Building a Brand to Fight Against the Stigma

Building a Brand to Fight Against the Stigma

by Jelisa V. - Owner/Founder, Ambient Wick

 My introduction to the stigma that surrounds mental health happened at a young age, and the topic was always so taboo in my community. However, ever since I started college back in 2007, general anxiety has been a regular part of my life.

I always felt the need to “be strong” and power through everything so that I did not look weak or unstable. I would constantly suppress my anxiety instead of addressing it and caring for it. I never treated myself or my mind with the care and attention I deserved. Then, one day, I was hospitalized for a spell with a partially collapsed lung and it nearly broke me. The experience of a hospital stay in the heart of a pandemic was terrifying; not being able to see family and be near anyone I loved was traumatic. So naturally, when I was released, my already suppressed anxiety disorder came to the forefront, and everything I had been neglecting came back to take its toll. I was severely anxious to the point where I couldn’t function. The fear of returning to the hospital and the current state of my health scared me so much that I became incredibly depressed and even suicidal.
After carrying on this way for a few weeks, I knew I had to do something. At that moment, I decided to put myself first and stepped back from projects at work, things at home and tuned into myself and decided to get some real help. I didn’t care about how it “looked” to anyone anymore; I just needed to do what was right for me. So I started therapy, and I got on some medication to help me through. After 7 months of consistency, I am in a much better place where I no longer have to take medication, and I am actually on a break from therapy! I felt so inspired by my progress that I decided to revisit my idea of starting a candle business. So, I built my brand Ambient Wick™ and began selling online in October of 2020.
Within a month of getting started, I knew that I wanted my brand to do something bigger than just sell candles. That is when I started thinking about what is important to me and how I wanted to impact the world, and with mental health being a cause that is close to my heart, I started seeking organizations to support. Being someone who has overcome depression and has reached a good place with my anxiety, I wanted to give back to one organization that spoke to me in this space. That is when I came across the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. After researching them thoroughly, it was the only organization that stuck out to me, so I knew it was the one I wanted to support regularly. 
Since November of 2020, I have donated 5% of every single sale to ADAA, and it is an organization that I am proud to support. The last year and a half have been incredibly taxing on many of us and we are on the brink of a mental health crisis if we aren’t already there. I want everyone who is suffering in this way to feel empowered to turn to organizations like ADAA to seek help and support and know that IT IS OKAY. There are so many communities where mental health is a taboo topic and the stigma behind it keeps growing and circulating but I am proud to have built a brand that is actively doing its part to fight against that and support people like myself who need and want to treat their minds better. 

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