I’ve picked up a lot of miscellaneous crafting hobbies over the last 5 years. Some out of boredom, some as a result of a craft making frenzy that may or may not have been the result of hypomania. There were even a few of those “I’ve always wanted to learn how to do this so now I will” things. I’ve amassed quite a significant craft supply over the years. All of these things went into the “when I need something to distract myself” pile. (or what some people like to call “the coping toolbox”). For a long time creativity has been my saving grace.
When I realized I was faced with indefinite unemployment and no paycheck for at least a month I was all “OK, I got this, I have all kinds of things I can make, and enough supplies to do it.” My craft supply hoarding was going to pay off!
Except it didn’t. My “distress” (I don’t even know what to call it) was significant enough that I couldn’t motivate myself to do anything. I’m still struggling. Along with the rest of the world. But last week I found something. (Well, not found, I’ve been doing it since I learned when I was 7 and never really stopped).
Crochet. That familiar thing that I have used since college to distract and entertain myself. Whether intentional or unintentional, once I find the right pattern there’s a small sense of relief. I’ve since learned to knit and have made quite a few things, but it’s not the same.
The health benefits of knitting and crocheting are no secret. The tactile and rhythmic components are soothing for a lot of reasons once you get the hang of it. That’s a big part of it for me, but really, its comforting. It is familiar. I know I can do it, and I know what I like to make.
I’ve even found that looking at the finished product helps. I have a massive blanket that I made with a lot of colors and textures. I finally put it on the back of my couch, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with what its done for me. I’ll sit there and stare at it and I remember that I enjoyed making it. I learned a lot making it so there is that sense of accomplishment. I can get lost in the colors. (I remember being a little kid and getting absorbed into a crocheted scrap blanket that my granny made for my mom a long time ago.)
I dug out an old mandala pattern that I enjoyed making for someone that I cared about, and pulled out left over yarn from the giant blanket. It helps. It is also the only thing I’ve actually wanted to do since I’ve been home, so I’ve been bribing myself with it. If I load the dishwasher I can work on it. If I clean the shower I can work on it.
There are a lot of things floating around on the internet that are like “Use this time to learn a new skill and deep clean your house!”
No. Just no. Use this time to do something that will save your sanity. If its something new, great. But if its something old, that’s great too. My goal is to come out on the other side of this alive and have the ability to go back to work without losing my mind. If that means my living room stays messy and I end up with is an assortment of crocheted projects, so be it.