match you up to a book I think you'll enjoy. If you'd like more say in what kind of book you'd like you can list your own genre and keywords and I will handpick your blind date with a book. Each book buddy bundle comes with the book, a book sleeve, bookmark and scrunchie of your choosing (scrunchies can be changed for an extra bookmark if you'd prefer that).
I'll also be taking on custom orders. I've already had a few (despite not being open yet!) and I love it. I've made scrunchies for kids, as well as custom book sleeves. I'll be adding new fabrics and products to my store too, so to keep an eye on what's new follow Meagan Jane Designs on Facebook and Instagram.
My reason for doing this is not to make money for me, it’s not to gain popularity or be a ‘best seller’ my reason for doing this is to give back to Lifeline after they helped me when I was at my lowest. I want to help raise much needed funds and awareness for mental illnesses. too. By doing so, places like Lifeline can continue helping people who desperately need it, and when it feels like there is no light, I want to be able to help shine a bit of brightness where it is needed.
And the truth is…I’ve found myself wanting to give up on life more times than I can count. I’ve wanted to just let go and be free from all of the horrible things I deal with alone, and I’ve wanted to be free from the intense low feeling that engulfs me every single day. But every day that I wake up is a new chance to continue fighting for a brighter future. Not only for me, but for anyone who suffers with an invisible illness. And as long as I am breathing, that's exactly what I'll be doing.
You can head to the Meagan Jane Designs website and sign up to my newsletter, which will give you access to the pre-order 2 days before it opens up to everyone else. I have lots of fabrics available, and if something is on the website that you like but isn't available (say there's a scrunchie fabric that you would love as a bookmark) simply reach out and I'd be happy to work something out with you :)
Pre-orders will open for those who DON'T sign up for my newsletter on the 10th August at 12PM AWST and will close on the 17th August at 12PM AWST. Anyone who DOES sign up for the newsletter will get access from the 8th August at 12PM AWST. From the 17th - 24th August all pre-ordered items will be made and sent out (if not already in stock). Meagan Jane Designs will then be open for business for anyone who missed the pre-order launch from the 24th August 2020.
Before I sign off I just want to thank you all for the continued support. To my family and friends who have dealt with me over the last few months (and years!), thank you. Thank you for always being my light when I was locked in the darkness. Words aren't strong enough to express my love and gratitude to you all. To those of you whom I don't know personally, but have spoken to through these ventures of mine, thank you for your encouraging words and for allowing me to do things like this in order to try to make a difference. I appreciate you all so very much.
And to anyone out there who thinks they're not worthy of taking another breath..I know what it's like to want to give in to the darkness, and to feel like you're alone and that no one cares...but I care. And I will always care. You are SO important and SO needed in this world. Please don't ever be ashamed of the lows you feel, they are just as important as the highs. You are NOT weak for having negative thoughts and bad days. You're human. You're allowed to break sometimes. There are always people there, even if you feel like there isn't. And if you feel like you can't turn to family, friends or services like Lifeline, turn to me. I will never turn you away, and I will never make you feel like you have nowhere else to go. I am here to offer a safe, judgement free space for ANYONE who needs it. We need to be there for those who need it, otherwise the light is never going to shine bright enough.
Please reach out. I care, your family cares, your friends care.