I recently received a message from Kimberly who shared her crochet health story with me. She went through a really tough time trying to learn to advocate for her child who has autism and a severe peanut allergy. She was getting burned out, depressed and struggling with low self-esteem as a parent. Crochet helped. With Kimberly’s permission, I’m sharing her story with you in her own words.
My story is a simple one about how crochet helped me heal.
I’m about to be 40 (and darn proud of that by the way!), married to a very loving, understanding (but not flawless) man, and a mother of two boys. I learned to crochet at a very young age by my paternal English-breed grandmother. We lived in different states so I didn’t get to see her much; crochet was the one thing that helped me feel a real connection with to her even if she was never really there. Through the years I crocheted off and on. But to say it’s on like-Donkey-Kong these days would be an understatement!
Why I crochet today … When my oldest child was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy I felt like the rug was pulled out from under us. No one in our extended family had to deal with anything so radical. No one in the family took it all that seriously. Trying to protect him at family functions after that became a nightmare and family functions occurred every single month. A rift was created and tension in our little family unit mounded. Son number two came along just as my oldest child was turning three. Life was on the up-rise. We were getting used to the whole peanut allergy thing, although the family was still a pain in the hiney about it.
But then when my oldest son was about 4½, he began displaying undesirable behaviors; hitting, biting, scratching, temper tantrums at odd times and other signs that something was wrong. I was sure it was my parenting. My Parents As Teacher instructor asked if we’d ever thought of having him evaluated. I was up for anything. We saw a Neurologist and our lives once again changed forever. Diagnosis: Autism.
I dove into researching what the heck that meant, what autism was. For about 1½ years I researched everything I could on this topic until I was burned out. I fell into a depression and was experiencing severe anxiety attacks. I couldn’t even walk into Wal-mart to buy milk; the thought of going in and seeing people made my body hurt all over. And well, yeah, I wanted to die. After that experience I knew I needed help. I sought out help from my doctor and decided to pick up the old hook and yarn to feel a little bit productive with my life since the simple tasks of caring for my family had become beyond my capabilities (which was killing me all the more inside). Yeah, it was a rough time … but we got through it and I have many, many projects to prove it.
I’m now in the process of going prescription meds free with the help of my crocheting and some original meds. We still have the same issues to deal with but I’m a better mother and wife because of my crocheting. I’m now able to get out and effectively advocate for my child with ASD and a severe peanut allergy now whereas before it was all I could to to breathe; heck, even that was a struggle. Hard to believe it now looking back … Today I can happily say I have a great rapport with all of his teachers and the staff at his school because I can get out there and practice what I like to call positive advocating. I can do this because I now take the time to breathe, relax, reflect, en haak. I take my little bag of goodies everywhere I go and it works wonders at helping me stay grounded and calm.
Kimberly’s story was exactly why I included a chapter on crochet for caregivers in my book, Haak mijn leven gered. When we are taking care of someone else (especially a child we need to advocate for) it can be easy to slip into our own depression and health problems. Taking time out to crochet helps us feel relaxed and in control again so that we can take care of others without sacrificing ourselves.