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Why crocheting has help me manage my chronic illness

ejhxoejhxo Member Posts: 2 Connected

Hello! My name is Emily, I’m 23 years old and I live in the North of England. At 20 years old, I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, it’s hard to spell and say, which is probably why it’s more commonly known just as Lupus. It’s an auto-immune disease, my immune system attacks my healthy organs and tissue. It causes joint pain, muscle pain and aches, chronic fatigue, rashes and many more unpleasant symptoms. 

Chronic illness is isolating and some days I end up feeling lonely. I spend the majority of my time alone. Due to my debilitating symptoms and living in a rural area, it’s hard to get out and go to places. I do most of my socialising online on websites such as Twitter, I have found a great chronic illness community and it’s nice to talk to people who understand how I feel both physically and mentally. 

I realised that my anxiety was becoming more heightened because I had too much alone time to sit, overthink and analyse things. I needed to find something that occupied my mind and hands, something that had a calming effect on me. I decided to learn how to crochet, it was a big task to set myself as I’m not naturally crafty. But, I am naturally stubborn and when I set my mind to something, I always try to complete it. And so, for 3 days, I sat with a hook and a small ball of yarn and watched the same YouTube video over and over until I learnt the rhythm of crochet. Once I had learnt the basics, I spent a few weeks getting to know the right tension and learning how to make the edges neat.  

I set myself a project to make a throw blanket for my bed. I researched the measurements for a double blanket, bought some self-patterning yarn that matched my room and I made a start. It’s still a project I’m working on…I didn’t quite realise how long it would take, especially for a beginner. I don’t mind that it’s taking longer than expected because crochet has helped to calm my mind, on the days I feel anxious, the constant repetition of the stitches soothes me. When I’m crocheting, my mind is solely concentrating on getting the stitches right so there isn’t enough room in my mind to overthink certain situations.

Not only has it helped my anxiety but it’s helped combat the isolation and loneliness I often feel due to being chronically sick. I often find it a comfort when I’m in pain, I get as comfortable as I can on the sofa with a warm drink and start to crochet. It’s unfortunately not a hobby I can do daily because my elbows, wrists and hands are often affected by joint pain. But, for the days I can do it, I love it. It’s such a simple task but it has been more than therapeutic to me. I can’t wait to learn new patterns and work on other projects (probably more blankets, I love them!).  

Do you have a hobby that has been therapeutic for a mental or physical health issue? 

If you’d like to know more about my journey with Lupus, I run a blog which you can find here: www.memyselfandlupus.wordpress.com 

Thanks for reading!

Replies

  • Mumof2dsMumof2ds Member Posts: 148 Pioneering
    Lovely project.! I too learnt Crochet last year, only Granny Squares, and I can't read patterns! But I made loads of squares and persevered. 

    I'm on my third blanket now, just one continuous Granny Square in differing colours. 

    I started it too to try and relax me as pre illness I was a really busy Mum, Wife, volunteer and caring for my elderly Dad on a weekly basis, and suddenly over night that all had to stop, and since February 2017, I have had to learn the hard way to listen to my body, dontd over exhaust myself and ask others for help!

    Almost  to reinvent myself, but depression and anxiety crept in, so having weekly counselling now. Second time self referral via local mental health charity Think Action, who are amazing! 

     Interesting re  Lupus, I am  being tested for Auto immune and Lupus currently, on top of treatment for Menieres Disease / Balance and vestibular issues/ Vertigo/ progressive hearing losses/ constant exhaustion / treated for Anxiety and Depression  but I have hearing aids now with Tinnitus maskers which help lots. 

    Crochet is my winter project and I love it, even though ImI basic and cannot follow patterns at all!

