Updated: Jan 15
On this episode of the Quest for New Inspiration I had the opportunity to sit down with Lindsey Ferris of Ferris Built to discuss mental health awareness and advocacy.
I’m Lindsey, founder of FerrisBuilt. I live in Seattle, Washington with my identical twin daughters. I lost my company of 12 years due to Covid in the spring of 2020 (an event production company) and had to figure out a way to pivot and make a living when the industry that I’ve worked in my entire 25+ career – was shut down. As a single parent, this was a bit scary to say the least!I decided to pursue my creative side in July of 2020 and see if I could make a go of my wood art and apparel designs that I’ve been doing as a “side hustle” for a few years – and figured “why not now?” My motivation was to still be a business owner as I enjoy that challenge and find a way to have a work schedule that I can prioritize my time around my children’s schedule.My apparel & gifts are a way that I express things I feel strongly about with topics such as mental health, self-care, inspiring women and current events. I also have one of a kind wood wall art I create out of my woodshop in Seattle, Washington (part of my own self care practice!)My girls often get involved with ideas and we enjoy creating as a family. I’m always open to feedback, ideas and customization requests – you can reach out at Lindsey (at) FerrisBuilt.net
Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the quest for new inspiration. This week, I am honored to sit down with Lindsay Ferris of FerrisBuilt Not only is she the owner, but she is also a designer and puts in the hard work to inspire each and every one of us with her designs. I hope she inspires you as much as she inspired me. Hi, I’m Lindsay Ferris, I’m the owner designer and kind of wears all hats for Ferris built, Faris Dot Nat, which is a apparel and gift website, and I donate twenty five percent of net proceeds after cost to mental health advocacy, because it’s something I feel really strong about. I have had anxiety since I was in my teens, I’m a Gener, I’m not going to tell you my actual age, but I’m done, sir, and when I was growing up with that, it wasn’t something that was it kind of was taboo. I think talking about some of those things, and so it’s been a journey throughout my life learning how to navigate it and kind of reading about reading about it, how what kind of tools to use- and it’s definitely changed the last ten years, I’ve seen a lot more growth in ways to navigate my anxiety in a way that it’s not a focus of my life. It’s just part of who I am, and I can see both the strengths and and weaknesses of it. Sometimes it’s difficult, and sometimes I actually can see it, helping me accomplish things. So it’s kind of you know accepting it as part of who I am as been a journey, and mental health has been something I’ve always been open to and encouraged people to talk about. My my career has been an event. I’ve been an event manager an event producer for over twenty years. I’m now getting close to a dating my age, but- and I had decided about about two years ago year and a half ago- I’d always wanted to become a therapist. It was something that I’ve wanted to do. I just didn’t know when, in my life I would do it and I decided to go back to school. While I was running my event, company and I’m half way through that program. Now I’m very excited I’m not sure yet what population I want to treat. I want to see where the journey will take me to kind of what you know: Population or mental health challenges I’m good at helping with, but I have a feeling it might be in the anxiety problem, just because it’s something I have a lot of knowledge in, and so I last February when the pandemic was starting, I lost my company. We lost our entire pipe line in a twenty four hour period and I’m missing mom here in Seattle, a single income household and so in the it was I’ll. Never forget the twenty four hour window of finding out our first contract for the next month was gone, and then everything for the rest of the year was canceled. So we gave you know about six weeks of we just kind of kept everything normal with our employees for about six weeks until we knew more and then we unfortunately had to shut it on the company. There’s eight of US working there and it was. It was definitely a challenge to go through that it was stressful s, overwhelming plus, with the uncertainty of the pandemic, and then I started throwing myself into my creative side. I do a lot of wood working as an outlet, and I make furniture and art and I’ve kind of dabbled on ets and started kind of listing more projects up there and then I started designing shirts and it was something I did quietly like. I just didn’t really tell anybody. I was kind of an outlet to deal with all the different emotions of the pandemic, so I was doing different political theme stuff. I was doing things that were around mental health or self care and, as I was focused on my my wood shop and my wid business, which is where the we name Ferris built came from. As I was thinking, I would try to sell my art on. I was watching my sales of shirts grow and I was like. Oh No, no, that’s just temporary, oh that’s temporary, but then I by about September I was like. I can’t. I can’t deny this it’s it’s. I need to be open minded and curious, which is one of the things I’m learning is training as a therapist is being open, minded and curious, and looking at what’s present, instead of kind of what we want or trying to perceive things to our own Lens, and so I decided to say well, maybe I may maybe I’m an apparel like. Maybe I shouldn’t focus on this and so in October I started leaning into that and that’s where my mental health passion started coming out. I noticed that you know a lot of times. I see shame around mental health issues or you know people will share and then be criticized, and I think it’s just it’s unfortunate