As a society, we don’t talk about mental health in the same way as physical health. But it is certainly just as important. I’ve had struggles with mental health in the past but right now, I feeler saner, more stable, and happier than ever. And I think that’s worth sharing and celebrating.
I started struggling with depression (mostly seasonal depression) in college and have found that I can manage it by recognizing early symptoms (sometimes with the help of my mom or my husband) and making behavioral and lifestyle changes to prevent it from deepening (light and sleep are great drugs for me). I was diagnosed with anxiety in graduate school and it became rather crippling at points in time. Grad school was not a happy or sane time for me. I felt so trapped, so disempowered, so out of control and my mental health suffered because of it. And now I’m almost a year out of graduate school and my anxiety is gone. I still have things that make me anxious (I will never be happy on an airplane), but it’s not a constant and it doesn’t get in the way of my life.
I know that doing well now doesn’t mean I won’t have hard times in the future. I also know that just because I have struggled in the past doesn’t mean that I’m doomed to struggle in the future.
Through all of my mental health ups and downs, I have turned to making things to get me through. The satisfaction that comes from making things with my own hands, finishing projects, using my creativity helps me to feel calm, happy, and stable. Even if I’m just having a bad day and it’s my mood that needs lifting not my mental health, there’s nothing quite like curling up on the couch with my knitting and my cat to make me feel better.
Do you turn to sewing or knitting to lift up your mood? Does making things get you through hard times?
Each week this year I’m going to reflect on an aspect of myself and how it affects me as a sewist, crafter, or blogger. It may get deep, it may get emotional, it may get totally silly. It may be something I’m proud of, it may be something I cringe at, it may be something I aspire to. I may say a lot, I may say a little, I may ask questions, I may not answer them. I don’t quite know where the project will take me, but I’m excited about the journey. I’d be honored to have you join me on this journey. Chime in any time this year in my blog comments, on Twitter, Instagram, or your own blog. Join me in my theme for the week or make up your own.