SYW157 – Sharing Mental Health Stories

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The Covid-19 pandemic forced me to finally address the role of anxiety in my daily life. What was once manageable had become paralyzing, but my journey took a positive turn when I finally accepted help.

In this episode I’m joined by Laura Wonsik, a scrapbooker and mental health clinician, to explore how we share and document these stories. Our conversation centers on my personal experience, the baby steps I took towards change, and the resulting impact on my creative life.

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Laura Wonsik 0:00

It's important to remember that your struggle, the things that you struggle with the those pieces of darkness in your life, you know, those, those are what make you human. Those are what connect us. Those, those aren't weird and bad. Those are normal and human. And so it's okay to come out in the light because we're all, we're all experiencing it some just some people just aren't showing it.

Jennifer Wilson 0:24

Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way, the show that explores the breadth of ways to be a Memory Keeper today. I'm your host, Jennifer Wilson, Owner of Simple Scrapper and author of The New Rules of Scrapbooking. This is episode 157. In this episode, I'm joined by Laura Wonsik to chat about documenting our mental health stories. Our conversation focuses on my own journey with anxiety with Laura asking the questions. Hey, Laura, welcome back to Scrapbook Your Way.

Laura Wonsik 0:56

Thanks. Thanks for having me on. I'm excited to be back.

Jennifer Wilson 0:59

Yes, I am looking forward to our conversation. A little bit nervous, which our audience will soon discover why, but I think this is gonna be a really good one.

Laura Wonsik 1:08


Jennifer Wilson 1:09

So can you remind our audience who you are, where you live? What you do?

Laura Wonsik 1:13

Yeah, so my name is Laura Wonsik, and I live in Oxford, Ohio with my two daughters and my husband. And aside from scrapbooking, sort of on the side full time, I work at Miami University in the Student Counseling Service as a mental health clinician.

Jennifer Wilson 1:32

Awesome. And that's gonna definitely connect to our topic tonight, if folks have not already read that in the title, and you're also kind of have a claim to fame for being the one that does little music videos related to scrapbooking.

Laura Wonsik 1:45

I do. Yes. I love that. Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 1:49

It's so fun. You are like, You're so brave and super talented. And I always look forward to those.

Laura Wonsik 1:55

Oh, thank you. That's sweet. They're fun. They're silly.

Jennifer Wilson 1:59

Yeah, for sure. So what's exciting you right now in scrapbooking?

Laura Wonsik 2:03

You know, it's 2022. It's mid February, I have yet to start Project Life for this year. And I am realizing that what I'm excited about is breaking some of my habits and doing things a little bit differently. So I'm working on a variety of things right now, which is why I haven't started Project Life. But I'm really excited to get out of the pocket, switch the size up, switc my style up and just kind of do things different this year.

Jennifer Wilson 2:27

Hmm, yes, I hear that a lot these days. And I think we're just all in more of an experimental phase, we feel like we have permission to, you know, obviously go outside the page protector is very popular. But to just take these concepts that we appreciate. We appreciate the daily documentation or just like the small moment of life documentation. But how can we present that in a new way?

Laura Wonsik 2:51

Yes, yes, yes.

Jennifer Wilson 2:53

Yes. And for me, it's a little more on the like the hybrid end? And I think, I don't know, I'm seeing this as a trend. And I wonder if it's because of increasing costs and shipping delays. And I'm seeing more and more interest in the community in in hybrid and digital products as well. And so I've just, I'm loving, playing with things, you know, trying to use them in new ways, combining them with paper products, and just yeah, just try to take advantage of everything I know how to do on my computer.

Laura Wonsik 3:24

Yeah, I mean, that would make sense. Because you have a lot more freedom when things are digital, because you can just do it on your own. You don't need to wait for something physical.

Jennifer Wilson 3:32

Yes, yes, for sure. You can kind of jump ahead too. And I yeah, I was looking at the the new rainbows kit today. And just

Laura Wonsik 3:39


Jennifer Wilson 3:39

looking at the files. And I'm like, oh, well, now I want to do like a whole photo book with my daughter's memorabilia, cuz I think the rainbows will go great with that.

Laura Wonsik 3:48

Ooh, I love that. Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 3:49

So exciting. But yeah, then I have to scan a bunch of memorabilia. So we'll see.

Laura Wonsik 3:54


Jennifer Wilson 3:56

So of course, we always love to talk about stories here as well. And in particular, your Bucket List Stories. These are those important, sometimes deeper, but really significant stories we feel are important. So what is one story on your Bucket List?

