This time one year ago I went through the deepest valley and darkest moments in my entire life.
In January 2016 Mike and I made the long distance move from Texas to Arizona… Who knew moving 1000 miles would bring such tremendous stress. On the outside, it appeared my marriage was thriving after spending 4 years paying off debt and coming off a lovely cruise, but deep down at the foundation we were crumbling and falling apart. My job brought unexpected stress and frustration. I changed jobs twice within 6 months. On top of all this, we bought a fixer upper that we approached with the idea that we could DIY everything and complete these lengthy projects in a few short weeks… Wrong!
So we lived with my mom and her newly married husband for a few months while the house we dreamed about sat vacantly… I broke… I snapped…I completely lost it. I was hospitalized twice within 6 weeks because of my undiagnosed mental illness of cycling mood disorder(a form of Bipolar 1), depression, and now PTSD. After my first hospital visit and marriage counseling appointment, the separation between Mike and I became a reality.
After 28 years of stuffing every painful emotion and overwhelming stress…I faced my breaking point. I asked is a life worth living?
I share this part of my story from a place of genuine vulnerability with the hope that this brings encouragement to those walking or have walked a similar path. You are NOT alone! The path to recovery is a long road but I can now stand hopefully for a brighter future! Healing and redemption have not only happened for me but also my husband and marriage. I have an incredible support system with my family, coworkers, doctors, and counselors. I am truly blessed! I’ve learned healthy coping techniques, when and how to speak my voice when things get uncomfortable, and how to set boundaries. I view life through the lens of one day at a time. Not every day is a mountain top moment, but I do experience more peace and contentment than ever before. I see life in full color and for that I am thankful!
So why the tattoo? Well for all you English buffs…“A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.”
So there you have it… The semicolon project brings hope and awareness to the importance of mental health and suicide prevention. And why the heart… Well, the tattoo artist designed it when I said hmm can you add a heart… It’s an original!
My name is Rochelle Brown. I’m a cherished daughter of Jesus Christ. Not because of anything I’ve done to deserve such a title, but because of His grace and relentless love for me. He calls me priceless. That’s the most important title I will have, so lets start there.
I believe you must bring your whole self to the table if you want to thrive in today’s world; your personality, your sense of humor, pain, and most importantly, your heart. All of these elements that shape who I am brought me to found Etched Tent in 2015.
The meaning behind “Etched Tent” is that my unique story etch who I am… the good, the bad, and the ugly. I then express myself through my writing, personality, quarks, and tattoos. God has etched my name on the palm of His hand; and my body is a temporary tent that contains my pieced together soul. A soul meant to shine bright through the cracks of my brokenness. I live day to day with a Mental Illness called Cycling Mood Disorder (a form of Bipolar 1) PTSD, and depression. I invite you to read my blog, and explore my passions and how thriving with a mental illness is possible. Perhaps it may inspire you to share your story too!
I love all things thrifty, rustic and vintage… the more character the better in my book. I love lifestyle photography as one of my favorite pastimes. My perfect day would consist of sleeping in, spending an afternoon at a thrift shop, then hanging out at a local coffee joint with my lap top and journal. I’m a homebody by nature, so snuggling up on the couch with my journal, a good book, blanket, and coffee (or wine) is my safe place. So cozy and peaceful! Currently I live in the East Valley of Arizona with my hubby, and two fur babies Boo and Honey.
Rochelle, thank you for your vulnerability and willingness to share your story. You bring a ray of hope and encouragement to all of us!