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Putting Myself Out There

Posted on: March 5th, 2015 by Lorna McMahon

I guess I’m a little SAD.

This time of year is always difficult for me.  The winter is long.  The sky is grey.  The air is bitterly cold.  The pipes and drains are freezing.  The tractor won’t start.  The car got stuck in a snowdrift in the driveway.  Again.  And the shed fell down last year.  But it’s still there.  What a depressing eyesore.

Sounds like lyrics from some old corny country golden oldie.  No.  This is my real life.  And believe me… There is more than one verse to this song.  But I’m not one for sitting around crying in my beer.

Why don’t I share all these little gems about my reality?
Because it’s a downer, man.  And I do my best to concentrate on the upside.
Like Bing Cosby and the Andrew Sisters preach it.
Eliminate the negative.  Accentuate the positive.
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between.

SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder.  According to WikiPedia….
Symptoms may consist of difficulty waking up in the morning, nausea, tendency to oversleep and over eat, especially a craving for carbohydrates, which leads to weight gain. Other symptoms include a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating on or completing tasks, withdrawal from friends, family, and social activities, and decreased sex drive.  All of this leads to depression, pessimistic feelings of hopelessness, and lack of pleasure which characterize a person suffering from this disorder.

Treatments for SAD include light therapy.  I don’t have a light box for that.  It has been my personal experience that working with bright and pretty fabrics helps.  I know I’m not alone here.  And I also must say that creating, quilting and surrounding myself with those who share a passion for quilting is the best therapy for me.  The best treatment I have found for SAD is SFQ.

The Sew Fresh Quilts (SFQ) blog has been a life saver for me.  Offering assistance to other quilters, especially those who are maybe just starting out, through tutorials and tips makes me feel better.  It’s nice to be able to help someone.  To give them a boost.  To make them feel better about themselves and what they can accomplish.  To give them the tools to succeed.

The craft of quilting has also allowed me to retrieve something from my long ago past.  Creativity.  It feels so good to create and discover new ideas for quilt designs and different ways of doing things.  The challenges of developing new patterns are stimulating.  Working on a new method for piecing or quilting keeps my mind occupied.  Creating keeps my mind focused on wonderful happy things and off those things that get me down.

One integral key in keeping me positive and creative – contact with online friends who are a constant source of inspiration, encouragement and empowerment.

Before I started quilting.  Before I began keeping a blog of my quilting.  It was difficult to stay positive.  But now I have friends who share my interests, share their stories and show how much they care.

Hey, we all have problems.  Although it isn’t always apparent, none of us live in a fairytale world.  Blog posts full of pretty pictures and perfect projects, may make you feel like you and your hard work don’t measure up.  But those picture perfect posts sometimes omit the not so wonderful side of our lives.

So keep that in mind the next time you write a blog post.  Aim to teach.  To be a good influence.  To mentor and inspire.  When visiting others and wanting to leave a comment, be kind.  Show appreciation.  Praise.  Empower and encourage.

Some of us are counting on you!

Keep On Quilting On!

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74 Responses

  1. Pamela says:

    Quilting always makes me feel better – and I love bright pretty fabrics!

  2. SewPsyched! says:

    EVERY time I come to your blog and read your words and share a little in who you are, it makes me happy. I am so glad you are you, and you are here! XX!

  3. Glinda ♥ says:

    Great post, m'dear. Blogging and quilting also finds you new and amazing friends, people who pop in and out of your life for just minutes each week but have such a positive impact on you. I'm so thankful for our friendship and the support you give to me and others is immeasurable … that you have struggles but keep us all going each week is very much appreciated. Take care of you 🙂

  4. Jasmine says:

    I feel for you, my friend. Quilting is also how I fight depression. I get more done and am a better mom when I have had time to quilt.

  5. Dear Lorna, it's exactly like you said – great post! Sometimes we forget this and feel that the posts filled with beautiful photos from lovely homes are full off happiness and easiness, but everyone has ups and downs. Good to remind ourselves how lucky we are because we have the blogging, quilting and crafting to get our minds from the 'blue' things to something very colourful and something we enjoy so much. Colours surely give us Energy and joy. Perhaps that's why I look now often Red Fabrics even I always thought I don't like Red. Soon it's spring and you'll feel better. For me it means exhausting, busy summer but at least with things I like. x Teje

