dolls and mental health whats it mean for you

Feb 7, 2020

    1. so one think i tend to find myself explaining is why i dont think my hobbies are a waste of money, im a lolita,i cosplay, i collect an unholy amount of anime figures and of course my bjds and i always find the same thing is that they help me a lot mentally. i suffer from depression,anxiety,bpd and ptsd and there are so many times that the dolls have been a huge help, i have dolls that have sat with me through mental health meeting or stayed weeks with me in the hospital when i was unstable,most my time is spent just chilling with my dolls and getting them to where i want them to be

      dolls make me happy pretty much, ive been gifted a few dolls and just cried when i got them i spend time sewing for them,i like taking them out for pictures,ive met cool people through bjds, i get to be creative and stuff and when im in my really bad lows it helps me to just kinda mess around with them since i dont have the luxury of friends that live near me

      so one thing i want to know is what are these dolls to you, do you just like to collect them for fun, is it something you think of as a serious hobby or are you someone like me where dolls have just become way more then a hobby and they mean way more to you . i wanna hear about yalls mental health and if or how the dolls have impacted that at all
      • x 6
    2. It's funny, I feel like I just stumbled upon a similar discussion in another (unrelated) doll hobby. Unfortunately I think there's sort of a societal correlation between doll collecting and poor mental health, which makes it sort of uncomfortable for those of us with mental illness to talk about it since we don't want to make the community "look bad".

      I've lived with pretty severe anxiety and depression since I was a preteen, and ever since then I've been pretty heavily medicating myself with art therapy of one sort or another. I would draw pretty constantly, and I have 20+ sketchbooks completely full of sketches. In high school it was one of the only things that made me happy.

      Then I made the mistake of pursuing art as a career, and art school made me absolutely loathe all of the art forms I had previously found so much comfort in. (sketching, drawing digitally, graphic design)

      Customizing dolls was a way to finally do art again after being put off of it for a long time, and in a way where I didn't feel pressured to make my art for public consumption anymore. It's a kind of art that fully feels like I'm doing it 100% for me, and who the hell cares what the public thinks? It also gently weaned me back into thinking that art in general is fun, and I've finally started drawing again.

      Unfortunately, I think doll collecting also activated a dormant compulsion towards retail therapy which is... not so nice. It's a hobby that gives and takes.
      • x 13
    3. Weirdly enough I was just thinking about this exact topic the other day, I am so happy someone made a thread for this!

      I could talk for hours how this hobby reignited my creativity and passion for drawing and painting, or how it in general helps me relax, but instead I would actually like to mention something that I personally found absolutely unexpected...

      I am naturally a pretty anxious person and recently I've went through years of depression. As one can imagine, getting out there and being social, or even doing simple tasks like sending an e-mail can be pretty hard in those circumstances. But over the time that I started being active in this hobby I had to do quite a lot of well, socialising. Whether to ask a dealer about one thing or another or find answers here on DoA, sometimes it was necessary to be more active since these dolls are hand-made and there are many things to inquire about when purchasing one or customising one. And honestly, I am happy about that. I've gained quite a bit of confidence thanks to that, and it really helped me with my mental health overall.
      • x 6
    4. I feel like all of my hobbies help my mental health. They let me escape the stresses of the real world just for a little while.
      • x 2
    5. I don't think I have any menthal health issue but I have issues with people in general. Long story short I've met a lot of terrible people (and for terrible I mean the s word)in my life: apparently I'm a magnet or maybe I'm the problem, who knows?

      I used to write, listen to lot of music and draw until my late year in high school, but I lost interest because I was forced to attend a school I didn't want to go, my school mates were upthigh, I had a lot going on in my family and other things.

      So, basically right now I don't care about anything. I just buy bjds and figures because I like them as art. The only thing that bugs me is how much money I spent in these years and kinda don't want to spend more. And this is kinda ruining the fun. But I'm too lazy to think about selling my dolls XD must do it one day or another thou lol
      • x 2
    6. Obsequious, are you me?

      This whole thing happened to me too. Now the completely blank page or canvas seems impossibly overwhelming. Like there are so many decisions to make and paths to go down that it seems exhausting. Dolls have just enough framework to start your imagination going. And there's so many side hobbies attached to dolls like fashion, photography, writing, etc that I'm always stimulated.

