Being still in the depressive part of the bipolar cycle (it should be over soon – at least I really hope so), I find it difficult to focus on anything. I wander vaguely around, picking up one task and then another; only to drop it a few minutes later; drifting away to something else. I have described this feeling before as like being in an invisible fog. Maybe you too recognise this feeling. We are not alone: people with other conditions, such as Fibromyalgia, are also familiar with “brain fog.”
There are so many lovely people out there, who really want to help. They say, “Remember I’m here, if you ever want to talk.” They invite us to social events or just round for coffee, because “It will do you good to get out.” I always feel so churlish when I refuse; it seems necessary to go into explanations of why I’m too weak and shaky even to walk to the post-box at the end of the road, and how I cannot cope even with the company of my best and oldest friend. I can be with Himself and my family and that’s the limit. Being with people takes energy – and I don’t have that energy right now.
There are a couple of things, however, I can still do. I can still write these blogs and I can still craft.
My craft is cardmaking. There is something both soothing and fulfilling about taking cardboard, patterned papers, ribbons and sparkly beads, and creating something intended to bring a moment’s joy to its recipient.
If it brings that moment of joy, it has done its job and that is my happiness. Some people, I know, keep all the cards I have made for them as, indeed, I keep all the handmade cards ever given to me, in a scrapbook. I’m on my third one now. There are people too, for whom I make special cards; those ones that go beyond simply opening and closing: the ones my daughter calls paper engineering.
Himself gets the best ones, naturally. The most recent was a “Jacob’s Ladder”: a series of six decorated double-sided cards, joined together with ribbon in such a way that, when the top one is twisted, the rest flip and turn over by themselves. It’s an immensely satisfying sensation to feel the flop, flop, flop as each individual card moves. Every card is made with joy and given with love.
Other friends get individually designed cards at Christmas. I start thinking about those, and designing them, each January. Yesterday I discovered how to make two cats pop out from different sides of a Christmas tree when a tab is pulled. I know exactly who will get that one!
In the bad times, those two things I hold onto: writing and cardmaking; holding fast with gratitude and, sometimes, desperation.
Do you have anything to hold onto in the bad times? I hope you do.
A Moodscope member.