Social Impact Heroes: Why & How Divina Casila of Depress Me Not Candles Is Helping To Change Our World
Believe in yourself and don’t give up: It’s easy to get discouraged when starting up any kind of business venture and there will be times when things don’t go as planned — but don’t let that stop you from achieving your goals! Whenever I feel overwhelmed by all the tasks at hand or doubting myself, I think back on why I started this journey in the first place and remind myself that anything worth doing usually comes with challenges along the way. Keeping this mindset has helped me stay motivated and inspired whenever things get tough!
As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Divina Casila, founder and creator of Depress Me Not Candles LLC, A domestic violence survivor, and a Mental Health Awareness Advocate.
Depress Me Not Candles, created and owned by Divina Casila, are more than just a product — they’re a beacon of hope for anyone battling depression and anxiety. Inspired by her own experiences with mental health, Divina utilizes aromatherapy to craft soothing scents in her candles. With each purchase, Depress Me Not donates a portion of the proceeds to charities like the National Alliance of Mental Illness and Vision House, giving back to those in need while also spreading awareness of mental health issues. Depress Me Not candles are an inspiring reminder that there is still beauty in the world and that nobody has to fight alone.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path and point in your life?
When I was struggling through an abusive relationship, depression seemed to take hold of my life. I felt like I couldn’t escape and was at my lowest point. Despite feeling despair, I turned to the therapeutic art of candle making as a way to distract and ground myself. It quickly became a passion for me and finally inspired Depress Me Not Candles LLC, where I make candles specifically designed to soothe those struggling with depression or anxiety. Depress Me Not Candles are designed to bring an extra bit of beauty into someone’s day, reminding them that they are not alone and that their struggles can be overcome one step at a time.
I wanted to help others who are going through the same thing that I went through, Depress Me Not Candles helped me to connect with other people who are also struggling, and it’s made me feel like I’m doing something important with my life.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
Depress Me Not Candles LLC was founded on the idea of providing comfort to those struggling with depression and anxiety. Since then, it has been amazing to hear from so many people who have been in similar situations. They opened up and shared their stories, which I found truly eye-opening. This has only solidified my dedication to helping others, because everyone deserves to feel less alone and more supported in life’s toughest moments. One of the most touching moments since I began Depress Me Not Candles was when a customer reached out to say that my candles had helped her through her darkest days, giving her a spark of comfort when she really needed it. It’s incredibly heartwarming to know that my vision of providing solace has made a difference in someone’s life — making all the hard work worthwhile!
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Depress Me Not Candles’ beginnings were a bit of a mistake-filled adventure! When I was first starting out, one of the funniest things to happen was when I was making my first batch of candles — instead of just using a few ounces of oil like I should’ve, I ended up putting an entire bottle in! Needless to say, they were incredibly fragrant and unfortunately, they melted much faster than they were supposed to. It definitely taught me an important lesson — measuring everything accurately is key when making candles, because even small mistakes can cause major issues!
Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?
Depress Me Not Candles LLC is making a significant social impact by providing hope and comfort to those struggling with mental illness. Knowing that my candles have helped customers on tough days or made them feel less alone gives me great satisfaction and makes the hard work of running a business worth it. We also donate a part of our proceeds to National Alliance for Mental Illness — a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting those affected by depression and suicide prevention. Additionally, Depress Me Not Candles is actively involved in my local community by partnering with the Vision House — a transitional home for homeless families with children located in Renton, Washington — as part of our mission to help even more people who are struggling.
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
Depress Me Not candles have had a remarkable impact on people that I never imagined. One particular story sticks out in my mind. A woman who had been struggling with depression for several years visited my booth one day and bought a candle. After she lit it, she became overwhelmed with emotions and started to cry. She told me that the positive messages written on the labels and inside the lids made her feel like someone out there cared about her and that she wasn’t alone. She was inspired by the meaningful quotes and kept lighting Depress Me Not candles each day, embracing the light they provided into her life. This amazing woman credited Depress Me Not candles with saving her life; leaving me amazed at how powerful my message of hope is for others who may be facing darkness in their own lives.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
First, I think it’s important that the community/society/politicians become more aware of mental health and its effects on people. Too often, people suffering from depression and anxiety feel like they are alone and that their struggles are not understood. It’s important that we break down the stigma attached to mental health and make it easier for people to seek help. Second, I think more resources need to be made available to those struggling with mental health issues. This could include things like free or low-cost counseling, medication, and therapy. Finally, I think it’s important to focus on prevention. We need to do more to educate people about mental health and how to take care of their mental well-being. This could include things like teaching kids about positive coping mechanisms and how to handle stress, as well as providing information for adults about how to deal with difficult situations.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think this might help people?
I’m excited to be working on something that will uplift and empower people — a clothing collection with motivational and positive words embroidered into them! This is a passion project for me, as I believe that reminding ourselves of the beauty of life — and our own worth in it — can be essential in helping us battle depression, anxiety, or other struggles. Wearing a piece of clothing with an inspiring phrase will be like having your inner voice right there with you every time you get dressed. I hope that this collection can do some good, however small — so people know they’re not alone in their struggles and they are powerful enough to move through them.