      Art is how I decompress from decision fatigue at work. If there's too many art decisions I don't make anything. I think for me it's a lot healthier than eating or bingeing tv as a way to blow off steam.

      Yeah and the flip side is I have spent a whole lot because retail therapy is a big Vice of mine
      • x 2
    7. So I have bipolar, which leads me to have an interesting expierence with the hobby (or at least I believe it to be so, from conversations with others regarding their own expierence in the hobby).

      When manic, I wipe all my dolls faces and redo them, buy all these clothes, impulse buy eyes and wigs and sometimes even dolls themselves. Its gotten to the point that I have to check all my doll purchases with a doll friend first to prevent overspending, and even then sometimes I get too excited and forget to.

      When depressed, I ignore them completely. The longest I've ignored them was a hiatus for three years, where I even contemplated selling all of my dolls, criticizing myself for the money spent
      • x 3
    8. I definitely think the hobby has already helped my mental health even though I've only been in it for a few months. I struggle to develop friendships that are more than awkward acquaintances, but going to doll meets has gotten me out of the house and spending time with people, which has developed into friendships. Also, the art therapy of sewing for my dolls or crocheting things after a stressful day has been super helpful as well.
      • x 1
    9. I find my that my dolls are immensely mood improving, some days I feel I get more support from my resin ppl that from family. I do view them as high art, and the satisfaction of developing their look and character is priceless.
      And yeah, retail therapy is a tightrope lol
      • x 1
    10. I love dolls, not only as an inspiration for my writing but also because I feel relax when playing with them. With more fun and less stress, give some mood change and happiness, is it possitive supports to my health?
      #10 Evendo, Feb 7, 2020
      Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
      • x 1
    11. This is a very timely discussion for me. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression in high school. But we're now thinking I may have a form of bi polar. My manic phases where super constructive times for me and I seemed normal happy so it went unnoticed.

      For me though dolls are a double edged sword. They give me a creative outlet and a focus, but they've also been an unhealthy coping mechanism. I've bought WAY too many dolls in the past 6 months. Going from 0 to 5 made me realise I tend to have reckless spending habits when I'm in a low.
      But on the other hand it made me realise a problem I hadn't notice so I can try to keep it in check better.

      But I agree with @obsequious though. I don't like mentioning my difficulties with my dolls. I don't want to add to the stigma.
      • x 2
    12. Yes, they are helpful. So much, I wish I had started the hobby years before I did. I had and loved my dolls as a kid too. As an adult, I really hesitated to every let myself have anything 'just for fun'. There was a point in my life where I was really struggling, went to see a therapist and he pointed out I seldom had any fun. These BJDs caught my interest on eBay, where I would look for affordable supplies to build my dollhouse kits. There was a huge difference between the prices of the hobbies though. Still, I just kept looking at the dolls for years. Finally, I felt I had accomplished enough as an adult and was over 30yo at the time. I permitted myself to spend some extra money on a doll that I couldn't stop oogling.

      Getting to buy the doll finally was nice, but in the meantime I revisited the account I made here on DoA. I immediately made good friends that I would not have met otherwise. I don't have any other friends outside doll collecting besides some friendly people at work, but those relationships depend on my employment. I'm sure my doll friends would still care about me even if I wasn't able to work anymore or lost my job.

      My mother is the most critical of my dolls. She claims that I love them more than people, spend too much money, etc..... but I came to realize she's actually a narcissist and has never been kind to me just for the sake of it anyway. Besides, she and my stepdad maintained a second house, bought ATVs and did all sorts of traveling...... they often 'forgot' my birthdays and so on. I went to school for my job and work very hard. I think my doll hobby helped me finally see where a lot of my mental and emotional issues came from.
      • x 5
    13. I never meant this to happen, but my dolls are representative of different aspects of my personality and therefore different aspects of my mental illnesses. A character I created in 2012, for example, will be a symbolic representation of the mental health problems I was having at that time. This means that being around my dolls is a bitter-sweet experience - I love them, but it can bring back difficult emotions.

