We are a mother and son team from Las Vegas, Nevada, that is committed to creating a feel good, do good bath and body brand at a great retail price.
Using the finest ingredients, all our products are carefully handmade by people who put detailed care and attention into everything they do. Not overseas. Not by machine. We encourage healthy, fun, and active living as individuals and as members of a family.
At Buff Bomb Bar, we believe that being “buff” isn’t about having muscles or showing off physical strength; it is about being mentally fit, active, and healthy. We believe that starts from the inside out.
The World Health Organization1 states that 1 in 4 people in the world will be affected by mental illness at some point in their lives and that there are 450 million people worldwide currently struggling with mental health issues like anxiety and depression among others. These are our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, neighbors, co-workers, and even our own children. Many people do not get the help they need due to the shame and stigma existing in society and sometimes within their own families. We know, because we are part of this statistic.
I, Jodee, come from a long line of alcoholics, which is now known as substance use disorder (SUD). I say this with complete love and respect for my loved ones, and even though no one discussed this within my own family, from the time I was a young child it was impossible to ignore as I could see the devastation, heartbreak, and struggle with my own two eyes.
However, what wasn’t so obvious was that mental illness also ran in our family. Anxiety, depression, and bi-polar disorder was, and continues to be a well-kept family secret.
But silence and secrets perpetuate an unhealthy environment of shame.
My son, Ryan, started struggling with severe anxiety in Grade 1. With no explanation, advice, or whisper from my family that this might be a non-obvious kind of illness—something that is sometimes called an “invisible illness.” His dad and I were left on our own for months trying to maneuver our way through what was causing his panic attacks and tears. At appointment after appointment, while poking and prodding Ryan, and carrying out countless blood tests and medical exams, doctors assured us there was nothing wrong with him physically.
I was tortured. What is happening with our little boy? How do I help him?
I can’t help but think about how much time, effort, and unnecessary trauma we caused our son. Had we known earlier about the mental illnesses in our family tree, we might have all walked an easier path.
Years later, we lost a much-loved member of our family—a sweet, kind, sensitive, soft-spoken man—to alcohol addiction and mental illness. My younger brother, Brett, Ryan’s uncle, took his own life in March 2012. Unlike my son, I believe my brother had not only the heredity component that started when he was a child, but also the residual effects of unresolved childhood trauma creating a more serious mental health illness that was never diagnosed.
Since my son was a little boy, I tried to do things differently than how it was done in my family when I was a child. We have always talked openly, ever since that first experience when he was six years old. We discussed understanding and acknowledging his feelings and anxiety, and later addiction and the dangers of self-medicating with alcohol. We did that all so that he is aware not only of himself, but has empathy and compassion for others; you never know what someone else is going through.
He and I were reminded once again that life has unexpected challenges and doesn’t always go as planned.
On June 3rd, 2017, I had a mental health breakdown that landed me in the hospital. I believed at the time that I had a clear understanding of what my son and brother had been through, only to discover firsthand, I didn’t.
One day I was myself; the next day I wasn’t. During the next twelve months, I came to realize what it is like to wrestle with thoughts and feelings you can’t control, thoughts that plague your mind every waking moment. I want to emphasize that for me this breakdown came without warning. I wasn’t depressed. I wasn’t unhappy. I have never wanted to take my life. I have never felt hopelessness. I have never felt my family would be better off without me. But in hindsight, I was under an enormous amount of stress and I was so busy concentrating on others that I lost sight of looking after myself.
I spent the next year struggling with anxiety, severe depression, crying spells, memory loss, dizziness, disassociation, and the scariest for me, suicidal thoughts. I took my own recovery seriously and did all the work, including books, therapy, diet, exercise (my son dragged me to the gym almost every day), medication, and writing articles for websites and magazines, which was extremely therapeutic. Proudly, over one year later, I finally feel like myself again.
We know how blessed we are every minute of every day, and that some aren’t so fortunate for a variety of reasons, including not having the loving support of friends and family. It is important to both my son and I to give back, and to use our experiences to bring people together, to give them strength to speak their truth.
When we created Buff Bomb Bar, we talked in depth about creating a different kind of company. We knew we would reach a lot of people, so we asked ourselves, "how can we use this opportunity to do good?"
This is why Buff Bomb Bar is committed to creating conversations and helping to eliminate the shame and stigma surrounding Mental Illness. As a company, we will be donating a portion of proceeds from the sale of all of our products to mental health programs and organizations for adults and children.
Your purchase and support will be part of what makes this possible.
From our family to yours, we hope you enjoy our products and at the same time that they create conversation, compassion, and hope in your own life and the lives of the ones you love.
-Jodee and Ryan Prouse
- NMH Communications. World Health Organization, Geneva, 2001.