Today is Mental Health Awareness day. As most of you know, I have struggled with chronic anxiety and depression for a long time. One thing that I get told most often is that ‘you don’t look depressed or anxious’ or ‘you are always smiling, I never would have guessed you’re struggling’. I fall into the category of ‘perfectly hidden’ or ‘highly-functioning’ or ‘smiling’ depression & anxiety, rather dangerous and often overlooked. This means that by looking at me I look like I’m coping. I smile to hide my pain and attempt to ignore it, to help convince both myself and others that I’m fine. You see, these disorders convince me that I’m a burden on society, my friends and family and how dare I talk about it because I’m just complaining. This is guilt talking. The deep constant sadness, the numbness, the emptiness, are harder to deal with than the constant acidic and toxic anxiety – at least with anxiety I can feel. When depression takes over I get scared, really scared. Depression has robbed me of authentic happiness, of joy in things I used to love, of energy. I literally need to rest after having a shower, after going for a walk, after teaching classes at school. Anxiety has robbed me of just as many things, if not more. I'm a different person each day inside and outside the house. It takes me ages to convince myself that nothing bad will happen when I leave the front door, even to go to work or the veggie shop. I get overwhelmed by noise and light, by people. Some days I'm even overwhelmed by a small load of washing, or a tiny house-related task. I’m a gentle human who needs quiet and calmness. I work weekly with my psychologist to help me with dealing with these things better. She has taught me yoga poses that I can allow my tummy to be soft, instead of its usual tightness, it’s so nice. She is trying to convince me that I am worth loving, that self-compassion is necessary. I’ve come so far, but still have so far to go.
'You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves' My amazingest alpaca shawl inspired by @close_knit knit with the buttery soft @adagiomills yarn ✨ I love love love this!
I have decided that I love shawl knitting so much that I am going to knit one for myself. Stash dove to find some @adagiomills alpaca yarn, scoured favourite Instagrams to find @close_knit Feel It All shawl. Letting the emotions flow, attempting to sit in the uncomfortable anxiety, listening to Brenè Brown, Tara Brach and learning that anhedonia is okay and won't last forever. Show up and find joy and strength in the struggle. Feeling grateful for generous people who share their stories - you're the best 👌
✨Celtic myths shawl ✨ . . . When she's put up with you for almost 20 years, you know that you should thank her for her efforts 😉Happy (very) belated birthday @reebee.leabee . . This will be yours when I see you in a few weeks (which gives me time to block and sew in the ends)!
Earthy tones with earthy tunes 🌿🍂 It is rare and so wonderful when anxiety behaves itself and allows you to practice self compassion, listen to Tara Brach podcasts, play the new folk guitar and knit slow stitches. Absolutely loving making this merino hot water bottle cover for @tree_fox_ ✨
One of our goals is to move steadily towards a ‘handmade home’, where every item has a provenance, a story behinds its creation and its journey to our home, and a reason for being there. We started small; replacing mass-produced cooking spoons with simple stirrers and servers carved by axe and knife; buying a couple of handmade ceramic mugs to replace cheap, ubiquitous, matching sets; phasing out store-bought socks, scarves, and beanies in favour of a hand-knitted winter wardrobe. The latest front in our campaign is coffee. We’ve started using a hand-grinder and French press, together with a quirky little scoop made from a weird-shaped huon pine offset, a native cherry stirring spoon carved on a workshop with @thespoonsmith, and an incredible kuksa carved by @alex_yerks. Together this little set has transformed coffee drinking into a slow-living, stress-busting daily ritual. Wood is magic!
Celebrating turning 25 with a collection of epic goodies ✨ My very own 'the mountains are calling and I must go' pocket knife, enough @quinceandco yarn to make a #wickerwork jumper, a brilliant book that I can use for school as well as for fun, a folk guitar that wouldn't fit in the image!
After carving something like forty spoons now, I think this is our favourite. Originally intended to replace a cheap plastic rice scoop, it has become our go-to cooking spoon for just about everything. Plus the grain makes it one of the prettiest in our collection!
Pretty afternoon winter light highlighting new purchases and our timber spoon collection. We decided that we need to support other spoon carvers, so I purchased this spalted Birch spoon as a surprise/congratulations for Rohan. His first major conference talk!
Ways to challenge social anxiety: 1. Turn up to @close_knit spinning class 2. Actually turn up 3. Learn to spin, eventually relax, and have the best day ever! Thank you Ani for being such an incredible teacher, such a wonderful talented knitter and spinner, and an all round amazing human!
Tasmanian day trips. It's been almost a week since we arrived back on the mainland. Two days back to work and I'm keen to escape back to this little island. I'd even sit through the anxiety inducing flight again.
Yesterday we hired a car and drove to the top of Kunanyi. Little pockets of snow lined the side of the road, we were treated with this view at the top, and then a pastel pink sunset to finish the day. Hobart, you are a rather beautiful city ❄️
Holiday afternoons ✨ After an interesting walk through Hobart hilly outskirts (phone died - no audiobook, no map, got very lost, and it randomly rained), it was lovely to come back to the cottage, make some tea, dry off, make roasted peanut butter on buckwheat crispbread and spend the late afternoon knitting my own socks. Sometimes you do need to do things for yourself (take yourself for a walk, knit something for yourself, treat yourself).