      It's a fantastic way of learning more about myself and my illnesses, however. Has anyone ever taken their dolls into a therapy session? I would love to do that!
      • x 1
    14. My dolls, especially Chaeri, are a wonderful outlet for my need to create. The only problem is that I'm running out of room for all of Chaeri's clothes that I make for her. I tend to get hyperfocused on things, including my doll. I have to work hard to back off.
      • x 1
    15. I suffer from anxiety and depression as well, and it always just makes me happy to make a character, make props, sew clothes, and writing and developing stories and worlds. I always find when something challenging is going on or I’m feeling really down I’ll buy another doll or toy or something (I’m really into LEGO and other toys and figures too).

      I just love spending time working on things, slowly developing projects and I love having little BJD companions to keep me company.
      • x 2
    16. My dolls mean a lot to me. I suffer from bad health (neuroblastoma) for all my life (28 years). They are companionship when no one else is there. It's amazing how the just the presence of a humanoid figure can lift one's mental state of not feeling alone.
      Originally I only had one doll, but upon starting become more active (health improvements) I have obtained more. I go out in public with my dolls and have parties with them. I am not very creative but I do try to buy them nice things and play dress up. I even sleep with my dolls in my bed and by my bed for further companionship.
      People can honestly think what they want. I strive for happiness everday. Life is too short to be obsessed about others thoughts and opinions. Do whatever makes you happy long as it doesn't infringe on others.
      • x 3
    17. I suffer with depression, ptsd and bpd too... Seeing your post just makes me feel a lot...
      My dolls help me a lot in mental health too, sometime just don't want to stay with other people but dolls.
      I used to draw a lot, but after I have ptsd and depression, I can't even continue my passion in drawing... but spending much more time with my dolls, and motivated to search for how to sew clothes, how to do customize make up and so on!
      current interest is learn to make my very own bjd c:
      they really mean a lot to me...
      • x 1
    18. I've got a good chunk of mental and physical health problems, one of which would be binge spending due to borderline personality disorder, when... you like really expensive dolls but are on a fixed income ..... it's not the best combination some times. And then on top of that when the depression gets pretty fierce I just start executive dysfunctioning all over the place which leaves me with a bunch of not finished doll projects. I'm currently looking at like needing 12 face ups, 8 bodies, a bunch of clothing and a bunch of shoes too. I'm just glad in theory I can make the wigs..... tho actually finding the time and energy for it.... I'll get back to you on that one when I find it. They help me be creative but.... they are almost druglike if I don't watch myself.

      ...not to mention going from being way more able bodied physically to now not even able to lift my heaviest doll cos she's a Lusion and I don't have the physical strength to do so... it can really impact my mental heath some days.
      • x 2
    19. I was diagnosed with Autism when I was in elementary school. Part of my experience with it is a fascination with objects, and emotionally attaching to them far more than a neurotypical person might. This also gives rise to some hoarding tendencies which I have to be aware of, and to top it all off I have chronic depression and anxiety.
      My dolls are a wonderful creative outlet and a release from the stresses of my life but I have to be mindful as well. Because my love of objects and collecting can easily give rise to hoarding I can't get carried away. I kinda did this year with all the dolls I ended up purchasing. I've made a commitment not to get anymore this year and mostly just make stuff for the ones I have.
      I walk a bit of a tightrope where they are concerned. They are helpful, and relaxing but if I dip too far the other way I could end up in an unhealthy situation because of my love for them. Even with this balancing act I don't see myself getting out of the hobby though. I'd have this same issue with any hobby really.
      • x 3
    20. I found mine to be very helpful during my lowest moments in the last two years of high school. I had severe depression and an anxiety disorder that grew into agoraphobia. So, obviously I was spending a lot of time home alone, isolating. I was so lonely and at times I thought it was going to consume me, but I couldn't bring myself to go outside and my friends didn't understand what I was going through so they left me. In all fairness they were going through their own various hardships so I don't blame them. I had my dolls to keep me company though and be my friends in my time of need while I went through my recovery process. They were my companions and my escape into a world without all of the things that held me down. Depression stripped my love of painting and illustration from me, even today I have a hard time feeling "good enough" when I pick up a pencil, but my dolls were there as my creative outlet and helped me get my feet wet again after being out of the art game for so many years. I'm now healthy but I still reach for my dolls after a rough day at work or when I get a little moody at a certain time of the month and need a little bit of comfort.
      • x 3