Yesterday we looked at our first crochet mandala rug for the Mandalas for Marinke project; today we have our second one. This one is by Susan Laney of Susan’s Yarn; she also contributed three additional crochet mandalas.
Susan knows what it is like to heal with crochet. She shares:
“I have bipolar disorder, social anxiety, depression and OCD. I did not seek professional assistance until I was in my mid-thirties. Up until then, my family dealt with my yo-yo emotions. Every day I would think of ways how to end my pain, believing that my family would be better off without me anyway. The only time I saw my “glimmer of silver” would be when I had a hook in one hand and yarn in the other. Just the feel of yarn was such a comfort, like a small child finding comfort in their blanket that they drag around everywhere. Whenever I started a project, each row and each stitch helped me to deal with the inner pain. I am much better at dealing with the depression today, however there are some days that the pain tries to creep back inside, so I pick up my hook and threads and do what I need to do in order to feel better.”
“When I read about Wink’s project, I knew I had to participate. I was compelled to contribute something, anything, so that people will know about Wink, and so that we will never forget her or her amazing art. I’m glad that this topic is no longer taboo or the elephant in the room that nobody sees.”
Susan used Wink’s standard 12-round crochet mandala free pattern, working it in thread. She explains:
“I wanted to use color to illustrate the cycle of a day with bipolar depression. Light is good feelings, and as it gets darker with some glimpses of light, this shows the struggle. But, with work, you can overcome and get to your “glimmer of silver” and overcome the darkness.
Susan also contributed the beautiful t-shirt yarn mandala rug. She shares:
“I used ribbon yarn for the body of the rug, and I used gold fabric for the edging. I wanted it to represent the gold pot at the end of the rainbow, or the light at the end of a dark day”.
Susan described the “day in a bipolar life” as shifting from light to dark. This inspired me to think about sharing that there are different types of cycles that people with mood disorders like bipolar will feel. They have different diagnostic names (such as rapid cycling) but what’s important to know is that someone living with bipolar may alternate between “high” and “low” moods in many different ways, with varied periods of average “normal” moods as well.
For example, one person with bipolar might experience years of wellness and then enter hypomania or mania, which may go on for an extended period of time, followed by wellness and/or a months-long period of depression. Another individual might cycle through many moods in one day or week. Some people may experience only manic highs and never have any corresponding periods of depression. Others may have both experiences but may have significantly more of one than the other, such as usually experiencing depression but having a history of one or more manic periods.
If you want to learn more about bipolar, here’s a documentary called Up/Down based on interviews with people living with the condition.