Laura Wonsik 4:10

So I redid my high school albums a few years ago, and I had actually don't know how long ago I did that. But it was really meaningful to me. And next I want to do middle school and then childhood. So that's that's what's on my Bucket List right now.

Jennifer Wilson 4:24

Nice, super fun. I'm curious, when you redid your high school, like, did you preserve any of your original aspects of it? Like, did you photograph it, or...?

Laura Wonsik 4:37

That's such a good question. Um, I didn't I, you know, I went through I looked at it and I thought to myself, I have looked at these pages so much that I feel like they've lived their life and it was time to be all done. And so I said goodbye to them and it felt cathartic and good. And then I moved on and made new albums with actual journaling and stories and that wonderful. And so I just was really thankful that I did that.

Jennifer Wilson 5:02

I'm so yeah, I'm I'm still not sure what to do because I have a high school scrapbook that's all on purple paper. And they're all like cut into like hard circles and squares and triangles and no journaling, of course. Yeah. And but there's something so like nostalgic about it. I feel like I at least need to, like, digitize it to have it.

Laura Wonsik 5:27


Jennifer Wilson 5:28

Before I re-scrapbook those years.

Laura Wonsik 5:29

You know, I can still picture the pages, even as you said that I can picture the pages I made. I feel like they're burned into my brain. So...

Jennifer Wilson 5:35

Yes. So my Bucket List story that I really want to go in more depth on is my mental health story and talking to you today is really going to be even part of that journey. I've documented some of it, but not all of it. And I wanted to do this particular show because of you know, your role as a professional and as a scrapbooker. And to also maybe turn the tables a bit and just have you ask me some of the questions. I've been a guest on the show before in the very beginning. Kim interviewed me for My Way series episode. But I'm just hoping that aspects of my story might be able to help at least one of our listeners and so I'm willing to, to share and wanted to share because of that.

Laura Wonsik 6:21

I love it. I love, I love the way that it works to decrease the stigma.

Jennifer Wilson 6:26

Yes, yes. So can you share just a little bit more about like what you do in your day to day work life? So you mentioned that you're a counselor at Miami University.

Laura Wonsik 6:36

Yeah, so I do clinical mental health counseling. So I do individual therapy, I also run a group. In fact, I started a group last year, that is called expressing yourself through art. And we use art as a medium to do a variety of things. And that's been pretty cool. But mostly I just do individual therapy. I've been in the field for gosh, over 10 years now. I used to work in community mental health. I worked with families, kids, I love couples counseling, but now I'm just it's just with college students. So I only see Miami University students. And I absolutely love this population. This is the best possible setting for my personality. And it's just a great, a great setting to be at. I love it.

Jennifer Wilson 7:23

Oh, I can I can totally see that because of your personality. And also, I think that it's it's so important to just thinking back to my own college years that if I had felt comfortable getting that type of help, what kind of, you know, changes would I have been able to make and in my life? So I think that's pretty cool that you have that available.

Laura Wonsik 7:45

Yeah, definitely. We see a lot of students. Yeah, there. It's definitely, I think it's part of the culture today. You know, too, I think the stigma is going down overall. That's been my experience. So it's good.

Jennifer Wilson 7:58

Oh, 100%, I was making a comment today just about my daughter's elementary school education and how just the, the things that they're doing now to get them in touch with their feelings, and to communicate better and learn how to be friends. Like I don't, I don't feel like I had a lot of that. Like, it was more the rules and the structure and just don't get in trouble type of thing. Yeah, I feel like they're doing such a better job now of preparing kids for...

Laura Wonsik 8:26


Jennifer Wilson 8:26

What real life is good to be like.

Laura Wonsik 8:28

Well, and building emotional intelligence. And there's a great book about it by Daniel Goleman. Which talks about how emotional intelligence is such an important indicator of successes and adult success in a variety of ways. And so I think, not just focus, focusing on the traditional sort of ideas of intelligence, but building that other piece, social intelligence, emotional intelligence.

Jennifer Wilson 8:51

Well and I think of the more that are, obviously, the work world has changed quite a bit. And that has accelerated because of the pandemic.

Laura Wonsik 9:00


Jennifer Wilson 9:01

Because technology has replaced so many things in life, I think that emotional intelligence will become even more important to to getting things done, because it's going to be this more remote collaboration. And...

