I LOVE to make things and I love learning about making things—and I suspect that I will continue to love it for the next 50 years (yes, I plan to live well into my 90s).
But at some point along my creative journey, I learned that these “hobbies” were just that: hobbies. I needed to work to make a living.
And so I did.
I was a counsellor at a women’s shelter, a military base and a seniors’ centre. For the most part, I loved it. I love helping people feel better in any small way—and I’ve been told I do that just by being me.
But, eventually, I worked my way into management. That’s when things started to fall apart.
I had no energy left for my creative pursuits, and my mental health suffered. My husband was diagnosed with PTSD and as his career started to crumble, so did my sense of wellbeing. Raising two awesome kids while advocating for my hubby were full-time jobs.
So I ended up leaving work (a long story that I will share at another time)—and after recuperating for over a year, I found myself once again doing the things I loved; making things.
So now I have Sew Crazy: a lovely little home-based business where I make custom machine-embroidered gifts.
But I still felt the need to do more, something to help other women who are also struggling with mental health issues and may also feel alone as I did. So I created Crazy Gals: a Facebook group for women who want a safe place to share thoughts, resources or just reach out for support around mental health issues. I hope that by sharing my mental health challenges and experiences with other women I would be able to share some of the hope that I have found. I believe that it is possible to thrive, regardless of the challenges we face.
But there is still more I need to do. I felt the need to take the next logical step and go public. Hence, Thriving In A Crazy World is born, a Facebook page and now a website. My goal is to change the conversation. Normalize how we talk about depression, anxiety and PTSD. To be able to talk about them with the same compassion, openness and non-judgement as we would any other illness or injury.
For more on me and why I’m doing what I’m doing, please visit my blog post: Who Am I To Talk About Depression, Anxiety and PTSD.
Thanks for visiting, Robin Whitford