The walls of Emma Williams’ room are covered in tiny paper cranes. The 1000 origami cranes are a symbol of hope for the 25-year-old who’s struggled with mental illness for more than a decade. An ancient Japanese legend promises anyone who folds 1000 cranes a wish from the gods. She was inspired by the story of a Japanese girl who started folding the cranes after she was diagnosed with leukemia during the fallout from the atomic bombs dropped on Horoshima in WWII; she wanted the gods to take away her illness.
“Sometimes I want to light a match and burn them all down,” she says in an interview with Stuff. “It’s like hope staring me in the face when I’m not feeling very hopeful.
“But when I’m feeling a bit better, it’s actually a really nice reminder.”
She’s been a prolific drawer from a young age and used the activity as a way to keep her hands busy during her time there.
“When I was drawing, the thoughts in my head were quietened.”
She then decided to turn the drawings into mental health-related greeting cards in an effort to contribute to something bigger than herself. Williams is selling the cards online, with part of the proceeds go to the Mental Health Foundation.
Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson says the messages on the cards will resonate with a lot of people.
“Like Emma, we hope that the cards inspire hope and acceptance in those who give and receive them,” he says.