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Message 1 -------------- Origami is one thing that really brings me hope

Hi, I came across your web site about the origami in therapy, and I found it very interesting. I guess I could confirm your studies in this.

Origami is often a great way of therapy for me. A few months ago, I was in a very unstable emotional state. I was diagnosed with major depression and other things. I was suicidal  and so I was admitted into a psychiatric hospital.

I had been dealing with problems such as anorexia/bulimia and self- injuring. And then I found origami. I don't know how I got so interested, but one day I just decided to search it on the internet. I had learned some basic origami about three years ago, and so I knew a little about it, but I didn't realize it was such an extensive art. I started folding again, and I realized that it was a great coping skill. It could relieve stress in a positive way, and then at the end I had actually accomplished something. It was my creation, something that I had total control over. Sometimes when I felt like I had no control at all, I would do origami and feel confident in myself again.

Whenever I feel stressed, or depressed, I know that I can go and find some paper (and paper is the kind of thing that you always have around somewhere) and start folding. Just to have the feel of paper between my fingers helps me now. It helps me concentrate and think logically rather than irrationally.

Sometimes something as little as a bad grade on a paper can make me feel in despair and become suicidal. But if I wait for a couple hours before I do anything, I usually feel much better about the situation and I'm not overreacting. Sometimes a few origami models can be the gap between hurting myself and being safe.

Another thing that origami does is help me to keep my mind off of food and my weight and other things like that. When I feel the need to purge or to restrict, I can do origami and it relaxes and calms my anxiety. I can really concentrate, and think about what I want to do. Things always seem a lot clearer when I'm folding.

I'm still on medication, but that will soon be reduced. Origami is one thing that really brings me hope!!!

Just thought I would share my experiences with you. Not sure if you can get anything from this, but I am excited that you are using origami to help others!!!

C B S --- 1999             U.S.A.

Message 2 ---------------------------- Origami helped me too

I have suffered from manic depression and auditory hallucinations since 1990 and origami has been such a blessing to me.

In the beginning, doing the origami helped me to endure the besiege of voices that incapacitated me. It was difficult for me to concentrate on anything. Since I knew how to do origami, I was able to concentrate on doing origami to battle the other "voices" by ignoring them.

Doing the origami was a diversion to allow me to focus on something so strongly while I was experiencing an attack (like a radio on full blast was taped to my ears). This allowed me to not give in to the "voices", especially the ones that were scary for me at that time or the ones that were telling me to do what I believe to be wrong actions that were irresponsible and even violent. In doing origami, I was able to cling to the silent voice of my consciousness that guided me to know right from wrong. Origami was my instant weapon. By focusing on doing my origami, I was able to withstand and ignore the "voices".

Last year, I ended up in a psychiatric hospital and was hearing "voices" again. While being an inpatient, I started doing origami again. I made special boxes for the many people at the hospital that were caring for me. They were so impressed that they even asked me to teach a class to the rest of the patients.

Thank you so much for allowing me to share my experiences. I truly hope that it can help others and make a significant contribution to someone else's life.

G. K. R.                1999             NJ  U.S.A.

Message 3 ---------------------------- Origami gives me a sense of empowerment

Folding for a few years origami has become a passion of mine. I suffered from "bipolar" and have been working hard to peel this label off. I taught my psychologist origami. I am so happy that she can share the skill with others who are facing challenges.

I learned to make Tomoko Fuse's box from a friend. Sally used origami papers which I could not afford. I started using magazine papers. This pattern uses eight pieces of paper. The challenge of finding papers for making a beautiful box helped me to concentrate and plan. I had to work out a system for getting and sorting duplicate magazines. This was good for problem solving skills. Plus cutting the paper into perfect squares was a relaxing task. I became absorbed and let my negative self-talk shut down.

As I started sharing boxes, people wanted to know if I sold them. I felt there was a copyright problem. This led me to develop a way to manipulate the ink on clay coated paper, so that I could still use the magazine paper. I took about two years to come up with the right materials and the environmentally friendly technique. Many people encouraged me to apply for a patent. There are stores locally that carry my work for sale. I am working with an engineering department to see if the process can be done by machine. Also I really would like to be self-supporting and get out of the government disability support. All of this has brought me into contact with many people. In the past I would have felt unable to communicate with those business people and professional in many fields.

Origami has given me creative problems to focus and work out, helping to take my mind off my "illness". Working in solitude prevents me from getting over stimulated by others and I find it gives me a sense of empowerment. I can work at my own pace and on my own schedule. And the best part of all is having had a way of connecting with others in the community and around the world in a fun and non-intimidating way. It has been a bridge preventing me from feeling isolated, lonely and broken somehow. I feel I have something to contribute and that I am appreciated as a person of worth. Art for me is truly a healing force.

Without Sally and the ONE origami box which she taught me none of this would have happened. She has no idea the valuable gift she share with me and how it has impacted my life. She died of cancer not long after she showed me the box. I feel as I continue to work with the boxes and the paper project that it honors her memory. It is a way to pass on a part of an extraordinary friend whom I loved and missed.

In writing this account for you I am reminded how far I have come in my recovery. Seeing it written down has been a help in itself. Thanks for asking.

M.G.                2000             AR  U.S.A.

Message 4 ---------------------------- I am now a much happier person.

I want to share with you my recent discovery of Origami. I have depression for about 8 years. I never realized how much I was emotionally shut down. One day, I discovered that I had depression and was later treated with medication.

I also had psychotherapy that helped to re-open the emotional side that I repressed for many years. As a student, I put all my concentration using my left-brain and shut down my right brain. As I went through therapy, I was able to regain social contact and develop communication skills. I rediscover how to relate to others and how to deal with conflict situations involving human interactions. I was able to find a good job and be able to function normally.