What you are doing is not easy. What inspires you to keep moving forward?
When life brings me down, I know that my candles are out there inspiring someone else. That thought alone is a powerful motivator and keeps me going. When I look at how far I have come from the dark days when I was struggling, it fills me with a sense of pride and reminds me just how strong I can really be. Sharing my story and helping others through their hard times gives me even more strength — it’s like passing a torch, allowing someone else to grasp the light of hope and keep moving forward in their journey. Knowing that I’m playing a role in that is truly empowering.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- Believe in yourself and don’t give up: It’s easy to get discouraged when starting up any kind of business venture and there will be times when things don’t go as planned — but don’t let that stop you from achieving your goals! Whenever I feel overwhelmed by all the tasks at hand or doubting myself, I think back on why I started this journey in the first place and remind myself that anything worth doing usually comes with challenges along the way. Keeping this mindset has helped me stay motivated and inspired whenever things get tough!
- Invest your time wisely: When starting a business there’s a lot of different tasks to juggle; from designing products, creating websites and reaching out to potential customers. At the beginning of my journey, someone should’ve told me to invest my time wisely; choosing which tasks are most important and delegating others wherever possible. For instance, instead of spending hours designing my own website with no prior graphic design experience, hiring a professional web designer for help would have saved me both time and money in the long run.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself: Everyone makes mistakes in their business journey, and it’s important not to beat ourselves up over them. Instead, we should take it as an opportunity to learn what went wrong and adjust our strategy accordingly so that the same mistake won’t happen again in the future. When I started my business, I was making small mistakes here and there due to inexperience but felt awful about them every single time! Now I understand how important it is for entrepreneurs not only to accept their mistakes but also use them as learning experiences for growth and success.
- I wish someone had told me to trust my instincts. When I first started out, I was so focused on the approval of others that I forgot to consider what felt right for me. For example, when it came time to create my candle line, I was constantly second guessing myself and bouncing ideas off other people who didn’t understand the nuances of my product. After a while, I realized that if I just followed my gut and trusted in my vision, then the product would be much better than if it had been designed by someone else.
- I wish someone had told me not to be afraid of asking for help or advice from experienced entrepreneurs or professionals in your industry — even if you think they don’t have time or won’t listen! When starting out on my own journey with Depress Me Not Candles LLC I was cautious about talking to more seasoned business owners about what strategies worked for them because I thought they wouldn’t have any interest in helping me due their busy schedules but soon enough realized that everyone was more than happy and willing to answer questions and offer guidance whenever asked!
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Mental health is something that affects so many people, yet it remains a silent issue. Many people struggle with their mental health in silence and shame, leaving them feeling helpless, alone, or misunderstood. It doesn’t have to be that way though; starting a movement towards increasing awareness and acceptance of mental health could make a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of people facing these challenges. Mental health should no longer be a dirty secret. Instead, it should be treated with respect and understanding. If more people became aware of the issues surrounding mental health, we could move away from the stigma towards acceptance of those who suffer. We could create an open culture where everyone feels comfortable and supported enough to talk about their struggles without fear or judgment. Building this kind of safe space can make all the difference in empowering those living with mental illness to take control and seek help when needed — and I believe this is exactly the kind of movement we need!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
What If I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly? This inspiring quote has been one of my biggest life lessons, because it serves as a constant reminder that taking risks can open up so many possibilities and opportunities. In my experience “. I was trapped in a dark mindset due to an emotionally and mentally oppressive relationship. I was stuck in a cycle of negative thinking and couldn’t find motivation to move forward until I decided to take a risk and instead of thinking “What if I fall” instead thought “What if I fly. When I finally put my trust in myself and flew out of that toxic environment, I opened up possibilities for a brighter future — better health, enhanced self-confidence, and expanded opportunities for finding happiness. So don’t hesitate — never let your fear stop you from making the leap. You could be flying towards something even more beautiful than your wildest imaginations!
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
If I had the opportunity to have a private breakfast or lunch with Oprah Winfrey, it would be an honor and a life-changing experience. Not only is she one of the most successful people in the world, but also a positive role model for many and someone who has overcome countless obstacles in her life. She is an amazing example of resilience and compassion, which are two essential traits that I strive to lead my own life with. Oprah is an inspiration and leader not just in entertainment circles, but in the mental health space as well. As someone who has battled depression due to an abusive relationship, I can relate to Oprah’s story of trauma and how she channeled her struggles into becoming successful while still advocating for herself.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Our readers can follow my work online by visiting my website (www.depressmenotcandles.com) or by following me on social media platforms (Facebook: @divinehandcrafted, Instagram: @depress_me_not_candles)
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!
Social Impact Heroes: Why & How Divina Casila of Depress Me Not Candles Is Helping To Change Our… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.