YAY Candle Spotlight: Malori Maeva

YAY Candle Spotlight: Malori Maeva

Standard Wax recently launched a new product that gives $5 from every candle sold directly to Bring Change to Mind, a non-profit on a mission to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. Designed by Brooklyn-based design studio Yay Foundry, the candle uses the science of scent to bring just a little more happiness into this world. As part of the launch campaign, I wanted to chat with a few inspiring women about why mental health is important to them, and how it can help make our communities better.
You can shop the candle here. Stock is very limited.
Today's feature: Malori Maeva
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Who are you? What do you do? What makes you so amazing and cool?

I'm Malori Maeva! I run a floral design business that creates dope arrangements for weddings and events. When I'm not flowering, I love to write, cook, and watch endless hours of the same few TV shows over and over again.

Why is mental health important to you?

Your mental health impacts every part of your life and if you've ever had a brush with mental illness, you know just how valuable good mental health is. 

Why is mental health something that should be important to more people?

I think there is a huge misconception that giving attention to your mental health means that you are "broken" or "damaged" in some way. I have read a lot of accounts from people with mental health struggles that speak to a feeling of isolation in their challenges but for me, I always felt like my issues were common but that people were afraid to talk about them or didn't know how to articulate what they were feeling. Your personal health, mental and otherwise, should be number one for you because without them, you don't have anything else. 
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How has focusing on your own mental health changed your life?

IT. HAS. BEEN. HUGE. I think of the person I was before I started going to therapy and I genuinely feel like I don't know her anymore. I used to let my anxiety/depression run my life and there were absolutely times when I worried things had become so dark and stormy that I wouldn't ever get to see the light again. I was an incredibly happy kid and somewhere along the way, I feel like I lost my light. Everything felt difficult and there were times where I felt entirely defeated by life. I'm amazed by the tricks my mind played on me and after two years in therapy and some of the most challenging times of my life, I'm amazed to find that my light is still there; I'm even more amazed to realize that I can't recall when I stopped feeling good and started feeling so helplessly sad. At the risk of sounding dramatic, I really feel like I have my life back.

Do you think mental health is discussed enough? 

Nope. I'd love to hear more stories from prominent people about mental health struggles. With social media there's been this huge spotlight on "perfect" lives and while you don't owe anyone a disclaimer for your happiness and success, it certainly helps to remind your audience that you've got bad days peppered in with the good. Or, if you're me, most days are about a 50/50 blend of joy and sorrow. Something I've learned through being more outspoken about my mental health is that people are incredibly uncomfortable with sadness. I would love to see our culture come to a place where we can sit with our sadness rather than stuffing it down and being HAPPY instead. Happiness is wonderful but there is a full array of emotions that we have and if you allow yourself to really embrace them, the good ones feel so much sweeter. 
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In what ways do you think talking about mental health more could benefit your community?

Even within my inner circle, I've gotten to see my constant soapboxing about mental health changing lives. I think that people need to know that they aren't alone in the struggle and that anxiety/depression don't have to be a lifestyle. I think there is a weird budget of honor that comes along with being overworked, exhausted, and "busy" but I'd love to see a shift to the badge of honor being on those who take care of themselves. Life is so insanely short. I refuse to be miserable and exhausted for the duration of mine.

What can we do to get rid of the stigma surrounding mental health? Is there a way we can help people feel comfortable talking about it more?

I think we need to stop punishing people for discussing their mental health in public. I think that people are afraid that if they speak up, they will lose business or friends or respect. But, you'd be shocked to know how many people live with mental health issues and present as totally fine. If more people were willing to be open about their own struggles, it would really help to reduce the stigma.
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If you struggle with any mental health related issues - what are they? How do you manage them?

I've got anxiety and depression that come and go as they please, sometimes as a team, sometimes independent of each other. I am a huge advocate of talk therapy as a first line of defense rather than jumping right into medication. For me, talk therapy is enough to help me manage my anxiety but a good therapist can also help you navigate whether or not medication would be beneficial for you. I've learned that setting boundaries in my life has really helped curb my anxiety. I am an introvert so I find that setting aside time to be by myself is hugely beneficial to my mental health. I also love to write so when I'm struggling, I'll try to put my thoughts on paper so I can process through them. Exercise always helps in an anxiety crisis - shoutout to 30 minutes of cardio for calming down countless panic attacks. And finally, having a small group of people in your life that know what you're going through and are willing/able to help you through it. I can't say enough about the power of friends on your couch with a good dinner and some shitty wine to really turn a day around.
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