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  • Writer's pictureAshley Scott

How It All Started: From Mental Health Peer Support to Fashion Design

Have you ever been lost in your career pursuits? I have. Over and Over again. When I graduated High School and started college, I thought I was going to go into Education, but I also had a passion for Music performance and Art. Then as I got into the workforce and found that I had pretty strong skills in Customer Service. I was good at regulating my emotions when customers were angry or unsatisfied. I knew how to understand and build a good rapport with people that other people wrote off.

When I started in Mental Health Peer Support, I was in a Mental Health crisis of my own. I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Panic Disorder. I was doing all the work. I was unemployed but I was doing my own mental health recovery work like it was a full time job! I had a class or a group every day of the week. I went to Nutrition Class on Mondays, Stress Management Class on Tuesdays, Grief Support Group on Wednesdays, Therapy on Thursdays and I had a Business/Life Coaching Program I was in on Fridays. I cannot remember what the weekends entailed and I may have gotten it out of order but you get the picture. I was reading books, watching lots of Super Soul Sunday on the OWN Network. Anyway, I was working hard to improve my life and health. One day, I was having suicidal thoughts, thinking I had done all of this work for nothing and nothing was working. Now, even though I was having thoughts of suicide, I had committed to myself that I wanted to live. I was still processing the grief of my brother dying by suicide, I could not do that to myself or my family. So I had to figure it out. I started to think, I feel like I have nothing and nothing is working, BUT IS THAT REALLY TRUE? Do I really not have anything or am I unaware of the value of what i do have?

I wrote down a (short) list of things but one thing that I definitely had an abundance of was TIME. I thought about Volunteering my time. I reached out to NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) to see if I could be a Presenter for their Ending the Silence Program. I had always enjoyed my time working with Youth and Young Adults as a Community Organizer and I wanted to help High school students that were struggling with their mental health like I was in High School.

To make a long story, shorter, a couple months after reaching out to NAMI, my journey as a Mental Health Advocate began. Through the years I was able to be apart of influencing Mental Health Research, become a Public Speaker sharing my recovery Journey and help others struggling with their mental health find mental health resources in their community.

You may ask, Ashley, where did the creativity go? Did you just ditch your creative passions? No I didn't ditch my creative passions the thing was I was trying to find a way to merge the two. Mental Health Advocacy and Creativity. I will talk about how that went in another blog post but I'll just say, trying to squeeze Creativity in when I didn't feel creative didn't work.

After years of doing Mental Health work and a Global Pandemic to open my eyes, I realized that I needed to reevaluate my career. I had went from volunteering in Mental Health to working full time jobs. I needed to take my career to the next level.

I had always been passionate about Fashion. It was my secret passion though because I did not look like someone who could influence fashion the way I would want to. So it didn't even cross my mind as an option for me. In elementary school when other kids were doodling in their notebooks, I was drawing wedding dresses. It makes sense to me now that through my mental health recovery journey, I would find my true passion. Through improving my self - confidence, finding self - acceptance, and all the other things I've learned, I made it here all along. Nevermind that my mom is a Seamstress and my dad was a Wedding Photographer (lol), somehow I had no clue I would be an Aspiring Fashion Designer. 🤷‍♀️

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