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
Crafter Katy shares:
“Here is my Mandala for Marinke. I chose her Lazy Shade of Winter crochet mandala pattern because:
- I love it.
- Winter is depression and suicide is highest then so it seemed most fitting.
The colors I chose are happy ones from my Scheepjes 2014 Blanket CAL, which is where I was first introduced to and became amazed by the talent, kindness, and person of Wink.
I love my blanket, I love the mandala (my first ever), and in my own way, I love Wink”.
Meet the Maker
In addition to the above info on the mandala, crafter Katy Cowbelter shares:
“My brother, my only sibling, committed suicide six years ago; the wound does not heal. So when I learned that Wink had died, I mourned of course for her, but I also know to a small extent what her immediately family will be going through for the rest of their lies without her: the eternal grief, the anger (this still surprises me, I should be over this, I think, but I’m most definitely not), the random overpowering sadness because he isn’t here when he should be here to share something wonderful with me or help me remember something from our childhood. And she was so very young. A whole lifetime not lived …
And she shared a message to me that I want to share publicly because it resonates so much. Wink’s death really impacted me personally and it has caused a ripple effect of depressive feelings in me and in others I know through the craft community. Katy wrote to me:
“Depression sucks. Suicide is the worst solution for everyone. I know from your blog and your book that you, too, suffer from depression. Please take care. You, like Wink, have touched so many people that you don’t even know, that you can’t imagine. We care for you, for your welfare, your present, your future. I wish I had known to say these things to Marinke. I do say them to you with respect, care and love. Please accept my mandala as a sign of respect for not only Wink, but for you. May you find peace and joy in the here and now.”
I share that last part because even though people regularly tell me that they are positively impacted by my work, I have trouble believing that when I’m in the grips of depression. All of these things that I would tell to someone else, that I did tell to Wink, in fact, about her impact on us, are things I can’t see in myself even though I know better. I say that publicly to acknowledge how incredibly difficult it is to believe those words and how valuable they are and how much it means that people say them – not just to me but to others.
Thank you Katy.
Words by Wink
I love the story about the first thing Wink crocheted, which was intended to be a fish but turned out as a pig. It says in part:
“When I learned to crochet a few years ago I was in the hospital, and as such had limited access to invaluable resources like computers, and more specifically YouTube, to teach me how to do the stitches. All I had was a little book about amigurumi’s, and some wacky diagrams in it that said how to crochet.
His eyes dangle precariously off some super thin thread I used to sew them on, and no one is allowed to touch them because they might come off! Despite his obvious flaws, I do love my little piggie though. He kept me safe during those months in the hospital and he will always be an irreplaceable piece of history for me.”
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. Today I wanted to break the silence around ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) for depression (commonly known as shock therapy). This is something that we really don’t talk about because it’s been so stigmatized over the years. It hasn’t come up once in the two years that I’ve been in a graduate program for counseling. And yet, it is definitely still being used and many, many people are benefitting from it.
I’m not saying I have an opinion either way. (My opinion is always that individuals should work with themselves, their support systems and their professionals to find whatever solution is best for them at any given time and that no one else should judge that choice or decision ever.) But I think it’s really important to break the stigma around the topic so that people are aware that it is an option and feel like it’s one that they can choose if it is the right one for them.
ECT certainly has a difficult history. And it’s one that’s been frequently seen in the movies (think One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest for starters). I recently read an interesting book called Asylum from a doctor who worked in a mental hospital in the 1940s and 1950s. It’s a great informative book and one that I feel has a very balanced perspective on the pros and cons of the way things were done back then and the way things have changed in mental health since that time. And while he certainly says that many things done back then shouldn’t be done today, he comments that ECT remains the best treatment he’s ever seen for persistent, treatment-resistant depression.
Therese J. Borchard of PsychCentral explains briefly (in an article about when you should be hospitalized for depression:
“Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a form of neurostimulation therapy that has a high success rate for treating persons with severe and chronic cases of depression, especially those who have failed to respond to medication and psychotherapy. ECT involves applying electrical pulses to the scalp to induce seizures throughout the brain while a person is under general anesthesia. The procedure is usually performed inpatient because you can recover from the anesthesia in a safe environment and your doctor can closely monitor your progress.”
“When it was first used in the 1940s, it was very primitive. The reality today is different. People are asleep during the procedure and wake up 5-10 minutes after it has finished. They are able to resume normal activity in about an hour. Most people have four to six treatments before major improvement is seen. This is followed by additional treatments and in some cases “maintenance ECT” on a less frequent basis, such as once a month or once a year.”
NAMI also discusses TMS (which I’m familiar with and understand to basically be a magnetic form of ECT), and two other forms of brain stimulation (VNS and DBS) that aren’t as commonly used.
Johns Hopkins, one place that provides ECT, says:
“ECT is a safe and effective treatment that involves passing a carefully controlled electrical current through a person’s brain to trigger a seizure — a rapid discharge of nerve impulses throughout the brain. In recent years, the National Institute of Mental Health, the American Psychiatric Association, and the U.S. Surgeon General all endorse ECT as a valuable tool in the treatment of certain psychiatric disorders, and major depression in particular. Each year hundreds of patients are treated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.”
Certainly ECT isn’t the right depression treatment for everyone. But it might be right for some people so let’s not stigmatize it. If it’s something that interests you, get more information about it, learning more about its history, how its changed over time, what the side effects and potential benefits are, etc.
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.