because all of us as much as we have physical health issues, we also have mental health struggles, whether you have a pathology or not, we all struggle with mental health at different times, and it can be really isolating and lonely if we don’t have the space to share it safely. So I started deciding to focus on you know self care aspects that are focused on mental health. So that’s some of my products. I do there and then my most, the one I’m most passionate about is the metal health line, because I focus on trying to normalize being proud of who we are and the aspects that we come with. So my first one that I was excited about was called anxiety state and I did this I had fun designing. I did this little emblem with all the states of anxiety and I’ve learned that I love that shirt because I’m like it’s part of me, you know- and it’s like it’s just part of who I am- and I’ve actually had people stop me when I’ve been out. I’ve shared the most random stories, plus you’re in masks right, so it’s extra to share you and I’ve been able to share or have people say. Oh, I have anxiety, or I love that and share these random moments of connection or ways that other people cope with it or just a recognition and there’s something I think, empowering about embracing those parts of us and ways that were comfortable with and connecting with others that might have it so that’s kind of where I’m now, I’m moving more towards focusing on mental health and self care for mental health, not just self care. But how do you do things to help your mental health? So I love that so much. Definitely as someone who has anxiety and has fluctuated through my mental health stages throughout like just childhood and college, I definitely felt that I guess be you weren’t really right in talking about like this mental health issue, and there are still some people who just don’t really acknowledge it. A like you’re freaking out for like no reason and I’m like okay, but like I have anxiety like I’m, not okay, so it definitely. I felt that change when now, it’s okay to kind of talk about that, and I love how your platform, and just like your shirts, just celebrate that, and especially with Mental Health Awareness Day, I’m so excited to wear your shirt. But where do you find the inspiration s? I guess I don’t know drive to keep that positive minds et when, like yes, anxiety does come with like these negative side, I don’t know affects how do you keep a positive mind set through that and keep going? I don’t necessarily sometimes I have to give myself my own mental health day. If I’m feeling that- and I think a lot of it’s been- I focused a lot on my own self. Growth has been focusing on much more self awareness and mindfulness has become a really. I don’t necessarily sit and practice mindfulness, but I’ve practiced it enough that I can do it in my day to day life. So when I’m having those moments, I use this analogy. I call it. The poop filled lends right. So you know most of the time I can look through a regular like wind, shielder Lens, and I can see life coming at me and I can handle it and I can have positive negative responses, but nothing I really latch on to. But when I’m struggling with my anxiety or it’s kind of feeling activated or triggered, I feel like I, the lens gets a little covered with poop and all I notice is the negative, and so when that’s happening, I’m able now to say I’m having you know, I was either triggered by something or I’m kind of having a rough day, and I do some self care I just and more mindful of what I need to do. I don’t try to be a cheer leader. I just try to sit with what it is that I’m feeling and I take that time to kind of observe it and then oftentimes it’ll pass through me. So for me, it’s more about making sure I give myself the space to acknowledge, honor and validate what I’m feeling, because when I find, if I try to push through it, it just increases it just gets worse. The things I ve just gets worse or the negative thinking gets worse. So I kind of just accept it and there’s some days, I’m not productive and some days I’m really productive and they kind of balance out. So. Okay, do you have any like mental health kind of people that you go to for inspiration or people that you like look or like also follow in this mental health journey that will kind of motivate you fire you no it’s interesting, because I don’t have any one in particular, I’m finding a wonderful community with ferris bill of like minded individual, so I love seeing I make sure I follow. You know a lot of mental health. You know pages and sites and stuff that I see kind of a wealth of information, but mostly what I find inspiring is I’m seeing more people share. So it’s more of the what I’m seeing that the energy is starting to shift more towards mental health awareness, and so I see more support around it. More validation. I see more cheer leading for people when they are. You know when someone does share, I see a lot more positive. You know, effort and Kudos, it’s really brave to do that. So it’s not necessarily one person, but when I see someone share their story and I’m trying to do once a month, I share metal health warrior stories, which is what is it you know t like having people share their story and journey with it. It’s not all pretty pictures and positive all the time, and I think I’m most inspired by people that share the reality of it, but also share how they live with it, how they cope with it and how they take care of themselves, as well as there’s usually positives to these things too. There’s a positive side to what these mental health challenges can bring, that you wouldn’t get without them. So I’m kind of inspired mostly just by the community of on Instar M, I’m pretty active and, as I see people you know, sharing and every one of them inspires me. So do you have will stick with that tring? Do you have any specific movies that, like help or like the perfect movie to