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Friday, July 06, 2007

“Fight the Black Dog” #2

“Fight the Black Dog” #2

In this weeks edition of “Fight the Black Dog” you will find the following:

1 – a brief disclaimer

2 – some useful links for more information

3 – a contribution from another “Black Dog Knitter”

4 – how to contact me and/or show your support

1 – a brief disclaimer

I think I need to point out that I am in no way an expert or professional in the field of mental health – everything I share with you here derived from my own personal experience and treatment in conjunction with ‘self-education’ from wanting to know more about this condition. I have started this campaign to raise awareness of Depression and mental illness and to help support others who are affected by this (whether directly suffering or knowing others who suffer) If you are in need of help, please contact your doctor and speak to those in your family and circle of friends.

2 – some useful links for more information

I have three links here that all provide some fantastic resources about Depression and Mental Illness. The first two are sites I am familiar with and have used often are Australian, however they still contain a lot of relevant information. The third was sent in via email. If you know of some great websites, please either include them in the comments, or email them to me at ginger_nut(at)bigpond(dot)com

- http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/ was suggested by Sally in the comments of last weeks post. As well as a fantastic array of information, it also has support groups for sufferers or carers, news updates and some interactive features

- http://beyondblue.org.au/ has similar information, but presented in a more user friendly way. Beyond Blue is the national initiative to raise awareness of Depression and mental illness, and currently running a media campaign on national television.

The third site I’ll share this week is http://www.stitchlinks.com – this is an email I received earlier this week that sums it up better than I ever could:

Glad to see you feeling able to talk about your depression. I have had an episode myself, some years ago, after a break up, but was lucky enough that it did that natural swing back up to normal over about 18 months. I was a GP trainee at the time, and now a GP, and I do think even that relatively mild episode helps me to understand something of what people are experiencing when they come and talk to me about depression. I often tell them (just in passing) that I have had it, as you say – I think sharing that kind of info about ourselves can give power to other people and encourage them too.

The (hopefully) helpful info is – about Stitchlinks. This has been set up by Betsan Corkhill, an ex physio here in the UK. She felt she had noticed how much knitting (and also other crafts like cross-stitch) helped people who had depression and also those with chronic pain. She also felt this was unrecognised. She has set up an organisation that seeks to investigate the links, but also to support people with some of these problems. It might be something people would find helpful, and I wonder if you’d add the info to your blog? I’ve included the info from the site below, also the URL. http://www.stitchlinks.com

Why Stitchlinks?

At Stitchlinks we help our members to live a fuller life by combining

· an international friendship network (now spread across 10 different countries) with

· the remarkable benefits of knitting and cross stitching

· research into just how knitting and cross stitching affect the brain

· knowledgeable, practical health advice

· support and encouragement to move onwards

· and financially, with discounted products

What does Stitchlinks do?
It began with the need to support those who are isolated by circumstance or illness, but has grown to include all areas of life. We believe that what we’ve discovered so far could help everyone find balance in life.

We set up Stitchlinks with our members in mind. Many knitters and cross stitchers have told us that friendships forged between stitchers are important for giving them a sense of identity and belonging, for making them feel valued. So we set up a Forum, Newsletter and Penpal sections so that our members can link up and become firm friends, particularly those who are isolated by illness or circumstance.

Each member finds their own benefits for their specific situations and many will do it just for fun.

There’s something for everyone to enjoy so you don't have to be ill or isolated to benefit.

What's it about?
This email says it all:

Your network would have offered me somewhere I could talk about the one thing that seems to be helping me hold it together.

Somewhere I could find an interested listening ear; somewhere when I got stuck I could go for inspiration or a laugh or a chat or a moan; or just listen to others chatting and be involved without disturbing the flow; or ask for help with real people who were also for one reason or another only able to access this kind of support on the net, when they could.

Sometimes when life chucks you 'The Mushroom Principle' as my Dad calls it (you just get your head out into the light and someone throws a pile of **it on top of you) I find you need to talk to people who don't know you, who can't see you but who listen and answer. It takes away that emotional chasm that so often stops you saying the stuff you need to say or hearing the stuff you need to hear from those who know you and love you."

