Someone said "When you play with the doll, like when you take care of a small child, you heal the child you were and that is still in you."
I hadn't been able to put that idea into words myself but that's so true. I've often mused how Pip, with her dark brown hair and huge round blue eyes, looks very much like a four year old me. I've often called her an expression of my inner child- my eternal elfin child avatar. Through her, I get to have those happy little childhood moments and joys that heal me as an adult.
This is a very personal topic to me, and the biggest true reason behind my involvement in this hobby. BJDs have been one of the several good things keeping me afloat, one of my rays of hope that gets me out of my bed and my house and comfort zone to meet new people and make new things.
I live with Chronic Depression. It's kind of like a cancer or leukemia of the soul. It comes and goes, is beaten into remission and then flares up again. If you don't take care of yourself, it can even be very physically harmful, and for some people fatal.
When it's bad, I always find comfort and actually beneficial therapy in playing with my dolls. I discovered Ball Jointed Dolls over a year ago, and I think I was searching for something artistic and childlike that would let me draw out the innocence and strength I had as a child. Modifying and customizing these dolls is an amazing therapy. I find that doing faceups and making clothes for them is comforting to me, because if I have made something so beautiful, it must have come from inside me, and it shows me I am beautiful inside. I find that "taking care" of my dolls (Keeping them out of sunlight, making sure they are safely stored when not in use) reminds me to also look after myself, keeping me eating regular meals and sleeping decent hours. This hobby gives me something to do when I just can't sleep, and something pleasant to think about while I fall asleep. It gives me a safe common ground on which to meet total strangers and make new friends and feel comfortable doing so.
Having the distraction of the hobby gives me something pleasant to think about instead of spiraling into unproductive thought patterns or fears. Making things for the dolls is a therapy stronger than any medicine for calming and centering me, letting me be productive and creative and strong. Anxiety is hard to fight without something like dolls to ease it and redirect that energy in a healthy way. Even my somewhat skeptic family sees how happy the dolls make me and has come to accept their positive influence on my health as something worthwhile.