How a Therapy Session Led to My Mission as an Interior Designer

I normally don't share a lot of deeply personal things in my blog posts. I try to keep things light and focused around DIY, home decor, and interior design. That's why you come here, right?

With that being said, I feel as though I need to share this story as it relates to me finding my north star in my business and why I do what I do. Here goes nothing...

Those who know me well know that I've dealt with depression and anxiety for over 25 years. I'm a pretty open book when it comes to my own mental health. If you're struggling, I'm here to love and support you. Any questions you have related to my own mental health journey - please ask!

Anyway, back to my story. Up until 5 years ago, I hadn't seen a therapist on a regular basis. My family and I moved around a lot, so it was difficult to find a therapist, start a relationship with them, and move, only to repeat the process again.

During that period, I was going through a really difficult time. That prior year, I went through a miscarriage, my mother passed away, and I worried tirelessly about my father, who was working himself to the bone trying to stay financially afloat.

I took a couple days off after the miscarriage and took a couple weeks off when my mom died. But then I had to return back to a demanding job and pretend like everything was back to normal.

Looking back, I don't really think I had the time to fully process things and properly grieve. Around the holidays, it all hit me like a ton of bricks. I could barely get out of bed in the morning. If I wasn't at work, I was probably in bed crying, not knowing why or how to stop the waterworks. My performance at work suffered and I was on the brink of being let go from my job.

I finally decided to see a therapist with the support of my husband. He actually attended my first session - which was a huge help because, quite frankly, I was an incoherent, sobbing mess.

As weeks went by, I was able to process a lot of the grief, sadness, and anger. I was able to work through how I was going to move forward.

I shared with my therapist my dreams of becoming an interior designer and how I was considering starting school part-time while still working. I also told him how I wanted to convert a spare bedroom into a home office/craft room.

He loved that idea. In fact, EVERY SINGLE WEEK he'd ask how the space was coming along. And almost every week, I'd feel like a dog with its tail between its legs and make up some excuse for why the office wasn't completed or why I hadn't made progress from the week prior.

But, the great thing about my therapist was that he didn't judge me. He understood that I had a million and one things on my plate. (Obviously, because I'd share all about it in our sessions.) Yet, he also kept encouraging me to finish the project. EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

Why, you ask? Because he knew (and I know now) that I needed a sanctuary. I needed a place of my own, where I can shut the door, leave the world behind for a bit, and be creative.

The good news is that I finally got that home office/craft room finished - complete with walls the color of the Tiffany's box, a desk lovingly made for me by my husband, and my first ever furniture refinishing project - a chair left on the side of the road that needed some TLC which became my desk chair.

(Yes, I was so excited to be getting this home office that I posted my purchases from Lowe's...)

The bad-ish news was that we bought the house across the street a few months later and we moved. Yes, I was FINALLY a homeowner. But, I had to start the home office process all over again.

About 9 months after we moved in, I started interior design school. So, the beautiful desk my husband made become my son's, and I got a drafting table.

A few months after that, my dad moved in with us and into the room that was my home office. So, my desk was moved into the basement and into our den.

That lasted for a hot minute. My son didn't want to be in his bedroom anymore because said he heard ghosts in there. So, we converted the den into his bedroom. And I got my own space to become my home office.

I knew this would be my permanent sanctuary and was SO looking forward to it. But, it did take about 3 months to get there. First, the room FLOODED. We turned on the air conditioning during a freakishly hot day at the end of December. The condensation collected and flooded the space. Luckily, nothing important was damaged. I hated the carpet in there anyway, so that was replaced by vinyl plank flooring beautifully installed by my husband.

He also replaced the wood paneling on the walls with wainscoting and painted the walls. I also snagged back the desk my husband made and gave my son the drafting table. It looked beautiful!

Then, the pandemic hit. My husband transitioned from working from home 2 days a week to working from home all 5 workdays (and still is).

At first, it wasn't a huge deal. He normally worked at the desk in our bedroom while I'd work in my office. Then Spring hit. And if you've ever been in my house, you'd know that the downstairs is always roughly 10-15 degrees colder than upstairs. I was a shivering fool during Zoom meetings!

We tried having both of us work from our bedroom. That lasted maybe a couple of weeks. Let's just say we're both very loud when we talk (him on the phone and me on Zoom).

Finally, we decided that he'd move down to my office and I'd stay in the bedroom. He's typically hot and I'm typically cold, so it worked perfectly from a temperature perspective.

While my bedroom "home office" isn't quite perfect yet, I know that it will get there with time. I'm happy to have a quiet place to work - just me and my Chief Doggie Officer!

What I've learned with all these home office variations is an important lesson that has become my mission as an interior designer. As a mother and businesswoman, I need my own space that is mine and mine alone. I (as I'm sure is the case with most women) will typically put myself at the bottom of my own priority list.

This space is the place I can go to virtually network with amazing likeminded businesswomen. It's the space where I can get my creativity flowing to design a beautiful space. It's the place where I can recharge and feel alive.

And that's the feeling I want to give to other women. I've been able to give that gift to myself (a few different times in a few different spaces), and now I want to give that gift to you. A space where you can go, recharge, and feel alive.

And that, my friends, is my mission as an interior designer - to help you find YOUR space.

Until next time...

Happy Designing and Space Carve-Outing!

- Angela :)

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