Emily Houston.

My name is Emily Houston, I’m 16 years old, and I’m from Texas! I have a genetic condition called Epidermolysis Bullosa, which causes my skin to be extremely fragile, making wounds and scars very easily. Because of this, I’ve gone through a lot of mental journeys as well.

Can you tell us about your most stressful experience and how you overcame it?

My most stressful experience was definitely in middle school when I joined band class. Both of my siblings played instruments and really prospered through the program, and I felt that I was expected to as well. Throughout my time in band, I was extremely anxious and stressed. Even just walking to the band hall gave me so much anxiety. This wasn’t helped by the fact that I felt “different” from everyone else, as there were some things I physically couldn’t do because of my condition! I relied heavily on my friends and family through this time, and they helped me to manage my stress and anxiety in a healthy way. I ultimately am very proud of myself though, because I stuck through to the end of the year and only quit when I had finished what I started!

How does one’s environment affect their mental well-being?

One’s environment affects their mental well-being greatly because of the different stimuli around them. When in a stressful situation, their mental health can decline and take a major toll. You have to stop this from happening to you by surrounding yourself with positive people who push you and help keep your mental health in check!

How do you deal with your own mental health?

I deal with my own mental health in many ways- for one, I’m currently taking medication to help stop some of my anxiety! I feel like medication for mental health should be spoken about more and destigmatized, as it may help many people. I also find that meditating and spending time with my family helps my mental health.

Do you believe that the stigma around mental health has decreased to a notable extent in your community? What may be the reason for this? 

I believe that my community still has a lot of work to do when it comes to decreasing the stigma around mental health. I live in a pretty small town in Texas, and the community, at times, seems very closed-minded. I think we have taken small steps in the right direction, but we still need to push the issue and make the community speak more openly about mental health and how it affects all of us as a whole.

What does mental health mean to YOU?

Mental health, to me, is your well being and the way your body and brain respond to stimuli. We can all chip in and do our part to make our collective mental health and outlooks on life more positive- along with making it a less taboo subject to talk about!

Why do you think that there is shame surrounding mental health topics? Why do people refuse to talk about it?

I think there is a lot of shame surrounding mental health, and I think it’s because people don’t know that there are others going through the exact same thing as them. People often feel alone when going through their mental health journeys, when they don’t have to be! There are so many people to reach out to, yet they often are too ashamed and think it makes them “different” to have issues with their mental health.

How do you express yourself to the world?

I express myself to the world through my makeup, dancing, and advocacy. I love to do my makeup and post it on Instagram in order to show the whole world my artistic side! I’m often a quiet person when I first meet someone, but I really let go and express myself with makeup. The same thing goes with dance, I love dancing and expressing myself through it! Advocacy is another thing that’s very important to me, as I feel education is key. When people don’t know about something (such as my condition or mental health subjects), it often seems scary! I like to make things seem not so scary and speak about them in an open and honest way.

What are some challenges you have faced in life and proud of how you faced it?

I have faced a lot of challenges with my physical health. Around a year ago, I went through a really rough time with my throat, and I wasn’t able to keep food or drinks down for over a month. This was really hard for me mentally as well, as I was frustrated with my healing progress and upset that I was going through it in the first place. I’m very proud that I came out on the other side of it okay, and I worked hard to pull myself out of a depressive episode afterwards- I still sometimes struggle with thinking about the ‘what-ifs’, but I’m proud of myself for working on it.

If you change something about yourself, what would it be? And why?

I really don’t think I would choose to change anything about myself. It may sound corny, but I think I was meant to be exactly the way I am so I can potentially make someone’s life better, or do good in the world!

What are some self-care practices that you recommend?

When I’m down, I absolutely love to do my makeup and get dressed up! I always say, “even if you don’t feel good, you can still look good!” I also love having self care days and doing a face mask, or getting in the hot tub. I meditate at least once a week, and I think it helps a lot with my mental health!

What do you hope to accomplish in the future?

In the future, I hope to have been a part in helping to destigmatize physical and mental conditions, along with continuing to do the things I love. I hope someday I can make a difference in the way that conditions are perceived.

What would you want the Revive audiences to know about you?

I would want the Revive audiences to know that even though I may have a physical condition and mental health problems sometimes, I’m just a normal teenage girl! Everyone goes through their own struggles, and just because mine are a bit different than others’ doesn’t mean yours aren’t valid. If anyone is ever struggling with their mental health, you can contact me at any time! I’m always happy to help. ❤

Check out Emily!

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