3 – a contribution from another “Black Dog Knitter”

I received several stories during the week, and will try to share them with everyone. I have taken the name out of this email because I forgot to ask whether or not I should include it.

I have happened to come across your post recently about depression and I agree with you wholeheartedly it isn't just a "phase" or some thought up disease it is in fact a real one. I have suffered with it for about 12 years off and on, it wasn't until about the last 4 years is when it finally came to the surface with full force. My boyfriend had just left me to raise my daughter alone and here I was an 18 year old girl with a baby I didn't know what to do, all i knew was is that it sucked and I was majorly sad because I had my heart broken and I was expected to raise a baby? well I got on for a few months being in an OK state of mind but then taking care of my grandmother got to me and I tried to commit suicide. twice.

My family finally realizing how much pain I was in sent me to a treatment center the first time it didn't help at all. It wasn't until the second time when I was sitting in my pysch's office that I realized i couldn't keep doing THIS...this OK state of mind I wasn't going anywhere. So for the first time in 2 years I got back on my meds, I actually WENT to see my pysch and here I am still here. I can't say that I am fully recovered because I can't say that all I can say is here I am with my happy pills and I am somewhat happy maybe a little miserable at times but I am still here living with it, my daughter, my dog, and that scarf I will probably never finish but it helps me when i am low.

4 – how to contact me and/or show your support

if you would like to contact me, you can do so at ginger_nut(at)bigpond(dot)com – if you are sending me a story of your particular battle, please try to include whether or not you want me to include your details. I received some emails from anonymous email addresses, and that is fine as well. I’ll include those stories later one.

I was happy that people have posted about depression on their own blogs, as well as sharing the button I created. If you would like to show support with the button you’ll find details of how to create the link via last weeks post.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone who has mentioned my campaign on their blogs, podcasts or web-zines – I have tried to visit everyone who left a comment, and if you look at my sidebar you will see my bloglines list has grown quite a bit. If I have missed you, please leave a comment or send an email.

Cheers,

Ginger_nut aka Meg

8 comments:

SallyO said...

Another great post, Meg. Keep 'em coming.

EnnaVic said...

I heard about stitchlinks a while back and promptly forgot to follow it up so thanks very much for the link now.

have a good weekend :)

Jejune said...

The Stitchlinks sounds brilliant - I'd certainly agree that knitting and other creative activities help a lot!

A web site I found helpful was Wing of Madness.

Taphophile said...

At the last Woden SnB a woman stopped dead in her tracks when she shaw us sitting in the lounge area knitting. She did a fabulous double-take, stopped and exclaimed "A knitting group! Are you a knitting group?".

We assured her we were and invited her to join us. She reluctantly declined because she was with people who were leaving, but not before taking one of our flyers and telling us that she'd recently been at a psychiatric unit where every afternoon the residents sat in a big circle and knitted and how therapeutic she and others found it.

Woolly Wormhead said...

Hey :)

I've suffered with clinical depression for years, and it often appears on my blog (label - 'headzone') I'm in recovery now which is great, but know it'll never leave me entirely.

Just wanted to say that I've mentioned your campaign on my latest blog post. I get a lot of readership (including fellow sufferers) so hopefully it'll help raise interest and awareness for you.

Good luck.

Caitlin O'Connor said...

Dear Meg - found you via Whip_up - I'm currently in the jaws of the black dog yet again.. not yet a knitter but am a quilter/crafter - will put a link on my blog when I am next awake!
Cheers,
Caity

Noelle said...

This is a wonderful, wonderful idea! I was diagnosed with clinical depression I think about eleven years ago but it was changed to a more complicated bipolar II (depressive episodes with anxiety instead of mania) a few years ago.

Knitting has gotten me out of the house and I've made actual real life friends in my knitting groups! And I even sell what I consider my artwork on etsy and I'd totally given up on selling art.

I'd love to get more involved in this!

littlelixie said...

Am also a depressive and have written about it on and off in my blog for years. Am going to use your button on there to and link to stitchlinks. Hoorah for knitters!