Depression robs me of the things I like to do the most – both hobbies and spending time with my family. The thing is, that when someone gives me the push, or I find the motivation to engage in the things I enjoy even when I don’t really want to, I almost always feel better and I’m thankful that I did.
I liken it to the friend who drags you out of the house for a party that you don’t really want to go to because you’re feeling sorry for yourself, but then you end up THRILLED that you went!
Yeah….it’s like that!
ART THERAPY WORKS
The second time I was admitted to the hospital for my suicidal ideations, in 2001, is when I was first introduced to art therapy. I thought it was a bunch of hooey. It was however, required, and being the compliant goody-two-shoes that I am, I abided. I had a difficult time deciding what to do and there was no shortage of things staring at me, but nothing was necessarily calling my name.
I finally chose a ceramic pencil holder that was shaped like a terracotta flower pot, with a spade and gloves, and flowers adorning the sides. I took days painting that silly thing and there’s this thing that happened during art therapy, at least from my non-professional perspective. I was paying so much attention to the details, concentrating on color selection, making sure I painted each detail like the polka dots on the gloves, just right – that I didn’t have time to think about why my life was so darn terrible. I still have that darn thing.
When I came home from the hospital, my husband and children bought me a Christmas village to paint. I did, and it was incredibly helpful. I realized however, I’m a terrible painter and had a bunch of ugly houses, but it served its purpose. Eventually, I moved on to another craft that I hadn’t picked up since I was a teenager – something my mom had taught me, crochet.
Here’s the thing though, my mom was self-taught, and she’s left handed, and taught me, so I wasn’t very good. It took years and years for me to understand a pattern and to really understand the differences between certain stitches. I only recently found out from my mother-in-law that I hold the crochet hooks wrong. Sorry. Too late.
I binge with my crocheting. I have crochet seasons. I’ll crochet for months at a time and then go a year without touching a hook and yarn.
I love to read too, and while it’s a hobby, I find it difficult lately to sit in the quiet moments and read. I’m going to try to listen to my CALM app and grab a book though, because I miss it. I miss getting swept away and realizing that hours have passed, and I’m almost finished with the entire book. I love mystery/suspense novels and don’t judge, but young adult novels like Twilight and Hunger Games hook me, too!
But, I want to be creative in a way that gets my hands dirty.
I FOUND A THING
Contrary to what some believe, I am very left-brained! And, I’ve finally found something that allows me to create using both art and science! My MOST favorite recently found craft that definitely falls into the therapeutic art category, for me, anyway, is making bath bombs. And, I have the most fun when I make them with my daughter, Carianne!
I love doing the research and creating my own recipes and then making them and testing them. I research what makes them work, what to do if I want one to float, to spin, to turn the water amazing colors, etc. I love getting my hands dirty, feeling the textures, smelling the fragrances. I feel calm and grounded even before I use them in the bath. I just love giving them away as gifts too. They just make me sooo happy! I get giddy! Crazy, huh? Well, I think we’ve already established that.
Here’s the first recipe that I created. This is also referred to as a ‘butter bomb’ because of the amount of butter and oils it contains.
Lavender Fields Bath Bomb
3 Cups Baking Soda
1 ½ Cups Citric Acid
1 Cup Cornstarch
½ Cup Epsom Salts
1 ½ Cup Dried Lavender Buds
Measure the following on a digital kitchen scale:
2 Oz Kokum Butter
1 ½ Oz Jojoba Oil
1 Oz Witch Hazel
1 Oz Lavender Essential Oil
6 mL Polysorbate 80
Mix baking soda, cornstarch, Epsom salts, and lavender buds together in a stand mixer like a KitchenAid.
Melt Kokum Butter and Jojoba Oil together in a microwave safe container on short bursts of 20-30 seconds at a time, mixing between each burst. Set aside.
Combine lavender EO, P80, and witch hazel in a separate container.
Once butter and oil have cooled slightly, add EO/P80/witch hazel to oil/butter and stir.
With stand mixer on setting 2 or 3, using the paddle attachment, not the whisk as shown, add liquids to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Once thoroughly mixed, add citric acid. If mixture starts to react, increase speed of mixer until reaction stops. Mix until combined.
Humidity levels will affect this recipe.
I use stainless steel molds to mold my bombs. The number of bombs depends on the size of your mold.
P80 helps to disperse the butter and oils so they don’t stick to the tub, but please always use caution when entering and exiting so you don’t slip.