Cabin fever?

If you’ve ever had that feeling of, “I wouldn’t wish depression on my worst enemy—but I wish my friend could experience it for just a day…”

As I ate breakfast in the sun this morning, I’ve been browsing through the March 2012 “Creative Fibre” magazine in which crafters from Canterbury write about the destruction of their equipment, social and business lives in the earthquakes of 2011, and their stories going forward.

I wondered what stories of recovery, inspiration and kindness will come from our collective experiences of COVID-19, a different kind of devastation, but one that’s brought many lives to an abrupt halt. For some, “isolation” has been little different from “retirement”; for others, the social and financial fabric of their lives is shredded and torn.

A good news story is the astonishing success of the “New Zealand Made Products” initiative on Facebook. In less than a week, it’s gained 250,105 members who’re sharing their NZ owned, designed and made products—and getting sales. You may be sure I’ve added my bronz.beads online shop to the listings!

Yesterday, as we move into Alert Level 3, it finally hit me: cabin fever! Most of the projects—I finished knitting those cardigans!—are complete, the garden’s tidier than ever before, I’ve run out of good beading wire and a necklace I made with florist’s wire broke and beads spilled everywhere… basically, I was out of sorts.

Not sure I can blame this on the lockdown, though; some readers will know I live with depression and despite the thank-god-for-antidepressants that keep me from despair and hopelessness, there are still ups and downs, as the black dog tries to throw its shadow over everything.

Finally I stopped procrastinating and got on with collating another book in my “Words of Spirit and Faith” series. It kept me absorbed—husband had to remind me I hadn’t moved from my chair for hours and should take a break—and brought a gratifying sense of accomplishment. And a Facebook discussion led to possible collaboration with someone in the United States—my lyrics and her music.

Because there’s sure to be someone reading this who struggles with anxiety and depression, or who cares for someone who does, I’m offering some excellent and simple resources. If you’ve ever had that feeling of, “I wouldn’t wish depression on my worst enemy—but I wish my friend could experience it for just a day”, share Matthew Johnstone’s “I had a black dog” and “Living with a black dog”—yes, amusing cartoon drawings and words about mental illness (links below).

And if you’ve ever thought someone should just pull their socks up and get on with it, please also read, view or listen to these resources. They could change your life or save a friend’s.

I trust you’re making this time of limitation a space for deciding how you’d like your life and community to be, and what sort of ‘new normal’ we can create together.

Kapiti Arts & Crafts Society Shop

 

i-had-a-black-dog-cover-image-matthew-johnstone
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I had a black dog—video

Living with a black dog—video 

I had a black dog—book

Living with a black dog—book

RIP Marcus Turner

Marcus TurnerI was too shy – and thought I was too unmusical – to approach him… I wish I’d said thank you then.

So sad to learn of the death of Marcus Turner, an amazing Kiwi musician and lyricist.
When we became FB friends, I told Marcus his “Song for the Depression” had made me laugh during plenty of Black Dog times. Marcus replied that he knew the black dog well – which gave me a better insight into his hilarious and heart-breaking and acute lyrics.
I remember an ‘after party’ following a Wellington Folk Festival final concert. Marcus had sizzled on stage, yet at the party he was wandering about looking a bit lost. At the time I had no idea of the black dog that haunted him (and me), or the strange hollowness that can follow a successful performance. I was too shy – and thought I was too unmusical – to approach him and say how much I’d appreciated and enjoyed his music.
 
I wish I’d said thank you then. So many people were closer to Marcus, and knew him well; I only ‘knew’ the performer, but I want to say that “thanks Marcus” now.
(The first time I heard Marcus sing his version of “There is a green hill far away…” still makes me laugh; it was at Diamond Harbour a long, long time ago.)
RIP to a wonderful man and musician.

Lyrics of “Song for the depression”:
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