When my brother Justin died by suicide, I remember my heart physically hurting in my chest – like it almost didn’t belong there anymore. I did not think this kind of pain was possible. I had been through the worst depressive episode of my life, and yet this was an entirely new type of sadness, deeper than I ever imagined. There is not an easy way to describe it, but I’ll try. It was like all my insides were fragile – made out of thin glass, and my skin was holding me together even though the inside of my body was shattered and sore, and the pieces that weren’t broken yet could crack at any moment.
You know when you have an injury, you try not to move in a certain way or bump it to make it worse? It is that raw, swollen, fragile piece of you that you try to protect. That is what my insides felt like, and if I moved too quickly, or if someone said the wrong thing, or if I saw something that reminded me of him, I broke again – not knowing if my skin would hold me together that time. I remember wrapping my arms around my stomach in an attempt to remind myself I was still in one piece even though I felt like I had been shattered into a million pieces.
Related: What It Means to Have Hypochondria
The sadness from losing my best friend and sibling (aka life-partner) paired with the sadness of wondering what else I could have done to help him was nearly unbearable. Additionally, I was diagnosed with acute PTSD from the trauma of the experience the night that he died. Since I had been going to a therapist, who I deeply trusted for almost six months prior to my brother’s death, I knew it was in my best interest to start medication when he suggested this.
After some time, I was able to find a new functioning “normal.” I would never be the same, but it is truly amazing what therapy, medication, and time can do to heal the body and soul. I started thinking about ways I could help in the mental health field – I am not a doctor but there had to be something I could do… too many people are struggling. For Justin, it was too late. For those as sick as Justin was, professional treatment is 100% needed.
After a couple of years of brainstorming, I came up with the idea for BroglieBox — a quarterly subscription box with items and resources for mental health and stress relief. If I could go back and help myself in college when I was buried in anxiety, it would be this way. When someone is under stress or struggling mentally, the last thing that person wants to do is research what “could” help. The idea of spending that much time trying to figure it out then would have given me even more anxiety. I also remember trying to go to my college mental health center, and the waitlist for a therapist was three months – that is an entire semester! No one should have to wait that long to start feeling better — especially if there are self-help tools available.
There are so many people out there who don’t realize that little changes can make such a big difference to get a handle on stress. Every human is different in their own beautiful way – which also means that unique forms of self-care exist. BroglieBox is all about providing options to see what works based on what has worked for others with similar challenges. By utilizing the resources and items that are within BroglieBox, I found that even during my darkest moments I could be back on my way from inner pieces to inner peace.
I will never get my big brother back, but I might be able to help others maintain their mental health. And that alone keeps me motivated.