  6. I would classify myself as a mild SAD. Always have been influenced by the winter and the greyness. Last year I was Ok, but this year not so. More tired, more sleep, more food… Getting less done…. Well you get the picture. Luckily my house is south facing so I get a lot of sunlight. My craftroom does not. This is one of the reasons for me wanting to move. I NEED a room with a lot of light. ( I remember what winters were like before I quilted, awful! in 2012 I feel I was blessed with the quilting bug. It has been a revelation for me personally what a difference it has made in my life. You are so right about SFQ! It really is sooooo important! PLEASE keep writing this blog.Esther

  7. Thanks for your open and frank post today. Lots of us will identify with quilting as a hugely positive part of our lives. I'm a relative newbie to quilting but apart from the joy of creating something that lasts and is appreciated I have been struck by the wonderful quilting community which has so much talent and is just so generous with advice and inspiration. Your blog is an absolute exemplar of this – your top 10 tips were my guiding principles! And I'm sure there are many who when they see your latest blog pop up think, great another dose of inspiration!!

  8. Maja says:

    Lorna,your blogging today is great!A big hug to you, who wrights about the \”Other side\”!If I hadn´t had my quilting passion when I get my breastcancer and other illneses, I think I had been deep down in depression, but I stay glad and positive when quilting in happy colours and gets all those friendly words in my blog from people all over the world!Maja

  9. Fran says:

    Well said! There's something very special about fabric therapy.

  10. Life would be so different without the Internet. You have such a positive attitude, Lorna, which will carry you a long way. Glad to have found you online. Hugs from the land Down Under. xxx

  11. charlotte says:

    Pam is right. The internet can be very helpful when we use it in such a good way. Thanks for a great post and I too am with you on this. More light and lots of pretty projects get me through the darker days. Spring is coming, baby. Hang in there.

  12. Paula says:

    Thank you so much for your wonderful post Lorna. I love your honesty about sometthing that I am sure so many people are suffering from this time of year but aren't willing to admit it or talk about it. Pretty pictures can hide so very much of the truth, but you are so very right that there is a wonderful community of people out there and being part of it can help in so many ways. Keep on creating as you are so very good at it and I do hope that spring is not that far away for you.

  13. Lesley says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. When I visit your blog, it is like a breath of fresh air with all your bright, cheery quilts. Who could resist your Elephant Parade! Thank you for what you do!

  14. Unknown says:

    Great post dear Lorna! Fabric and quilting are the best therapy..Hugs, Deborah

  15. Anonymous says: do not work for Home depot and don't usually promote anything but a good quilting store, but my Granddaughter and I both suffer from SAD and we use these lamps. They do help! They don't take up much space and double as a desk/work light. They make the fabric colors sing! (and only cost 29.99 as opposed to the 500 or more for the light boxes)

  16. That is why I blog, to share the joy of quilting. The best comments I get are those that say I inspired someone to try! Gives me goosebumps!

  17. Gene Black says:

    I find that creativity really helps my mood – I have a bit of SAD also. I was so thankful for the one sunny day yesterday in the midst of all the gloomy weather. I fully agree about teaching with blog posts. I readily admit that I mess up. And then I show how, I fixed it OR what I did instead and I laugh about it. And I hope the readers laugh with me. Hang in there. You are not alone and we do care.

  18. What a beautiful post Lorna. It is nice to about the missized blocks and upside down Panels because we've all been there. Enjoy the sunshine despite the cold and the visual hugs from your friends!

  19. KMTrott says:

    A wonderful post Lorna, you are so right about none of us having a fairy tale life. I found your little piece of quilt wonderfulness recently and look forward to your shares. Quilty friends are priceless!

  20. ann says:

    Hi Lorna. I'm a winter lover so some of your post is U relatable for me but not the part about staying positive and the boost that quilting gives me. We have our SOMQG (southern Ontario quilt guild) meeting next Wed. mar 11 at SewJax in Orangeville. We meet in the back of the store at 1:30. It's a very inviting and loosely organized group. Please feel free to join us. In addition I am organizing a Sew day in Orangville on April 8th. There are still a couple of spots available. Think about it. The sun is shining brightly today so hopefully you can soak some of it in. Ann

  21. It is so nice to share with blogging isn't it. it is so satisfying to blog and get comments from others telling you that you are helping them and inspiring them to try something new in quilting to them. Blogging can also help you to get your projects finished – you want to show progress. I hope the winter will be gone for you quickly but I know it will hang on for awhile in Canada – you should get a sun lamp of some sort though to help you – even on cold days I try to get outside and get some sunshine.

