Nearly two weeks ago, my talented friend Marinke (known as Wink) took her own life. She had discovered crochet during severe depression following her diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome, and found the repetitive yet creative nature of crochet to be, at that time, a life saver.
Lots has been written by others about her sense of colour, her enthusiasm for crochet, the books that she had written, her musical talent & her fantastic blogging. All of that is true, and she will be missed far more than she would have realised while mired in depression so deep that she must not have been able to imagine that there would ever be a way out.
We met at Unravel 2014 along with Sarah & Gilly - you can read my blog post about it here. We chatted fairly often on facebook. The thing is, she was the only person I have talked to about the challenges of living as an adult with an autistic spectrum disorder. She had managed, through crochet, to find her niche, her way in the world. She had found a way of working that she could manage. She would plan for the shutdown she knew was coming after the stress of travelling & socialising. She was my inspiration - my little beacon to hold onto when Matt has struggled with the challenges presented by his ASD. The knowledge that it was possible for Wink to find her place, and if she could, Matt could too.
I know that being on the spectrum generally places you at a higer risk of depression and suicide. It's one of the main reasons we fought to get Matt out of mainstream education when we did. Depression is insidious, and mental health is something we need to talk about more openly, without stigma.
Wink may have lost her place, and that's heartbreaking. But she did find it - and I am keeping a tight hold on that.