I adore today’s contribution to the Mandalas for Marinke project, a bright rainbow (or sunbow) crochet mandala with hearts attached and a complementary mini mandala.
Linda Aceto’s life as sadly touched by suicide in the same month that Marinke died. She shares:
“On July 27, 2015, my lovely niece, Samantha Angell “Sammy” Griffin, died by suicide. She was 21 years old. Sammy suffered for many years from Crohn’s disease and bipolar disorder. Sammy was a compassionate young woman who especially loved animals.”
“I discovered the book Crochet Saved My Life a few years ago. I love this book and the stories of the people who were helped by crochet. I, too, was helped by crochet, having suffered for many years from debilitating anxiety and panic attacks.”
“I was very sad to hear about Marinke’s passing. I loved her beautiful mandalas and had planned to crochet one. I never thought I would be crocheting a mandala in my niece’s memory.
At Sammy’s burial, balloons were released, and as we watched the balloons float away in the sky, our eyes saw a “sunbow”. It was a sunny, hot morning, with no rain the night before, and no rain in sight. I had never seen a sunbow before. We were calling it a rainbow. Later on a family member shared with us through Facebook that what we had seen was a sunbow. We were in awe of it. It was beautiful. That morning, the deacon told us to look for signs, and we knew that this was a sign from Sammy. It was Sammy’s Sunbow.”
“After that happened, I decided I would crochet Marinke’s standard mandala to look like Sammy’s Sunbow. I also crocheted Marinke’s “little hearts” and attached them to the mandala to represent the pink and lavender balloons that we released.
Sammy’s favorite quote was:
Sky Above Me, Earth Below Me, Fire Within Me
I also crocheted a small version of Marinke’s Standard Mandala to represent the quote that Sammy loved.”
Finally Linda shares:
“Crocheting the mandalas in Marinke’s and Sammy’s memory has been a great stress reliever for me and has helped me with my grief.”
I love the reverse side of this mandala that’s been slightly felted by stiffening
Linda has shared that Sammy lived with both Crohn’s disease and bipolar. There is some evidence to suggest that the inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease can be a cause of mood disorders including depression and bipolar.
Crohn’s disease as an IBD condition, meaning that there is inflammation affecting the GI tract. The cause of the condition isn’t known, although it tends to run in families and is exacerbated (but not caused) by stress and dietary issues. A Danish study has shown that people with Crohn’s and other inflammation issues may be more prone to mood disorders. This Danish study follows a different study which “found that high levels of another byproduct of inflammation, quinolinic acid, are associated with chronic depression and suicidal tendencies”. This suggest a possible benefit in finding both natural and medical ways to reduce the inflammation in order to reduce the incidence of depression as well as to enhance the effects of anti-depressants if you’re taking them. Yet another study showed that there depression may be tied to flare-ups of Crohn’s.
In addition to the issues possibly associated with inflammation, people with chronic illness are often prone to experiences of depression. Living with a chronic condition is difficult; it can affect both physical and mental wellbeing. It is enough of an issue that the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America shares tips for helping yourself when depressed.