Monday, 10 June 2013

Hope blooms out of depression

Last week my sister-in-law told us that she had successfully completed Level 2 of a creative floristry qualification, and she spoke so passionately about the impact that learning her new skill had had on her wellbeing that I asked her to write a piece for the blog. Thank you Linda! 

"I first started suffering from depression when I was 17. I feel the reason for this was partly genetic and also the fact that I was developing a tumour on my pituitary gland which was not diagnosed until I was 24. I am from the generation where educating girls was not a priority. All that was expected of me was to get married and have babies! My last 2 years at school were not happy - my older brother went to the same school and also my very gifted cousin who is a concert pianist. I was constantly compared to them both. 

I grew up feeling I was not particularly good at anything despite knitting and doing crochet for Harrods and Browns. I knew I had to be perfect but due to my total lack of self esteem I took no pride in the fact and felt so what, anyone can knit or crochet! These feelings stayed with me most of my life and I suffered some very severe bouts of depression that meant I needed to be hospitalised.

I was told my handwriting was nice. I could write poetry. I have bought up two children who are nice stable adults but still my lack of self worth persisted. I constantly compared myself to other people - they were all more intelligent than I was, they were nicer than I was etc etc etc!

In October 2011 my husband paid for me to do a flower arranging course for my birthday. This was something I had wanted to do for at least 30 years but there again my negative attitude stopped me. My first college lesson fell on my birthday and to say I was terrified of going is putting it very mildly. I begged my husband not to make me go, and he actually had to take me and it was just like my first day at school. I loved it once I started.

At the end of the six weeks I was really sad that the course had ended although I still felt I was not particularly good at it. My tutor asked me to stay behind after the last lesson and told me they were now taking Disability Living Allowance as a benefit and why didn't I enrol on a qualification course. My answer I remember was "what, me?"

I have a very complex medical history and am in a lot of pain but my tutor convinced me that she would help me as much as I needed. I enrolled in September 2012 at level 1 in NAFAS (National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies) qualification in creative floristry and my Thursday at college, although I found it difficult pain wise, soon became the best day of my week. I passed my Level 1 at Christmas 2012 and to my utter surprise people were actually wanting to buy my Christmas wreaths! My final level 1 assessment was a hand tie for a bride with white roses and tiny pearl beads bound with antique lace and secured with pearls. I achieved a grade 3 - the highest grade! Way hay! I thought to myself I can actually do this.

The course involves a massive amount of course work and I hated studying at 18 let alone at 60 but I have come to enjoy the business side of floristry. I embarked on level 2 in January 2013 and finish at the end of June. It has become very challenging now, both the practical and theory tests my brain somewhat. I had my practical assessment for level 2 last Thursday and chose to create a heart shaped wreath and passed at the highest grade again. The comments that were made on my practical work were that it was highly saleable and showed a high standard of creative talent. This is me I thought, I am now qualified enough to work in a florist’s and beginning to get more orders from family and friends. I love selecting my flowers, and I know my colour co-ordination is good (yes, I did say good!) and I love seeing what I can create from them.

Not only do I love my floristry it has made me look at all the other gifts I have been given. I believe that not many people are creative enough to work for Harrods. I am a nice, reasonably intelligent person who dresses well and am quite articulate. It is never too late to follow your dream whatever the obstacles you may have on the way. There is always a way around things!"

1 comment:

  1. Well done Lin, you are an inspiration to me.