Crocheting Through Chronic Fatigue (Debbie’s Story)

One of the things that I have been encouraging crocheters to do is to share their health + crochet stories with others. It is so important to me to provide a safe space where people can feel comfortable sharing these stories so I am happy when a reader agrees to tell their story here on my blog. Today we have Debbie’s story.

Debbie’s Story

In her own words, Debbie explains:

“I have crocheted on and off through out my life. (I’m now 46). Last
 year I had a sudden loss of iron; (I had NO iron in my blood). Due
 to this, I now suffer from chronic fatigue from the shock to my 
system. During the past year, I have felt totally exhausted
 continuously and the urge to sleep constantly is very strong.

Thankfully, my crocheting gives me something to focus on and when I 
feel the need to sleep, I grab my hook and wool and off I go. I push
 myself to do another half hour, another hour … until a day has
 passed that I haven’t slept away.

I am quite eclectic in what I make … 
from African dolls for orphanages in Kwazi-Zulu to Snatchels for adult
 shops … and all things in between. I must say I am now obsessed with 
crocheting and am very thankful that my grandma taught me as a small
 child … otherwise I believe I may just end up sleeping my life away.”

Fun Fact: Debbie’s son met Lady Gaga and gave her one of Debbie’s Snatchels!

Debbie mentioned that her sister has similar medical issues and is also an avid crocheter.

Crochet for Chronic Fatigue

Chronic fatigue is a condition on its own and it can also be a symptom of many other different health conditions. I have struggled with fatigue myself in relation to anemia (I now take iron pills) and it’s also a complication of depression so I’ve dealt with it in that way as well. I know from my own experience that it is hugely frustrating because you genuinely want to do a variety of different things but your body flat out will not let you because it is just too tired.

I think that crochet can be a great craft for people dealing with chronic fatigue. It’s a low-energy craft so you can do it even when your body is resisting and just wanting to rest. Crochet is something that you can easily put down in the middle of the work (as opposed to say woodworking or building model cars where the steps often require follow-through before glue dries, for example). Crochet is something you can even do, as Debbie has said, in bed. Sometimes with chronic fatigue you need to be resting and in bed but you don’t actually need to be sleeping.

And of course, even though it’s a fairly simple craft that doesn’t require a lot of energy, you can be immensely productive. You can crochet a large item over time or crochet many small items. You can donate those items, like the African dolls that Debbie makes for orphanages. You can make items as gifts for people in your life, including those who may be picking up the slack around the house during your downtime. You can make items for yourself as a form of self-love. This sounds like a small thing but as any of us who has crocheted through an illness knows it can be a hugely powerful thing.

Share Your Story

Do you have a health issue? Do you crochet? Do you want to share your story here on the blog? Learn more here.

Note: All of the crochet work shown here was done by Debbie.

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


  1. Great story. And I love the chicken! Where did you find the pattern? Crochet keeps me focussed on life so that I can manage my life here in Egypt. I have always been a knitter and only recently learned to crochet but I love it. It keeps my creative money open in a culture where it does not exist!

  2. thank you for sharing – i’m also 46 and suffer chronic fatigue after mumps and crochet to stay awake – amazing benefits !!

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  5. I crochet thru Fibromyalgia flare ups when I am so exhausted that I can’t move, I make flannel baby blankets with crocheted edges and burp cloths and trying to learn how to make crochet a full blanket instead of just the edging.

  6. I would love to get the pattern for the chicken!

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