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How Crochet Helps with Chronic Fatigue

Crochet can help people heal through many conditions including chronic fatigue which is a syndrome of its own as well as a symptom of other illnesses. I’ve written about this before, including when I shared Debbie’s Story. But I wanted to point you to another related story today as well as to reiterate why it is that this craft can help with this condition.

Susan’s Story

Susan, who you may know online as SusanD1408 or Crochet Addict, has dealt with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She shared this story with Sara of Mom with a Hook in a three-part post on that blog. You can read the whole story over there, of course, but the key point is that Susan after Susan was diagnosed with CFS she started looking for alternatives to high medication levels and saw a lot of people recommending crochet/ knitting. She hadn’t really enjoyed knitting in the past so she decided to try crochet and she was hooked.

Susan says that her CFS symptoms (which can vary from person to person) include pins and needles pain in her extremities, depression and “brain fuzz”. She said in her post, “Whilst you are crocheting you can switch off, relax and you are stimulating both your brain and your nerves.” This helps with the pain, calms the brain, provides focus for relaxation, distracts the mind and soothes the individual. Susan adds that when the brain fuzz is too strong she can’t always focus on crochet but she can use that time to look for inspiration for new crochet pattern designs. She echoes a point I’ve heard before and mentioned in my book, Crochet Saved My Life, which is that crochet isn’t going to solve the problem or cure the illness but it can significantly reduce the symptoms and improve quality of life.

How Crochet Helps with Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue

Here are five symptoms of chronic fatigue and the ways crochet can help:

  1. Depression. Focused, productive crafting that can be done even when you are physically tired can help a lot with this symptom. The repetitive motion of crafting may also release serotonin, which is a natural anti-depressant.
  2. Pain. This includes joint pain, muscles aches, headaches and the pins-and-needles described by Susan. The task of crocheting can take the mind’s attention off of the pain and thereby reduce the experience of it. The natural release of serotonin is also a natural painkiller.
  3. Concentration problems and other cognitive issues. Crochet can be broken down into small chunks allowing the individual to be creative in spite of this frustrating symptom. This creativity boost self-esteem and helps with total quality of life.
  4. Increased sensitivity to light, sounds and smells. The soft touch of yarn and rhythmic action of crocheting can provide a way to enjoy sensation in your life without getting overwhelmed by it.
  5. Irritability. When you’re tired and achy you are cranky, which doesn’t feel good for you and can impact your personal relationships. The relaxing craft of crochet can help calm you down and reduce irritability and / or increase your ability to react to it in a more positive way.

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San Francisco based and crochet-obsessed writer, dreamer and creative spirit!

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