Finally, after three starts, one complete toss of a partially finished attempt, a frustrated switch from linen to Aida, The Stitcher was done. Why would an "expert" on stitching who's been at it for almost 40 years have so much trouble with a one-color, whole cross stitch project? Well, the story gets a little personal, so bail now if you don't want to know the details and you just want to keep me as a stitching icon (kidding, I'm kidding) in your life.
Let me digress by saying that I have always admired designer Pamela Kellogg's openness and honesty about her depression and anxiety which ultimately led to her changing focus from cross stitch to crazy quilting. I admire her willingness to share her story about her breakdown and treatment and it has helped me deal with my own situation.
I haven't updated my blog much in recent months. I was "on vacation" and then I have been dealing with my husband's surgery and subsequent recovery. My vacation wasn't really that though - what really happened was that I pretty much "lost it" in August - my mind, that is. Many of you know that I cared for Mr. Pat, my father-in-law for the past few years. I was being treated for depression before and during that situation.
After he passed on Dec. 20, 2010, I seemed to be doing better, but then several things happened - my Grandmother died in Jan. 2011, then there were several other losses and situation and I just never seemed to "get it back." Well, come to find out, I was misdiagnosed with depression with bipolar tendencies when I was really BIPOLAR in a big way. The meds they had me on were not working. Unfortunately noone realized this until I was in such a deep depression that I saw no way out of my situation. I told someone of my dark thoughts and ended up in the hospital for three days, off the meds cold turkey (That was NO FUN, believe me).
Long story short, since then, lots of work, lots of therapy, trying out several different meds, taking it one day at a time - slowly, slowly, slowly I am getting better, feeling better, achieving more balance and coping with my diagnosis. I am able to stitch more, work more, enjoy life more, and live more.
I don't have all the answers, but here's what I am doing and what I suggest you do if you face mental health issues:
Get Help - professional help - seek the helpt of family, friends, and people in your community
Be willing to get out of your comfort zone including group therapy if needed. I hated admitting I needed therapy, but it does help.
Do the work - educate yourself about your Mental health disorder, educate yourself about your meds, take time for yourself, journal.
Schedule - meds, exercise, healthy food, no matter how difficult. Following a routine is the hardest part for me - I am a night owl, but find that following a more "normal"
schedule actually works out a lot better for me now.
Find joy - Even though the dark shadows lurk, don't let them overtake you.
For me, each day things get better and better. One constant highlight during this whole time has been my stitching and my stitching friends! Stitchers rule - they get it!