  22. Wonderful post, Lorna. Quilting and blogging about it has got me through widowhood and given me my mojo for life back. I don't think I'd be half the person I am now without it. Well done for speaking out about something so many of us feel.

  23. Patricia says:

    Great post. I am new to quilting but embroidery, sewing and any hand stitching keep me from becoming depressed. Just having fabric and thread in my hands, makes me smile.

  24. Your blog is so warm and creative and inspiring, I had no idea you were suffering from SAD. {{Hugs}}. I get the daylight spectrum light bulbs and put them in my regular lamps, and that seems to help. Taking walks helps get the outdoor light in too. Looking at blogs like yours and quilting also works wonders! Just know that you help me get through the winter. Good news: spring is almost here!

  25. SarahZ says:

    How sweet! You are nothing if not an \”exhorter\” and an encourager, and I thank you for always making me feel like a special friend! I don't think it is any secret that my bloggy friends are about my only friends, most of the time….living so far away from people, blogging is my \”girl time\” and I think I am in some really great company!!

  26. Linda says:

    I am all about the positivity. It is my cure. Thanks to you for all you do for our quilting community. You are on the top of my reading list.

  27. Hi Lorna, just know you are such an inspiration to me and so may other quilty ladys out there. We all admire what you do, just see the latest hype about your gorgeous elephants… It's just so much fun to follow you! And it's absolutly ok to be down sometimes. I think it's really brave that you share this side as well as I bet it wasn't easy. Thanks so much for sharing. Big hug from Scotland, Laura.

  28. I completely understand where you're coming from, not from my own experience, but my husband's. He's had SAD for as long as I've known him and by mid January he was just miserable. It was such a visible change for him and there really wasn't anything I could do for him. He didn't have something like pretty fabrics that made it better. We lived in Northern Ohio (Cleveland) where we'd get a lot of snow and weeks of nothing but dreary gray skies. A year and a half ago we moved to Florida and he's such a different person. I wish I could bottle up a bit of our sunshine and send it to you to make you smile. Hang in there, spring will hopefully find its way to you soon.

  29. Beth says:

    Creating also chases the winter blues away for me! My husband has suffered from SAD for many years – getting outside even in the cold helps, and amazingly enough Vitamin D has helped! But sometimes it is just endurance. So glad you have SFQ!

  30. Vickie says:

    I have never thought of you being anything other than a happy creative person, you are an inspiration to so many people….think of all the people you help because you keep us challenged and creating ! Thank you Lorna.

  31. Unknown says:

    Thanks for sharing Lorna, it isn't always easy to put oneself out there. But isn't nice to see how many people you have touched in a positive way!? Not only is your creativity helping you, it's helping others too. Spring is on its way – it will be here soon. In the meantime, make a sunshiny piece, meditate, be grateful and lean o your quilting community-we've got your back!

  32. Unknown says:

    Thanks for sharing Lorna, it isn't always easy to put oneself out there. But isn't nice to see how many people you have touched in a positive way!? Not only is your creativity helping you, it's helping others too. Spring is on its way – it will be here soon. In the meantime, make a sunshiny piece, meditate, be grateful and lean o your quilting community-we've got your back!

  33. mlisshouston says:

    Great Post!! Very good of you to share that side of yourself. I too suffer miserably with depression…know exactly how you feel! Thank you for helping me to remember to be positive!! You will never know how much I needed this post this morning. Warmest, sunniest hugs for you!!

  34. Jayne says:

    Now didn't you touch a nerve?! Oh Lorna, you are so not alone! You know that! It can be a battle on a daily or seasonal basis (argh winter!!) Creativity can be hard to find, once you do (and you have) theres no stopping you. I appreciate that you put yourself out there…its easy to gloss over 'normal' with the stroke of a key! Thank you for being so generous with your time, knowledge and tutorials! Oh and your humor…love the first picture!!

  35. Rachel says:

    Sending hugs your way. (I'm told I'm good at them. 😉 ) Winter is really hard for a lot of people, myself included. I did a little happy dance the other day because the sun is *finally* starting to be up by the time I have to get ready for work. Going to work in the dark and getting home in the dark is definitely sub-par! Hugs and fabric help me through though. (Can you tell I'm a big believer in hugs?) Thanks for sharing.

  36. Quilting is a GREAT medicine! 🙂 Thanks for sharing and you're so right. 🙂 I always love when a blogger keeps it real.

