Episode 54: Swaps and Seasonal Depression Helps

Updated: Feb 9


Link to Apple Podcasts: Please leave a review!


Little Cabin Knits is a biweekly podcast all about knitting, mental health, advocacy, my pregnancy journey, and life happenings here in the wilds of Alaska with a little bit of Hygge sprinkled throughout. I’m your host Emily. I am a knitter, crafter, mental health therapist, and explorer of my home state of Alaska


This week’s episode contains:

Admin

’Raise a Cuppa

On the Couch

On the Shelf

Personal Skill Set

A Time for Hygge

Contemplation Corner


Admin:

  • Andersmillknits on IG and Ravelry

  • Between Knits and Purls on YouTube

  • You can find all the show notes on our official website: www.betweenknitsandpurls.com

  • If you have a question, or comment you can email me at littlecabinknitsAK@gmail.com

  • The YouTube Channel is hosting a special Knit Along in collaboration with one of the great friends of our show, Anna of Zebra Yarns. It is called “knitting the Blues Away.” Anna has 3 special colorways she has designed specifically for this KAL and she is still offering them on her Esty shop!

The KAL is running from Jan 10 – Feb 7th

  • We are also having another knit along, or more accurately, a Project Along (PAL) in January that I am calling “Project Down Along”

So far, we have prizes donated by our friend “knitterCat” on Ravelry. She is very generously gifting us 2 skeins from her stash!!!!

o And 2 sweaters Quantity from Knit Picks

1. in fingering in the Thunderstorm colorway as a prize!

2. in lindy chain in Harbor Colorway

o use the hashtag #projectdownalong2022 on IG and I’ve also opened a FO thread in our Revelry group of Between Knits and Purls.

o PAL (project Along) will run from January 1- May 31st


New Swap announcement!

This will be the first official swap I have hosted solely on the Little Cabin Knits Podcast and I am super excited about it!


I was thinking the other day about how homebound we have all been the last 18 + months and I thought it would be nice to share our home with another. What am I talking about?


Our first swap I am calling "Hygge Home" and we will be sharing things from our home that bring us joy, peace, and a loving atmosphere with our swap partner.


Here are the rules.

-Sign up for the swap is from January 25th- Feb 14th I will post a link to the sign up form in the Ravelry group of "between knits and purls" as well as a link to the form on my Instagram feed. You do not have to have a Ravelry account to join in the swap!

-Put together your package and have it sent out by March 4th, 2022

-Package not to exceed a $50 value (of items included).

-What to put in your swap package: You can put anything that reminds you of home in there. This can be a candle, a picture frame, Chapstick, a pine cone from your backyard, an iconic trinket from your home state (for instance in Alaska everyone laughs but we love the moose keychain that mimics pooping), chocolates, or another treat that is made in your home town area, etc.

- Each package MUST include 1 skein of yarn within the range of $20- $28 value. This can be purchased from your LYS, or a local dyer you want to support. - the goal here is to share your home area with your swap partner.

-Include a personal note to your swap partner telling them why you included what you did and what it means to you. Make this a personal story to share with your new friend.

I am so excited by this and I hope you all will be too! Let's share our home and the way we Hygge with each other this winter my friends :)


SWAP SIGN UP FORM



Raise A Cuppa

The pregnancy is rolling along beautifully. We just had our 18 week ultrasound and check up and our OBGYN reports that our little fella is perfect and hitting all the markers on growth. Heart sounds gorgeous and Mr. Radio and I cried a lot during the ultrasound as we saw his heart, brain, and face revealed to us. It was so magical! I am getting a special ultrasound in 4 weeks to look deeper at his heart as we want to be sure that my diabetes is not affecting his heart growth in any way.



In the past two weeks I've probably had more activities in my community than I have had since COVID began (excluding my wedding that is lol).


I attended my cousins daughters' memorial a few weekends ago. We sadly lost this beautiful woman when she was killed the day after thanksgiving. I can't say more as the investigation is still ongoing, but we felt so blessed to gather as family and loved ones to honor her life. My cousin is so strong and beautiful and her daughter was just as beautiful in body and spirit, and we know that her generous heart remains here on earth through the life of her daughter, my cousins granddaughter.


I attended a special event at my community church. It was a talent show, but one that I truly appreciated in that it wasn't that they had people performing on stage, but instead they had everyone in the community bring in their crafts and hobbies to display. We had knitting (of coarse I contributed to that showcase lol), crochet, quilting, cooking, food storage, wood working, hunting and trapping, taxidermy, photographers, painting, pottery, and youth display of art, clay works and much more! There was so much to see and I did take some video which I shared on my Instagram stories. I wish I had shown more but I kept running into people I hadn't seen, some in over seven years, that I kept forgetting to record! it was a truly magical night.


