Most people realize how prevalent depression is. Myself, I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of people I know who struggle with it to some degree. These same people have been treated with therapy and medications with varying degrees of success. Some like myself have, through medication and other treatment, come to cope well. Others have not found any effective treatment. It makes me thankful that I am one of the “lucky ones” who seem to respond to medicine.
Recently, I have been thinking more about what it would be like to not have medications that help. My brain was a very dark, stormy, and volatile place before I sought treatment. There were long periods of time when I would live without experiencing feelings of hope, joy or peace. The reason that I finally sought help is because my mind was gravitating towards thoughts of suicide and I was scared. It was a long road out of that pit but I am in a good place now.
What would it be like if medication hadn’t been effective? I know people who have tried every conceivable avenue to find their way out of depression to no avail. I don’t think that I could do it. If I hadn’t found treatment which worked for me, I don’t know if I would have the courage to keep on living. And that is what I recently realized. How profoundly courageous it can be to simply keep living. Suicide is an easy way out. Consider how much bravery it takes to continue living from day to day without the benefit of feeling happiness or hope. And for those who are Christians, what immense faith it takes to continue pursuing their faith despite what must feel like a greatly unmet need.
I want to take this moment to say to those I know who suffer from depression, as well as to those I don’t know, that you are amazing. You may not be able to fully embrace these facts, I know it is hard to acknowledge anything positive when your mind is in a dark place, but hear what I have to say. You are strong. You are courageous. You are a warrior. Your battle may not be against flesh and blood, but you fight on none-the-less. I love you for living on.
Those who know me might be surprised to know that my husband and I practised martial arts for a while. If you lived next door to us during our first year of marriage you may have caught site of us in full combat gear, throwing punches and kicks at one another in the backyard, or walking down the street to the dojang carrying our bags of weaponry.
Why do I bring this up? Because my martial arts teacher had a saying, one which I can never remember correctly, but one which I think back to time and time again. It was something along the lines of “by falling down, we learn to get back up again”. I have thought about this saying during various trials in my life, both great and small. By falling (or failing) I learn to get back up again (rise above challenges) and each time I fall, it gets a bit easier to get up. Rising above does not necessarily mean I eventually succeed, though sometimes a new approach can lead to success. For me, rising above most often means letting go of the negative thoughts which failure so easily leads me to. I struggle with this. When I fail I tend to be a nasty wretch to myself. I say “you suck”, “you can’t do anything right”, “you should just give up” etc.
This is the trap I am in right now. I am writing this post as a tool to help me get back on my feet mentally. I took part in another Artisan Market and the honest truth is that in five hours I did not sell a single pillow. Right away my mind turns ugly on itself. I feel discouraged. I feel like I wasted my time and that I didn’t sell anything because my pillows are terrible. Let me claim some truth now. It was not a waste of time. I bought some gorgeous presents from other vendors. I met some really nice people and had enjoyable conversations. I got to treat myself to delicious meals that I didn’t have to lift a finger to make. I got to show off my beautiful pillows. This is the truth.
See for yourself. Here are some of my favourites that I recently made for the fair. They should be up on my etsy shop by the end of the month.
The silk floral fabric is Armani
This pillow is made out of left over fabric from a shower curtain I made.
This pillow is reversible (see other side below)
I love how unique and beautiful the “wrong” side of a fabric can be.