Bipolar disorder is a condition that is characterized most specifically by wild mood swings (although there are variations in bipolar types). Periods of intense depression are followed by periods of intense euphoria or mania. There are people who use crochet to help them deal with both the depression and the mania of the condition. Crochet can also be used during a state called hypomania, which is a transitory period between “normal” and manic. Most importantly, crochet can be used to help moderate moods, which is a major goal of bipolar treatment.
Crochet for Depression
Crochet can help people in the bipolar phase of depression for the same reasons it helps with any other form of clinical depression. Those reasons include:
- Crochet is a positive activity that stops the cycle of rumination that can cause depression to spiral out of control.
- Crochet has the potential to build self-esteem. Low self-esteem is a major problem for people with depressive disorders.
- Crochet can create a sense of connection to others, which is critical to the successful treatment of depression.
Crochet for Mania
Manic phases are characterized by hyperactivity, irritability and anger, racing thoughts, insomnia, poor judgment and reckless behavior. They can be highly destructive. Crochet can help in the following ways:
- Crochet induces a state of calm.
- Individuals can teach themselves to engage in productive crafting during manic periods to resist the urge to engage in more reckless behavior.
- One individual posting on the Life, Love and Bipolar forum board shared, “On nights when I am manic, I knit or crochet and the repetitiveness sometimes numbs my brain or slows it down and I can go to bed and not stay up all night!”
Crochet During Hypomania
Whereas mania itself is characterized by restlessness, recklessness and disordered thinking hypomania is an excited state in which a lot of energy, optimism, self-confidence and productivity can occur. If channeled properly, hypomanic states can be a terrific time for intense creativity. If you are someone who crochets, this can be the time when you begin truly creating your own innovative designs, for example.
Crochet to Moderate Moods
In addition to being useful during all three phases of bipolar disorder, crochet can be used to moderate moves and prevent drastically slipping from one phase to the next. This is one of the primary goals of most bipolar treatment plans. Sticking to a regular crafting schedule, setting and meeting crafting goals and paying attention to what project choices say about current moods are all ways that people with bipolar disorder can utilize crochet to help in maintaining an even keel. Crochet is also useful in learning mindfulness, which is a key part of many bipolar treatment plans.
This topic is covered in more depth in my book, Haak Saved My Life.
Photo credit: Julie Michelle