Then the next day, Sunday, I met up with my friends at our Performing Arts Center (PAC) for a sit and knit hosted by our amazing Local yarn Store (LYS) Far North Yarn Store. We met from 1-4pm and everyone had to be vaccinated and wear a mask the entire time. In addition, we were only allowed to gather in groups of 6-8 so we were spread out all over the two floors in little safe groups.


We had so much fun! It was a blast to meet up with knitting friends I hadn't seen since COVID started and we were even filmed by the local news and showcased there to promote self care in the community.

Two of my dearest friends and I have committed to gathering every few weeks and not to allow the time to go by us again like it has. Even if we can only gather virtually in the future, or perhaps at a safe distance for dinner and knitting, we are determined to meet up again.


So many beautiful things happened and these events filled my heart to bursting. I am definitely an extrovert and COVID isolation has gotten me down a lot of late, well that plus the frigid winter, and pregnancy has made it difficult to see loved ones. But we do all need to stay as safe as possible and so we find ways to connect with each other despite the isolation. I feel so blessed to have my knitting community. You are all beloved by me and so many others. remember that please.


On The Couch

Last episode I mentioned the blanket that I was going to frog. It was the one knit in squares and I couldn't find the pattern. Ironically I found the pattern yesterday but this is only after I had already frogged the whole thing. Where was the pattern? in one of my other myriad project bags NOT the one I was using for the project though. (I roll my eyes at myself). The pattern is a really amazing one called Barn Raising Quilt by Shelly Mackie in the book "Knitalong" it's a super amazing design and blanket and if you can get your hands on the book I highly recommend it.


I also found another sweater project that I've been meaning to frog for a few years now. The Abiqua by Kay Hopkins or @knitforthesoul on IG. I cast this on as a test knit for Kay, who is a good friend, mentor and simply astoundingly good designer, back in January of 2019. When I cast it on I had intended it as a sweater for one of my brothers. Unfortunately when I finished the body I had both brothers that currently live in Alaska try it on and they looked really bad in it. lol we don't have necks per sea in our family and so the shawl collar of the sweater looked to dwarf my brothers faces. Then I met Jeremy and I thought I would make it for him. So I knit one sleeve and had him try it on- only with the same result. He doesn't look good in anything with a collar either. So in the end I sadly put the project away. I found it the other day and realized I had never frogged it so I will be doing that this week when I am feeling to tired to knit. I want the yarn for another sweater, this one for me. It's Brooklyn Tween yarn and you all know how expensive that is!!!!!


But if any of you feel you, or a male relative would look good with a shawl collared sweater I highly recommend this pattern, or anything by Kay! Her designs are timeless, and my Cove Palisades sweater of hers (also knit as a test knit in 2019) is my absolute favorite cardigan to pull on when I am chilly or want to look classy.


Jelly Roll Blanket by Kay Jones of the Bakery Bears

o knitting for my baby as his first baby blanket :)

o This is a scrappy blanket using leftovers and mini skeins. knitting each column with a focus on a different color

o So far I have a brown, green, pink, blue, yellow, and now working on the grey column color scheme.

o I plan on knitting a red column next to the brown column, and a purple column next to the grey. At that point I will re-evaluate the blanket and see if it needs more columns.


A Girl's Best Friend by Isabell Kreamer

o This is one of my old shawl projects that I got out of hibernation for the #projectdownalong2022

o I am knitting this in Hazel Knits - Cabbage Rose Colorway

o With contrasting yarn in Sew Happy Jane in the Aubergine, and Lavender's Blue colorways.

o I got pretty far on the knit and then my dog decided he wanted to chew on the stitch markers I was using in it and he ruined a good 6"s of the textured section. So I had to frog a large section and I put it in time out for a few days. It is such a a beautiful knit though so I am happy to break it back out.


On the Shelf

My 12 Days of Xmas Socks with Zebra Yarn

o Knit with Zebra Yarns 12 days of Christmas colorway

o loved this knit and to see everyone progress along with mine as we knit through the 12 days was AMAZING!

o I've been wearing my socks everyday since then - they really need a good wash at this point lol!



Off the Cuff Mitts - designed by me

o Knit with Zebrayarns for the #knittingthebluesawayskal

o No pattern used but if you want some noes on what i did (not very detailed but still something to go on) you can see it on my Ravelry projects page.

o Cast on January 10th and they were so fun I had them done by January 12th!




