Have you ever felt like your world had collapsed around you and nothing could make it better?
So low & deflated that you just want the feeling to end so you won't have to deal with the thoughts in your head anymore?
If you know that feeling, then you know how I felt in April 2018. But this isn't a story of how I got to that low point, this is me telling you that it gets better. What helped me get better was a combination of counselling, medication and the support of my friends and family. Throughout my journey to recovery I found that as soon as I confided in someone about my experience, they would reveal that either themselves or a loved one had been through something similar. This, I thought, was something no one was talking about and it should be. If I'd known how many people around me had experienced this, I wouldn't have felt like I had no one to talk to who would understand. It made me think of how many people must be going through this right now thinking they're alone, when they're not. It had to change and I wanted to be part of it. With that, Old Eltons Clothing was born.
"Despite the perfectionist in me saying it's never enough, I have to admit, it's come along way"
My passion for drawing and design had already been sparked years ago (picture 7 year old me drawing cartoons on my mum's baking paper), but I had found myself going down the path of music instead. My band found enough success that I was lucky enough to tour all over the UK, and I like to think the influence of pop punk is still reflected in my point of view as a creator even now. Having left my tour days behind me, several years into working as a disability support worker both at home and in Australia, I found that care work (although very rewarding in many ways) just wasn't what I wanted to do. Design was calling me. So, with a portfolio in hand, I began from scratch and self-taught my way to a point where I was able to make a living from drawing. Inevitably, there comes a time when you have to choose whether to live comfortably or to take a leap of faith. For me, that leap came in the form of starting my own business as Old Eltons Print Studio. From humble beginnings in a garage, to where we are now, is difficult for me to get me head around. But despite the perfectionist in me saying it's never enough, I have to admit, it's come a long way.
"Safe to say depression hit me like a train"
As tends to always happen, just as things were going well, something came along that pulled the rug out from underneath me. Safe to say depression hit me like a train. Having to run a business while going through a tough time had challenges of its own, but having the studio also gave me all the tools I needed to channel my experience into a creative outlet. Anxiety is real and it sucks, and although it's not something that ever goes away entirely (after all, everyone has good days and bad days), I'm glad to say I'm at a point where it's manageable. I hope that through my designs, it offers a small reminder of what we already know but don't always allow ourselves to believe: on good days you have permission to feel happy and on bad days you can make it through. You are deserving and you are enough.