Hands that make

Desktop-001This morning I had an appointment with my psychiatrist who talks to me and then decides if I am well enough to go back to work or not. (To say I “have a psychiatrist” feels weird, let me tell you!)

The most important thing is for me to be honest in telling her how I feel; what’s going well, what hasn’t changed much and if there is anything that has arisen since the last time I saw her. On the whole, I am feeling and functioning better. If I was at a #2 on a scale of 1 – 10 six weeks ago, I would say I am definitely between a #4 and a #5 most days and some days all the way up to a good, solid, cheerful, happy #6! Sometimes, a few days later, I’ll be back to a #4 again but the #6 days are beginning to outnumber the #4 days and I rarely have any really terrible days. So, cause for celebration!

Of course, being a teacher, I had to ask her “How to do know I’m not ready to go back to work? How can you tell?” Her answer made me laugh out loud which is always good for the soul! She said “I’m a psychiatrist. I know.”

As I left the office and walked back to my car, I thought to myself,  “She’s labeled herself as a psychiatrist. I used to label myself as a musician or a teacher or both. But I don’t now. That is part of who I was, but who am I now?”

I pondered this for a long time today, as I practiced/played piano (practicing Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata, 2nd movement which I am learning for the pure joy of being able to play it!), as I embroidered, as I drew…and it came to me as I put away my pencils: I’ve become a maker. A maker of music, of art, of embroidery, of our home. I make because I love to do so. Not because I have a goal, a deadline, a project, a lesson to teach, a concert to prepare for…I make because it’s fun.

My hands are the tools with which I make my life. They have carried me through the toughest time ( I hope) of this process and brought me through to the other side. Engaging with the process of making has helped me begin to get better. Focusing on making or creating has given my exhausted mind time to heal. It’s happened in the background, in my mind, as my hands were busy making.

Having the time to spend making and healing is, I know, a real blessing. I will be forever thankful to my husband for seeing that I needed help, to  my doctors for providing dependable care, for the medical insurance in Germany that gives me the time to heal and not worry about finances. I know how lucky I am.

And I am thankful for my hands.




3 thoughts on “Hands that make

  • Dear Kathy, it’s been 50 years since I had my crash and due to circumstances I only had 6 months with a psychiatrist but what I learned from him has been with me all these years. Back then the word depression was not used, it was lack of self-esteem. He taught me not to dwell on what I couldn’t do, but to build on what I could do and, of course, along with my profession, I was a creator. I made many of my own clothes and things for the house,I painted on canvas and china and tried all the crafty things that started showing up in the 60’s. Later, my sister would say that between us we had done a little of just about everything.
    Today, I am so content with my life that it’s hard to remember that lost soul of 50 years ago. I embroider, quilt and paint. I have wonderful friends to do these things with. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day.
    And I still often think of the things that Dr.Jones taught me.
    I pray that you are able to move forward, accept any set-backs and find contentment in what you love to do.

  • Dear Kathy,
    I think that naming this blog, “Not One More Thing”, was your soul telling you that it was time to take a good look at your life and assess what is working now. Not what you used to feel would work, which was taking on the responsibilities and activities that you have mentioned in earlier entries here. You wouldn’t have done them if something in you didn’t believe that they would help you achieve something you wanted or needed.

    It turns out that whatever told you that taking on more would be a good thing was wrong. Our society’s current dominant message that “more is better” is wrong. It’s hard to get the support we need to voluntarily make the conscious choices that nourish our body, mind, and soul, because almost everyone and everything around us is also influenced by this “philosophy”. They can’t see that you’re headed into burn out. And even if they do, and they try to warn you, it is so hard to listen because of that thing in you that impels you down the dangerous path, however subconsciously.

    Every decision and choice we make, from the food we eat, the work we do, the entertainment we choose, the people we associate ourselves with, whether or not we listen to, and act on, the clues our bodies give us about our overall health by our susceptibility to minor ailments along the way, contributes to our becoming the best expression of who we really are, or a distortion and false version of ourselves. As an artist, you know that some of your pencil strokes need to be erased in order for the picture on the paper to express your vision, some need to be added. And sometimes, the vision you have in your head evolves as you begin to express it, and you need to to add some strokes, and again, erase others, or blend them, etc.

    Your decision to write this kind of blog and to name it, “Not One More Thing”, was a kind of prophecy. Thank you for sharing it.

    I had no intention of writing an “essay” when I started this. I apologize if I have chosen the wrong place to express my thoughts. This is your blog, after all.

    Thank you again for sharing this part of yourself with us. It truly making a difference in other people’s lives.


  • I have never come across so many like-minded people. I am a professional musician completely addicted to thread!
    My son,aged 36 died 16 years ago from a brain tumour. My hands & what I can do with them have got me through life. I am a very happy contented person now & realise that although my son’s life was short, it was very fulfilled & happy.
    I make music every day& sew in the late evening to switch off. A day is not complete without sewing.

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