Recently the ending of my psychotherapy was approaching. I noticed the only thing I need to work on was my emotion that was so important for me. Two weeks ago, I went to an art store. Out of curiosity I decided to try paper folding. You couldn't imagine my surprise when I realized how ORIGAMI had helped me.

Origami has reshaped my thinking. It has allowed me to explore the artistic and emotional sides. I rediscover my personality. It liberates me from fears and negative thoughts. Origami develops my focus, concentration, energy, enthusiasm about life and positive thinking. I have the pleasure of doing things that I usually lack of motivation to do so. e.g.: cooking, washing clothes and dishes. Since 2 weeks ago, I have become a new person, I began to explore different things in life: reading, shopping, walking, writing and listening to music. At work, I make Origami to deal with stress. I make cranes, Spanish boxes, birds and flowers. I give them to my fellow workers.

Origami brings out the best in a person. It can be therapeutic: physically, psychologically or as an art. What Origami did, was to enhance my internal focus and arouse my interest in the simple things of life. For example, taking the time to talk to someone, to enjoy the pleasure of life: smiling or listening to someone, showing appreciation for a co-worker. I try to bring the very best of myself in everything I do. I have the motivation and the FOCUS. I am now a much happier person.

People cannot imagine the joy that Origami has brought me. PASSION is the word. With passion one can easily make things move. Now I can appreciate the pleasure of life - one day at a time. I hope this testimony can help others to discover the joy of life.

L. M.                  2002             Montreal, Canada

Message 5 ------------- Origami distracted the pain and gave a sense of accomplishment

How very delightful to find that origami is being used to help people who are having difficulties!

As a person with chronic pain, and the accompanying depression and fatigue, I fell into doing my paper-folding quite easily. I do get a sense of accomplishment from it, and use origami to "distract" myself from the pain, mentally. Often my body won't move so well; paper is forgiving, and if all else fails, I wad the paper and call it a three-dimensional snail. (Yes! One of the things I miss most is my sense of humour when the pain is breaking me down!)

I've been working with a counsellor instead of a doctor about the pain, as narcotics and anti-depressants only remove any quality of life I have left. Origami is something I can do, and succeed at, and master. I'm not great at it, but I was able to make little animals with holiday greetings on them as cards this year from various papers I'd collected and coloured. My life is still my own in a lot of little ways, and I can still effect positive change around me with a little crane or a little box that says something inside it!

I remember folding little paper cups for children to carry food home in when I worked in the jungles. I fold cranes, and remember the story. I fold boxes and flowers, it's quiet, peaceful and when I'm finished, I have a unique little bit of art that has distracted my brain from the needles and skewers of pain that lance my soft tissue.

And it works, for a while, and I have a moment of freedom in creativity. Every time a person folds, it is minutely different from any other folded in the past. It records that moment of creating. There is comfort in this for me.

Your website is incredible! I thought I was alone! Thank you for taking the time to create the site and all the resources! You have blessed my life in your way!

V. T.                  2003             Washington DC, USA

Message 6 --- Origami & Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome

Thank You so much for giving me hope.

I learned Origami when I was about 8 years old. Now, I'm disabled with CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome--also known as Myalgic Encephalopathy). Origami is one of the hobbies that keeps me going. I am currently making cards using flat origami models that I've learned from books or designed myself. I'm even thinking about making a book so I can remember how I folded some designs.

Thanks to the research done by Dr. Myra Preston ( www.SiberImaging.com). I have reasoned that according to her research & the Shumakov's that origami is helping to rehabilitate me on a physiological level as well as on an emotional & creative level. I would like to see someone doing researches on how origami can help to rehabilitate the CFIDS brains! That would be so exciting for me & helpful to thousands others too.

It's nice to hear that others are using Origami for such a noble cause. It gives me hope that even though I am unable to work, I could help people by using my talents in origami. I am currently corresponding with a friend's child who is severely mentally disturbed, sending him directions & examples of origami models. I'm glad to hear that it might be helping him! Thanks for your inspiration!

A. R.                 Aug 2003             Lincoln NE, USA

Message 7 --- My stress level is reduced

As a mental health consumer and advocate, I am interested in ways to make our symptoms work for, not against, us.

One way I used this concept to cope with my own illness was by getting into origami as a creative way to deal with a compulsive urge to fold and tear pieces of paper. My stress level is reduced and I no longer return and risk fines for returning badly doggeared library books.

I volunteer at a consumer-run art center in Madison, WI where not only the members but also all of the staff and board members have diffferent forms of mental illness including schizophrenia, depression, bi-polar disorder, multiple personality disorder, etc...

L. Q.                 Aug 2003             Madison WI, USA

Message 8 --- An rewarding outlet for my OCD behaviour

I have discovered origami a few months ago. It greatly helps redirecting my OCD type behaviors. It also helps to focus my mind when my thoughts become racing. It is an outlet which I can use instead of resulting to impulsive self-destructive behaviors.

I do origami everyday. I started off with very simple models. Like the swan. And I picked up a small paperback book called "Easy Origami" by John Montroll. I took to it very fast and moved on to more complex models. I get a lot of my diagrams off the web. My favourite is making small animals. Now I can make them with great details. It's a lot of fun, it keeps my hands busy when I need it and focuses my mind. It's quite rewarding when I could make something out of basically nothing more than a sheet of paper.

It's always a happy moment completing a particular complex models and I hope others can enjoy it too.

M. M.                 Sept 2003             Ca, USA

George Ho - origami  1993 - 2018 C