Laura Wonsik 9:14


Jennifer Wilson 9:15

You know, our kids are gonna have colleagues across the world in ways that we probably can't even imagine right now.

Laura Wonsik 9:21

Yeah, yeah, definitely. Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 9:24

So on the scrapbooking side, you've created some really awesome products for Ali Edwards and with her as well. Why is it important to you to have creative supplies on the market that support our ability to document mental health stories?

Laura Wonsik 9:40

Yeah, so you know, I think a lot of times, I think without knowing, our products do sort of dictate the stories that we tell. I know, you know, early in my scrapbooking, as you and I were talking about kind of the layouts maybe that we made in high school. You know, there weren't products when you walk down, you know, the aisle at the at your local scrap bookstore, you weren't finding stamp sets that were like, you know, today was a hard day, or this this month has been challenging. Everything was like believe, inspire, hope, love, family. And so I and so I think that as we as you shift to telling more authentic stories, you need products, you know, to align with that. And so, you know, there I think Ali specifically does a great job of that. But there hadn't really been any that were mental health specific. I think the only other person I've seen do a mental health one is Kelly Purky. I think I saw her do one. So I think that, you know, hopefully that stamp set, you know, that I made or whatever will inspire people to, you know, use that stamp set and and prompt a story of like, okay, there's a stamp here that says self care looks like this, what does my self care look like, you know, products can can lead the story.

Jennifer Wilson 10:55

Oh, so often. And I think, you know, the one of the stigmas we have inside Scrapbooking is that product shouldn't guide our stories. But I think that's such a powerful, maybe a pivot that we've made to, to, to bring out our stories. And to make it easier to dive into those when we just say, Okay, here's the products in front of me, what do I feel inspired to, to document from that? Versus starting with our photos and just capturing? You know, what's, what's happening on the surface of our lives?

Laura Wonsik 11:27

Right, right.

Jennifer Wilson 11:29

Hey, friends, Jennifer here, interjecting in the middle of the episode. So this was originally supposed to go live in May. And as Laura and I were chatting after we finished recording, she mentioned a brand new class that would be coming out within a matter of days. So I've decided to insert her description of that in this part of the episode. And I'll include the link to the class in the show notes as well. I didn't want you to miss out on the opportunity to dive into this topic with Laura. So here's her description of her upcoming class at Ali Edwards.

Laura Wonsik 12:10

Yeah, the class is called the story of the self. And it's sort of a merging of my mental health hat and my Memory Keeper hat. So it'll be a four week, 10 lesson class that basically you go on a journey of self exploration. So I have I do a lot of stuff that I do with my clients. So like there's there's a lesson about values, there's a lesson about not really boundaries, but kind of boundaries, there's a lesson about roles. There's one where I have you take a variety of inventories like personality inventories, there's a mindfulness one, there's sort of like a perfection. That it'll be good for you as a recovering perfectionist. There's one about risk taking and flexibility where I do like some kind of art therapy stuff for perfectionists. And then like, some journaling stuff about digging deeper into kind of who you are. And it's all about the self.

Jennifer Wilson 13:07

So as I said, today, we're flipping the tables, and you're gonna ask me some questions.

Laura Wonsik 13:11

Yes. So let's get started.

Jennifer Wilson 13:13

Yeah, I've shared a little bit on Instagram, and here on the podcast about my own mental health journey since last fall, but I really wanted to have this episode to, you know, be a standalone resource as well as to just I don't know, be more open about it.

Laura Wonsik 13:31

So can you share a little bit about the struggle that you've shared about on Instagram?

Jennifer Wilson 13:36

Yeah, so I've I hinted at it mostly in my Thursday3, just trying to be more kind of vulnerable and open. And it was so interesting. I had my husband review my Project Life photo book for last year. And he's like, this is really personal. Are you sure you want to share this? And I'm like, you don't even realize things that I just share on social media. Because I felt like my photo book was the pared down, you know, public audience version of things. Because it is so permanent compared to social media, which is a little more ephemeral. Sure, it's always there, but I don't think people are going back and looking at my Thursday3s from six months ago. But I've, I've had, I've struggled with some degree of anxiety for most of my life. And as I've delved into this more, I've identified these patterns that I've had. But my health anxiety was already ramping up pre pandemic because I started getting hives. This is chronic idiopathic urticaria, which you know, very well.

Laura Wonsik 14:47

Unfortunately, I do.

