founder & CEO Michelle
My name is Michelle "Mo" Wheeler
founder & CEO of DOUBLESOLID
Trigger Warning: Mental Illness
I joined the workforce at thirteen years old. Over decades, however, trying to keep up and exceed expectations despite my struggles began working against me. My diagnoses (for a reference point, not labeling) include Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, and Chronic Pain Syndrome.
Trying to deal with the devastating loss of another friend to suicide, I floundered, trying to find my balance as I had so many times before. I required an inpatient stay in the Psychiatric unit. This was not my first visit. I've actually lost count. But this time, a new diagnosis was added to the list; Conversion Disorder.
Following that stay, I finally admitted that I needed to put my health first. I don't mean just taking meds and going to therapy (though both excellent tools). I'm talking about 'real world, real life, deep down, honest-to-goodness look in the mirror' health first. The kind of whole health that involves self-love, self-compassion, and self-awareness.
I had to get back to myself. I realized I had not been living authentically. Which meant I had to make significant changes in my life- to see significant changes in. my life.
The quality of my life is my responsibility. It wasn't until I took that responsibility seriously that I realized the only opinion that mattered: mine, just mine. My opinion is the only one that matters when it comes to me. Once I understood this, everything else began to change.
I decided to leave the traditional workforce. Though it wasn't the best idea financially, it was the best for my health. I see the ability to tend to my health as a gift, as so many of us cannot access the care we need, let alone leave the workforce. But once I did, I felt immediate relief as my brain began slowly to unwind decades of overworking so I could then begin to relearn the basics of self-care. And with that as my new baseline, I began searching for something I could do to earn a modest living while expressively contributing to society.
With a bit of luck and the help of New Hampshire's Department of Education's VR Dept, I have found a way to earn, express, and contribute, drastically improving my life.
My small business is precisely that; a small online store with wearable art created by myself and, at times, my wonderful husband to offer my authentic self to the world and help others realize they, too, can do anything. As and Ironman, that saying "anything is possible" has become a mantra. I believe it with all my heart, and when I doubt myself, I challenge myself further to prove it again.
It is my hope you can connect to the art and the mission of Doublesolid. And I hope it helps you talk more about how you feel. The more we talk from our authentic selves, the more we connect. The more we connect, the more we can understand other perspectives--leading to better relationships with others and ourselves. This can only help us as we aim to improve our health; mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual; all of it!
Creating art makes my heart sing. But the real benefit of this is the conversation- knowing people are talking makes every experience I have had worth it because it's one more chance to help one more person to open up, love themselves, and seek the support they need knowing they are not alone.
You are not alone.
My designs are intended to be a stylish reminder to LIVE LIFE LOUD and do what brings you unrelenting joy. Each time you order a product, most of my inventory is made to order, just for you.
And the name?
Fueled by a traumatic experience, I erupted into a mixed episode with self-harm and a long walk, at night, in the rain, wearing flip-flops carrying a backpack full of mismatched socks. Dragging my feet along the double-solid yellow line against traffic, I hoped to end it all, believing wholeheartedly it would end the pain of others that only I could cause. I was accepting the world's weight while giving way to irrational thinking and, ultimately, another close call. Luckily it ended in an inpatient stay; safely.
It's been years since that night. Though I have had episodes since and will inevitably have them again, I keep developing my coping skills. I am open to learning and developing new skills to have plenty of tools to counter old thought patterns and risky, erratic behaviors.
As a once (hopefully again someday) avid runner, I'll always remember the miles of road I covered, often glancing at that doublesolid line. It became a symbol of my perseverance, my resilience, and my strength.
Now, designing for Doublesolid, I equate those centerlines to where I intend my mind to be; right in the middle--balanced, peaceful, bright, bold, and strong.
No matter what I experience now, I know there is a joy to be found--in between the ups, the down, the mixed episodes, there is a peace, a stillness, a love for life that no one and nothing, not even my illness, will take from me. I'll fight it with everything I have in honor of those I lost. I'll fight my battles and fear of making a fool of myself with this business in honor of those who struggle similarly, my fellow warriors. I'll fight it with everything I have until health is healthy and we can also access the care we need. Right now, we need one another, so...
I hope you are finding joy. and I hope you find your middle.
And, of course, Doublesolid supports the community. We have supported non-profit mental health organizations and suicide prevention initiatives, and we will continue to do so.
From the bottom of my big heart on my sassy sleeve, thank you for being here.
Michelle, aka Mo 🤘