Peachy Keen Baby Hat by Cloe Rip

o Free pattern on Ravelry

o Pattern is written with two methods: knit the hat flat ad then seem, or knit in the round.

o I chose the knit in the round instructions but I love it so much I may go back and knit another one using the flat and seeming instructions!

o Knit for the #knittingyourbluesawaykal and finished in less than 5 days :)

o I plan on knitting Mr Radio a hat in the same yarn so that baby and daddy can have matching hats!

o Knit with Zebrayarns



Personal Skill Set

It's winter time, and during the darkest time of year, after the holidays have passed and the songs of carols have faded, something happens in January to a lot of people. We/they start to feel a bit down in the dumps. There is a diagnosis that is often associated with this called Seasonal Affective Disorder, more commonly known as SAD.


This condition is usually experienced only during the darkest time of the year and may last from a few weeks to a few months, until spring has sprung and we can put away our winter gear and bust out the short sleeves and bask in the sun again. However, I want to note that Seasonal Affective Disorder is what we in the mental health arena associate with Major Depressive Disorder. It has all the same diagnostic markers, with the exception of the time of year it occurs, and so I thought I would take the time to discuss what Depression is and how to recognize it. Later, in the segment, A Time for Hygge, I will discuss some self care methods to counteract the emotional strain that Depression has on yourself and your loved ones.


Before I begin, a WARNING:

Do not take this podcast as a self diagnosis opportunity. If you, or a loved one think you may be suffering from this diagnosis please seek professional assistance IMMEDIATLY!


When I talk about professional help, yes I would love for you to get in to see a counselor or a psychiatrist, however, the best first step to take is to see your primary physician. They have the tools to diagnosis you with depression if needed and provide medication, Again if advised at that time, to assist you- but seeing a therapist is always the best option for the long term recovery process.


I also want emphasize that if you go to your primary physician please do not just report your physical symptoms to them. Report your emotional and psychological symptoms as well as they need to see the whole picture in order to accurately diagnose you when seen.


To begin let me first discuss what Depression is. I emphasize that most of what follows is taken directly from the DSM-5 of the Diagnostic Manual that all clinicians and physicians use in diagnosing mental health disorders.

What is Depression?

Depression, otherwise known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, is a common and serious mood disorder. Those who suffer from depression experience persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. Aside from the emotional problems caused by depression, individuals can also present with a physical symptom such as chronic pain or digestive issues. To be diagnosed with depression, symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.

Depression DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria

The DSM-5 outlines the following criterion to make a diagnosis of depression. The individual must be experiencing five or more symptoms during the same 2-week period and at least one of the symptoms should be either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.

  1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.

  2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.

  3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.

  4. A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).

  5. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.

  6. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.

  7. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.

  8. Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

To receive a diagnosis of depression, these symptoms must cause the individual clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The symptoms must also not be a result of substance abuse or another medical condition.


Normalization

Depression is one of the most common and serious mental health disorders that negatively affects how people feel, the way they think, and the way they act. More than 8% of adults over the age of 20 have, at one time or another in their life, been diagnosed with Depression. That number has increased since COVID began. That is more than 280 million people. To note: these statics account for only individuals actually diagnosed with Depression, the number is estimated to be much higher due to lack of seeking services by the individuals who may be suffering and left undiagnosed.


People with depression may use alcohol or other drugs as a way of self treating or to feel better.


Having depression may increase the risk of suicide. The CDC found that among those who completed suicide in 2015, 75.2% had depression at the time.


National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-(talk)8255 or text HOME to 741741

or chat online at Lifeline Chat : Lifeline (suicidepreventionlifeline.org)

Starting in July of 2022 if you dial 988 that will be the national call line to route you immediately to a crisis helpline.


If you or any of your loved ones may be suffering from any of the above symptoms please do not take it lightly, ignore them, or think they will just go away with time. Professional intervention is the best and safest means to improve.


There are other diagnosis' that fall into the depression category as well:


Post Partum Depression is a common and serious condition that affects more mothers than is recognized.

In the past there has not been a strong presence behind this diagnosis, but in the past ten years traction has been made around awareness, normalization and treatment.


Think about it. A woman goes through enormous hormone changes during the 9 months of pregnancy which culminates in one the of the most beautiful, but also often a traumatic experience of the birth process. I mean we giggle when we hear of a father passing out in the delivery room, but think of what the mother is going through? She has no relief from the process and though she is willing to go through it to bring her precious child into the world it does not diminish the fact that it is a traumatic experience.