Jennifer Wilson 14:49

And so having having your body feel like it's rejecting you and not having a reason behind it was very frustrating. And so I was already kind of experiencing that. Anxiety and then add COVID on top of that. I already had a little bit of social anxiety. And then it was just just this, you know, perfect storm of Social and Health anxiety together because I all of a sudden it was just like, ooh, people are bad.

Laura Wonsik 15:15


Jennifer Wilson 15:16

And yeah, it just became almost kind of paralyzing. I didn't want to leave the house. And yeah, it was, it was, it was a challenging time.

Laura Wonsik 15:28

Okay, so what triggered you to taking action towards it?

Jennifer Wilson 15:33

It was really starting to impact my daily life. I've always felt like I had, I was very functional. In dealing with my anxiety. Of course, it was a lot of like, hormone triggers to it. For me, it's sort of parts of the month were great. And parts of the month were were less great. But really last, I guess, in the beginning of the Delta wave, you know, the summer everyone was so hopeful, we're all just like, going outside, no masks, like, Yay, we made it through this. And then it was like, Oh, shoot. Yeah, not so fast. And I just, I felt very kind of fearful. And every it just in daily life, just that sense of, of doom. And it was starting to just make me feel that like paralyzing overwhelm. And I couldn't get things done, because I just felt scared all the time about every decision. So I had to do something, because doing nothing obviously wasn't working.

Laura Wonsik 16:37

Right. And I think that, you know, a lot of times, it's like, when things get to the point where they're disruptive, you know, he because I think that if you're somebody that has a higher like sort of baseline of anxiety, you're sort of used to it. And so when it gets to a higher level, it's like, okay, even for me, this is a lot. Right.

Jennifer Wilson 16:58


Laura Wonsik 16:58

And and I think the other piece is that for somebody with social anxiety, health anxiety, you know, staying at home is often a coping skills, because it's a safe place. And I think, an unfortunate thing, I mean, there's lots of unfortunate things about COVID. But I think one of the unfortunate things is that we were at home a lot. And so, you know, part of managing anxiety and your fears is doing the things that you fear because you desensitize yourself to them. So when you're staying at home a lot, that's gonna deepen that without even intending to, it's not even like you did it necessarily because of the symptoms at first.

Jennifer Wilson 17:35

Yes, yes. No, I can 100% say that. And, you know, my husband started doing all the grocery shopping. And you know, we were obviously at the beginning, especially, we were told to stay home.

Laura Wonsik 17:46


Jennifer Wilson 17:47

And then I started choosing to stay home more.

Laura Wonsik 17:50


Jennifer Wilson 17:50

And opting out of things just because it made me nervous to be around groups of people.

Laura Wonsik 17:56

Right. And it's easy to rationalize because of COVID. Right? So it's, it's hard, I think, and, you know, there's always I mean, anxiety as an emotion is not unhealthy. It's adaptive. So it's, you know, it's like, you have to kind of know, okay, when is it helpful? And when is it unhelpful? And so there are times that we should be worried. And then there are times you know, that it's not helpful. And it's hard to tease that out in something like a pandemic, especially when there's so much different information and opinions floating around.

Jennifer Wilson 18:24

When I think it had become, like, if I think of my pre pandemic state, I knew there were going to be ebbs and flows. And I could I could cope with those. And I also think it did help me be more productive in certain ways. Like, yeah, it was. I really just, I never knew anything different. So to me, it was just normal until it wasn't anymore.

Laura Wonsik 18:49

Right. Right. So then what did you do for yourself when you got to that point?

Jennifer Wilson 18:55

Yeah, I Well, I talked to my husband about it. And he had been encouraging me to talk to professionals for the majority of our relationship, and we've been married for more than 13 years. And I was always just so hesitant. So I started by talking to my doctor who recommended therapy and exercise as a start. And I started therapy and a little bit exercise. And I quickly realized within probably two sessions that like, Yay, therapy, like, I'm no longer scared of this. This is good. But it wasn't going to change, like how I felt when I woke up every morning. There was something there was I could tell like my body needs some some chemical help here. And I had been resistant to medication as well, but I went back to the doctor, I was like, okay, yes, therapy will continue with that. But I would like to try medication too. And almost immediately, it made such a huge difference. And I was just like, oh my god is this what like everybody else feels like? I've never felt like this in my life.

Laura Wonsik 20:00

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I hear clients say that sometimes. And it really breaks my heart, you know. And the other thing that I hear is some regret. Because when you experienced that, then you're looking back going, what have I lost here?

