October is Depression Awareness Month


A while ago I heard a radio piece http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2016/08/25/emotions-college-students that mentioned how to help your college-age kids be more “authentic” online.  They brought up the fact that we all feel pressure to keep things “happy” when we post on social media, and I’m no exception. I do my best to keep this blog happy and upbeat even when I’m feeling the opposite of that.  This October we’ll acknowledge (celebrate?) Depression Awareness Month.  Projects chosen for this month are, of course, fun doll crafts – yes, I can apparently work a doll project into any theme!  🙂 But each one was chosen for a specific reason.

I hope this wouldn’t happen, but let’s just pretend you overhear someone saying this to someone else:

  • You’re stupid
  • You’re useless
  • You never do anything right
  • You’re a failure
  • No one likes you
  • You’re ugly
  • No one wants to hear what you have to say
  • You’re garbage
  • I wish you’d never been born

Are you already plotting how you’d intervene?  Of course!  But what about if you can’t hear it?  One part of living with depression is YOUR OWN BRAIN saying this kind of thing to you.  Imagine this… Your friend has had that sound track playing in her head ever since she woke up at 3am, insomnia and bad thoughts both courtesy of her depression.  She actually managed, despite all of this, to take a shower, get dressed, choke down some cereal and drive to work!  Yay!  And then she opened her email and checked her to-do list and went and hid in the bathroom and cried for five minutes because it was too overwhelming.

How can you help?

You’ve heard the expression “The elephant in the room”?  Depression can be just that.    Here is a good site that gives helpful tips for talking to someone who’s depressed:


 This week’s project is based on McCall #419 from the 1930s and resized to about 3”, which is a good stuffed animal size for a variety of dolls or small enough to keep out as a reminder of “The elephant in the room”.  Make it in feedsack print scraps for Kit or period fabrics for any doll after her era.


Download here

Disclaimer: I’m a doll blogger, not a mental health professional. Please seek professional help if you think you need it! There are lots of links here and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

23 responses »

  1. Thank you! It is so important to talk about depression. I sufferred in silence for yrs until 7yrs ago I decided to talk to my dr about it. Besides some much needed meds, she taught me how to cope, how to breathe, how to clear my mind. I am happy to say I have been SO much better the last 6yrs. It really helped having my husband support me and just understand. Thanks!

  2. Very helpful. I appreciate that you are spreading the word about depression and bipolar disorder. Unless you or a loved one are affected, you don’t necessarily understand that a person could have a medical disorder and are not just being difficult or lazy.

    • Thank you for mentioning that! One of the reasons I wanted to do this was indeed to raise some awareness that depression is an illness, not just a temporary mental state you can get over by “snapping out of it” any more than you can get over diabetes by using mind power to control your blood sugar.

  3. Thank you Jenny! It’s really cute, and I’m sure a certain Melody will enjoy it!

    Thanks for your post about depression. I know quite a few persons suffering from it and I know how hard it is on your brain, your body, your life… ((((((Big hugs))))) to everyone suffering from it.

  4. I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your patterns. I have many of them, which I use to make little gifts for girls in my community who are being challenged by some personal struggles of their own. It brightens their day so much to receive a gift, made just for them, for no other reason than to bring them joy. This small service brings me as much joy as it does the children who receive them.

    Your article about depression really touches me deeply; because I know many people, both young and old, who struggle daily, weekly, year after year with this illness. I try to be a friend to them, yet I know it can be easy to innocently say the wrong thing — or even the right thing, but in the wrong manner, or at the wrong time. So, thank you for the links to new tools to support my attempts to help those in need.

    God bless you and best wishes from someone who truly appreciates your work.

    Sincerely, Kelly Pilkinton

    Sent from my iPad

  5. How did you know how I suffer from depression. You could very well be describing my life. Thank you for the little elephant pattern. I think I am going to make one for every room in my small one bedroom apt…to remind me that I am not alone with this horrid disease.

  6. Thank you so very much for the stuffed elephant pattern. I am a retired inner-city middle school special education teacher. Your list of sayings on today’s post reminded me of the “bullying” and struggle to maintain a positive attitude of self worth that too many students undergo. Being positive and trying to lift their spirits was a key part to engaging them in the learning process! Now I sew for charities because, selfishly, it makes me feel good!

    Anyway, I would like to ask a question about the elephant pattern. On the under body leg piece, there are 2 solid lines on the upper part. I don’t understand what those lines are for. Is this a cut line to create a piece for the tail? Or is the lower of the 2 lines to be sewed at the sides leaving a center opening for turning?




    • The upper line is the seam line to be sewed at the sides leaving a center opening for turning. I made it darker instead of dotted to emphasize that the allowance is a bit larger than 1/4″ at that point

  7. Excellent post. Thank you. I try to give genuine compliments to strangers on a regular basis because you just never know who is really struggling and needs that connection to a living peace. I’ve been there.

  8. Hi there, I just had to reply to this post. As a wife of someone who suffers sever depression, this is a wonderful post. Thank you for your links, and thank you for the gorgeous pattern. Think I will make this for my hubby to remind him he is never alone.

    Cheers, Caroline (from Australia)

  9. That elephant is so adorable! Do you have the original McCall’s magazine where it was first published? (It was a magazine, wasn’t it?) Do you know which issue it was?


  10. The elephant is perfect. So kind of you to do the pattern and share Depression Month. Makes us all think about it and perhaps help others in need. Definitely could have needed one back in my teens. You are so special.

  11. I try to be kind to everyone, as we never know what others are struggling with from day-to-day and depression is difficult not only to have, but to be able to help others with, so your post & pattern are much appreciated, Jen!

  12. Thank you for making me aware – a friend’s grand daughter is in college and sometimes suffers from depression – this helps!

    From: Wren*Feathers To: donnaetc@yahoo.com Sent: Thursday, October 6, 2016 2:42 AM Subject: [New post] October is Depression Awareness Month #yiv8487461729 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv8487461729 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv8487461729 a.yiv8487461729primaryactionlink:link, #yiv8487461729 a.yiv8487461729primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv8487461729 a.yiv8487461729primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv8487461729 a.yiv8487461729primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv8487461729 WordPress.com | jenwrenne posted: “A while ago I heard a radio piece http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2016/08/25/emotions-college-students that mentioned how to help your college-age kids be more “authentic” online.  They brought up the fact that we all feel pressure to keep things “happy” w” | |

  13. I applaud your concern for people who suffer depression. Your blog is spot on! And your elephant is simply adorable. You are a breath of fresh air every time you post, and I am always amazed at what great things you’ve done with your skills!

  14. I appreciate your words concerning depression. It is a debilitating and self-propagating ailment
    that fills ones world with sadness, lethargy and self-loathing.

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