Wednesday, 22 February 2012

How Creativity Can Improve Your Mental Health

Way back in November (the previous post from this) I shared links to two blog posts from myself and Stacey Clark on depression. Today, I'm sharing Stacey's entire post as encouragement on how creativity can actually improve your mental health. The original posting can be found here at Princess Warrior Lessons.

I know this to be true because as someone who is overcoming depression I've returned back to painting and drawing after a 26 year absence and I'm flourishing! I find such peace in exploring my creative side, and I'm also learning to be more patient, to try new things, and accept mistakes as a blessing!

I hope that you benefit greatly from Stacey's post and be sure to pop over to her blog and say hello! She can be found at "mrs clark: it;s about blogs tea & me".

Paula C. Whitehouse for A Scarlet Rope of Hope


How creativity can improve your mental health 

When Jo asked me to do a guest post on creativity I was so pleased (and shocked and over the moon)! 
And straight away I came up with the idea to post on creativity in relation to depression and my walk with God. 
You see in the last few years I have struggled in a massive way with mental illness. 
Who knows. 
Maybe because I was married at 19. 
Had had my three children by 27. 
Maybe because I homeschool. 
Maybe because of the pressure of overseeing 2 ministries in our last church, raising a family, being a wife and remembering that there is still a wee person under all of that. 
A person that needs some love and attention. 
Isn't that sad. 
The one person who is really the physical glue of the family being overlooked all the time. 
It's something we find so easy to do huh? 
Forget about ourselves. 

{my babies :: Zac, 3, Holli, 7 and Isabella, 5}

So I was diagnosed with severe depression, severe stress and severe anxiety in July last year. 
My life was a mess. 
I would drive down the street and want to drive into the oncoming traffic. 
It was horrific. 
I would daydream about self harming but would never actually be game enough to go ahead and do it. 
I would fantasise about dying and my husband remarrying and giving my three angels a real mother. 
One that wasn't sick. 

{shelves I made from a pallet I found}

Now I'm coming through it. 
I'm on the other side of it. 
How did I do it?
A combination of medication, a great Christian psychologist, sound advice from good friends, the Word of God and creativity. 



— adj
1.having the ability to create
2.characterized by originality of thought; having or showing imagination: a creative mind

I'm a crafty person.
I create. It's what I do. 
To wear. 
For the house. 
For decoration. 
For use.  

{screen printed placemats}

I would rather a night of sewing, crochet, screen printing, tunes and tea to anything else.
I like to see something come from nothing. 
[You should definitely check out this amazing website, Craft for Health

Crafting is so amazing for a few reasons ::
  • You get the joy of living in handmade. Most things around my home are homemade.  I love when my children exclaim in delight "mummy thats beautiful". It's a way of making myself feel better. For now. I love it. I used to use shopping as an outlet. And then I'd wake up the next day feeling worse than the day before. Sound familiar?
  • You have the ability to express yourself in a creative way. A way of saying something that you really can't bare to utter. If you feel like throwing water balloons filled with paint at a canvas you can do that! 
  • It doesn't take thought.. or it does. You have to think about following the pattern that you're following therefore you have no time or space to think about your fears or anxieties. 
  • I think creating is something that is close to God's heart. Something He values. He breathed the Earth into being. Breathed. We are His canvas. The earth is His footstool. Does that not blow your mind?! 
That last point, that's what makes it all the more lovely. 
It's beautiful. 
Having a homemade home makes me feel closer to Him!
And I like that.  

{screen printing doilies for padded pot holders}

And that's my story in a nutshell!
The end.

Creatively yours,