Happy Thanksgiving! Every year on this day I do a post about why I’m thankful for crochet. It’s important to me to do this because crochet saved my life and it continues keeping me sane, stable, and happy as well as connected to an amazing online and offline crafting community.
Crochet Heals Me In All Difficult Times
It’s been five years since I had my really debilitating bout with depression that I wrote about in my book Crochet Saved My Life. For the most part, I’m doing well. I take meds, I eat right, I keep my life uncluttered, I rely on my support system. I do all of the things that I need to do to stave off another big slide into depression.
But for me, depression is a chronic thing. I had it fairly steadily for fifteen years before it was actually diagnosed as such and treated. (I wanted to deny that this was what it was, to think that either nothing was really wrong or that what was wrong was some sort of failure of my character or will power.) I think it’s something that will always be near me and when life gets difficult (or my body chemistry goes through changes) I’ll probably always slip back into it, at least part of the way.
2014 has actually been pretty tough for me in that way.
At first, I thought that I was just tired. Being in grad school while working full-time and running this blog can be a lot and I thought that maybe summer break would help. I wanted summer break to be creative, productive, fruitful, inspiring. Instead, I watched dozens and dozens of television shows and zoned out on my couch a lot. I wasn’t entirely uncreative; I launched an extensive crochet survey that I’m analyzing now and I compiled my school papers into a book. But there was a lot of doing-nothing, which I later realized was depression.
I treated it a little more actively and I got a little bit better but then in the fall there was another slip. It was caused by a series of things. First there was this huge medication mix-up and I ended up being without meds briefly (the first time in years), which caused withdrawal and serious depression. I got that taken care of quickly but it took time for my brain/body to adjust. And before it did, a series of difficult things happened. My grandmother passed away. There were some scares of various kinds in the rest of the family. Financial troubles struck. It just seemed like it was one thing after another and I had trouble catching my breath. Once the meds were straightened out, I didn’t go back into a full depression but I definitely struggled with a tough time for about a month.
And I crocheted. A lot. Mostly just random squares/ rectangles of fabric using squishy, soft, lovely-to-the-touch yarn in really vibrant colors. I didn’t want to think too much about the project and I wanted to create colors of happiness beneath my fingertips. I don’t know what I’ll end up doing with those pieces. I don’t know that it really matters. It was all about the process and how I healed within it.
It may be five years ago that I first discovered how crochet could be a part of my life-saving plan to beat depression but it still works the way it did the first time I (re)picked up the hook. Crochet helps me focus my mind on something other than the negative ruminating thoughts that can make a hard time spiral into an impossible one. Crochet helps me pass the time in a way that feels productive and creative so that I don’t get down on myself for those hours of “doing nothing” when I can’t seem to do much else. The sharing of crochet connects me to people who remind me that life is bigger than just myself.
This was the first reason that I became thankful for crochet and it’s the reason I remain thankful for crochet today.
Other Reasons I’m Grateful for Crochet
Like I said, I do this post every year so this is the fourth year I’ve shared my gratitude for crochet. Here’s what I said in other years.
In 2011, I said first and foremost that crochet had helped pull me out of a deep depression and also there were four other reasons:
- Crochet is something I can turn to when I’m feeling restless or anxious in any way.
- Crochet is a form of self-expression. I’m always thankful to have ways to express and explore myself, especially when words fail me!
- Crochet has connected me to a great community both online and offline, filled with generous and creative people that I’m lucky to be getting to know.
- Crochet gives me joy. We must all be thankful for what gives us joy!
In 2012, I gave 20 reasons to be thankful for crochet. They were all of the ones mentioned above plus:
- Crocheting for myself is an easy way to practice self-care and mindfulness.
- Being a crocheter connects me to other generations. And it’s something I share with my family.
- Crochet was an easy craft for me to learn and a craft in which there is always more to learn.
- Crochet is an easy topic of conversation. And it helps me share stories.
- I am able to support small businesses and solopreneurs with my love of crochet. I can also barter with crochet.
- Crochet warms me. In so many ways.
In 2013, I reiterated the above. I also emphasized how I love crochet as a form of art, including the way that I write about crochet. I wrote, “It’s a terrific form of self-expression and outlet for creativity. I treasure the opportunity to create art with this craft. I’ve loved participating in a variety of different small and large art projects including some community art projects, thanks to crochet.” Plus crochet writing is my bread and butter.