Jennifer Wilson 20:14

Yes, oh my gosh, I can think of times in my life that were particularly challenging, you know, other, like stressful periods. And looking back, I should have been asking for help, then. And I probably could have coped significantly better, and maybe even made better choices in my life. So this just felt like, it was almost a snowball effect to like, once I opened the door, to be totally honest with my doctor, and going to see the therapist now I'm like, Yay, I want all the help. I love experts. Please like let's lean on everybody else's expertise, to supplement where I'm not as strong. And I was not that person before. My husband even said earlier today, when I was talking to him about about recording with you tonight. He's like, it's like a, it's you know, you're it's a 180, from where you were before. Because you were so resistant to, to that.

Laura Wonsik 21:16

Where do you think that resistance came from?

Jennifer Wilson 21:19

You know, in the beginning, a lot of it was just my social anxiety playing out that strangers equals bad. I just could not get past the idea of sitting down with a stranger and telling them all my thoughts and feelings. Now I do that on the internet a lot. But something about doing it in person.

Laura Wonsik 21:39

Yeah, it's more vulnerable.

Jennifer Wilson 21:41

Felt terrifying. And I didn't believe that I could develop any kind of relationship with with a therapist. But then that when the doctor said, a therapist is only a stranger once. And then that changed everything for me. And it's like, oh, my gosh, I can just get to that first time. She's not gonna be a stranger. And it's so true and fortunate that I found someone that I trust and who's really nice. And she, you know, asked really insightful questions. And it changed everything. And then on the medication side, my mom had had some negative experiences. And so I and I had witnessed some of them. And it just made me fearful of the medic, how do I say this? It made me fearful that the medication might make it worse and put me in a worse position than I already was.

Laura Wonsik 22:42

The last thing you want,

Jennifer Wilson 22:44

But it was never like I never felt because you've even mentioned the mental health stigma. I've never felt that. I've never felt like it was wrong or bad, or I'm, I'm weak. It was all it was all my own issues that were preventing me from asking for help.

Laura Wonsik 22:59

Okay. Okay. And and it was, it was therapy and medication. It wasn't more one more than the other.

Jennifer Wilson 23:06

I think they were they were both there and they were fighting against each other. And...

Laura Wonsik 23:10


Jennifer Wilson 23:11

They were both crutches and excuses that I could lean on.

Laura Wonsik 23:15


Jennifer Wilson 23:16

To say, No, I can't do this.

Laura Wonsik 23:19

Yeah. Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 23:20

And that those were, you know, those were limiting thoughts. I think last year, during One Little Word, just the the stories that I'm telling myself conversation, really helped me start catching myself in those like false conversations.

Laura Wonsik 23:39

Mm hmm.

Jennifer Wilson 23:41

Yeah, this this whole thing is just been such a such a journey for me. And as you said before, one that I wish I'd maybe started sooner.

Laura Wonsik 23:50

Mm hmm. So how have you documented it? Have you scrapped about it just through One Little Word other ways?

Jennifer Wilson 23:57

Mostly in One Little Word. So my word last year was strong. And I don't know if I was totally, like, aware of beginning of the year, but I feel like choosing that word, was preparation for asking for help. So what happened was, let's see, I went to the doctor in maybe like September ish. So like, after school had started, it was fall. But earlier in the year, I actually joined Noom to start a, you know, a health and wellness journey. And they have a one on one coach over text messaging, you know, in their app, and that actually paved the way for me to be okay. Say yes to therapy. Because that's what like when I went to the doctor, and she said, therapy, I'm like, okay, like, I wasn't even I was sort of resistant and I explained to her my feelings about it. And that's when she said, you know, only a stranger once, but every step I took throughout the year from choosing the word, from talking about what the word meant to me, and how I wanted to be strong. Most of it had nothing to do with like physically strong it was mentally and emotionally strong. And then just taking one baby step after another, really helped me get to the point where I could do this. And so really my whole One Little Word project last year was all about my own journey. And there were some other things too, like strengthening my relationships. But most of it was just about what was going on with me and how I needed to find that strength to, you know, make myself a better person.

Laura Wonsik 25:39

And it seems like the thing it was the hardest one of the hardest pieces was the was the initiating ask, initially asking for help.

Jennifer Wilson 25:47

It was because I remember when I was calling, you know, I did some research on the web to figure out which office I was going to call. And I, it took me three hours to make the phone call, because I have, because the I have phone anxiety. Like I don't like to call for pizza. One of my biggest fights with my husband was over how to order pizza. This is like in 2007. And I'm like, but we need internet to be able to order pizza. He's like, why wouldn't we just pick up the phone and use the yellow pages?

