Keeping it Real

screenshot-2016-11-03-11-44-02So hi, I wasn’t ready to talk about it until now, and I’m not really even sure if I’m ready now, but it’s time.

Early this summer I spent 6 weeks going through a regimented withdrawal for a drug I was on for my Fibromyalgia. It worked for a while, then it stopped, so I decided the symptoms weren’t really worth taking it anymore (btw, there’s just been a settlement of a class action suit for withdrawal issues from this drug. It was horrible. They totally deserve the money). It was miserable, but I did it right. Slowly, and with much slack granted to myself. My medical team is amazing and very helpful.

It was done and I was coming back to an equilibrium, just waiting to feel better. Waiting and waiting and waiting. And then I realized that I was crying nearly every day, had no creative drive, and was just FUCKING SAD. Turns out the Cymbalta was treating the depression that frequently comes with Fibromyalgia without me realizing that it was. It’s really hard when your body is full of pain to know whether your pain is causing depression or your depression is causing pain. They feed on each other.

I tried to find a therapist, but we were changing health care providers, so I had to wait. The putting-it-out-there and being rejected trying to find someone made things worse. It’s like applying for jobs. It’s a lot of energy put in with very little return. I had to farm it out to my husband. He stepped up for me and made me an appointment. I love this man.

So I’m in therapy, and I got an urgent appointment with my GP to get on a medication. In the intervening months I had tried all the coping mechanisms I knew to deal with my depression, but I just couldn’t push through it this time. I needed some chemical help for my brain. Things are much better now. Still not 100%. I haven’t gotten back to full-on creative knitting work. But my brain is back to THINKING about it, which is a great relief.

I’m not making any grand sweeping statements about depression, drugs, or anything really. But I think talking about it is really important to end the stigma of mental health issues. We have them. It sucks. It impacts our lives in dramatic ways. It impacts our families.

All during this time I’ve been trying to decide how to pivot this creative work I do. The market has changed. I can’t make a living selling patterns anymore. I need something else. But I still need it to feed me creatively and physically. Maybe I need more teaching, maybe I need to finally start the podcast I’ve been talking about for a year, maybe I need to publish another book. Meanwhile my lack of focus has been channeled into The Construction Papers, and I’m really enjoying how it ties back in to my past Years of Making. Also, I like sending people mail.



p.s. If you’ve waded through this and would like something a little more uplifting for your day, check out the new episode of Stash Local, where Kim Werker talks about making and giving yourself permission to change your narrative (the story you tell yourself) of who you are.


Comments 18

  1. Caroline wrote:

    Thanks, brave woman for putting this out here for us all. I support you utterly in whatever form your new explorations take. Juse so ya know 😉

    Posted 03 Nov 2016 at 2:31 PM
  2. Mim wrote:

    Thanks sweetie. 🙂

    Posted 04 Nov 2016 at 10:28 AM
  3. Cari wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you find the balance that works for you. Wishing you well.

    Posted 03 Nov 2016 at 3:39 PM
  4. Mim wrote:

    Thanks. Balance has been hard and always requires adjustment. I’m working on making self-care part of my daily routine. I’ve washed my face more in the last 2 weeks than in the last 2 months combined. It always seems to be the first thing to go when I am not feeling right.

    Posted 04 Nov 2016 at 10:28 AM
  5. Just Me wrote:

    I wish my parents understood more about trauma and mental health issues. Maybe then they’d understand hat happened to me and my kids, and what’s currently going on with us. But they’ve got their own mental health issues that they’re in denial about, which prevent them from ever seeing it.

    Posted 03 Nov 2016 at 4:30 PM
  6. Mim wrote:

    There is definitely truth in that. You know I wish the best for you and your kids.

    Posted 04 Nov 2016 at 10:27 AM
  7. Susan Cawley wrote:

    Miriam: hope things turn around for you. Glad you have a supportive and helpful husband. I’ve knit a couple of your designs and enjoyed them a lot. Still have Icarus on my list.

    Posted 03 Nov 2016 at 6:47 PM
  8. Mim wrote:


    Posted 04 Nov 2016 at 10:26 AM
  9. Sara wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your struggle as well as your work. Mental health concerns touch all of us, and I believe that what you are sharing will help many people. It just helped me. I took your Craftsy class about Lace Shawl Design two years ago, learned so much, and was inspired by you as a teacher as well as the beautiful work. Blessings on you in this difficult journey.

    Posted 04 Nov 2016 at 6:27 AM
  10. Mim wrote:

    Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the class. It was a scary, and totally amazing experience.

    Posted 04 Nov 2016 at 10:25 AM
  11. Bex wrote:

    I’m sorry you are going through this. As someone who also suffers from fibromyalgia and takes a collection of drugs to manage it, I know that sideeffects and withdrawal really does suck and most people have no idea.

    I hope you can find a good way to manage the depression and I’m pleased to hear you have a supporting partner.

    It’s very brave to talk about these things, but I do think it helps.
    I wish you all the best on your creative journey.

    Posted 04 Nov 2016 at 10:38 AM
  12. Mim wrote:

    Thanks Bex. So far so good with the depression management. Trying to ease back into regular life now. Thinking of buying a bunch of spoon charms and wearing them on a necklace. That way I can take some off or leave them on depending on how I’m doing that day to let people know without having to speak to them exactly how I’m feeling. haha!

    Posted 04 Nov 2016 at 10:47 AM
  13. Satu wrote:

    I have been wondering what was going on in your life and feared something like this. I wish I could help. (((((Hug)))))

    Greetings from Finland!

    Posted 24 Nov 2016 at 6:47 AM
  14. Mim wrote:

    Thanks Satu. Things are much better than they were a couple months ago. Clawing to get my momentum back is SO HARD though. Gah.

    Posted 03 Jan 2017 at 2:08 PM
  15. Pat j wrote:

    Hi Mim…have realized that you have been quiet for a while and not so prolific with your patterns …I kind of wondered

    Glad you are seeing a professional now and are on the right track..hey I worked as a nurse in psychiatry for 34 years and then became’s so difficult to find the right medication and boy when you are depressed you can loose all objectivity..a good supportive person in your life is just what you need to help you take control

    No one wants meds but they sure help when you get to the point of loosing it, I know

    I am very sensitive to meds so I can never really totally stop being depressed…I do cbt with myself every day, and try and look for the good in my life …it sure is a tough one

    Wishing you feel better in this new year , and are able to renew your passion to create….cheers pat

    Posted 07 Jan 2017 at 6:35 PM
  16. Mim wrote:

    Thanks Pat. I’m glad that I’m feeling much better and creatively renewed. Thanks for your thoughts! Hope you’re doing well too.

    Posted 08 Jan 2017 at 11:40 AM
  17. Sheila wrote:

    I just read your message. I’m glad that you are getting help. I felt so stupid when I didn’t realize that my own daughter had Post Partum depression. I mean, come on. I’m a nurse practitioner! Jenny was placed on medications and she was so much better. I did drag her out to a local needlepoint shop to buy some supplies. She started needlework again and that helped her focus. But without medications, she would have been lost. She is now weaning off the meds. I will be sure that she tells her OB next time about her depression. Gavin is now 12 months old. Mom and baby are doing well. I hope you are too, Utah friend.

    Posted 31 Dec 2017 at 2:38 PM
  18. Mim wrote:

    Don’t kick yourself too hard. As women, we tend to train ourselves to present an “everything is perfect” front. So we’re really good at hiding that stuff. Glad she’s got the help she needed. Things are SO much better, thank you Sheila!

    Posted 02 Jan 2018 at 12:38 PM

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