One of the symptoms of depression is loss of interest in activities you normally find pleasurable. This happens to me in a big way. Not only do I lose interest in some things, I end up quitting altogether. When I feel better, I still have no desire to pick up whatever it was I quit. And I’ve quit a lot of stuff: crocheting, making jewelry, and martial arts are the first things that come to mind, each of which I did for at least a year before quitting.
Crocheting: I took this up in the beginning of 2016, and really enjoyed it. Not only did I end up with finished products, but it helped my anxiety in a big way. If I felt agitated, I’d pick up my current project and crochet hook and start working. It gave me something to focus on, and something to do with my hands.
On weekends I’d go to the yarn store where I brought my yarn and work. Other people did, too. I also went in case I needed help with a project. It was fun, and I enjoyed the social aspect.
Unfortunately, on at least 2 separate occasions, I had to stop for a month because of tendinitis in my elbow, which hurt so bad that my primary care physician administered cortisone shots in the area. One of those occasions was this past March, which also happened to coincide with ECT treatments. ECT affects my memory, and by the time I had the green light to crochet again, I mostly forgot how to do it.
Luckily, there’s a really good website (Knit and Crochet Ever After) with awesome tutorials that helped me re-learn my stitches. But I found it utterly boring. I completely lost interest, and set my hooks aside. Every once in a while I’ll have an itch to crochet, but so far I haven’t done it.
Making Jewelry: I made jewelry, mostly beaded jewelry since the mid-’90s. Shortly before I quit, I even dabbled in metalsmithing, creating works such as rings, out of different metals. I took classes at a local bead store at least once a week, and again, there was a social aspect from which I benefited.
Though I’d set jewelry making aside and picked it up again a few times over the years, this last time, around 2014, was for good. I don’t remember the exact circumstances of why I quit, whether it coincided with ECT treatments or not. I completely lost all interest, and I don’t get an itch to start beading again. Even if I did, I wouldn’t even know how because I’ve forgotten.
Martial Arts: The year after the Breakdown, I don’t know what possessed me, but I signed up for mixed martial arts and went to classes twice a week. They were at noon, so there weren’t as many people as there would have been in the evening classes.
Because I went back and forth between depression and hypomania at the time, and dealt with anxiety, it wasn’t always easy for me to go to class. There were days where I really struggled, but managed to go. Like going to the yarn and bead stores, I always ended up having fun.
I learned a lot during the year that I trained, and increased my self-confidence. I even earned my second belt. Eventually, I had only one more class to graduate to my third belt, but I never went. I don’t remember why, but I know it had to do with anxiety. What a waste.
Two years ago, I decided to try again. I signed up and went to a class, where I was given my first belt. (It had been over 5 years since I last trained, so I had to start over.) There were only 3 students, including myself, and all of us were women, which helped ease my anxiety. The instructor had me stay after class . . . to give me a new belt. The one he gave me earlier was too small. I know it wasn’t his intention, but I was utterly humiliated and never went back.
Admittedly, I would love to take classes again, but like crocheting, I need my primary care physician’s green light because of my tendinitis. I’ve lost about 50 lbs. since that last time, so I’m guessing that the instructor wouldn’t have to ask me to stay after class.
The other thing stopping me is that adult hockey open skate (much less crowded) at the local rink is held at the same time as the martial arts classes. And there is a part of me that wants to skate and play hockey again, so I have to decide between the two, because I’m not going to take evening martial arts classes. First, though, I have to conquer my anxiety about going anywhere, especially if it involves a group of strangers. Small steps.