It’s OK To Feel Shit, is a phrase many of us will be able to identify with right now and my next Fabulous Female, Susie Weaver, has put this sentiment at the centre of an inspirational campaign to raise money for mental health charity, Young Minds.
Susie is the founder of popular lifestyle and parenting blog, So Happy In Town (S.H.I.T). The ethos of Susie’s blog is a recognition of the fact that life is quite frankly not perfect all of the time.
I think we will all agree that there are good and bad times on this rollercoaster that is life and Susie encourages her readers to embrace every one with the same humour and resilience, whilst remembering that we are all in this together.
A passionate advocate for young people’s mental health, having faced her own challenges in her 20’s, Susie launched the It’s OK To Feel Shit Tee campaign last year.
Playing on her blog’s name the main message for young people was that there is absolutely no shame in feeling shit, in fact it really is OK, but it’s a lot more OK if you don’t feel alone and can reach out and talk to someone.
The first It’s OK To Feel Shit campaign struck a chord with many and also garnered support from celebrities who had themselves dealt with a personal mental health challenge; it raised a staggering £7000 for Young Minds. The second campaign is now underway with a different design but the same message.
At a time when our children, teens and young people will undoubtedly be struggling even more behind closed doors, do pop over, buy a tee and lend your support if you can and you’ll be making a difference to a young person struggling right now, but in the meantime do please pause to read Susie’s story and find out what she has to say about her personal motivations and inspirations.
- Who is or was your role model?
My mum has been a really strong role model to me. I have never heard her bitch about anyone. She has always been there to listen to me and is always honest. She is kind but direct and always told me when I was growing up “You are enough.” I’ve never forgotten those words – and that was before those kind of positive quotes were even a thing!
- What motivates you?
If I feel I’m helping others then that motivates me. I hate the thought of letting people down and when I’m passionate about something, like mental health and I feel I can make a difference, no matter how big or small, then that really drives me on. Also, my family’s happiness. That is paramount.
- What are the values you hold dearest in life?
Honesty, trust, kindness and love.
I’ve learnt over the years that being dishonest is so damaging, both to others but also to yourself. Trust is vital if a relationship, whether it be with a friend or a family member or your partner, is going to work and sustain. Kindness is really all that matters in the world. As for love, well love is the best feeling there is.
- What has been your biggest challenge so far & how did you overcome it?
One of my biggest challenges was when I was first hit with depression and panic attacks when I was 21. It came out of nowhere and I had no idea what was happening to me. Back then I’d never heard the words ‘mental health’ being talked about and the stigma any mental illness carried was huge. I thought if I told anyone, I’d be branded as weird and nobody would want to hang out with me anymore. It was such a lonely place to be, but luckily my mum persuaded me to go to the doctor as she guessed I was suffering from depression and the minute I told someone about it, a weight was lifted from my shoulders. I decided to launch my campaign for YoungMinds because I never want another young person to feel like I did. It’s so important to raise more awareness among people that it’s OK to not feel OK and it’s really good to reach out and talk to someone they trust. YoungMinds is doing great work to support children, teens and young adults who are struggling, so I wanted to help raise money for so it can continue the great work it’s doing.
- What is your proudest moment?
Giving birth to each of my three children – without a doubt, those were the happiest and proudest moments of my life.
- What motto do you live by?
- What advice would you give to your teenage self?
I’d give myself so many pieces of advice! But the main one would be not to waste time on people who aren’t worthy of it and to really not worry what other people think – to embrace who you are and to stand proud. It’s a lot easier in my 40’s though than it was then!
- Who gave you the best advice and what was it?
Again, it was my mum who used to say to me again and again, try not to care what others think of you. I remember as a 16 year old girl crying about something that had happened that day at school, her sitting on my bed, comforting me and telling me that it doesn’t matter what others think. I remember turning to her and asking desperately “But when, when does it get easier not to care?” She so wisely told me that it starts to happen, but it takes time. She was right, it does happen and the older you get the easier it becomes.
- How would your friends describe you?
I think they’d say I’m kind, generous, fun, empathetic (too much sometimes) and I wear my heart on my sleeve. There’s no hiding how I’m feeling!
- What makes you laugh out loud?
Funny things that my kids come out with, usually when they’re not meaning to be funny. Plus, Gavin and Stacey will forever make me laugh. I’m watching it all again with my teen daughter and it’s actually funnier the second time round.
- What would your autobiography be called?
Mrs So Happy In Town / S.H.I.T.
- What does being a modern woman mean to you?
It means being able to follow your own path, whether it be your career, or motherhood or both, without anyone telling you, you shouldn’t or you can’t. We’ve come a long away towards that goal, but I still think there’s a long way to go.
- What would be your desert island essential?
A good book. I love reading. It takes me away to another world.
- What makes you feel fabulous?
When I’m with my children and husband and we’re all laughing. That is the most fabulous feeling in the world.
- In your own words – ” A fabulous female is …
someone who is kind, uplifting, there for her loved ones and gets it all back in bucketfuls.
When I first launched this series it was to celebrate the achievements of women striving to make a difference on subjects that really matter to them. Susie is one of those women. Motivated by a passion for the mental health of young people, Susie is I am sure you will agree, an ordinary woman who has gone out of her way to do something extraordinary and really make a difference. An inspiration indeed.