Owning a shop in a small seaside town is both a challenge and a pleasure.
It's funny, in a way, how some people think i'm a different person each time they visit my shop. Apparently i sometimes look and speak so differently they could swear they spoke to someone else on their last visit. (I promise i'm the same person! I'm Kerri. I'm the only lady here at the shop and have been for many months.) I even often remember the customers and the conversations had but they still think i'm someone else.
Another thing that often happens is regulars who actually get to know me mention how much 'brighter' i am on some days compared to others. Apparently some days i can seem quiet, on the edge of tears and less chatty whereas on others i am smiley, confident and can talk endlessly. Not in a casual way that people can generally be but in a very strong and obvious way. A two faced shop keeper.
This just makes it even more evident to me how my mental health condition affects not only my home life and family but my business and work life too.
As a teenager i was diagnosed with 'manic depression' which is now often refereed to as bipolar. This is a mental health condition that makes me have 'manic' days and 'low' days with very few what i would call 'level' days. I won't go into too much detail but you can see in some of my other blog posts some examples of what this is like to live with. I also have anxiety that some days is so crippling that i cannot leave my house/shop without someone with me.
I have over the years had help from medical professionals and I've been on a variety of medications but I've never found one that can level me out instead they push me to have more manic or more low days which was very unhelpful. I do rely on medication when my anxiety gets difficult and when i have panic attacks but other than that i use various other holistic methods that help me get through day to day (art has been a big part of this) and of course help from my friends and family. Two particular friends (you know who you are) and of course Jon, have seen me through some really rough days recently and without them i honestly don't know if i'd be here writing this today.
So why have i written this post? Partly as a coping process, i write when i'm feeling anxious and need to push out my feelings into words on paper or a screen and partly to raise awareness of mental health conditions that effect people that work in various roles around the world. Mental health conditions can affect doctors, nurses, health care assistant, shop workers, cleaners, customer service advisors and every other job role that exists. So please, please stop and think before you talk / act. Please be kind. Please support each other and don't judge each other.
I apologise to my customers if i ever seem unapproachable or quiet. I promise i don't mean to be. I thank you all for your continued support and hope that if you have read this it might give you a little insight into how my brain works and makes me appear on different days. It probably also explains why my shop moves around so much (on some manic days i get over excited moving things around because i have too much energy!)
On another note i'm currently on a healthy lifestyle plan doing my best to lose weight and get fit. This is not only to feel better physically but also to help with my mental health. So if you see me in gym clothes out and about please don't laugh, i'm trying my best to be more active! I may look ridiculous now but i'm hopeful i will soon look and feel much better!
Have a great weekend all,
Love from your friendly (slightly crazy) local shop keeper Kerri x