Defarging: A tale of twisted situation

Lucie begs for mercy. Madame Defarge stares at her coldly while she keeps on knitting. Madame Defarge is a character from the Tale of Two Cities written by Charles Dickens. She is a cold person who doesn’t stop knitting and cares nothing but vengeance. She ceases to be a human being.

I took up knitting by a sheer twist of fate, defarging my way out of a twisted situation, chronic depression, accompanied by my cat, Lucy.

I taught myself to knit to get out of the funk being in my head all the time when depression comes knocking on my mind. Two needles. Two stitches.

Knitting my way out of twisted knit stitch such as right twist, left twist, twisted rib stitch, cable stitch, yarn over; interweaving without dropping a single stitch made me realized that life can be beautiful.

When making mistakes in following the pattern, the aesthetics quality of knitting, I can unravel the yarn similar to knitting my way out of depression. In the process, I learn how to become patient with myself and find a solution to the problem.

Little do I know, there are many health benefits in knitting.

One thing for sure, my thoughts are focused and calm. The monkey and the black dog retreated. What a relief to know that time passes without the drawback of depression and the pain not registering while knitting.

Adding prayers as I knit gives me the courage to go through another episode of instability and turns my project into a prayer blanket, shawl or scarf. I find it soothing.

This may sound like a simple artsy fartsy craft hobby; cognitively, it is a challenging procedure when my mind is slow and forgetful. But the result is, I find joy and a sense of accomplishment in this fashion while Lucy entertains me with her twisted antics playing with the yarn. The end project becomes a surprise gift for someone.

Right now, I am back to knitting. I am back to continuing education to maintain a healthy state frame of mind at the mental health unit learning Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. The therapy is nothing new to me but mental health provider has enhanced the program since its inception.

Giving names to feelings, behavior, thoughts and physical sensation helps bring awareness to this disease. Identifying them, half of the battle is solved. It can be difficult to give it a name when I don’t feel good. I have a cheat list of words to help me identify what malady is surfing as I ride the wave.

I am one of the lucky ones that made into the program when there are countless people who need the services. For this, I am grateful and feel blessed.

It’s a big group coming from all walks of life. One thing though, I will not undermine their intelligence. Most of them are professional people. Educated. Working groups. With the aid of CBT, we gain the wherewithal of dealing with the adversity of life especially in making a living to become responsible and self-sufficient. It does take money to remain alive. Again, I appreciate that the course is priceless.

Since it’s free, the therapies are more than happy for us to share what we learn to educate others. It is through sharing information, we can educate others not just the mind but the heart also.

Depression is a tricky business. I cannot tell what would trigger me. Even a well-meaning advice, I can twist it around. Just the same, it’s a learning experience.

Kindness, patience, understanding, and refraining from telling me to let it go are helpful when I am in this state. Letting go is easier than said. I cannot tell depression to let go, to go away, to get out of my head. I will snap out of it. I just don’t know when.

Once I am out of this funk, you can call me crazy and I can take anything.

”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair”. – Tale of Two Cities


6 thoughts on “Defarging: A tale of twisted situation

  1. It is very brave of you to share your battle Perpetua, and hopefully maybe help others who suffer. If knitting helps you in your fight then good for you, keep it up and know that in the end someone will be the recipient of a lovely gift. Depression is real, it is just a bit more difficult to see for those who are fortunate never to have known it.

    • Thank you, Tina. You’re right, sharing is the key. Knitting is just one way to tame our thoughts. We are learning to be creative in a positive way in dealing this disease. The project is a blanket for the next baby 👶

  2. How refreshing to read this long post. I took up counted cross-stitch for the same reasons. It is impossible to worry or obsess when you have to scrutinize the pattern and count little squares. You also can’t hurry cross stitch. You can only make one stitch at a time. This keeps you anchored in the here and now. How fortunate that you have that group with its teaching. I never understand the stigma around diseases above the neck!

    • I remember cross stitching at Home Economics in high school. Too right about being focused. So much to re-learn what we know when we were well. Stigma is best handled through education, share our experiences and hope to God that others will not suffer as we do. Thank you for your contribution.

Please share your reflection. Thank you.

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