This pretty crochet mandala is by Kym in South Australia. It is a spoke crochet mandala that is made using rainbow colors. What I really love is that many of the other people who have done a rainbow version of this pattern used an edging of blue, which looks like sky; and while that’s super pretty, I really, really love the variation here with the bright bold orange!
“I live in South Australia with my husband and three sons. Thank you for organizing this memorial for Marinke – and to help create awareness and understanding regarding depression and suicide. This is my small contribution. May Marinke now be at peace.”
For the depression awareness portion of today’s post, I wanted to talk about substance abuse in depression. There are many ways that the two are interconnected, and we’ve explored some of those already, but I wanted to talk today about a phenomenon that sometimes occurs in which people with depression, particularly women, make a semi-conscious choice to engage in addictive behavior as a means of alleviating the loneliness that is comes with depression.
In her book Depression and Narrative: Telling the Dark, Hilary Clark shares the writings of several woman who illustrate this point, including Joanne Muzak and Elizabeth Wurtzel. Clark writes about Wurtzel’s book More, Now, Again, in which she asserts
“that ‘addiction got [her] what [she] needed’. She draws on cultural constructs of drug addiction as a tangible and distinct condition that signifies and obviously serious problem, in contrast to her ambiguous and ubiquitous depression. She images that, as an addict, her suffering would be validated and that she would be offered community.”
And Clark continues,
“Wurtzel’s perception of the community to which she would belong as a drug addict is important. Many female addicts express a desire to mitigate a crushing sense of non-belonging, to end a horrible loneliness, as a major motivation for their drug use. The “drug addict” or “junkie” label, as stigmatizing and derisive as it is, offers a distinct identity and a sense of community when feelings of loneliness and marginalization are unbearable.”
Of course, it is unlikely that someone struggling with depression would consciously think, “I’m so lonely. I need a community. At least if I became an addict, I’d have that.” But that can be one of the many underlying complicating factors that creates a situation in which depression and substance use/abuse co-exist. It’s just one aspect of a multi-layered situation, but it’s one worth considering in more depth, particularly if you or someone you know struggles with a combination of mental health and addiction issues.
This post is part of the Mandalas for Marinke Remembrance Project.