Friday, February 25, 2011

Lita's Story

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

Thanks to Lita for submitting her story. If you'd like to leave comments please do so below-she'll be checking back and in case she misses them, I'll let her know. You can take a look at more of Lita's work at her Etsy shop, Artful Fancies, check out her blog and follow her on Twitter!


  1. Lita - I feel I've known you for a while now, and didn't realize you have suffered so much with depression. I'm so sorry that it's been so hard! I have struggled with it off and on, and really appreciate this very honest account of your story!! I hope you and your doctors find the right meds for you, and that you can live a happy, crafty life for a long time to come. Thank you for sharing! (((hugs)))

  2. Lita- thank you for sharing your story. I have been where you were and where you are. If you ever need a hand to hold I'm here. You are not crazy and you are not alone! Even though it feels that way at times. I have found my way through art and blogging. If you feel like it come on over and check it out


  3. Lita, THANK YOU for sharing your experience. I believe that the more we talk about depression and anxiety the less scarey it becomes for others suffering in silence. Reading your story might help one more person talk to someone and get the help they need. I too have suffered on and off most of my life with anxiety and depression. Currently I'm in a 'coping-without-meds' stage, however I know that it is unlikely to last forever. I'm just in a place where the stressors are manageable for a while.



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