Laura Wonsik 26:23


Jennifer Wilson 26:24

But I did it. And like, you know what I even told them this, that the one thing that helped was that they had photos of the receptionist on their website. I knew who was going to be picking up the phone, and they even said, you know, one of these people is going to pick up the phone for you, and give you all the information you need and help match you with a therapist. And that gave me comfort to move forward.

Laura Wonsik 26:51

That's really powerful. And I think that it's it's good as a clinician to remember how hard that is for people, you know, because it's it's such a daily thing for me. So it's it's good for me to hear that because it's a good reminder of just that first step how hard that can be. How intimidating it sounds like it can be.

Jennifer Wilson 27:09

Mm hmm. And now I feel like the the doors opened. I've, yeah, those things do feel easier now. Because I know that I've done, you know, probably the hardest phone call, hopefully, hopefully, I know there'll be other hard phone calls. But that's probably one of the hardest phone calls I would have ever made in my life. But it makes the other ones feel easier. You know?

Laura Wonsik 27:33


Jennifer Wilson 27:35

So yeah, mostly in One Little Word. I mentioned the beginning how my Project Life photo book included some of it, but it was more pared down, definitely not meaty. And there was a point in which I thought, okay, maybe I just want to do One Little Word in my photo book. And I realized, no, One Little Word is gonna be the one that like, eventually those to me probably need to be discarded, because they're so personal that they're, you know, almost as personal as my journal. And that's, that's where I'm processing things that I then want to put in my scrapbooks, you know.

Laura Wonsik 28:16

So there's like layers of the story. And it sounds like yes, there's certain depths that feel too private to share.

Jennifer Wilson 28:25

Yes, for certain. And I am very open in my scrapbooking. And a lot of my pages are more like letters to my daughter, but they're after I've kind of have the lessons learned or even, even in the middle of it and say I'm in the middle of this, it's hard. Here's what I want you to understand or know or learn from my experience. But I think my realization is that I could have these different places. I could have a journal for like my most private, sad, angry, joyful thoughts, you know, the wide range of emotions. I can express myself through One Little Word, really exploring topics in more depth. And then I have kind of what I consider the rest of my scrapbooking, which is the stuff I want to pass down. The stuff that I feel like is documenting our family's stories more holistically.

Laura Wonsik 29:20

Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. How does it feel to talk about all this right now?

Jennifer Wilson 29:26

Um mostly okay. I guess. I feel like I'm not I've always said like, I have no modesty like I'm, I'm a pretty open person. I am willing to have conversations about awkward topics. You know, from sex to like anything else, like I'm that person who will just talk about anything. But it does, I am nervous about how it will be perceived. How? Yeah, I'm hoping that it that it. It, it shows my humanity and is an authentic conversation here. Because I know sometimes when you are a content creator or somebody sees, you know, the polished professional persona you try to put on it's, it can be a little misleading. It's not the full story. Even if I do share some of the story. I still try to make it pretty, you know, even on Instagram, like, here's the nice photo of me or the nice photo of my scrapbooking. Because that's what the algorithm wants, right?

Laura Wonsik 30:39

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think it's tough. It's tough to be your authentic self, but have boundaries? And, you know, I mean, I think, you know, anyone's reaction is, is their own stuff, their own stuff about mental health? And, and so, you know, I think it's, it's just hard. Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 31:04

Well, I think it is, it depends on how, like, your own personal journey with it, but also your family journey, and what subjects are okay to talk about?

Laura Wonsik 31:15


Jennifer Wilson 31:16

And I think we all grew up with the certain set of parameters, and sometimes they were broader. And sometimes there were narrower of, what do you talk about with, you know, with strangers or even, you know, colleagues and things like that. A lot of those boundaries, I think, have been breached because of social media because of the internet.

Laura Wonsik 31:38


Jennifer Wilson 31:16

But I think the more that we can talk about them in very real ways, not with like, vaguebooking, or whining or whatever. The more we can learn from each other.

Laura Wonsik 31:53

Yeah, definitely. And I think there's so many valuable just resources and tips out there that when we talk about it, then it sort of moves into a discussion of what's helpful. And then you might hear somebody say something, like what you just shared, that your doctor said to you about, like, you know, she'll only be a stranger once somebody might hear that, and that's very helpful for them, you know? Yes. Yeah. It's a risk, but there's reward.

