I’ve never been shy or ashamed of talking about mental health issues. I’m all about being open and ending stigmas. Yesterday, I read “It’s okay to not be okay” from The Bloggess — and I’m sure it will resonate with others. It definitely did for me.
I haven’t written since back in April. In terms of hat-making, you haven’t missed much. I’ve been almost entirely absent from social media. I completed probably fewer than 10 pieces this year, which is shocking and sad. For a 2022 millinery review, I’ll call it an unintended hiatus, with only a few highlights. It was a break from my creative pursuits to focus on fixing myself … and (spoiler alert) … training a new puppy.
My second-to-last post before this was “Being Creative Amidst Grief,” where I wrote about the loss of my soul dog, Remy — and how I had a drive to create in my sorrow. That motivation didn’t last.
When Remy was ill, being creative could distract me a bit. After he died, anxiety elbowed creativity out of the way and said, “I’ll take over the distraction duties from here!”
I had been struggling with anxiety before he died. Without a dog (and a dog’s health) to demand my attention, my brain was consumed with hopeless (though not suicidal) feelings. Things were bad. And I had it in me to make only a few hats.
What started turning things around for me was getting back into therapy and onto medication, which I hadn’t needed in about 10 years.
And what really helped my mental health recover was getting a new Havanese puppy. In August or early September, I decided I was ready to get a new dog. Little Edgar Lobster joined our family on September 18.
It hasn’t been all cuteness and snuggles. But strangely, the tough parts of puppy ownership were possibly more helpful than the fun parts. It’s harder to have the mental space to ruminate on depressing thoughts when you’re cleaning up puppy pee or trying to make sure he doesn’t chew/swallow something he shouldn’t or calculating how long it had been since he was last outside.
Of course, the downside of a new puppy is that he takes a lot of time. A lot.
So I spent even more time away from my studio.
Finally, big chunks of November and December were taken up with the 2023 Adam Silverman Photography calendars. My husband is the photographer and organizes the voting on his Facebook page. I am the “everything else manager.” I design the layout in InDesign. I set up his website, take preorders, calculate what quantity to order, order from the print shop and manage all the shipping. It’s a big project that I love … but it means less time for hat-making of course.
At the end of the year, I’m metaphorically picking myself up and dusting myself off. It’s hard for me not to feel discouraged with how little I accomplished. So I’ll classify 2022 as a recovery year. I took the time I needed away, and I hope to be back and flourishing in 2023.
Millinery Highlights of 2022
Though the year really wasn’t a great one for me, I do want to note a few good things:
- Earned fifth place in the Mad Hatters Society (international Facebook group) hat-making competition with my piece “The Hope of Spring.” I won a variety of flowers from Custom Fabric Flowers.
- Made a mother of the groom hat that I was quite proud of. (I am friends with both mother and son but was out of town for the wedding.)
- Acquired new materials and equipment — including a brim block and a crown block that I’ve been wanting for a long time. I received them in late August (TikTok reveal below) … and I haven’t used them yet! So that will be excitement for the first days of 2023!