The Lotus Project with Taylor Harvey
“I share real stories about how mental illness doesn’t have to define one’s life. It can prove to others that things do get better.”- Taylor Harvey, The Lotus Project Founder.
To understand Taylor Harvey is to realize the main purpose behind creating The Lotus Project which is to develop a better understanding of both the inspirational beauty of nature and the synchronicity of the relationships we seek in the world around us.
In being diagnosed with depression in 2016 at the age of 22 Taylor was, seemingly, at a pivotal life crossroads.
I asked her how has being involved in the community with The Lotus Project as a role model, mentor and person with lived experience given her own life added value?
“I battle suicidal thoughts on an almost daily basis. One thing that keeps me going is to feel like I am doing something good. It helps to challenge the self-deprecating thoughts that I have. The thoughts that tell me that I’m not worth it, that I’m a bad person, that I’m a burden to everyone around me. The Lotus Project has given my life added purpose.
Inspiration and finding a sense of purpose is such a huge element of wellness. It’s something we should strive to achieve in both recovery and in our approach to mental health.
So, what really drove her to build something bigger than herself?
When elaborating about her Instagram page and blog space she replied “it’s to inform you, enlighten you, strengthen you, support you and show you that you’re not alone.”
Carrying the message is such an important part of what her role is as a facilitator of wellness, through both her messaging on her blog and in listening to others who come to her with feedback, questions, and whom seek advice and support.
Mental illness and addiction thrive in isolation. How does Taylor work to eliminate the stigma of silence that’s so often associated with these things?
“I have created my own community of support online that is there for me and there for each other. I have met people so many people though my account. All depression wants to do is make you feel isolated and alone, but now I know that I’m not.”
The reality is that you don’t have to face brain pain alone!
Like Taylor has outlined with her own voice and experience at The Lotus Project there are ways to align yourself that will improve both the ability to seek appropriate diagnosis, establish paths to treatment and solidify long term care.
Identifying support people, developing an action plan based on better, health living and wellness and believing in yourself are equally important elements to finding success as you work to overcome the challenges associated with mental illness.
Another focal point of wellness is identifying goals.
My goal in being involved in both speaking and advocacy is to get the number of deaths from suicide down to zero. That is the goal!
It’s amazing to see the focus that Taylor has demonstrated in the construction of her website and blog that contains all of her positive messaging that has helped so many other people along the way.
That focus is a byproduct of what she said was directly related to her own path in wellness.
So how can we do a better job of understanding the struggle? What makes mental illness such a critical issue that needs so much of our resources and attention?
It’s the personal side of this that captures the impact. The wide spectrum of emotions which so many identify with as they ponder whether or not to ask for help.
“Now that I have experienced depression and anxiety myself, I have seen the stigma associated with mental illnesses firsthand. I have experienced the unfairness and the judgement. I have felt like I have had to hide my diagnosis in certain situations because of how society treats people with mental illnesses. I have become so passionate about changing this.”
As a survivor of my own suicide attempt off the Golden Gate Bridge in 2000 I’m intimately familiar with the process of change. Of healing, regaining hope and finding strength. The connection with others as you rebuild yourself physically, spiritually and emotionally is so important.
According to the National Alliance On Mental Illness “41,000 people in the United States die by suicide each year.” It’s the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 10–24.”
Ultimately, the Lotus Project is a vehicle.
For change. For positive thinking. For instilling a sense of strength where it may otherwise not take hold. For giving someone hope.
Taylor takes her experiences in mental health and speaks candidly about the impact they’ve had on her as she’s made her way through life. She’s unafraid to talk- loudly at times- about the things which sometimes feel uncomfortable.
She said her main focus is authenticity. Staying true to yourself is equally important when identifying the structure you need to thrive in wellness.
“It is hard to find raw, real content about hard topics. Social media only shows filtered, posed images. It shares people’s successes. That contributes to feelings of loneliness; the feeling that you are the only one.”
She went on to say that when she’s doing well she shares stories about the struggle. And when she has hard times, she shares them too. Because it can educate people as to what depression is really like.
Talk about embodying the spirit of that ever-growing Lotus flower, pushing hard through the mud. Continually seeing the tranquility and freedom of the sunlight just beyond the surface that beckons.
As I often say when it comes to recovery, mental health and wellness it’s about the similarities and not the differences.
As we closed the interview Taylor elaborated about what it’s been like at times in her past. And why she’s chosen to continue to be an advocate. The summary of her experience with The Lotus Project is purely designed to help someone who may be struggling and who might need help.
“I felt like I was trudging through mud and that there was no path. I want to be the one to create a path. That’s why I have listed resources in my blog. That’s why I share my own story; so that someone knows that someone else has been there before.”
For more about Taylor’s journey in wellness, resources that support health and blog content on the Lotus Project please do navigate to:
Check out The Lotus Project on Instagram, too!
If you or someone you know is struggling please reach out for help. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week at (1–800–273-TALK ).
For more digital mental health content check out www.kevinhinesstory.com and look for us on Instagram and on YouTube!
And don’t forget you can also text CNQR to 741–741 if you’re in crisis and need support.