watch when you’re, just like having a day and like you, need something to like be a positive affirmation for you or something like that? Let me think that for a minute, it’s funny, because I’m not let I’m not much of a TV person, but I will do. I will funny Menes like I’ll go on and I stay away from the news if I’m feeling anxious, because that can be that can just now you can totally spiral about them. One News Story and then get nervous, and I will a lot of himes I’ll, just do kind of funny, memes or I’ll. Look at you know I’ll, go I’ll, read an article about something I want to do like. I look at my outlets of creativity and so I’ll. Look at what kind of project can I do so. I will actually get lost, maybe in interest and kind of zone out on fun projects or things I can do were creating a new pinter sport, something that feels like. I have to be engaged enough in it that I can’t just zone out and be anxious, but I can be engaged in my mind, can be thinking creatively. So that’s kind of an outlet that I find you know focusing on a project or something fun and that kind of can get me out of the you know anxious mind set. So it’s more just posting on things I want to do or even day dreaming like sitting down and listening to music like I’ll, listen to I’ll, have music on and a cup of coffee or tea, or something and just listen to music and just chill like that of that helps too. But it’s funny because I’m not my when my kids are when my kids are home, they watch TV, but I don’t actually watch it really unless I’m with them but yeah. Okay is perfect: What type of podcast do you listen to a lot of right now, because I just I’m pretty passionate randomly about crypto currency S, it’s a lot of learning and understanding, because it’s a lot of it’s over my head. So I listen to not. I listen to some different news feeds but more talk news versus like all the depressing stuff, and then I don’t really a part of it’s like I’m, not even sure what to look up or where to find ones that people like, if you have some good mental health ones, that you recommend. I would love to okay. Well, they’re, not mental health ones, but I have I that is definitely a mental health advocate. That’s probably all might hinder my mental house, but I I love true crime. I love like documentaries and that kind of stuff, so my favorite murder is partially the reason that I found. I live with podcast ing and wanted to do this whole enchilada and just in the first place, because they started with their little podcast and ended up creating a media company out of it, and so now they have like. Fifteen podcast under their like brand, and it’s so awesome to be my dream job, but they are very, very, very open with just their mental health struggles. It’s counter intuitive, but also kind of positive that you have all this anxiety in the world and you’re listening to true crime and, like all the negative but you’re, also like kind of preparing yourself for these red flags or something that could happen a you’re like okay. I know how to deal with this, like I don’t know, I’m not kind of weird o that, like overthink situations, and I want to know how to get out of it so yeah, I know in the crazy. The interesting part with anxiety, though, is like you, I think I’ve spent if I could harness the energy of my anxiety, I’d, be my own power plant, like it’s amazing like if I could harnish it. I might be a genius, but I can, and it just spirals and it’s and like it can it create fuel like I normally friendly fee, if you think about it, let me know I will buy into that business. Let me know at something or head and it powers in ER, guys I don’t know, look at wheel on the hamster situation. Well to summarize, what’s what’s kind of like some, I guess last piece of advice or kind of mental health advice that you would give to someone who’s, just kind of starting in their journey of accepting l celebrating their mental health and anxiety, or just a piece of advice for someone who’s struggling with that right now I tually have a couple. I think one of them is t recognizing that you’re not alone, and I think, reading about stories of other people that have experienced the mental health challenge your facing is actually it can be sometimes triggering, but actually really helpful, because you can validate or connect with some of these different stories and know that you’re not alone. So I think some of that is helpful and then one thing that I think it took me a while to learn this is that sharing is really important, but it’s important to share with people that are emotionally safe. So listening to your body sometimes can teach you, if you’re, not as aware of that, listen to how you feel do you feel vulnerable after sharing. Do you feel insecure after sharing that person might not be the best to share with? Do you feel good? Do you feel validated? Do you feel like they gave you a breath of fresh air? That’s probably a safe person to share with so it’s important to share, but it’s just as important to share with people that are emotionally safe, and just if you know that’s something that I think it took me a while to learn and when you do it can actually help you. They can be part of your toquet. They can be someone you can. You know lean on and be safe with. That’s perfect! Well, thank you so much for taking the time today and just sharing some little inspiration, motivation for mental health, all right! Well, that is it for this week and I would love to have you tell a friend about this podcast and you can help me share these inspirational stories by rating and reviewing the class for new inspiration on apple podcast or your favorite podcast platform. If you have a question or an inspirational story, you’d like to share, you can send them my way, you can send me a message on Instar, a plus for new inspiration or email me at new inspiration, podcast at g MILCOM, thanks again for listening and be sure to join me next time.