Jennifer Wilson 32:17

Yeah, I think so. And I think that's what I've learned from from therapy in general is that it's, it's about it's about as much of my experience, telling the stories and, and making the connections for myself as it is for any of the questions that therapist is asking you the dots that she's connecting. It's about, she's drawing these things out of you, so that you can realize, oh, well, I've, you know, I've had social anxiety since I was afraid of the drugstore pharmacist when I was five years old.

Laura Wonsik 32:52

Yeah, yeah, it goes, it goes back. It's not new.

Jennifer Wilson 32:56

Yeah, for sure.

Laura Wonsik 32:57

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well, on every therapist, I mean, I think, you know, I'm glad that you had somebody that you connected with on your first time, especially because going to see a therapist was so anxiety provoking. But you know, there might be people listening, and they say, Well, I went to somebody and they weren't good. And, you know, or I shouldn't say good, good match. Because I think, you know, it really is more about match. And it's okay to try somebody new. If you go to a therapist, and it's not a good match, you can go to somebody else. I'm just glad that you didn't have to.

Jennifer Wilson 33:29

Yes, no. And I've had several people tell me that. There's been my, my therapist is more than a decade younger than me, maybe two, and which is fine. And I find her perspective, very interesting. There are certainly times in which someone with a more life wisdom, I think could be could could contribute. But I feel a a comfort and camaraderie with her. And I think she's smart and insightful. So for now, it's to me, it's a really good fit.

Laura Wonsik 34:03

That's so awesome. I'm so glad that you're able to value that. I remember when I was on internship, I was very afraid that people would think that and I remember one time I went in the waiting room to pick up a new intake and she was about 80. And she looked at me and said, you are very young. And I think that there's pros and cons, like you said, like perspectives. I mean, when someone's fresh out of school, that means that they've you know, learned the latest stuff, and they've got it in their head fresher than you know. So there's pros and cons to...

Jennifer Wilson 34:34

Oh, yeah, for sure. And I I think it's important to to not judge a book by its cover. Yeah, totally is a phrase like, yeah, everyone has something to contribute. We were all beginners ones.

Laura Wonsik 34:48


Jennifer Wilson 34:49

But yeah, it's about if I'm getting what I need from it, that's that's what matters most right.

Laura Wonsik 34:58

Yeah, absolutely. Yep.

Jennifer Wilson 34:59

Yeah. Yeah. And I think she's, she's like, definitely, like, she'll share a YouTube video with me. And, you know, she's definitely more on the, you know, the younger tech friendly side of things.

Laura Wonsik 35:14

That's awesome. Yeah. Um, so I'm interested in creativity and self care, because I know with with the kind of, it's not art therapy group, but an art group that I run, we talk about that. I talk about that with clients, I'm interested in your experience of that.

Jennifer Wilson 35:33

So it's, this has been such an evolution. For me, scrapbooking has always been the way that I practice gratitude. I've tried, I had tried gratitude journals in the past and was not successful. And so to me, like I was okay, that I can provide, like, honor my life, celebrate it, find the good, acknowledge the hard through whatever scrapbook projects that I was creating. But I always, I always had trouble kind of getting to the table. That's part of like, why I help people in the way that I do in my business. And it was really in, I guess, late 2020, you know, we'd been through a big, big slug, first wave of the pandemic. And I kind of rediscovered Cocoa Daisy, stickers, and stickers, for journaling, and for planning. And I was always very, like, creativity and planning don't go together. Like I'm a functional planner, like, it's about getting the job done, I will not make it pretty. You know, I'm at home, like, I don't have a lot going on on my calendar. So I have plenty of space to fill in with my stickers. And it just became like a first, first therapy step for me like, okay, I can use this, I can lean on this, this feels good. This brings a bit of joy to my life. And to me, that's just one of the small baby steps that I took towards being able to ask for professional help. And I kept, you know, I kept saying, Okay, if, if I will add this, and I will, I tried some things with my sleep and meditation, and those things all helped. But then I would go through a cycle in which, oh, this is not good. And I you know, things are getting worse. And they were nice tools to have, but they were not enough. But it was really after I started the medication like life was totally different. I, I've really never been able to turn to my hobbies for comfort in a way that I think a lot of people are able to.

Laura Wonsik 37:43

Hmm. What do you mean by that?

