Okay so a lot happened since I last wrote. A lot. I got a bit better and then got a bit worse again. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and then with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Aspergers) and am currently in the process of being diagnosed with some kind of Hypermobility thing. Some of that sucked. Some of that sucked and then rocked. Some of it hurts and some of it no longer does. I’m human. It’s a lot for anyone to process.
I guess I am not the first person to say that crafting is therapy. But crafting is therapy. Crocheting, knitting, origami, spinning and dyeing all distract me when I’m having an anxiety attack. absorb me when I am struggling to focus, get me moving when I have lost interest in everything and some days have literally been the only reason I have got out of bed.
Then there’s the fact that it’s socially acceptable to crochet or knit in public now. Much more socially acceptable, for example, than ‘stimming’ when stressed. How I hate that word. Such an ugly ugly word for something which is simply a repetitive motion repeated over and over because it’s soothing and calming. Smoking anyone?
So yeah. Crocheting in public has enabled me to take train journeys with a lot less anxiety than there was before. Crochet hooks, it turns out, can be used as weapons. Who knew.
Then I discovered something else. Wool. It’s like glue. Social glue. It turns out, everyone of a certain age remembers their grannies knitting. Or their mothers. I’ve overheard comments along the lines of ‘hey it’s so nice to see a woman doing what she should be doing’ and getting beaten over the head by their girlfriends. It turns out what he actually meant was that the sound of needles clacking brought back a whole flood of memories he wasn’t expecting.
Meanwhile I’m sat waiting to see the GP, calm internally, while my fingers fly externally. Turns out, when people are looking at my fingers, they’re not looking at me. Diversionary tactics are super helpful for someone with quite severe social anxiety.
Then there’s the satisfaction that comes from finishing things. I have not, historically, been particularly excellent at feeling satisfied with anything I’ve done. I was little miss perfectionist. Relentless. Pushed myself so hard I exploded my brain relentless. Pushed myself so hard I didn’t give up until I couldn’t take a shower without needing to sit down relentless. The kind of relentless that just refuses to give up and stops listening to her body kind of relentless. The kind that’s done permanent damage to her body cos of her relentless.
So what happens when you’re forced to stop?
Silence. Eventually. Not straight away. Not for months. Well, actually a year, lets be honest about this. It took a year for the crafting to have any effect. And it wasn’t instant. It’s not like a pill you can take to magically make everything better though god knows I’m taking enough pills. No. Instead it’s a gentle soothing, the kind that slowly puts the bits of your brain that were completely out of whack back together instead of one day waking up with some eureka moment. I’m hoping that silence will stay because it took so long to come.
I’ve spent an entire life with noise in my head. ‘You’re not good enough, you’re too fat, you’re too thin, you’re too gobby, you’re selfish….’ on and on and on and on and on. The silence first came or rather I first noticed it when I was spinning on my wheel. I stopped concentrating on drafting and there was suddenly space. And nothing to fill it. No negativity. No chattering. Nothing.
The sound of nothing is the sweetest most blissful sound I had never heard.
So did crafting save my life? No. But it’s sure as hell given me one back. So from this point forward, I guess this blog is going to be about crafting. Real crafting. None of this pretend stuff with pretty pictures and no personality behind it. I am a person, with a personality. And this is my crafting life, which keeps me breathing, keeps me soothed, keeps me thinking and keeps me living.