You know that I have bipolar disorder, right? I mean, I admit it in virtually every post! What you may not realize is that the bulk of my time is spent depressed rather than hypomanic. At one time I would have said deeply depressed, but now…fortunately…it’s just depressed. The difference, you ask? Well, deeply depressed is an overwhelming feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, some shame as a bit of seasoning, sadness, and a belief that it will never, ever end. Depression is bad enough. Deeply depressed is like drowning in air. It’s staying in bed because there’s no energy to even get up. With depression, the feeling is that there is a life preserver out there somewhere, it’s just a matter of finding it. You might note that I didn’t say anything about being sad. It’s my belief, not a fact, just my own belief, that clinical depression has little to do with sadness. I’ll talk about that in another post. I found my life preserver in the hands of a compassionate, skilled psychiatrist and an outstanding therapist. Well, that and the right pharmacological cocktail. But it took the pdoc (psychiatrist) understanding how neurotransmitters work to come up with my cocktail.
But wait! There’s more! I also craft! Yes, even while depressed, I craft. Crafting gets me into another world for a while. When I get into the zone, the depression is pushed to the side. I become happy, hopeful, excited even! And I’m learning there’s a whole bunch of people who feel the same way.
You see, I belong to a Facebook group for craft hoarders. Yep, you got that right. Craft hoarders! We can’t pass up craft supplies without buying something. We sneak it in in the middle of the night, or mixed in with groceries or such. We’re that bad! Actually, we’re pretty good. Pretty good at hiding our crafting obsessions from others! HA! We may have a designated crafting space, but that doesn’t stop the supplies from tumbling out all over the house. As if a mere designated space could hold the bounty of our supplies! But we use these supplies! Or we will. Someday. Someday soon. Glitter. Paper. Fabric. Deco mesh. Buttons. You name it, I and others have it. And it will all be put to good use. I will soon be getting a good sized she-shed with an attached shop. No, not the shopping kind of shop. But the kind where my youngest will no doubt work on cars, motorcycles, and such. But it’ll make a good overrun area for supplies!
I was surprised the other day when one of these dear people…a woman, as are most of the group’s members…mentioned being depressed. I was relieved when she received so much support. Sadly, there is still a great deal of stigma attached to mental illness. However, I was astounded at the number of other members, literally dozens, who admitted to struggling with depression and anxiety. This one thread was so full of positive energy as admissions were made to the difficulties of life with depression, and the benefit of creating in keeping the ugly demons at bay. Also, the positive affirmations to one another to keep crafting. I was actually in tears.
You might have noticed one of the categories on my blog is “crafts”. If it’s a blog for mental illness, why add crafts, you may wonder? Because while I might have bipolar disorder with a heavy emphasis on the depression, that’s not who I am. It doesn’t define me. I’m multifaceted and one of my facets includes creating. Actually, since reading some of the comments within that FB group, I’m pondering the possibility that a great deal of creating comes from those who suffer, in one way, shape, or form. Could it be we’re given these talents to help us cope? I do know I want to reach out to these women and see if any of them are willing to share how they create. I’ve seen the work of some of the people in this group and it’s astounding! I’d love to show it off on my blog.