Some posts are easy to write whilst others are very difficult. This is one of the difficult ones as it is about me, my life with depression and a fab cross stitch project set up by a fellow sufferer. Promise not to make it too downbeat.
I was diagnosed as suffering from depression almost 10 years ago and my symptoms have included anxiety, panic attacks, paranoia, social anxiety, and insomnia although the hardest to deal with is when I don’t feel anything at all. The severity has fluctuated from barely functioning to unnoticeable to others around me; some days I’ve not been able to leave my home and on others I’ve not wanted to return home. Like a lot of people who suffer from episodes of poor mental health there was no rhyme or reason for it to latch on to me; I have no family history of this illness nor had I suffered a traumatic life event. It just appeared one day, laughing at me.
As someone who is naturally smiley the fact I suffer from depression can come as a shock to those who do not know me well. I’ve accepted will
possibly be with me for the rest of my life and I believe it has made me stronger. That might sound strange but I’ve been in such dark places that I’ve frightened myself however, somewhere deep within me came the fight to live and every time I slowly, shakily get back on my feet and I refuse to let depression win. I am now termed as having chronic depression which means long term rather than the level of debilitation it inflicts on me.
I’ve always loved stitching and it was in one really dark period that I started embroidering and cross stitching. The simple act of counting numbered squares and repetitiveness of the stitching helped focus my mind which was spinning at 100 miles an hour (not in a good way) and block out everything around me. This was one of the reasons I called myself frayedattheedges.
The aim is to raise awareness about mental health issues by creating a large hanging made up of cross stitched squares designed and stitched by people who have been touched by poor mental health. This can be fellow sufferers, their family or friends. Each piece should be 10 inches square and as personal as the person who created it. The organisers aim to bring everything together by December 2015 and then for it to be used as a resource for various organisations.
For my square I chose “A darkness I keep to myself” from King Creosote’s I’ll Fly by the Seat of my Pants. It seemed appropriate for me to use it as I find I often keep my down days and weeks to myself when I should be more open and, without being flippant, treat it like any illness. I mean if I had a repetitive strain injury and had to strap up my wrist I wouldn’t think twice about explaining that my wrist was hurting that day. So why do I not say to family / friends / colleagues that I’m feeling anxious / sad / etc? If I don’t talk about it then how will this stigma ever be removed?
Thanks for reading.
If you’d like to stitch a square then the deadline is the beginning of October 2015. Please contact Stitching Out Stigma for more information. Here’s a link to their poster ——> Stitching Out Stigma poster
Here are some organisations which provide non-judgmental support and advice both to the person suffering from poor mental health and those who wish to support them:
- Scottish Association for Mental Health – http://www.samh.org.uk/
- The Cairn – http://www.thecairn.com/
- List of organisations there to help you, your family and friends – http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/what-are-mental-health-problems/mental-health-help-you/other-useful-organisations