Anne Cummings Studios Designs Cards for People Struggling With Mental Illness
After being diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and receiving her service dog, General, in 2014, Anne Cummings realized she wanted to give back to those living with chronic conditions, disabilities and mental illness. In 2015, she launched Anne Cummings Studios, a line of greeting cards for people dealing with mental health challenges.
“It is very challenging to wake up every day fighting twisting thoughts that [debilitate] the most mundane actions,” Cummings said. “Mental illness is not as invisible as one may think.”
The comfort and companionship Cummings receives from General made her realize that many people are lacking the love and affection they need. Cummings’ cards aim to help people connect with their loved ones who live with a mental illness when they’re unsure of what to say.
“One thing that was evident with mental illness, I have come to learn from my own experience, is that mental illness is one of the loneliness illnesses a person can have,” Cummings told The Mighty. “These cards have become more about helping people understand each other, helping people become more empathic, and in turn, helping people suffering, coping and living with mental illness know that they are not alone.”
Cummings’ cards cover a range of mental health conditions and experiences like bipolar disorder, depression and panic attacks. She researches each condition she writes about before designing the card. Cummings offers links to support resources on her web store and includes resources like hotline numbers in some of her cards.
Cummings’ favorite card is her chronic loneliness card:
People with mental illness many times cannot connect with people. I believe that this is so because someone who is struggling in their own world has a very difficult time connecting to the regular everyday conversation. How do you talk about the weather when the weather inside your brain is a hurricane, and you’re trying to hide it from people? I think it takes a real friend to understand this loneliness in someone they know.
In her spare time, Cummings writes music and lyrics for songs related to life, loss, and sympathy, which she hopes will resonate with others as much as her cards do.
“From the person who sends the card to the person who receives the card, I hope people can connect in real ways,” Cummings added. “I hope they build a bridge of caring and understanding because no matter what else is going on in someone’s life, we must make emotional connections that count.”
You can learn more about the cards at Anne Cummings Studios.