  37. Winter is so much not my thing either. The last couple of years I've really being trying to appreciate it more, I'm very aware that if I'm so much happier and healthier in the Summer and spend the rest of the year desperate for the Summer to arrive again, then that's basically half the rest of my life that I'm not properly appreciating. But so far I'm still not doing very well with it! Glad creativity, quilting and your blog have such a positive impact on you, and it's obvious that ripples out to those who read your words here too.

  38. Dayquilt says:

    Ott lights are the same light as light boxes, so it may be that you are self-medicating 😉

  39. Thanks for sharing, Lorna! I think sometimes we need to share the things that aren't so great about our lives so people remember that no one's life is perfect, regardless of the beautiful quilts and perfect pictures. This is real life we're living, not fairy tales! My husband finds winters hard too. Hopefully spring will arrive sooner rather than later.

  40. Needled Mom says:

    Wonderful post! Sewing has always brought me such great delight and makes the gloomy days melt away. I've seen so many bloggers fall by the wayside because of some snide comment that has been written and it is such a shame. Keeping things positive makes everyone feel better. Thanks for all of your sharing. We all benefit from it.

  41. As you know, I left my full time job in April. My husband now classifies my \”job\” as working on my mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. And quilting doesn't help me do all of that. I was in a big tailspin yesterday after someone hurt my feelings, but as I was quilting along I heard a little voice remind me to not take it personally; what was done was not about me. And for the mental space that quilting allowed my mind to find a solution that gave me peace, I am utterly grateful. Quilty hugs to you, friend.

  42. Sorry to hear the winter brings you down too. This winter has been much better than last winter for us but it too has had it's challenges. I can identify with tractor breakdowns (and plow truck issues). I am very ready for Spring and your Elephant Parade has brought me many smiles as I wait because quilting happy things with friends is a good treatment option 🙂

  43. Remind me never to try to comment from my iPad or iPhone–ugh! Lost it all. Here is what I think I said: In the words of Lori, SewPsyched, Do Epic Shit! And you do! Designing patterns for a pattern company, Northcott, is a place the majority of us will only ever just dream about. Thank you for this profound post, very well expressed.

  44. tubakk says:

    Oh Lorna, you can say it like I would have done if my English had been better. Just the way I think of it, and right now I need to really brighten up my days. The pink elephants help me a lot, and the pretty patterns from you. I love to visit your blog.

  45. So sorry you are SAD Lorna. I get it even in Florida. I miss having my husband here because he always forced me, gently, to get out for a walk in nature when SAD hit me. I always went grumbling and grousing but returned invigorated and smiling. Now I have my quilting to lift my spirits. My sewing table is in front of the east window so lots of morning light. When I hand quilt I sit in my recliner looking out onto the back porch and the palm tree behind. I agree with the others, blogging and reading others blogs is a big help during those times. Yours is my favorite to read because your post are cheerful and bright with fabric. Keep up the good work. One final thing. I love your stuffed person. Hr/She reminds me of myself on certain days. LOL Debbie

  46. Donna W says:

    Just wanted you to know that I look forward to reading your blog. It \”brightens\” up my day!!!! Thanks

  47. Unknown says:

    Hey Lorna, my husband and I have been planning to move out from Brazil. Canada is one of our choices although the long cold season makes me re-think about. \”Listening\” to you about quilting is a great helper at these cold times gives me another hope. Thanks for sharing your feelings <3

  48. Wonderful post….gee I think you described me. Quilting has definitely helped me. After life took a bite out of me one more time, I made a bucket list…make a quilt and see Willie Nelson again. That was in 2001 and I'm still sewing and having fun and I've seen Willie several times…:))Love that song!!

  49. Nita says:

    I hope I do that… You elephant-along quilt is making my winter brighter, that's for sure!

  50. Your style is always so bright and airy. A real pick-me-up. Thanks so much for sharing.

  51. Hugs to you, Lorna! I look forward to seeing your posts and I appreciate when people post about themselves or everyday type stuff. It's always good to be real.

  52. Susan says:

    Sounds like you need a vacation to a warm, sunny spot! But I'll agree, blogging about quilting, or anything that makes your heart sing, is incredibly uplifting. Keep up what your doing, it will get you through.

  53. Thanks for a great post, it really strikes a chord with me! The cold and short days of winter never bothered me, until some years ago. The only thing that helps is actively looking for bright lights in our daily life: Sharing my joy in making quilts and being creative is a large part of that, as is capturing the beauty in the world around me (as opposed to the not-so-beautiful that is also found there). This forms a collection of positives (together in my blog), to keep me going when the real world is throwing shadows.

