Make Good Feel Good

As I have already written, Christmas can be stressful for anyone. It can be particularly difficult for those who are affected by mental health issues including anxiety and depression. Luckily I have (so far)  managed to get through the most challenging times in my life relatively unscathed but this subject is close to my heart as I have several friends living with depression*, and one who tragically lost her struggle earlier this year

Kate from A Playful Day recently asked me to contribute some relaxing project ideas for an article she posted on the Mollie Makes Blog - you can see the full post here.  One of my suggestions for a comforting knit was the Cosy Colourblock Shawl (free pattern) and as it happens, I've just cast on another. I already posted this on Instagram with the #makegoodfeelgood hashtag and after being contacted by some lovely followers,  should point out that my project is for relaxation, and not because anyone should be in the slightest bit concerned about me - but thank you so much for caring. That's exactly what this campaign is all about. 

Cosy Colourblock Shawl version 2, in shades of grey (both Scheepjes Stonewashed XL)
As well as offering project suggestions, Kate's article talks about the work of mental health charity Mind who have launched a 'Christmas Crafternoon' campaign. The idea is to get together with friends, family or colleagues for an afternoon of crafting and fundraising. A network of support is one of the key factors in supporting those with mental health difficulties - inviting people to get together to 'make' can also be a great way of reaching out. 

If this is something you fancy, you can request an information pack by email (or hard copy) which will include lots of ideas and tips. Posters and bunting to decorate your event can also be downloaded from the Mind website.

*If you think you are, or may be, suffering from depression and would like information or assistance, you will also find helpful resources on the Mind website

4 comments

  1. I know a few people who suffer from depression. In fact, this illness seems to be quite common, and we know a bit about it. We also know families who lost a loved one in the darkness of this illness. We all are affected in a way, as a society or as persons. We must care. My son suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, which is a mean bastard of mental illness too and often comes with depression. So I know what I am talking about. I'm so glad that there are institutions and people who help.

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  2. Yes, I think you are right - I also know a (startling) number of families affected and your description is perfect. I'm glad that there is more awareness and help about these days - it's *less* of a stigma now, and I think people are more willing to seek help because of this, which can only be a good thing.

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  3. I trained as a nurse. I finished my training, qualifying with a 1st class degree and I secured my dream job. Everything was going I had planned. Then came an awful car accident which turned my life upside down. I was left with fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, spinal damage and a physical disability which left me in a wheelchair, unable to care for myself, in constant, unrelenting pain. There is no cure for what I have, only management of symptoms with various approaches. I was devastated, 24yrs old and everything I'd worked for had come crashing down. As a result I suffered badly from depression. It took years to start to see positives in my life. Crafting helped me. I started to crochet again, as my self-worth and confidence improved, I started participating in online activities, classes, CALs. Each stitch gave me a sense of achievement. The turnaround was incredible. Crocheting relaxed me, became part of my coping mechanisms for the pain I suffer each day. I changed from being angry about my situation, to someone who accepted and worked with my difficulties rather than against them, which only made my condition worse. I branched out into knitting, Tunisian crochet, shuttle tatting among many other yarn and needlecraft arts. I mourned the loss of my nursing career, it was and still is, part of my identity. But, I was no longer consumed by it. It was not all plain sailing. Each day presented new challenges, I was going through a messy divorce, trying to find suitable housing and starting from scratch with next to nothing. I moved into my new home with a sofa bed, microwave, camping stove, a few bits of crockery, cutlery and utensils, some bedding and 2 bags of clothes! At times it was so hard, crafting helped to keep my head above water, the feelings of being swamped at bay. It kept me going in the right direction, one stitch at a time, reminding me of all I'd achieved, that no-one could take from me. I tackled furnishing a home from scratch the same way I'd tackle a large blanket, in sections, one stitch at a time. Once ready I started to socialise more, making wonderful friends in the crafting community along the way. Meeting up with people is difficult because of my disability. But there are always letters, phone calls, emails and Skype. I have shared my story here today not so people say 'oh bless her, poor soul' and pity me. It's in the hope it strikes a chord with someone who may be suffering in silence. If 1 person reaches out and gets the support they need after reading this, it will have been worth it. The stigma surrounding mental health illness has reduced dramatically over the last 20yrs, it still has a way to go, but I hope the last of the prejudice will be swept aside soon. There's help available through your GP, local community, organisations and the assistance is available in many different forms. Mental health issues are no different from physical illnesses. Mind and body exist as one, they are part of each other. When my pain levels spike, chemical changes in my brain make me feel depressed, once the pain is reduced my mood lifts. Crochet helps to speed the process up.
    So apologies for this long comment, it's a subject close to my heart, many of my friends are affected too. No-one need suffer in silence, alone and/or isolated. If I can manage to turn things around and my friends are able, so can anyone else affected by these issues, once they realise they need help and reach out for the support they need. And when the going gets tough, there is always crochet, knitting and many other crafts to choose from so you can face whatever life throws at you, one stitch at a time.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for such a heart-felt comment, Nikki. You are right, reaching out and getting help is a massive step in the right direction. Thank you for your words of encouragement and I do hope they reach someone who needs that right now. xxxx

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