My name is Carolyn, I am 29 years old. I am a female, queer, blacksmith with Polyfragmented DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). As the host of a system of over 2,000 alters, parts and fragments, things can be difficult to explain or navigate but I'll do my best.
I, host Carolyn, found bladesmithing in 2018. I watched Forged in Fire and noticed a number of contestants who used bladesmithing as a way to cope with PTSD or other mental illnesses. I also have PTSD so I thought I'd try my hand at it. At the time I was living with my parents, I was their dependent and they were taking care of me. When I expressed my interest in bladesmithing - they helped me set up a little forge in the backyard. Not much to it - the cheapest propane forge off eBay, a cast iron anvil, two sets of tongs and a hammer from Amazon, and I was off. Turns out I didn't love a lot of aspects of bladesmithing, but I fell in love with blacksmithing. And I threw myself in as much as I could to learning the craft.
As a person with polyfragmented DID, I'm just one part in a large system. I'm not always in the front, or a lot of times I am sharing consciousness with another alter. That alter may be young, may not know how to forge, may not want to forge or any other reasons that either prevents me from being able to forge for safety reasons or because I know longer know how to forge because they've got their hand on the "steering wheel". It has been a challenge, and I don't always get to forge when I want to. But I'm learning to navigate my disorder and work with other alters in the system to get in as much forging as possible.
I absolutely love blacksmithing. I've been working hard at improving in the craft as well as starting it as a my own business. There was a time when nobody was sure I'd be able to function at all, and because of blacksmithing, and how it helped me heal and work through trauma, I am living on my own. I've got a business that is successful enough for me to do that and I am growing more independent with each day. Blacksmithing truly saved my life. And my greatest desire is to share that with other survivors of abuse and people who struggle with mental health issues. I eventually want to use blacksmithing as a form of art therapy for other people. That's kind of my story in a nutshell.