After birth, the mother goes through more hormone changes that continues for many years. this is not easy on the body or the mind.


We take note when our youth are going through these hormonal changes in their teenage years and we note that they are subject to depression at that time as well. The same needs to be acknowledged for pregnant women and mothers around the world.


If someone has depression does that mean they will always be depressed? No, the recovery from depression is very likely, with the correct interventions, and most people only suffer one episode of depression in their lifetimes. To note: there are those who do have multiple episodes of depression and that is treated long term with a mental health professional.


Please note the serious tone I have taken with this segment and topic. Depression is not something to be ignored or shrugged off. It is also not to be jeered at or made fun of. Everyone in the world is susceptible to mental health disorders and concerns and while your loved one may suffer from this today, you may experience it in the future. No one is immune from depression. World leaders have it, countless famous people have it, and I think those are very good representation of how dangerous it can be. Many famous people do not seek treatment and self medicate and we have seen so many of them pass away from suicide in the past ten years that we can no longer say that this is something we can ignore. Everyone, is susceptible to depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder. It knows no class distinction, no racial barrier, no cultural preclusion, everyone and anyone can fall prey to depression in this lifetime.


In the following segment I will touch on some things you can do at home to help relieve the symptoms of yourself or a loved one. BUT PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THAT AS THE BEST AND ONLY THING YOU NEED TO DO TO RECOVER FROM DEPRESSION. Again I emphasize the need to seek professional help as soon as possible if you are suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned above.


A Time For Hygge

Depression can really weigh a person down. It's as if there is a 50 pound weight on your chest and just getting up to use the restroom feels like a herculean feet of strength.


Or it may feel like you just can't manage being around other people. Whether because their companionship enhances your feelings of sadness, or you feel a pressure to be happy when around others, or you feel like others just don't understand what you are going through.


Perhaps you just can't be bothered to read that book that so interested you a month ago, or make dinner for yourself and family when usually that brings you such joy. Going to play basketball with friends, or the gym like you used to do regularly feels like torture. The things you used to love just feel like a burden now.


All of these things are very real and common thoughts and emotions that a person in depression may feel at any time.


As I've mentioned numerous times in this episode, the best and most effective treatment of depression is to seek professional help. Again make sure to report both your physical and emotional symptoms when you do this. Both are equally important.


There are some things you can do at home to assist you in breaking free of the so called "funk" and I promise you are not going to like it. However, trust me my friends. Not only am I a mental health professional but I have personally lived through multiple episodes of depression since I was a teenager. I know of which I speak.


First thing let's go over are all those feelings and thoughts I mentioned at the beginning of this segment: Feeling weighed down, loss of interest in doing things, avoiding of people. The solution to most of these is to do the exact thing you do not want to do. But in baby steps.


If you were my client we would sit down and right up a plan of action for you to take in the coming weeks, perhaps even months, on your road to recovery. If I felt it needed, I would recommend a medication to be closely monitored by myself and your primary physician. Medications are never to be taken lightly or without proper care.


We would also look at taking those baby steps. What am I talking about when I say "baby steps"?

It means taking small but measurable steps towards doing the things that you are struggling to accomplish. Eventually you will be able to report that you successfully completed them if you allow yourself the space to take small and measured steps towards progress and don't push yourself to be "normal" again.


For instance, if you told me that you can't even get up to take a shower in the morning. First we would set a goal of you taking at least 2-3 showers that week. We would plan ways to make it an event and not a chore, such as a reward system or that you put on your favorite music on while in the shower to motivate you.


I bet when I just mentioned reward system, at least a few of you groaned. Perhaps even thinking it was silly or stupid to reward oneself for doing what every "normal" person is expected to do at a bare minimum. But remember: depression is not a normal state of being. the simplest of tasks can be the most daunting. In addition, rewards do not have to be grand gestures. They don't have to be something bought at a store, they can be whatever the individual sees as worthwhile. Including watching their favorite show, or the opportunity to opt out of an event they had been dreading. Remember also that rewards are not immediate, they are earned. So if a person chooses the reward system, they must accomplish the assigned task a set number of times before they are rewarded.


We do this a lot in knitting don't we? we tell ourselves that if we do not buy yarn for say the next three months we can splurge during month 4 to buy a sweaters quantity of yarn. Or we tell ourselves that if we save $10 a month we get to go to a festival and use that money on anything there we want. Reward systems are not new and they are highly effective because we as human beings are both goal and reward oriented by nature.


