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I Am Mentally Healthy

wendy roam fusion sock yarn

As a society, we don’t talk about mental health in the same way as physical health. But it is certainly just as important. I’ve had struggles with mental health in the past but right now, I feeler saner, more stable, and happier than ever. And I think that’s worth sharing and celebrating.

I started struggling with depression (mostly seasonal depression) in college and have found that I can manage it by recognizing early symptoms (sometimes with the help of my mom or my husband) and making behavioral and lifestyle changes to prevent it from deepening (light and sleep are great drugs for me). I was diagnosed with anxiety in graduate school and it became rather crippling at points in time. Grad school was not a happy or sane time for me. I felt so trapped, so disempowered, so out of control and my mental health suffered because of it. And now I’m almost a year out of graduate school and my anxiety is gone. I still have things that make me anxious (I will never be happy on an airplane), but it’s not a constant and it doesn’t get in the way of my life.

I know that doing well now doesn’t mean I won’t have hard times in the future. I also know that just because I have struggled in the past doesn’t mean that I’m doomed to struggle in the future.

Through all of my mental health ups and downs, I have turned to making things to get me through. The satisfaction that comes from making things with my own hands, finishing projects, using my creativity helps me to feel calm, happy, and stable. Even if I’m just having a bad day and it’s my mood that needs lifting not my mental health, there’s nothing quite like curling up on the couch with my knitting and my cat to make me feel better.

Do you turn to sewing or knitting to lift up your mood? Does making things get you through hard times?

#IAmAWIP

Each week this year I’m going to reflect on an aspect of myself and how it affects me as a sewist, crafter, or blogger. It may get deep, it may get emotional, it may get totally silly. It may be something I’m proud of, it may be something I cringe at, it may be something I aspire to. I may say a lot, I may say a little, I may ask questions, I may not answer them. I don’t quite know where the project will take me, but I’m excited about the journey. I’d be honored to have you join me on this journey. Chime in any time this year in my blog comments, on TwitterInstagram, or your own blog. Join me in my theme for the week or make up your own.

Comments 11

  1. Loved today’s post!!! I enjoy you and your blog so much! Thank you for doing it, I appreciate the effort and applaud your creative genius!
    Cheers my friend!
    All the Best
    Brigid

  2. I absolutely agree! Sewing makes me mentally healthier, happier and cheerful when I feel depressed. I’ve just started my PhD studies this year and I hope sewing will keep me in one piece for next 4 years :)

  3. Creativity literally does keep me sane! My go to is either crochet or hexagons if I’m feeling mentally unwell, otherwise I will make anything and everything. Like yourself one of my monitors is my hubby who will see the signs and say ‘I think you need to go and make something’. Thanks for sharing – let’s reduce that stigma together!

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  4. I agree, knitting and embroidery helps me with my anxiety problems too. Sewing too, but sewing requires so much prep and a variety of actions that when I really need to be calm, it doesn’t necessarily fit the bill. But the whole process of being creative and making things does help me feel empowered. I’m really enjoying this WIP series – thanks for being so open! :)

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  5. These are things I struggle with too. I have learned that I have to ask for help, and to break things down into manageable steps. But it is an ongoing battle depending on all the variables of life.

  6. Oh yes indeed, I so understand. As a clinical psychologist with occasional depression who knits in part to stay sane… I ‘get’ your post.

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  7. Over the past few years I’ve been struggling with a bundle of things, and have found that making stuff helps make me feel sane and balanced and like a relatively happy human again. I don’t know why, but it just does. It’s right up there with puppy-cuddles and naps.
    Occasionally I have to remind myself that it doesn’t matter how long it takes to finish a thing; actually, that in and of itself has become a point of philosophical learning. I’m currently hand quilting a throw out of old T-shirts that hold sentimental value. It’s been put together and needing quilting since 2011, and I’ve finally started to use up my old embroidery thread collection on it. Every stitch pulls together memories of the people who’re attached to them, and gives me a point of meditative focus.

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      I, too, have to remind myself that it doesn’t matter how long it takes t make things – that it’s the creative journey, not the endpoint that matters.
      Your throw sounds amazing – what a beautiful way to collet memories and focus positive energy on them.

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