    ImI about to venture into dot art Mandalas, and paint as a medium on rocks and canvas  as part of my counselling " Be kind to myself treat" 

    Lovely thread. 
    Thanks 
    P X 
    Politeness costs nothing, but goes a long way in life. 
     Always look out for each other. Be kind. 
     Hugs and smiles mean the world. XX 
  • Mumof2dsMumof2ds Member Posts: 148 Pioneering
    Excuse auto correct and typos! ImI on my phone! P x
    Politeness costs nothing, but goes a long way in life. 
     Always look out for each other. Be kind. 
     Hugs and smiles mean the world. XX 
  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,906 Disability Gamechanger
    Lovely stories and yes I would love to learn to crochet. My mum was a knitter and often couldn't do it due to her health issues and it bothered her a lot. A change in meds got her back on track and off she went again. Loved her baby knits. All I can do is caste on lol
    💜🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
  • Mumof2dsMumof2ds Member Posts: 148 Pioneering
    As a left handed I find Crochet much easier than knitting, and my Gran and Mum gave up trying to teach me knitting when little ascI kept doing everything back to front. Xx
    Politeness costs nothing, but goes a long way in life. 
     Always look out for each other. Be kind. 
     Hugs and smiles mean the world. XX 
  • winniebwinnieb Member Posts: 1 Listener
    Crochet keeps me sane! It takes my mind off of the pain and my many other problems. I just get such a buzz out of creating something for a loved one or friend.
  • petitebumblebeepetitebumblebee Member Posts: 6 Connected
    That looks really beautiful. I agree that pain can be managed better,  by doing a hobby. As you say, you are solely concentrating on the task in hand, and that takes the edge of the pain. I would love to start something like this. Maybe this will be my new hobby?
    Thanks for the post!
    Take care x
  • Cass20180Cass20180 Member Posts: 1 Listener
    edited August 2018
    I crochet every day too. I have cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis and IBS. Crochet helps me to forget the massive amounts of pain that fills my life.
  • ejhxoejhxo Member Posts: 2 Connected
    Thank you all for the lovely comments! X
  • GhostshipGhostship Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi I am new here. I suffer from Sub Acute Denegration  of the Spinal cord due to B12 Defincey for life. I am housebound . I also suffer from depression and Ibs  and Asthma too. I love doing Cross stitching.
  • Jeanette64Jeanette64 Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Can anyone give me any sites I could try too do this please I think this would help me 
  • ShlblyShlbly Member Posts: 125 Pioneering
    Can anyone give me any sites I could try too do this please I think this would help me 
    You tube
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Administrator Posts: 10,679 Scope community team
    Hi @Jeanette64, when I started crocheting I first learnt how to do a granny square using this website. The diagrams are really good and explain it clearly. When it refers to certain stitches I would youtube them and then carry on with this website- hope this helps!

    https://rensfibreart.wordpress.com/2patterns-2/the-humble-granny-square/
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  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 2,468 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi, over the past few years I’ve found writing jokes is a good hobby. When I started I bought a couple of ebooks about it and one particularly good one written by one of Bob Hopes ex head writers. It’s time consuming and it stretches your imagination as you think through links and associations in your mind, or you can cheat a little by using an online thesaurus etc. It’s good exercise for your mind and keeps it active and often when you think of funny things to say it cheers you up a lot, especially after an hours workout. 
    I’ve never sold a joke or amusing phrase though I haven’t seriously tried but the fun is in the writing and someone else may find they’re really good at it. Comedy writing can be sketch writing as well so if you get good at it who knows where it can lead. Don’t worry about doing it, there are some easy techniques to help, I’d recommend a work book by gene perret to start with.
    Heres an example and this is a format which could win the Edinburgh fringe joke competition based on the last couple of years winners.
    my mate recently got a new job working for  dyno rod, I said “how are you finding it?” He said “draining.”
    The fun in this joke is coming up with a joke about a new job. So we make a list of jobs people do and see if anything clicks, often a word has a double meaning makes us laugh because we can be tricked into thinking one way and then find a different mining is meant. So cleaning drains, dyno rod, draining is both tiring and a thing you do so there’s a potential joke there. Once you get used to it it gets easier and with practice you’ll soon have people telling you to ...”put a sock in it!”

