Spring is the ultimate season of hope…right? Seeds get planted and there is anticipation about what will grow, how it will grow and how strong the roots will be to steady it when life comes roaring through. Having hope or being in a season of hope is powerful for Sonja Deklerk. It means there is a future and it means there is a chance for beauty to shine brightly.
Sonja exudes kindness…it was flowing from her the first time we met and I instantly knew she was special. She like so many others popped in to The Creative Hive to see what was going on, but with an idea it may be the right space to host her upcoming Fashion & Art show. That was it. I was wrong about that because it was the beginning of getting to know a person who is inspiring in most everything she does. I hope in the next few paragraphs I can give you some insight in to the inner workings of this Mom, Wife, Creative Soul, Artist, and Entrepreneur who has her own story to tell.
There was a slight chuckle when Sonja described how long art has been an important part of her life and she clearly remembers selling her drawings on the corner in her cul-de-sac at 4 years old. Sonja has never been scared of sharing her art…actually she says it’s the most rewarding thing in the world when you see an idea or concept come to life. For the most part, Sonja describes herself as a very joyful person, but there is another side of her…depression. It’s that side of her she is most nervous to share, but confidently admits “there is a part of me that is good…a part that is bad…the healthy and the sad…it’s all me.”
There is an innate strength in standing up and sharing your story. Sonja shares hers to help connect her to the community and wants to be an example or advocate to anyone else who struggles with depression. She first noticed something in grade 6 when she suffered long stretches of not feeling right and not sleeping . By 14, she was seeing a doctor, but it wasn’t until after her second child was born at 22 years old, Sonja was diagnosed as bipolar.
The diagnosis wasn’t all bad…it gave some answers to everything she was thinking and feeling, but at the same time Sonja says she still very strongly felt it was her fault. That if she just tried harder or was more positive she would be able to manage this. The diagnosis was hard on her entire family…her husband was still a student and they had a one year old son and a newborn. Then her dad passed. It all added up to Sonja realizing she had to get up and share to save her life. She had to reach out.
While she new that, the feeling of isolation was strong. She explains she felt like she didn’t belong and the negative self talk was overwhelming. It came to a point where she attempted suicide. She was in ICU for a week. Family came to say their goodbyes. It was touch and go and when she came out of it she was low enough to be admitted on the psychiatric unit. She had extreme guilt that she had attempted suicide and says she just wanted to shrivel up and isolate herself because she was too afraid to face the world. Sonja says matter of factly that there is no way to sugar coat this…it happened, but at the lowest of lows she found the strength to fight her way back. Her strength came from talking. Sharing her story and opening up about what she struggles with each and every day.
That isn’t the end of the story. It does’t just stop there. For Sonja some days are great, some days are okay and some days are awful. It’s how she deals with each and takes care of herself that allows her to continue to move forward and live her life to the fullest.
Her online blog sharing her journey back to health allowed her to connect with a supportive group that she could also help. In the past 7 years her mission has bent advocate for mental health breaking down the stigma through art, singing and writing.
Her show The Seasons of Hope is happening at The Creative Hive on Saturday, June 22. It’s a collection of very joyful pieces and the unveiling of a new style of painting Sonja has fallen in love with. It’s also a showcase of her jewelry pieces that she’s crafted for more than a decade. The latest line with inspirational messages…affirmations you can touch daily to make you feel stronger.
Sonja says it’s important for her to make sure people know they matter. Just by your very nature you are a living breathing soul with value. Believe in yourself. Have the confidence and courage to seek help or help others. Life is better when you surround yourself with love. Life is better with hope.
Learn more about Sonja Deklerk here: https://bit.ly/2vZ2XHH
Get tickets to Seasons of Hope here: https://bit.ly/2w2695m