2 Sisters With OCD and Anxiety Created Therapy-Inspired Bracelets to Help Others
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Ever received a gleaming nugget of knowledge in therapy — or overheard someone mention a thoughtful coping mechanism their therapist taught them? Ever wanted a tangible way to keep note of it? Sisters Emily Stetzer, 27, and Lindsay Stetzer, 32, used their experiences in cognitive behavioral therapy to inspire a jewelry company, Presently. Each mindfulness bracelet has an in-the-moment reminder based on therapist tips that the sisters, both diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety, have found useful in their everyday lives.
The engraved phrases aren't the typical "feel-good" affirmations advertised by many on-the-market products. "A lot of mainstream brands sell bracelets with phrases that say, 'Stay positive' and 'Hope.' There's just a lot of empty meaning in some of those phrases on the bracelets," Emily, who received a diagnosis in 2016, said when POPSUGAR spoke with her and Lindsay back in August (Lindsay was diagnosed first a decade prior). "I really wanted a bracelet to remind me of things that my therapist taught me. Because sometimes when you're in intense anxiety, your head is not there."
Emily continued: "If someone comes to you and tells you that they're anxious, and you respond with, 'Just don't be anxious. Don't think about it. Don't bring bad vibes. Don't be in a bad mood' . . . it's just not realistic, and it's not going to help you. It's not going to help you sit with your anxiety and sit with those worries. You just have to kind of be with them so that you can accurately read them." Emily stressed that she and her sister believe Presently represents a more logical and tangible approach to living with mental health disorders. They're encouraging people to feel their emotions and work through them rather than mask struggles with positivity.
"I really wanted a bracelet to remind me of things that my therapist taught me. Because sometimes when you're in intense anxiety, your head is not there."
The sisters' "day jobs" are creative as well — Emily is an art director and Lindsay does interior design. Presently became a formal company in November 2020, then relaunched in June of this year with its first sales. There are eight therapy-informed phrases you can choose from:
- "My thoughts are passing clouds": This reminds you to be a spectator of your thoughts instead of being sucked into them. You can sit with them, accept them, then learn to let them go.
- "Brave the uncomfortable": Don't run from discomfort. As the sisters write on the Presently website, "When you allow yourself to feel the anxiety, you'll discover that the discomfort does not last forever."
- "Embrace uncertainty": It's difficult to stomach the fact that much of the world we live in is uncertain and unknown. Practice the act of accepting that you don't need to know everything.
- "I am separate from my mind": The sisters point out that just because thoughts exist within your mind doesn't mean they are the truth. "When you create some distance, and remember that you are separate from your mind, you'll notice the urge to decipher every thought will fade," they write.
- "I let go of what I can't control": This one is pretty self-explanatory, but it's a gentle reminder that you should not ruminate over what you cannot control (because much of life is not in our control).
- "It's okay to feel how I feel": As the sisters state, "We heal more deeply when we allow ourselves to truly feel all of our emotions."
- "Listen to wise mind": Your "wise mind," Emily and Lindsay explain on the Presently site, is your gut feeling that prioritizes your best interests. "Take what you feel and what you know to inform what you do" when making decisions.
- "React without judgement": Emily and Lindsay encourage you to "avoid projecting your preferences onto the world." Instead, lean into appreciating life for what it is.
Image Source: Courtesy of Presently
[T]he act of actually seeing these reminders on you — around your wrist — is meant to ground you in the present moment.
Presently originally launched with three styles of gold chains, and they have since released silver options in addition to bracelets with gemstone and macramé bands. You can hear more about the Stetzer sisters' experiences with OCD and anxiety on the Bad Liar With Helena Rosen podcast, as well as on Presently's blog and Instagram. Their main goal is expanding the brand's offerings and also, as Lindsay stated, "getting people more comfortable to talk about anxiety and OCD and mental health."
While they've contemplated introducing different types of jewelry in the future, the act of actually seeing these reminders on you — around your wrist — is meant to ground you in the present moment. "For me," Lindsay said, "they're comforting to have. You know, have a phrase on your arm that resonates with what you've been learning and what you know to be true, and what you're trying to hope for in the future of getting past everything . . . accepting everything."
Five dollars from every bracelet sold is donated to one of four charities (that you can select at checkout): the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the Child Mind Institute, the International OCD Foundation, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness of NYC. Ahead, shop some of our favorite picks from Presently.