My name is Kasey and for the first 30 years of my life, my biggest goal was to become a mum. I thought that once I was a mother, I would feel complete and be totally content with my life. Turns out, I was completely wrong. In the last 2.5 years, since having my daughter, I have felt more, experienced more and achieved more than I ever thought possible. It turns out that I did not just give birth to my daughter that day; I gave birth to my real self.
Overcoming Post Natal Depression
Ever since I was 18 years old, I have battled with mental illness. This was exacerbated by bullying, eating disorders and self-harm in my late teens and twenties, so it really came as no surprise to me to be diagnosed with Post Natal Depression when my daughter was 3 months old. After speaking to my GP and being given a Mental Health Care Plan (a totally underutilised tool for new mother’s in my opinion), I was referred to a psychologist. I always knew I was ‘damaged goods’, but it turns out that having my daughter, the one thing I thought might heal me, actually turned out to be the thing that broke me.
I continued to see my psychologist on a regular basis over the next 18 months. She became my safe haven, a place where I could go and reveal all my darkest thoughts and most awful of feelings. She allowed me to say things I was too scared to say to anyone else. Through this process, we broke down every part of the pain I had suffered from the age of 13 (when the bullying began). We delved deeper and deeper and I hit some very deep, dark places. But, you can only dig so far. And from then on, the only direction is up.
Taking the Leap
One night whilst driving home from a particularly intense session in which I discussed my fears for my daughter suffering the same fate as me, I was struck with an idea that I thought was too crazy to pursue. But it stayed in my mind and after discussing the idea with my husband, I decided to go for it. I was going to write, illustrate and self-publish my own children’s book. A book that would not only be educational for children, but would empower them. It would enhance their imagination, whilst teaching them strength and self-acceptance.
However, in order to make this dream a reality, I needed the one thing I did not really have. And that was money. I did some further research and concluded that there was really only one option, but it would mean sharing my story with the whole world. So, I created a Kickstarter campaign. For those of you who have not heard of Kickstarter, it is a crowd funding platform aimed at creatives. You create a campaign, launch a video explaining what you are doing and why, and basically hope for the best.
It allowed me share my story and my passion to help others, and to showcase this, I explained that 30% of all my book proceeds (if it were to be published) would go direct to beyondblue, to help support those who may be suffering, just as I did. I needed $5,000 to print 500 books and I gave myself 30 days to do so. And there it was. My story, my pain, my secrets…everything was online and out in the big wide world. It was the scariest thing I have ever done, but at the same time, the most liberating. To share all the things that for so long bought me so much pain, and to witness people share their own fears, their own battles and show me the love and support I received was amazing.
I reached my goal within 13 days. And it kept growing. Long story short, I smashed my goal, my publisher allowed me to print 1,000 books for my total raised and my kid’s book ‘When I Grow Up’ was published. It was launched on 7th October 2017, to coincide with the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, and the support I received was phenomenal. For more information on ‘When I Grow Up’ please visit: www.kaseyrainbow.bigcartel.com
A New Direction
At the beginning of 2018, I started planning my 2nd children’s book. But as I was working on it, I did not feel the same passion and drive that I felt with the first, and decided to focus my attention elsewhere.
I decided to create a book for someone just as important as my daughter, and that was me. BIG LOVE: little book unites 38 women through paper, bringing them together to tell their stories, share their experiences and offer their wisdom. Accompanied by beautiful artwork, imagery and design, this book was created to support women and show mothers everywhere that they are not alone.
To sum it all up, I guess you could say that 3 years ago, my passion in life was to become a mum. To focus solely on one person, and to make that person as happy as possible. And I do. However, in order to do so, I had to focus on one other person, and make them happy first. And that person is me. And now? My goal in life is to help others, be kind and share my experiences, in the hope to be the ‘rainbow’ in someone else’s storm.