I'm sorry for going awol of late so thank you if you are still reading. I have actually been crafting like mad and my poor loungeroom is currently covered in fabric, threads, patterns and countless WIPs (I just keep starting more...). Unfortunately 'my' camera is holidaying in South America so getting pics of what I've been up to isn't as easy as it normally is. I will work on that and get back to you all as soon as possible.
In the meantime, I shall move on to the real reason behind today's post -
Today, Monday 10 October 2011, is World Mental Health Day. In Australia, beyondblue is working hard to break down the stigma associated with anxiety and depression and they have put the call out to encourage everyone to make an effort and spread the word.
This is an extremely personal subject for me as I have suffered from bouts of major depression a number of times in the last decade or so and anxiety & stress is a normal part of my everyday life. In fact, there are times that it gets so crippling I can barely, if at all, leave the house. This, for obvious reasons, can have dramatic results on relationships with partners, friends & family, as well as employment. For years I hid in shame and went out of my way not to get too close to too many people for fear of (a) letting them down and (b) embarassing myself when an attack struck. These days I still go into my dark zones or need periods of time-out but I am surrounded by loving friends and family who accept this and are extremely supportive. For this I am eternally grateful.
Depression and anxiety are illnesses. There is no quick fix and sufferers can not "snap out of it". Yes, medication can help but in my case, and no doubt many others, I need to completely change the way I think about myself and the world around me before I am completely "cured". It is a hard slog but I believe I am getting there slowly, even if it is sometimes two steps forward, ten steps back. If someone invented a pill to stop me hating myself and over-thinking every little thing I did then I'd be set. But alas.
So, please, if you know of someone who is suffering, lend an ear, ask them if they are ok or drop them a nice note just to let them know you care. They may not respond but don't take this personally. You may also like to aquaint yourself with the various resources on the beyondblue website. Knowledge is power and it may just help you understand what they are going through just that little bit more and what you can do to help.
Lastly, if you are suffering from dark thoughts and/or anxiety please, please, please talk to someone you love and trust and, this is the important part, let them help you. I understand the difficulty in taking this step but you won't be sorry. You are valuable. You are loved. Let people in. Don't be afraid.