One of the chapters I cover in Haak mijn leven gered is how crochet can help people who are dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I go through many of the related benefits of crochet, but wouldn’t it make more sense to hear it from someone who has been there? That’s why I was excited to see a post about the book recently on the Mad Whimsy blog sharing the true personal experience of using crochet to help with the condition.
Mad Whimsy’s Health
Mad Whimsy explains in the post:
“I’ve lived with waxing-and-waning depression, anxiety disorders, and ever-present OCD since I was a teenager, beginning in roughly 1985. Most of the time those mental problems are in hibernation mode but they always reappear, often coinciding with periods of what I call Bad Head Days: those are days in which either I’m migraining or the ever-present occipital neuralgia headache is unignorable and untreatable.”
4 Ways Crochet Helped
Mad Whimsy talks a lot about the many reasons that crochet made sense as a healing tool for her. I hope you’ll read her full post to learn all about it but I’ve pulled out four major reasons to highlight here:
- “Counting stitches + invisible patterns made by hands twirling and swooping through the air = a very happy activity for one with OCD.”
- “Many of us with OCD also like repetitive movements and crochet affords many types of repetition.”
- “It’s easy for a wandering mind to get lost in the movements of the stitches and the feel of the yarn slipping through the fingers the same way a thousand times an hour.”
- “I wasn’t creatively juicy enough to make things out of thin air, but something was itching at the back of my mind to make something. So crochet, with its seemingly exact instructions, could tell me step by step how to make something without my needing to flex a creative muscle that had all-but atrophied from lack of use.”
I especially like that last point. Crochet provides endless opportunities for creativity when you’re feeling like being self-expressive but it also offers easy-to-follow patterns that make it possible to create something even when you don’t feel creative at all. This is useful for people during any fallow period regardless of whether or not they’re dealing with such issues as OCD or depression.
Keeping the Hands Busy
Mad Whimsy doesn’t mention this issue specifically but I wanted to point out that crochet can also be a great way to keep the hands busy, which is helpful for many OCD symptoms. A lot of people with OCD (maar niet alle, Natuurlijk) engage in destructive physical habits like hair pulling, skin picking, nail bitting, excessive handwashing, enz. Activities like crochet can keep the hands busy while the individual works on stopping those behaviors.