|This is Lita!|
My name is Lita, and I am a craft whore. I am at my happiest when I’m making something with my hands. That is what defines me, first and firstmost. But, whether I like it or not, lurking close by in the background is the disease I have lived with, for around half of my life, another big definer of me. I am a sufferer of severe depression and anxiety.
For years I refused to admit it. To me depression was something that happened to other people. This opinion was reinforced by those closest to me, when I asked for advice, when I asked for help. I was told it was nothing, to just think happy thoughts, it was all just in my head. So I believed it, and kept my feelings to myself, for many years. I struggled to move past some hard times in life, without saying a word to anyone around me. It was always just shrugged off, kind of like the moodiness and difficulty coping was just a part of me, a part of my personality. To this day, those closest to me still don’t know how dark it got. Because I believed them all when they said I was fine. I found ways to cope, or so I thought, and I just kept pushing through, making it through the days.
|Banner made by Lita|
It wasn’t until after the birth of my first daughter that the cracks really started showing. I couldn’t keep the mask up anymore and I finally asked a professional for help. I was given a prescription and sent to a counsellor. The sessions made me feel worse, and so did the meds. So we changed the meds, I stopped seeing the counsellor, and things just kept getting worse. This went on for a couple of years before I called it quits with the whole thing and stopped my meds. I now know what a stupid thing that was to do, but at the time it seemed my only solution. Life continued, with me plodding along, coping with depression while trying to raise a child. I know I only made it through because of the support of my partner, and I thank the stars for him every single day.
I gave birth to my second child in 2007, and while life wasn’t perfect, I seemed to be doing better. Then in 2008 I had a major setback after a particularly difficult private situation. I went downhill rapidly. Blocking people out, withdrawing into my shell, pushing everyone away and letting the depression tighten it’s grip yet again, tighter than ever before. And still, I refused to admit just how dire the situation was. It wasn’t until late last year(2010) that I finally went for help again.
I’m still now juggling meds to find the right combo (on doctors orders of course) and struggling through it all. I know more about the disease now, and understanding that it is a real physical problem has helped me cope with it, helped ease the stigma in my mind at least. I am a long way from being ok, and I am terrified of every med change, knowing that the following weeks will be so difficult whilst I adjust. But I’m hanging in there, trying to find a way through. And while, yes, I can admit that I do need the medication, I have found help and comfort from another unexpected source. Craft.
|Lita's Craft Desk|
As I said, I am at my happiest when I am creating. For years I let that side of me slide, let depression tale over my life. But I am realising that even 10, 20, 30 minutes a day at my craft desk can lighten the load. I don’t have to create some epic masterpiece, I don’t even have to finish a piece, just being there, creating something, makes my heart heal just a bit. It’s my time, my little world where I please no-one but me. I can create with butterflies and flowers, or dark slashes of paint and ink. I’m not fitting to someone else’s mould, following any rules, I am simply being.
If I could give any advice to those suffering through depression, I simply want to say hang in there. Find that one thing that brings you even the tiniest bit of joy and cling to it. Craft, read a book, grow vegetables. Bake a cake, keep a journal, knit a sweater. I’m not telling you it will solve all your problems, that craft will heal all. But it may just help you get through, even if just for a while.
I know I’m in for a long battle, but craft, and the crafting community, along with my partner and my gorgeous girls, are what gets me through the day. It may not be a perfect life, but it’s mine, and I’m living it the best way I know how.
|Favourite Things Journal by Lita|