  54. I am one who turns to working with my hands when I'm feeling blue and also when I'm feeling stressed. I learned to quilt after my bout with clinical depression so in my mind quilting will always be linked to my recovery. There are many of us who benefit from creative therapy and ironically we creative types seem to suffer from depression more than others. Spring is on the way!

  55. Ioleen says:

    Thank you for the wonderful, positive post. Having lived in the NWT with only a couple of hours of daylight in the winter, I know all about cabin fever. I try to use (and buy) bright fabrics in the winter. I love reading your post and one day I will visit Ontario and hope to take you for Timmy's.

  56. we are all so thankful for our blogging buddies and our quilt addiction, hang in there , maybe spring will get here soon., hugs

  57. Sharon says:

    Thank you for all the positive inspiration! You're awesome.

  58. Your blog post is inspirational…I appreciated your advice when I emailed you a few days ago and that's what this quilt-blogging community is out there for – each other! I am so happy found your blog and look forward to reading your posts. I took your advice and have started a new journey in my quilting of doing some custom work and it's thrilling.Take care and I am sending you a big hug all the way from the Ottawa Valley.

  59. Lovely post, Lorna! As another who suffers with SAD, I hear you loud and clear. Thank goodness for the occasional blue skied day when the sun sparkles off the snow…. otherwise I'd never get through it! And, of course, the fabric. There are always sunnier days to be found in the studio!

  60. Robin says:

    Spot on! Sometimes I feel like I have to apologize for loving quilting so much. It brings me so much joy and a reason to get up before the sun (so I can go down to the quilt frames before the day catches up).

  61. Thanks for sharing. Awesome message. I am happy and thankful that you share through your blog. Thanks!!!

  62. Well said life isn't all about pretty pictures and perfectness. I will say I started taking Vitamin D daily a couple years ago and haven't experienced SAD since. Although I I want use the snow bank as a punching bag because I am just plain sick of dealing with it! But spring is right around the corner *I hope*, hang in there!

  63. Heather says:

    Thanks. I love your attitude!

  64. Samantha says:

    I'm glad that quilting and blogging can help you combat SAD, and I'm grateful that you shared. Too often blogs only show that pinterest-perfect part of life… it's always helpful to know that everyone struggles…

  65. Thanks for this. I love reading your blog, and it's nice to know I'm not the only one dealing with this kind of stuff. Your blog always makes me feel better.

  66. pollyanna says:

    My son has SAD and moving to Arizona helped him, especially since we live in grey Oregon. He did love AZ 🙂 I wish he could find a salvation like you have. Pretty fabrics and happy patterns are the lifesavers for much that ails us 🙂

  67. KathyinMN says:

    Qulting saved my 2014, as I usually deal with my sads by running, but then was sidelined by an injury. Being able to sew, create, work and stand back and look at a finished project kept me moving until my body could get moving again. Now to find a balance between create time and exercise time! Thank you for sharing yourself here.

  68. SAD is a part of my life, too. January and Feb are the worst!! It's why I have n't been blogging. Too tired, too lazy, too something to take the time. It passes with Spring, which we are finally getting a taste of here in my neck of the woods. Yes, 40º feels like Spring!! Creating with pretty fabrics always helps. =) Thank you for sharing your heart….

  69. Lara B. says:

    Lorna, you are brave to put yourself \”out there\” I feel for you my friend! And can relate, even though our circumstances are different. Quilting pretty much has saved my life too. It and blogging go a long way toward keeping your mind focused on the beautiful, positive and uplifting things. You do marvelous things with your blog and you bring so many people together – you can be Sew Proud of that Lorna! SAD – lightboxes are so tricky – who can sit in one place and bask? I found it helps a little to install full spectrum daylight bulbs. They do nothing for the freezing pipes and drains though. Thank goodness Spring is just around the corner! Hugs Galore for you!

  70. Joni says:

    Wonderful post Lorna! I always look forward to you in my inbox….inspiration and beauty. Spring is just around the corner my friend…just you wait and see. Keep on Keeping on! bless you!

  71. Janice says:

    Love this post. Your work is wonderful and makes me happy every time I visit your posts. Keep up the great work. We enjoy reading, watching, using your ideas.Thanks so much.

  72. I don't have much to add to this post other than \”I really needed to read this!\” and THANK YOU. Interactive with you and seeing your creativeness definitely perks me up and makes me feel better!