These lovely little crochet mini mandalas come from Dineke who writes, “Thank you for your great initiative to create awareness about depression and to honour Marinke. There still is a stigma on these kind of health problems so it is badly needed. I hope these mini mandalas help a little!”
She also shared,
“Several years ago we went through a rough time. I only had one way to cope, I just continued to work hard in a demanding job and take care of my family as well as I could. I thought I was tough and strong, being able to deal with it all. How wrong I was. I ignored rising stress, grief and anxiety until 2.5 years ago I had to give in.
“Among the few things I still could do was crochet. I had realized how much I had lost myself during a holiday in Ireland. The ancient prehistoric sites we visited there, like New Grange, I found very inspiring and I decided to use that as inspiration for freeform crochet. It finally developed into a beautiful wall hanging, but more importantly it gave me a purpose, stimulated my creativity and it put my mind to rest.
Since then I’ve crocheted a lot. Occasionally I get too ambitious about it, forgetting that I crochet for fun and relaxation and then it functions as a good reminder of what is really important.”
I’ve been lucky. I’m back at my job, although I work less hours now.
I have a very supportive circle around me: my husband, (grown up) children, my mum and friends. I have an understanding employer and the Dutch social security system works well. And I’ve been especially lucky I think because the dark cloud that is depression did not fall upon me, in spite of everything I kept enjoying life.”
“I have noticed that many people did not know how to react when I came back to work, some opting to kind of ignore it and being very relieved when I acted ‘normally’.”
Let’s talk about that a little bit more. Let’s say that an acquaintance or a colleague – someone you know and see regularly but aren’t necessarily super close with – is going through a difficult time. Maybe it’s depression or maybe it’s some other mental illness or maybe it’s grief or maybe you’re not totally sure what it is but the gossip mill has started going and you have some hint that this person is struggling. What do you say when you see that person?
In my opinion, the best thing that you can do is to be authentic and kind. Let the person know that you are there to listen, but only if you are really willing to listen. Don’t make false offers just because it feels like the right thing to do. It’s okay to just say, “I’m sorry for what you’re going through” if there’s an appropriate time to say that. But how do you go about approaching saying that?
I think it can be perfectly okay to just say exactly what’s on your mind … It’s okay to approach the person, perhaps somewhat privately, and to say, “I heard that you might be going through something difficult. I really don’t know what to say, and this feels really awkward, but it felt important to me to reach out. Don’t feel any pressure to talk but just know that I really feel for what you’re going through”. Or whatever is right for you. It’s okay to say something even when you don’t know what to say. Sometimes that’s better than not saying anything because you’re afraid you’ll get it wrong somehow. In therapy, we talk about acknowledging, “what’s in the room” … it’s okay to say, “wow, it feels a little weird to get personal when we haven’t been that close but I want you to know that wherever you are at is okay”.
Of course, it’s also important to give a person space if they want it. Try to be respectful and read cues from people. I know that for myself, while I appreciate people reaching out while I’m in a tough spot, I also feel a lot of internal pressure to smooth things over and put on a happy face and make it okay for that person, regardless of whether or not they intended that. My impulse to manage other people’s reactions to my depression tends to make my depression worse … so I need space.
Because of the space thing, it can sometimes be great to just do little, quiet things for the person you’re concerned about, without drawing a bunch of attention to it. Leave a fresh flower on her desk, write her a card, let her know where you’re going to lunch and that she can join but only if she feels like it – or offer to pick lunch up for her when you go. Do the extra piece of work to make her day easier. Smile. Be nice. The truth is that most of us don’t know what we need when we’re in depression and most of us don’t know what to say to people we want to help who are going through hard times, but we can still try and trying helps.
Dineke shared her free mini mandala crochet pattern with us:
Dineke Romeijn – Senta’s crochet
The example has been made with cotton and a 3 mm (C/D) hook. However, you can use other qualities and hook sizes as you like.
1st round: magic ring – chain 3 (1st double crochet), 13 double crochet, close with slip stich in 3rd chain. Fasten off. This will give you a ring of 14 double crochet. See photo 1 and 2.
The 2nd round is done in 2 parts, with two different colors.
2nd round part 1: attach threat to any double crochet and chain 3, or simply start with a blind double crochet (see also the pictures at part 2 of this round). Then * chain 1, 1 double crochet*, repeat between ** 12x. Chain 1 and close with slip stich in 1st double crochet. Leave the threat attached to your work and put a stich holder in the loop. See photo 3 and 4.
2nd round part 2: fold the first part of this round to the front and crochet the same round again, in the stiches of round 1 (see photo’s). Make sure you put the hook into the same position (right or left, in the photo’s it is to the right) of the double crochet in the first part each time. Fasten off this color. See photo 5-10.
In each stich of round 1 there are now 2 stiches of round 2 of different colors.
3rd round: continue with the first color of round 2. Chain 1, and make a single crochet between each double crochet of the previous round. Put the hook through both chain loops and crochet these together. This will give 28 single crochet stiches. Make these loose, use a bigger hook size if necessary. Fasten off. See photo’s 11-14 (last one is the back side).
4th round: take a different color and attach to any stich, crochet 1 single crochet, or start with a blind single crochet. *Skip 1 stich and make 7 double crochet in next stich. Skip 1 stich and make one single crochet in next stich. Repeat between ** 5 times. Skip 1 stich, make 7 double crochet in next stich and close with slip stich in the first single crochet. Fasten off. See photo 15 and 16.
5th round: take a different color. Put the hook through the space between a single crochet and a double crochet from front to back, left of the single crochet. Make a loop in the threat, keep the threat on the backside of your work and pull the loop up to the front. Crochet slip stiches over the stiches of the previous round, keep the threat at the backside of your work. Put the hook through the space between the stiches. Follow the arches of the previous row. At the end make a chain of 12 chain stiches for the loop and close with a slip stich in the opening where you started. Fasten off. See photo 17-20.