Here is the next of the beautiful, inspiring, special contributions coming in to the #MandalasForMarinke remembrance project. I am grateful for each and every amazing contribution. You are invited to join; learn more here.
Beautiful Crochet Mandala
Maker Sarah shared:
“I didn’t know Marinke; I never had any interactions with her, I didn’t read her blog. But when I heard of her passing, I looked her up and discovered that I had encountered her patterns a number of times!
In seeing how her death has affected the crochet community, and the fact that she took her own life, I couldn’t help be affected as well. For someone who was known for her use of color, this project seems a fitting tribute.
I used Wink’s “Spoke Mandala” pattern, seeing it as a symbol of Wink herself. Bright and colorful, with rays shining out and spreading. But depression creates a wall around a person; they can’t see the light they release to the world. And they can’t see all the love that surrounds the,. It can feel like a huge void, an uncrossable chasm. From the other side, it may seem like a small obstacle that the person should be able to get over, but from the inside – easier said than done!
I added the black around the mandala to show the depression. And outside, I surrounded it with hearts to show the crochet community. The love for Wink and her work, the love we all pass on to her family and friends, the love that surrounded her before, and the love that we share with each other now. The white picots are my way of showing how we continue to pass it on, by sharing her patterns, by doing this project, by letting her death bring us all closer together.”
Meet the Maker
This mandala comes from Sarah how you will find on Facebook and Instagram under the name Stitchhikers. She shares:
“I am 37 years old. I live in Southern California with my husband and ten year old daughter. I’ve been crocheting for about five years. I have fibromyalgia and have battled depression as long as I can remember.”
“I’ve suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. When I was in high school, I contemplated suicide. I had things planned out, but didn’t have the energy to follow through. The day that I was going to go through with it, I was laying on my bed crying, as I so often did, listening to the radio. A song by my favorite band, Oingo Boingo, came on. I knew all the words already, but this time the words went deeper. “I looked Death in the face last night, I saw him in a mirror, and He simply smiled. He told me not to worry. He told me just to take my time.” That was what I needed to hear at that exact moment. It got me to pick up the phone and call a friend. That song (“We Close Our Eyes”) will always be a very important song for me.
The depression never completely goes away, it ebbs and flows. Most of the time, I can manage it, occasionally with the help of meds. I’ve had other times when the thought of suicide entered my mind, and have always been able to latch my thoughts onto something to pull me through. It may seem a thin rope that crosses the chasm, but it holds strong enough for me to pull across, slowly. I will always have the worry that one day that rope will break and I won’t be able to latch onto another. I worry more about that now, as my body fails me more and more often.
I have fibromyalgia. In some ways, I am lucky with my fibro – I know plenty of people that have it worse than I do. But when you don’t sleep well, when you’re always in pain, when you forget words or struggle with tasks you used to do easily … It’s hard to keep a positive attitude. To have an invisible illness, and know that your family doesn’t fully understand, increases the depression at times. I know the feelings of solitude and despair, while simultaneously having the logical side of myself saying that I’m not along, pointing at my friends and family.
I taught myself how to knit and crochet about five years ago. I have done so many different craft projects over the years. I took ceramics classes a lot, I did bead work and jewelry making, I sewed … but crochet has stuck. Years ago, when I decided to sign up for one of the ceramics classes, I told one of my best friends and she said, matter-of-factly, “Good. You’re more sane when you have a creative outlet.” I had to laugh because it was so true. I hadn’t realized it before, but being creative, letting the energies flow, really does help keep me grounded. I think that also points to one of the reasons that our community has been hit so hard by Wink’s death. Creative people tend to feel more. Most of us, whether we’ve spoken publicly about it or not, have depression issues. It hits close to home.”
Finally, Sarah adds:
“I would like to pass on my love to Wink’s family and friends. I think that this project, seeing all the mandalas made in her name, will do a much better job of conveying the impact Wink had on the community, and the love we all have for her, than any words I can come up with.
May Marinke be filled now with as much love and light as she brought the world.”
Words by Wink
“I was a part of Crochet Conpusicence’s book titled ‘Crochet Saved My Life’ and shared my personal story on my blog. Even though it was a hard post for me to write and share, the responses were nothing short of amazing. I was truly touched by all the wonderful comments that you all left, and I love you all!”
One purpose of this project is to raise awareness about depression so each post will end with some facts, thoughts or quotes about depression, suicide and/or mental health. Sarah has brought up fibromyalgia (which Sabina also mentioned); we haven’t discussed yet in the context of this project so I thought I’d share a bit today about its link with depression.
I wrote, in the chapter on fibromyalgia in Crochet Saved My Life:
“Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects both the body and the mind. The primary symptom of the disorder is musculoskeletal pain across a large percentage of the body. However, it is highly common for people suffering from fibromyalgia to also experience fatigue, memory loss and mood problems. The Mayo Clinic reports that …. sufferers are more likely than than the general population to experience other health issues including tension headaches, TMJ, IBS, depression and anxiety.”
The chapter goes on to share the experience of Shelli Steadman, who lives with fibro and crafts to heal. She explained that her depression evolved slowly along with all of her health problems and she shared:
“Crochet helps me put my pain on the back burner for awhile. It takes my focus away from home I’m feeling and puts it in a more productive place. As I’m sure anyone who ever felt any kind of pain can tell you, if you are distracted from focusing on that pain it seems lessened somehow. I’ve realized that if I focus too much on how I am feeling, it’s as if the pain is magnified. Crocheting lessens my pain by distracting me with yummy, colorful yarns to work with.”
She adds that the repetitive nature of crochet makes it meditative which also helps her relax, breathe and take her mind off of her pain.
All contributions to Mandalas for Marinke are welcome and will help raise awareness about depression while honoring her work in the same way that this great contribution has done today. Details to join here.