Jennifer Wilson 37:47

Like, if I was having a hard day, I would go zone out with Netflix or my phone or whatever. Going to my scrapbook room wasn't, wasn't drawing me to like, oh, I can just go decompress and scrapbook it. Like too much, no, if it was emotionally too much, or too connected to work. But I had a really hard time. Even though I liked scrapbooking and could and could use tricks to find the creative flow. It wasn't something that I turned to for comfort. I'm also painting now as well like doing little art journaling type things. And while I've done that off and on over the years, like I wasn't finding joyful expression from it. So it just kind of just, I don't know, unleashed a floodgate of having my soul fed by creativity in a way that I was never able to access before.

Laura Wonsik 38:49

And it sounds like to get there you kind of have to break one of your rules. About, about planning.

Jennifer Wilson 38:56

Oh, yes. Yeah. I had to break all the rules.

Laura Wonsik 38:59

Yeah. Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 39:00

Especially the rules of, you know, I'm, I'm self sufficient. I don't need help. I mean, I could ask my mom to verify, but I was probably one of those little toddlers that said I do it myself.

Laura Wonsik 39:14

Yeah. Yeah. Which again...

Jennifer Wilson 39:16

That stuck with me.

Laura Wonsik 39:18

Right, right. I heard a quote once that said, weaknesses are strengths abused. And I think that's true, right? Because that's a good thing. It's just you just don't want to take it too far.

Jennifer Wilson 39:29

Yeah, and I, I definitely did. I think the only way I think maybe there was a stigma for me was that I dealt with a lot of perfectionist issues over the years. I've mentioned on the podcast before that I was married in the in my 20s and got divorced. And there that was kind of the first big knocking me off my perfectionist pedestal and so I've certainly had already dealt with some of those feelings. But they still do of course, you know, as we all know, recovering perfectionist, still struggle with it. In you know, various aspects.

Laura Wonsik 40:12

Yeah. Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 40:16

What other guts can I spill for you, Laura?

Laura Wonsik 40:20

I don't know what's left, you tell me.

Jennifer Wilson 40:26

I just, you know, I want to leave our audience with permission to go at your own pace. But to also know that you're not alone. There are so many of us out there who have similar struggles, and also very different struggles. But once you do kind of take that first step, every following step is so much easier. Mm hmm. Yeah,

Laura Wonsik 41:01

I mean, I think it's important to remember that your struggle, the things that you struggle with the those pieces of darkness in your life, you know, those, those are, those are what make you human. Those are what connect us. Those, those aren't weird and bad. Those are normal, and human. And so it's okay to come out in the light, because we're all we're all experiencing it. Some just, some people just aren't showing it, you know.

Jennifer Wilson 41:30

Mmm. Yes. And I think that yeah, the more the more I do talk about it, the more others will say, Oh, yeah, me too. I just don't ever talk about that.

Laura Wonsik 41:41


Jennifer Wilson 41:42

And I think it also like, hearing, just hearing little stories of, you know, people I've known for a long time, the more that they shared, the more that gave me comfort and even choosing the word strong. Like, like hearing other people's stories and pave the way for the some of the baby steps I was able to make. So it was definitely like, it was a whole long road, but hearing other people say, like, you know, I, I, I'm experiencing this, and I asked for help, and it did help me was so helpful for me.

Laura Wonsik 42:17

Yeah, I mean, they're, you know, that's like being a leader right is saying, I'll go first I'll say that I'm struggling and trusting that other people, it'll either resonate with them, or they will choose not to share and that's fine. That's that's their thing. But again, it's not about you, and that's their own stuff.

Jennifer Wilson 42:35

Oh, for sure. Yep.

Laura Wonsik 42:37

Well, thank you for being brave and sharing this with us and being a leader in that way and putting your voice out so that other people can, you know, can feel that and connect with it.

Jennifer Wilson 42:47

Well, thank you so much for supporting this journey with me, Laura.

Laura Wonsik 42:51

Yes, of course. Happy to. Always here for conversations about feelings.

Jennifer Wilson 42:58

Well, I will include any links to things that we referenced in the show notes for this episode. And you know, again, Laura, thank you so much for your time and all that you contribute to the memory keeping industry.

Laura Wonsik 43:10

Thank you.

Jennifer Wilson 43:12

And to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way. Are you ready to start implementing the great ideas you hear on the podcast? The Simple Scrapper membership offers a welcoming space to connect with fellow Memory Keepers, and find the creative accountability you've been craving. Visit simple to learn more and join our community. It's the best it's ever been.

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