Kali Kardia was started by Brittany Kalinski in August of 2016. Brittany created Kali Kardia Apparel to raise awareness towards mental health and create conversations to end the stigma towards mental illnesses. Her goal is to help ensure that others don’t feel ashamed about reaching out for help and don’t have to suffer in silence.
Brittany has been dealing with mental health issues since she was 13 years old. Everyone goes through changes at these ages, but Brittany found that she never felt good enough and was always trying to change her physical appearance. She felt the need to buy new clothes, try different makeup trends, and even limit her daily calorie intake in order to become happier with who she was.
When Brittany was 15 years old, her grandma passed away due to ovarian cancer. Brittany had been extremely close with her grandmother. The pair were best friends and shared a strong bond. Within several weeks of her grandmother passing, Brittany received a late night phone call informing her that her good friend had been stabbed at a New Year’s Eve party. He passed away from the injury.
Brittany’s eating habits became worse after this difficult time. She started drinking more, skipping school, and getting into trouble. She felt no desire to take part in the activities that she used to love. She felt lost, without any sense of direction or purpose. During her high school years, Brittany also dealt with peer pressure and instances of bullying as well. A group of female classmates frequently posted shameful comments about her on social media. While Brittany can look back now and recognize that those actions likely came from places of jealousy, she was very affected by them at the time. Her mental state became even worse.
Brittany found it very difficult to try to talk about how she was feeling. When she did try to talk to someone about it, she often received feedback in the form of phrases such as “Suck it up,” “There’s nothing wrong with you,” and “It’s just a phase you’re going through.”
In 2010, Brittany decided to go on antidepressants as prescribed by her doctor. The medication was not one that was well suited to Brittany and did not coincide with her current state. During this time, Brittany attempted suicide.
She continued to endure many ups and downs over the following years. She was admitted to the Winnipeg Health Science Centre twice as well as the Selkirk Health Care Centre. Her mental state reached an even lower level during January 2015. Brittany’s drinking issues had become out of control, resulting in a DUI. This caused her to feel even more devastated and hopeless than ever before. For the second time, Brittany attempted to end her life, this time by overdosing.
The next morning, Brittany’s sister found her and rushed her to the emergency room. When she came to her senses, Brittany realized the pain she had caused her family. She became thankful to be alive.
After her boss allowed her an extended period of leave in order to receive help, Brittany focused on becoming both mentally and physically healthier. She began seeing a psychiatrist with an open mind. She was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder. Finding out her diagnosis really cleared things up for Brittany, confirming that this was not “just a phase.”
Therapy helped Brittany to accept herself and feel better about her insecurities. For years, she had hid her eating disorder and mental illness due to feelings of shame from people’s negative comments. It took years of therapy, treatment, and safely experimenting with different medications for Brittany to find a lifestyle that worked for her.
Brittany is in a much happier and healthier place today. She’s very thankful for all the help she’s received and she aims to help others in the same way.
“Please don’t get confused. There are still struggles every day, but that is why I want to share my story. Everyone should get the help they need instead of suffering behind closed doors. I started Kali Kardia Apparel to share my story, spread awareness, and start the conversations. I give 10% of my profits to the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba. No matter what, people will judge you but that is their problem. Stand up for mental health!”