Finding a way through

I’ve recently been affected by some news I heard through Inside Crochet magazine’s Facebook page. A well-known crocheter died, but she didn’t die of natural causes. She killed herself. Here’s the news as I read it  After years of blogging and writing about how crochet has helped her with her depression it finally became too much for her to bear and she took her own life. She was known as Wink. Here is the link to her blog  A creative being

I didn’t know her and only knew of her in passing so why am I so affected by this? Well I suffer from depression. I don’t make a secret of it but I don’t shout it from the rooftops either. I’ve written about the therapy of crafting before and how crochet really helps me through tough times. I’ve hooked one of the mandalas that Wink is famous for and it’s living in my house to serve as a reminder that I am currently finding my way through.

Why has this struck such a chord now? Last year I lost a baby and recently we had the first anniversary of that traumatic time. I had a missed miscarriage which means the foetus had stopped developing but my body hadn’t realised yet. I took medication to induce the “natural process of evacuation ” but it didn’t work for me. I found myself in hospital having suffered severe blood loss as my body tried to do the right thing and yet failed. I ended up needing an operation to remove my child from my womb. As that baby left my body I felt hope leave my heart. It was a horrendous time but I find myself now stronger for it. I’m lucky that way.

Everywhere I looked I saw the love that surrounded me from close family to friends. A good friend begged me to go back to counselling after such a loss but I refused. I felt I had learned something from my counselling a few years ago: what helps me through is sharing. My then-pregnant sister and I had heart-wrenching conversations as we’d so looked forward to being pregnant together. My husband wept with me for our unborn child. And my mum gave me one of the best bits of advice she had ever given: tell the children. As it had been the early stages of pregnancy we hadn’t even told the kids I was pregnant yet and I originally thought mum was mad. But as I thought about it more I realised it could help in so many ways. It could help them understand why I was so poorly and upset a lot (this was before I needed to be hospitalised) so I told them. I sat them down and explained what had happened (without too much detail) and I’m so glad I did. The following week I found myself in hospital and one of the best bits of medicine was my kids visiting me with pictures they had drawn at school and the best hugs in the world. It lifted my heavy spirits.

From that point we mourned as a family. My children (then 6 and 4) wept for their lost brother or sister and we held a little ceremony to say goodbye. All part of the healing process. It does carry downsides though. My lovely daughter keeps asking whether this baby I am currently carrying (at an encouraging 28 weeks) will die too. “I hope not” is all I can bring myself to reply. Often my little baby then kicks me as if to say “Hey, mum. All’s good in here.” Plus there’s the dogs who deserve a special mention for offering hugs whilst I’m writing this.

At that time in my life I had no energy due to blood loss and a heavy heart. I honestly believe that crochet helped me through. I concentrated on the birthday presents for my niece and son I had started and threw myself into various different projects. The days when I was too weak to crochet felt very black. I couldn’t even lift a hook and would think “what’s the point”. Often with amazing timing my children would walk through the door and demand a hug or my mum or sister would phone or my darling husband would offer me another cup of tea (which might seem small but it helped), or the dogs simply sat by me saying “I’m here if you need me”.

Eventually I got stronger and now am lucky enough to have another baby in my belly. So why am I writing this? To let people know that everyone has their own way of coping with depression. I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to deal with it. If you know someone with it then your task is not necessarily to help them through the blackness, it’s to help them find out what helps them personally, and through that we can only hope that they will find the sunshine in the shadows.

Kathryn Vercillo has come up with a wonderful memorial for Wink (real name Marinke) at Mandalas for Marinke. It’s a great idea where people send her there own creations of Marinke’s work and it creates a memorial as a whole. If you want to get involve then visit the website or use the hashtag #MandalasForMarinke

I’ve made mine and will send it soon. In fact I made two the same- one to add to the memorial and one for myself. See them below. I used the Butterfly Peacock Mandala pattern.

 My friend gave us the lantern the mandala I’m keeping stands on, to remember our lost baby. It seemed an appropriate place to employ the mandala.

I’m sad that Wink took her own life but I now have another reminder to help me through the tough times that may befall me. May we all be able to see the light.

Thanks for letting me share.