A couple of posts ago I wrote about how low I was and how the time had come for me to find time for me again. I have been battling depression on and off for years and I have had a particularly tough battle with a mix of depression and anxiety for about the last six months. The good news is that I have taken some positive steps and that I am finally beginning to feel a little bit more like me and less like an empty shell running on auto pilot and fumes.
My way of coping with high anxiety and depression is to recoil from the world and so this is something that I can truly empathise with Mollie on. Unfortunately this also means that I often need to withdraw from my world of social media and to simply ‘take a break’ while I try to sort my head out. Thankfully my fellow admins on our ‘Facebook support group’ have graciously and without pressure given me all the time off that I needed from our support group until I was feeling better. Hopefully I will now be able to make more regular contributions to group discussions and I would like to thank them both for their support while I have been ‘off my legs’ so to speak.
I have found being at home all day, ever day for year after year extremely lonely, isolating and depressing. It is also extremely hard to keep up the self discipline and motivation that is required in order to stop yourself from falling into a lethargic and can’t be bothered rut. Once you do fall into a lethargic and what is the point of life rut it becomes even harder to pull yourself out of it and your motivation and self discipline stores become even more depleted. The more depleted your reserves become the more you fall even deeper into the rut of despair. It is a dangerous cycle to fall into and a very difficult one to drag yourself out of. I think that this is also a cycle that Mollie often finds herself in and so I hoped that if I could find the answers for me then these answers could in turn be adapted for Mollie.
The thing that really kicked off a positive thought pattern in my mind which has in turn created a huge amount of enthusiasm was an idea that one of my husbands customers gave to him. It was an idea and a kind gesture from this customer that has really provided me and Mollie something positive to look forward to and a motivation that makes getting up each morning seem worth while and appealing.
Lee, my husband, designs and makes kilns for glass artists http://www.kilncare.co.uk/. A couple of months ago he was attending a meeting with one of his biggest customers based in Bristol when one of the ladies suggested that creating glass art may be a great hobby for Mollie to take up. When Lee mentioned it to me we had a light bulb moment of something really positive that could come out of this concept. What if Mollie and I tried our hand at glass art and then tried to sell our creations at car boot sales or craft fairs. Mollie would be able to keep any money that was made and we could use the experience to also keep books showing the cost of materials and therefore what items would need to be sold at in order to either breakeven of even better make a small profit. If nothing else we could possibly art and craft all day and recoup our costs making it a very cheap hobby indeed. Glass art is quite an expensive hobby and only one that we can access or even entertain due to my husband working in the trade and him being able to build us a kiln that can be installed at our home. However the concept in general could be adapted for any budget. There are loads of arts and crafts packs and sets available on amazon or hobbycraft which could all be utilised for such an idea. Jewellery making sets, candle making sets, glass etching sets and so the list goes on, the possibilities of what you could create with your child is endless.
Warm Glass kindly offered to give Mollie and I a crash course for beginners on glass art at their studio at an excellent rate for Lee and with one to one support for Mollie and I. We booked the course and kept our fingers crossed that Mollie would be able to go. She was very excited at the prospect because she loves nothing more than to create and make things. However on the day she was very avoidant, she was tired because she had been awake all night and stated that she just wanted a duvet day but that she didn’t want to let her dad down. I withdrew the pressure by telling her that she didn’t have to go but that I would still attend and that I would arrange for my mum to stay with her. I also left her for a while to give her some thinking space but reminded her that if she could manage it she would really enjoy herself but that it was up to her. A short while later she agreed to get ready and off we set.
We had a wonderful day at warm glass and I can’t thank the ladies there enough for their warm welcome and the efforts that they made to make Mollie feel relaxed and calm. We made glass snowflakes, Christmas decorations and wall art. Mollie has already sold her creations to my mum and mine are now part of our Christmas display at home. The kiln is ordered and I have done a lot of you tube watching, researching all the different things that can be made from glass and how to do it. I can’t wait to get started and I have a list of things that I want to try to make, starting with very simple creations and hopefully achieving more complex creations with practice, time and increasing confidence. I shall be starting off by making some pendants for necklaces and then some coasters. Of course Mollie will be able to have the freedom to choose what she starts off with and long term I think that her creative nature will put my rather feeble one to shame.
In order to make room for the kiln and to turn our conservatory into more of an art studio we needed to clear a lot of stuff out. Mollie is a complete and utter hoarder but she did extremely well and she did manage, due to the reward of having a glass studio, to get rid of a lot of her stuff. So from my point of view it really is a win, win situation because I can’t stand clutter and so clearing out so much duff stuff really has been an unexpected bonus.
Because I have something to focus on and to look forward to that can be achieved with Mollie I really feel that my mental health and outlook has greatly benefited. I have more energy, feel less lethargic and I am keeping myself busy on most days doing chores and jobs around the house. I find that if I keep moving and doing jobs then I am less likely to feel tired and drained, it also appears to keep me more mentally alert.
I have also joined North Staffs Carers in an attempt to mix more with other people and to have time away from PDA. At the support group many members are elderly and caring for ill partners but it is a place where I can go and feel at home. We are all in a similar boat but instead of going there to talk about our caring role we go there to forget about our caring role and to have a laugh, a meal or a quiz. This is just what I needed, a small part of my life for me and one that didn’t include PDA. They run lots of events and so after Christmas I am hoping to attend more activities especially the art and craft ones which seem really good. Again, unlike many parents, I am so lucky to have a good support network around me which facilitates me being able to access such opportunities.
Of course all of my plans may go completely pear shaped, such is the nature of PDA. However even if Mollie drops out of the project this is something that I am determined to pursue on my own but it would be better if we could do it together and turn it into a successful venture that is helpful for both of us.
If you would like to join a supportive PDA Parent led support group then please apply to https://www.facebook.com/groups/pdaglobal/
Also don’t forget that their are two new books due to be published in January 2015 on PDA. One of which is mine yey!!