Back to the plan of action. If a client were to tell me that they struggle to talk to their loved ones, I would make a plan with them to accomplish that in small doses, even going so far as to set a timer on the interaction, or set a list of bullet points for them to cover and then they can retreat. Often times when we set these small increments we find that the individual goes beyond what is set out because once they are engaging with their loved ones they find sparks of joy in it and they seek to keep it going. I always keep in perspective the baby steps however, and I always celebrate my clients achievements when they meet or exceed their own goals.


Perhaps they are not longer knitting because the needles feel like they weigh 100 pounds each and moving the hands and arms in that motion seems impossible at the moment. Well then at first I may invite them to only pick up the needles, no yarn attached, and make the movements of knitting for 1 - 2 minutes, Gradually working up to picking up an actual project and knitting on it for 5 stitches, working up to the 1-2 minutes and then even 30 minutes depending on the individual.


Do you all see the pattern here? I don't ask others to do more than is possible in their minds. Then as they see themselves progressing they pick up interest and steam and they set for themselves new goals.


You see depression has this strange hold on our minds. It traps us into thinking and feeling as though things are impossible. When you break down that barrier and belief system than progress and healing truly begins.


One of the most common symptoms of depression is a persistent negative viewpoint of oneself. Often calling yourselves names, either in your head or even outload to other people. This perpetuates the barrier I just spoke of.


it's annoying but the best means to recover from that is to prove those thoughts wrong. we call this fact checking. This is often the process that my clients, and even I myself most struggle with. It is so hard to shut those thoughts and feelings down!


If a client tells me that they are not good at anything, I know immediately that what they are saying is a lie that they have come to believe. So I fact check with them. It may be something as simple as the fact that they made it to their session that day - that so called simple action that proves they are not bad at everything. Showing up to a counseling session is one of the bravest things an individual can ever do in this lifetime! Why? Because it is scary to look at yourself with a magnifying glass. It makes us uncomfortable and we are more comfortable ignoring the little things we hate about ourselves than confronting it. But the end result is so incredibly worthwhile. To know yourself: your strengths and growth spots, to value yourself in such a way is incredibly empowering!


Whenever I work with individuals on their thoughts and beliefs, I am always extremely careful. I must be authentic in my responses. People know when you are being fake. so I don't over react in joy when a client achieves a goal, I don't scoff at their beliefs that they are not pretty or likeable. Instead I approach it with wondering where and how they came to see themselves that way. I tell them what I honestly think of them: It may only be surface things at first like they have beautiful hair or eyes, but those simple facts counter the belief that they are ugly. Slowly, as I begin to know both the outer and inner being in front of me I can point in more depth and clarity the beauty that is them. Whenever I do this I always bring it back to the person and ask them to tell me something else they see in themselves that is unique and beautiful. In this way we reinforce the positive beliefs and begin to diminish the negative and false beliefs.


It is very important that we are patient, and authentic with ourselves or our loved ones not only if they are suffering from depression, but in life generally. My friends, when I tell you I love you or appreciate you, that is truth from Emily. I am authentic with you here on the podcast, on the YouTube channel, on Instagram, and anywhere else we may interact. What you see is what you get with me because authenticity is my strongest personal strength and I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that I pride myself on it. Does this mean I am always nice? unfortunately not but it also follows that whenever I have something hard to say I strive to impart it in the nicest, gentlest way possible. Like I have done with you today.


I have shared only a very few ideas, interventions and self-help strategies here with you as our time is not endless. There are so many theories and methods to counter depression. Did you notice that I focused mainly on Cognitive interventions? That is because I may be a tad biased in that for me these have been the most effective interventions for myself and my clients. However, there are so many paths to explore like meditation, or group therapy to name a few. I cannot list or go over all of them here so I invite you to be open to ideas and strategies.


Depression is not an easy or honestly fun topic to talk about. But it is perhaps one of the most important things I can share with you all, especially in the dead of winter when we are all feeling the strain of COVID restrictions and the darkness.


If any of you are feeling a need to talk to someone please know that I am here for you. Message me on Instagram or email me. I am here for you my friends know that and trust in that.


Contemplation Corner

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”

Laurell K. Hamilton, Mistral's Kiss


"There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn't"

-John Green


“Sometimes, life will kick you around, but sooner or later, you realize you’re not just a survivor. You’re a warrior, and you’re stronger than anything life throws your way."

-Brooke Davis


"And if today all you did was hold yourself together, I’m proud of you.”

-anonymous

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