Jennifer in Maine says, “I am a crocheter and a social worker. I was inspired by Wink to create and learn. I was spurred on by her death to help raise awareness about depression.” She elaborates:
“I am very moved by what you are doing in honor of Wink. It is a tremendous recognition of what was important to her and will be an amazing legacy. I am relatively new to crochet and was so pleased to discover an international, vibrant crochet community online. I found certain blogs that I followed – yours and Wink’s among them. I learned so much this way and was inspired by the creative, modern energy brought to this mundane traditional skill!
When I read your post about Wink’s death, I was so sad. Her spirit was so alive! I had read her post about feeling down and needing to take a break, and I was aware of her ongoing struggle from her honest writings. I responded to her final post – encouraging her to remember that things change – that nothings stays the same – even depression.
I am a therapist and clinical social worker, and I ran a crisis program in Southern Maine for almost twenty years. I have worked with many suicidal and depressed people over the years. I have also given trainings on the subject for a variety of audiences. It is a terrible battle. There is so much education that needs to happen for the general public.
My mandala contribution is for Wink, and for a friend of mine who also completed suicide, Shirley Dubuc. Shirley and I worked together for many years and before I knew about her struggle with depression, she and I would talk about opening a residence for women diagnosed with depression. We loved daffodils and said we would plant hundreds of daffodils at this home, thinking that for even if only a moment, the beauty of that pure yellow would lift the spirit of even the most profoundly depressed. In some ways, that idea is embarrassingly naive, but in other ways I think it still rings true.
I believe that one of the reasons that people find crochet to be so healing is the power of the beauty of color. It is pure and uncomplicated and evokes emotion in most people. Shirley and I never created that home and she experienced a recurrent depression that eventually took her life. The yellow sunshine in the middle of my mandala represents vitality and the grey almost surrounding it is depression. I left part of the other circle yellow because I know that things change, that time alone can break the chains and free the spirit. Support, treatment, education and HOPE are all crucial elements in the fight.
Crochet daffodil free pattern by @kathmwebber via @simplycrochet_
I am sorry that Wink and Shirley chose suicide and wish that they had not. I am thrilled to be part of a project that may alter a similar course for others.
From, A sister in life and the domestic art of crochet …
Hook to Heal Group Therapy
I also wanted to make sure to share that Jennifer is a licensed clinical social worker who (with my permission) started a therapy group using my Hook to Heal book. The group runs every other week and has incorporated my exercise suggestions on affirmations, dream catchers, yarnbombing and crochet covered stones/ symbols. The work includes psycho-education on depression as well as mindfulness through coloring by working from a crochet coloring book.
The group is still in progress but Jennifer says it is going well. She writes, “I am finding that we have discussions about grandmothers and moms and crafting that really get at family dynamics. That has been great.” She’s seen one woman using the work to connect emotionally with her grandchildren. She also adds that people who have trouble with understanding written crochet patterns are really benefitting from the freeform ideas (lil covering stones in crochet).
I am thrilled to have my crochet health exercises shared in this way. Anyone who would like to do similar work is welcome to utilize my writing in this way. As a courtesy, please contact me to let me know where it is being used.