By Anelese Holt
I love almost everything that glitters. If it’s shiny, my eyes are drawn to it.
There’s an old song that says, “Just because it glitters don’t mean that it is gold.” But that doesn’t matter to me. I love costume jewelry as much as I love real jewelry. And, today, when I create items for my online store, I have to fight the urge to make it all bright, shiny, and glittery.
But, several years ago, I never thought in a million years there would be a time in my life when God would use my love of creating glittery things to pull me back from the dark brink of clinical depression and anxiety.
Picture yourself taking your child back-to-school shopping. You’ve done it dozens of times with no problems, except for maybe a temper tantrum or two (your child might even have had one, as well). You walk into the store; your child chooses a few outfits to try on; and then it hits. Your face turns bright red, and the heat coming from your body is enough to drench your clothes. Your stomach begins cramping, and your heart is beating so hard you think you might be having a heart attack. Frantically, you look for a bathroom, praying that you make it there before you get sick. And, despite your child having found just the right outfit to start school, you are forced to leave the store before making the purchase.
This scenario happened to me on several occasions, in stores and other settings, as well.
One day, I had to leave work unexpectedly because I just knew I was having a heart attack. My husband met me at the doctor’s office and walked in just as the medical workers were preparing me for an electrocardiogram. The nurse asked me question after question before I was finally given some medicine. About 30 minutes later, the tightness in my chest began to ease and all the other symptoms began to disappear. When the doctor entered the exam room and told me that I had just had an anxiety attack—not a heart attack—you’d think I’d be so happy that I would have danced right out of there. Instead, I started crying and couldn’t stop.
I didn’t want a heart attack, but I had been struggling with depression for several years and was now adding “anxiety disorder” to the mix.
I struggled with everything. I didn’t enjoy doing any of the things I once enjoyed; I didn’t want to see anyone, not even my family. I wanted to dig a hole, climb in, and never come out.
I also experienced quiet judgement from others, who would look at me as if I was crazy when I would reveal that I was in counseling and seeing a psychiatrist.
Adding to the stress during this time in my life, I had to have several surgeries, which led to me having to leave my job. Without a job, you don’t make money; and, without money, you can’t pay bills.
And, to top it all off, I gained weight faster than I normally did.
Life went on that way for a long time.
Then, around November of my second or third year without a job, I was devastated to realize that we couldn’t afford to buy Christmas presents for our children. Because I was unable to work outside our home to earn the needed income for the gifts, I prayed and prayed for answers.
The answer I received was for me to make Christmas stockings and sell them at local gift shops. So, I pulled together some supplies and began designing. And, somewhere along the way, I realized I was enjoying myself.
I think I might have actually lost money as I was creating, but I had started getting my life back!
Since then, I’ve also begun making Christmas ornaments, American poppers (Old English crackers), jewelry, pillows, and more. I once told my husband I was sorry that I had spent so much on my ventures and he said, if it helped me, it was worth every penny.
I had called on God to help me, and He was so faithful to answer. By providing me with a way to break free from my constant cycle of depression, He has given me the ability, even in the worst of times, to be open to all that is good and beautiful around me. God is so good.
While I still struggle with both depression and anxiety, I have found a way to not be defined by those illnesses. I am actually grateful for them because God allowed them to help me find the creative me. And, I can’t place a price on that. And what’s even more fun and fulfilling than creating my items is sharing what I’ve created and watching the joy on peoples’ faces when they hold one of my creations in their hands.
While it’s true that “everything that glitters isn’t gold,” glitter sure is fun (and healing) to play with.