Tag Archives: manic depression

Blue Monday

16 Jan

So today has been arbitrarily named Blue Monday. Apparently the most depressing day of the year. I guess for most it is a combination of limping towards payday after Christmas excess, dark nights and mornings, and getting back into the routine of work after a few weeks off. For a lot of people, the deepest sadness they will ever feel is that mild, seasonal glumness associated with days like today. For others of us, those who battle mental health problems, there is a lot more to it than that.

Lately, mental health has hit the headlines, especially in the sporting world. The ‘Time to Change’ adverts are back on the TV, and people are starting to become aware of depression, bipolar disorder and the myriad of other breeds of mental illness.

The stigma is being broken down as people start to ‘come out’ publicly as someone who battles a mental health problem, and the world of social networking has become a huge support and resource for us to swap stories and share information.

Looking at all the tweets and status updates today about coping mechanisms for surviving blue monday have got me thinking about my own strategies for managing my health and wellbeing, and in particular, how much sewing has done for me.

Before I started picking up a needle and thread again, my health was prone to being out of control, with crazy highs and crippling lows. When I started monster making, the sense of fun and of achievement permeated through every other aspect of my life and things started to seem more manageable. Quiet time with my sewing machine is like meditation. All else ceases to exist and it’s just me and my machine, united in creative endeavour, until the hours slip by unnoticed and I realise that my tummy is grumbling and the sun has gone down.

It’s only having been deprived of this for a few weeks after my sewing machine kicked the bucket and waiting for the new one to arrive, that I’ve realised exactly how much a part of me sewing has become. I really am missing a limb. On the plus side, it has given me a new-found realisation of just how much I am defined by my creativity, and the implications to my health if I fail to make time for those things which satisfy me and which give me such a sense of satisfaction.

I am a little lost lamb while I wait for my shiny new machine, but the day I get my eager little mitts on it will be like all my Christmases come at once and I can say for certain than I will never, ever, take my trusty machine for granted.

As a tribute to my old machine and in keeping with the theme of Blue Monday, here is another look at my furry friend, completed a few months ago as a little bit of therapy for myself, The Bipolar Bear.

The BiPolar Bear

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The Bipolar Bear

13 Nov

The BiPolar Bear

My latest creation, The Bipolar Bear is probably my best work to date and I guess that could be because I put a lot of myself into it. This little guy is not a commission, he’s not for sale, he’s just for me.

The word ‘Bipolar’ is massively misused. Just a quick search on twitter for #bipolar will turn up a whole host of people using the term as a way of describing someone who maybe feels a bit sad sometimes, who can’t make up their mind, or has the odd mood swing.

Make no bones about it, bipolarity is a serious and often life-threatening illness. An illness like many others, where through no fault of their own, sufferers have to learn to live with and manage the condition on a daily basis. It is NOT self-inflicted, it is NOT a case of ‘pulling yourself together’ and it is NOT something to be ashamed of.

The Bipolar Bear is a fabric representation of my own bipolarity. I didn’t want it to be a case of just happy and sad. For me, at my down times I feel worn, broken, faded and thoroughly exhausted. Bilbo Baggins said it best when he said that he felt like butter spread over too much bread. The down side of my bear has been inked, torn and patched back up to try and evoke that feeling of being totally worn-out in every way that a person (or bear) can feel.

I’m lucky that my manic times are not too severe, I generally feel happy, confident, ambitious and capable. Everything is rosy and nothing will bring me down. I found that harder to convey on the bear’s happy face but I am pleased with the result.

The Bipolar Bear

The Bipolar Bear

A massive thank you goes to Mr Monster, not only for photographing and animating my bear, but also for all the support he gives me every single day.