Murray is a mental health counselor from Manchester, England. She has seen a lot in her career and she has personal experience of mental illness.
“Anyone of us can suddenly become unwell with a mental health issue and living with this can be a very lonely and isolating place,” Murray told The Mighty. “People often feel very disconnected from the rest of humanity and are often unable to reach out. We need to talk about this topic more openly.”
A while back she was diagnosed with sudden sensory hearing loss. Murray couldn’t continue to be a therapist for long after that. As a result, she was facing depression and grief, so she was on pills. She was also running which helped her a lot, but only for a short time.
Murray started having pains and turned out she also suffers from osteoarthritis. So, she couldn’t run anymore. This worsened her depression. Then she decided to start crafting.
“I often encourage my clients to tap into their creative side, as creativity can bring calmness and balance in an often chaotic inner world,” Murray said. “Taking my own advice, I purchased a range of floral fabrics and ribbon and began making vintage-style decorations in the shape of hearts. The psychological effects were amazing, and as I continued to craft, I felt as though I had mentally turned a corner.”
At first her Imperfect Hearts didn’t sell. Her son tweeted about the problem and within days everything changed. Things started to expand and she also started to make teddy bears. At first Murray added personalized messages to each bear.
Then they turned into backstories about each teddy bear. “Each teddy would be given its own story and tackle a common issue faced by adults, with a look into how that issue can progress over time, and the theory behind dealing with it,” she explained.
Then she compiled the stories into the book “Bear Have Issues Too”. All of this helps both her and other people with similar problems find support. The bears already cover a variety of conditions and she plans to continue to expand them. This way they can reach and help even more people.