So, I've been pretty quiet on here for a while. Life's been busy, what with one thing and another - work, studying, all the usual! But I've also been thinking, about this blog, about why I bother with it, about what I want to achieve with it (if anything). Well... obviously it'd be nice if it helped people to find my Etsy shop, GeekyGothyGoodness, and made them want to buy stuff! But that's not really a priority, it's just fun - at least until I can get some items made for the other half of it, Black Dog Designs.
And that, I think, is where this comes in. Black Dog Designs is something I've had floating around my head for a long, long time. Hell, I even had labels printed to sew into the things I made... but in al honesty, I haven't made any yet. Partly a lack of time, partly a massive lack of confidence in my ability to make anything that anyone would want to buy, and (I suppose) a large dose of fear that this will be yet another thing that I will try which will crash and burn because no one's interested, and my already crappy confidence will take yet another beating. Because this idea matters to me, and so the idea of actually having it out there scares the hell out of me, because it'll really hurt if no one cares, or if my only interest and sales come from friends being nice.
The idea is pretty simple - bags, purses, etc, all handmade and hand-embroidered with 'inspirational' things. Things that might make a difference to someone who is struggling, and who needs a constant reminder that they're not alone, or that they are good enough, and strong enough. Because I've been there, and while it might not make the greatest difference in the world, or make anyone better, maybe it could help someone feel a little less alone and bleak and hopeless. And that means everything to me. So this blog will now be as much about open and honest discussions of what it's like to live with these things, because we do need to be more open about it - there is nothing to be ashamed of, it's an illness like any other - as it will be about crafting or anything else I may babble on about. And they'll be largely intertwined, because you can't really separate an illness from everything else in your life; it tends to colour everything, at least a bit.
I saw a blog post from Blurt today (they're an amazing organisation, and if you haven't been on their site before, you totally should; lots of fantastic information and advice for helping to deal with depression, etc, whether you or a loved one is the sufferer). And it really made me think - stuff I'd thought before, but had pushed to one side, because it was kind of uncomfortable to think about. But today I couldn't just shove it away, and it led me back to here.
The post was about how depression can steal your sense of self, with lots of good advice about how to try and combat that. Excellent stuff. And it's right, depression can and does do that. And I realised again what I realised some time ago - I've suffered from depression (and now anxiety) for so long (well over half my life now.... bloody hell) that I actually cannot remember who I was without it. And that's a bit freaky, and a bit scary. Although I was only formally diagnosed once I was at university, I know now (from hindsight and conversation with medical professionals) that I was undoubtedly severely clinically depressed for the vast majority of my teenage years, and ever since, although it wasn't picked up at the time. I didn't realise; I suppose I thought it was normal to sleep a lot of the time to hide from life, to hide away from people, to have suicidal thoughts, and all the rest of it. As I didn't talk about it with anyone, I had nothing to compare it to.
Now, I realise that I don't know anyone who knew me BD (before depression, natch!) apart from my family - and as I was so young at the time, it's hard to say that even they really knew me; there wasn't much to know. And I don't remember what it was like without it; I don't remember what it was like having a (comparatively) uncomplicated, happy life. And I realise that I don't know who I would be without it. I don't know who I would have grown up to be, without this illness. Would I be totally different? Would I have different hobbies, different interests, different friends? Who would I be? And would the people who know me (and hopefully like me) now have liked the other me? I feel like my whole identity has been hugely influenced or shaped by this stupid, annoying mental glitch - I think wistfully of who I might have been, what I might have achieved, if my brain chemicals didn't hate me quite so much. And I wonder if I would like myself more without the depression. But.... if I could click my fingers now, and suddenly be totally free from depression and anxiety... I still don't know who I would be, and I can't imagine what my life would be like.
I've always tried to think and believe that depression and anxiety do not define me, or anyone else, any more than being diabetic or having a thyroid problem would define anyone. And now I have to wonder... well, maybe they do define me, to a large extent. If you removed that part of me, what would be left? And what would fill the gap?