Q+A w/ FOUNDER + MENTAL HEALTH ACTIVIST, Elyse Fox
After Elyse Fox released a documentary about her experience with depression, many young women reached out to her who were looking for guidance during their own mental health struggles. Enter: Sad Girls Club, a digital and IRL community Elyse created that works to destigmatize mental health conversations, provide mental health services to women who do not have access to other methods of treatment, and create safe spaces for women to know that they are not alone in their struggles. An added bonus of Sad Girls Club is its chic aesthetic that extends from the blog to the merch.
Elyse has recently expanded the “club” to include all types of mothers with the introduction of Sad Moms Club, where she discusses the physical and mental strains of pregnancy and motherhood that are often unspoken. Check out our Q+A with Elyse below where she shared some words of wisdom and we chatted about her experience being pregnant.
by CHLOE.: Hi Elyse! Thanks for chatting with us. Please introduce yourself.
Elyse Fox: I’m a filmmaker, mental health activist and soon-to-be mom from Brooklyn, NY.
bC: Talk to us about Sad Girls Club – a blog, Instagram, and IRL community you have created to support women who suffer from mental health issues. What motivated you to create this incredible space?
EF: Growing up I felt that I didn’t have the language to talk about Mental Health and it really made me feel alone. I wanted to create space so the girls coming up after me, Gen Z and millennial’s, feel like they can be accepted and talk about their mental health while normalizing the conversation. I think representation is important so we strive to show all different types of women who are facing struggles within the Mental Health community.
bC: You are due to have your first baby any day now – congrats! Tell us about your experience being pregnant – the ups and downs as it relates to your mental health, and what you’ve learned.
EF: Stepping into this journey, I feel like there is so much that I didn’t know obviously as a first-time mom but there are just simple things that we don’t discuss as women. I don’t know if it’s because it can be gross or because we don’t really have the space but I think that the highs and the lows of pregnancies should be shared and celebrated. One thing that I’ve learned is having a support system whether it’s just one person you see physically or simply chat on the phone with is vital. Having the space to vent about what you’re experiencing has helped me incredibly. I was miserable throughout my 1st trimester. I had realllly intense morning sickness every day for 3 months straight. Silly me, I thought morning sickness only happened once in the morning. It was mentally draining to run a business while being afraid to leave my apartment because of all of the smells of NYC would make my stomach turn within seconds. My lack of emotion with my partner also caused a strain on my relationship until we got into more of a rhythm and understanding. There were days where the idea of him hugging me made me sick 🙁 but we got through that! Speaking honestly has really helped us both through this journey.
bC: You recently launched Sad Moms Club, an extension of Sad Girls Club. What are your goals for this community, and what conversations do you hope to have?
EF: This year I’m working to create special communities under the SGC umbrella. During the early days of my pregnancy I searched for blogs that spoke about the mental woes and hardships of motherhood in a tone I could relate to. I want to create that community of stories and facts through our platform so our moms feel represented while also revealing the spectrum of how pregnancy affects us differently.
bC: You have discussed how the dialogue around mental health is different for women of color. What do you wish the conversation looked like, and how can our readers help change the conversation?
EF: Since creating SGC I’ve definitely seen a shift in the conversation and space has been created for WOC in a way I’ve never experienced (yay). Black women experience different types of aggressions that we need space to discuss and be understood. Whether it’s the ‘strong black woman’ narrative that diminishes our pain or the ‘angry black woman’ stereotype, there’s a lot of unlearning that needs to happen in order to understand how our mental health is affected in different spaces. You can help change the conversation by checking in with your POC friends, let them know that you support them and their stories/experiences are valid.
bC: This week is Maternal Mental Health Awareness week. What do you hope people take away from this week of open discussion, support, and activism?
EF: I hope we gain a better understanding and appreciation for one another! We’re all different colors, sizes and rise from different upbringings but our experiences can help us grow together.
bC: Do you have any words of wisdom for women or girls who are suffering from mental health issues currently?
EF: I always say this is the hardest thing to do but reach out to someone you trust and start the dialogue. The hardest conversation is the first conversation ❤️ If you don’t have a support system nearby seek communities online that resonate with you and your experiences.
Last song you listened to? Secret Track – Homeshake.
Favorite place on earth? Tie between Garraf, Spain and Miami.
Secret super power? I think I can predict the future or manifest anything I desire.
Pet peeve? When people crack their knuckles.
Watcha readin’? I’m re-reading The Coldest Winter Ever.
Dream dinner guest? Bojack Horseman.