Today on the Black Typographic Blog we’re interviewing Lauren from the Positive Page. If you suffer with any type of mental illness, this post is going to be of interest to you. Lauren has created a community to support those with their mental health and point them in the right way to get the help they need. Even though she suffers from a number of different anxiety issues, she’s found a way she can help others.
Keep reading if you or a loved one has mental health issues – spoiler alert – that’s most people on the planet.
Interview starts below
Q, What prompted you to start the positive page? Do you or someone close suffer with a mental illness?
A, I wanted to start The Positive Page because of the lack of mental health support there is available in this country. I found it difficult to get into services as a young teenager when I really needed the help simply because there wasn’t enough space. Some of my friends who also needed support were experiencing the same issues. I saw that throughout the country (and maybe even the whole world) this was a common issue and although I couldn’t fix that, I wanted to do what I could to help people.
I decided I wanted to create an online space (for everyone) which could provide some sort of comfort for those struggling. I designed my website first and from there it lifted off into trying to build a community that both raised awareness and information on how different mental illnesses affect individuals AND at the same time give them comfort as much as possible.
My thoughts were, for the people who had not been able to get professional support it could be something that would give them hope and make them feel less alone.
Q, Do you or someone close suffer with a mental illness?
A, I suffer from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Health Anxiety (Hypochondria) and GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder). A few people I am close to also battle Eating Disorders, Depression and Borderline Personality Disorder, therefore helping these causes is also very important to me.
Q, I know there are plenty of people who are suffering in silence because they think its not bad enough to seek help for or they feel like they’re making mountains out of molehills, what would be the first step you would suggest for them to start getting the help they need?
A, Your feelings are valid no matter how big or small. You do deserve help. However, if you do struggle with validating your feelings/struggles remember that no matter how small your issue is you’re still allowed to ask for help for it.
You don’t have to be at your worst to ask for help, you don’t have to be ‘struggling more’ than everyone else to ask for help. There’s no shame in it, it would be so so much better that you asked for help when it the problem is ‘small’ than stay silent and deal with it getting worse on your own.
The first step I honestly think it helps to write it down just for yourself first. Write everything you feel and are struggling with down, it might help you realise just how much you need help.
Q, I love the idea of the worry box on your website, how does it work and how did you get the idea for it?
A, Thank you! It works pretty simply, you submit a worry, I read through them all then randomly select ones to post on Instagram with advice in the caption.
I also ask for our community of followers to offer advice too as we’ve all experienced different things and I am not always in the place to offer the best advice on certain topics as I’ve not seen it first-hand etc.
I got the idea for it when I was lying in bed one night. I was thinking about how can I give these people a space to share how they feel when so many of them are too scared to reach out.
The worry box is 100% anonymous meaning that it helps to eliminate that fear of judgement because no one knows who they are.
The only problem with this is I under anticipated just how many people would use it and therefore I am now having to consider more efficient ways of responding to the worry box submissions so we can reply to as many of them as possible!
Q, Tell me what are your most important values. It’s clear that self-love and taking care of your mental health are bigs ones but what else motivates you to do what you do?
A, Honestly, it’s the people that don’t understand mental illness at all that motivate me. That and everyone who I know, or who message me or who put in the worry box about how people don’t understand. The amount of pain it causes just by the sheer fact that the majority of people don’t know the real and important information about ill mental health just gets to me.
I want to help build that communication so that people can talk with others about their mental health and there won’t be as many conflicts and damaging misunderstandings.
Q, I know designing your products helps with your own mental health. How do you deal with putting yourself out there when you’re brain is being a meany and telling you ‘you’re crap’?
A, I’m not going to lie sometimes it is really difficult. This week I’m actually currently on a tiny break from The Positive Page to give myself some perspective.
Some days I get up and I’m like yeah we’re doing this, it’s great let’s keep going and creating.
But some days, sometimes even weeks at a time it can be a battle with my mind not to let the self-doubt and fear of what I’m creating not being good enough, win.
Having OCD it causes many conflicts with things I do when working too so that can get in the way.
Something I found helped me was trying to strip back my expectations of myself.
Rather than viewing it as “today, I have to do as many things as I can”, I try to tell myself to do three things. One thing that’s productive, one thing I’m proud of and one thing I enjoy. They could be the smallest things in the world but small things every day is totally okay.
It’s good to not lose enjoyment in the stress of trying to be productive all the time. I keep these in a journal, writing down those three points each day. It gives me purpose, a sense of achievement and makes me see that what I am doing is not ‘crap’.
Q. If you could get 1 message out to the entire world, what is it you would want them to know?
A. This changes a lot because there are always so many things I want to say but at the moment if I had to say one thing it would be this:
We’re not here to just spend our whole lives comparing our hard work, our productivity, our looks, what we have (or don’t have) to other people.
We’re not here to always think about how we have to improve ourselves or what we do. Not always.
You are allowed to be present, to enjoy what you have, what is happening now.
Try not to get too wrapped up in anxiety of what’s to come, or sadness of what you wish you had or could do. It’s not easy to do but being present makes things feel a lot less overwhelming.
Q. Anything else you want to share with my reader?
A. If you’re struggling with your mental health I think you are really brave. Please don’t give up on yourself there will be easier days, you can get there.
Q. Where else can they find you online?
We operate primarily through Instagram and our website:
But we are also on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.
Thanks, Lauren for the insight, I think it’s really important for people to see that there is support out there. So if you need help or feel you have offer support head over to www.thepositivepage.org