This is a guest post written by Katie Houghton, mental health advocate and owner of ‘Happy Post.’
I’ve had a long battle with mental health issues. It started with self harm in my teens, which led to anorexia and I was later diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I’m not going to lie, it has made me very angry. I never trained in a career and my life has seemingly been plagued with health issues. It wasn’t the life I had in my head and that at times has been hard to deal with. On the other hand, mental illness has made me who I am. I am extremely open minded, very empathetic and I consider myself to be kind. I’m a person who will always try to help others, I don’t like to think of anyone going through the kind of pain that I have.
As a direct result of this passion for helping others, my Etsy shop ‘Happy Post‘ was born.
One day I was thinking about how my creativity could benefit other people. I looked at my parcels that were ready for the post office, with their shiny “Happy Post” stickers that I always use on the packaging and thought “That’s it!’ I decided that I wanted to create smaller prints with inspirational quotes and send them to people struggling with mental health issues, and those who are feeling that there is no hope.
The next day I set up a facebook page and named it “A Journey To Hope” as I feel it’s so important to have. Hope is always there, we never know what’s around the corner, but sometimes we have to go on a journey to find it. I immediately received messages from people telling me about their stories and requesting some happy post. I felt great delight in putting together the quote cards with little handwritten notes in envelopes, with the fronts bursting with pretty happy post stickers.
I had such wonderful feedback, that I decided to build a website almost immediately. I wanted to make ‘A Journey To Hope’ more accessible and also a place that I could use to blog about mental illness and share my own experiences.
My Happy Post is totally free, I don’t charge a penny. However, some wonderful people have asked if they can donate stamps, which has been amazing! I added a donation section to the website and have received a few donations. It feels incredible that others believe in what I am doing just as much as I do, and I hope to grow the project if i can. I would love to be able to send worldwide!
I believe in kindness. There is not enough of it in this world. It’s so easy in life to become blinkered and only see what’s in front of us but I am a firm believer in taking a look around. Just taking time for people. Offering a little kindness doesn’t have to be a big gesture, it doesn’t have to cost money. It can be as simple as making time for a friend, a family member, taking time to reach out to someone that you know is struggling and I believe this very important and this is why I send Happy Post. I am hoping that some will reach people who it really does make a difference to. It’s only a small gesture but I also believe that sometimes it’s the smallest of things that make the greatest difference. If I reach someone who has lost hope, someone who is very lonely, someone who hasn’t smiled for a while and it makes them smile – even if it’s just for that moment that they open it, then to me that’s job done.
A little kindness can go a very long way.