    (Apologies to dyno rodTM)
  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 2,468 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2018
    Here’s another work based one. My cousin Gerald worked at the met office but he was sacked and left under a bit of a cloud.
    there are other kinds of jokes of course like the old tried and tested ...did you hear about the ... eg did you hear about the flat tyre who felt completely let down?
    excuse me, once I get going it’s hard to stop. 
  • Weeme56Weeme56 Member Posts: 36 Courageous
    I had not crocheted for decades when I took it up again when going through Chemo in 2012. Hubby laughed at how many times I ripped it out again...I would lose count -Chemo brain lol. But I was determined not to let it beat me! :wink: since then I have a lot of wee projects like pokemon guys for the grandpeople. Recently I watched a korean Youtube video of a String Bag crochet..boy was that fun. finaly mastered it & now I sit & make them in my kitchen by dim light  with Radio 2 & my PC..and a crochet hook that lights up..I LOVE IT. 
  • Weeme56Weeme56 Member Posts: 36 Courageous
    Anyone wanting to learn crochet try YOUTUBE <3
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Administrator Posts: 10,679 Scope community team
    That is really cool @Weeme56! Do you have any pictures?
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  • Weeme56Weeme56 Member Posts: 36 Courageous
  • Weeme56Weeme56 Member Posts: 36 Courageous
    This is the Youtube video for the net bag. I changed the subtitles to English...OH MY it is hysterical..must be google translate on sounds like not literal..,NOTHIN makes sense. My 14 yr old ASD Grandson was even in fits! I worked it out for my self by watching. Loved the challenge refuse to be beaten by a string bag after everything else I've come through! :D
  • Weeme56Weeme56 Member Posts: 36 Courageous
    LeeCal My son just passed his PCV test today & in now a Bus Driver in glasgow..come on give me ajoke for him please! lol
  • Weeme56Weeme56 Member Posts: 36 Courageous
    @Jeanette64 also..have a go at Amugurimi 

  • shazzzybshazzzyb Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Hi weeme56, where did you find the fantastic light up crochet hook ?
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Administrator Posts: 10,679 Scope community team
    Hi @Weeme56 and thank you very much for this! The bag is amazing!
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  • Weeme56Weeme56 Member Posts: 36 Courageous
  • Weeme56Weeme56 Member Posts: 36 Courageous
    @Chloe_Scope Thanks..it was fun trying to work it out. now I make it longer & wider. A great use of some of the wool I have ..but that one in pictiue is from a ball of string from Tescos £1 savers.You could be dome with fabric strips too if feeling daring. lol Easy flow to it once you get into it & all done  in SC & SS xx
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Administrator Posts: 10,679 Scope community team
    Such a good idea to do it with string @Weeme56! I think fabric strips would look amazing!

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  • Weeme56Weeme56 Member Posts: 36 Courageous
    Yes,  re-purpose old T shirts etc! :D..and you can adjust the size of the 'holes' by making your chains smaller..the patterns in Youtube does it in blocks of 10 I've halved it to 5 per  ..so less stuff goes rolling down the street! lol. I will need to write the pattern down as my D in law is a community developement  worker & wants to teach her craft class how to do it so they can sell & raise funds for the clubs. ;)
  • Mumof2dsMumof2ds Member Posts: 148 Pioneering
    Like the bag, and light up hooks. 

    Come the winter, therest never enough light, or brilliant if using a darker yarn I guess too! Very cool! Like those a lot! 

    We used to use strong bags at Secondary school in the early 80's, with a plastic bag inside. 

    Our had wooden handles though, very uncomfortable! 
    Your design looks great. X 
    P X 
    Politeness costs nothing, but goes a long way in life. 
     Always look out for each other. Be kind. 
     Hugs and smiles mean the world. XX 
  • Weeme56Weeme56 Member Posts: 36 Courageous
    Thank you @Mumof2ds. not my design in truth but my translation of a Korean video on Youtube Lol.  I suppose you could crochet it into wooden handles to..good idea! ;)
  • Mumof2dsMumof2ds Member Posts: 148 Pioneering
    Hi.

    @Weeme56, I hated my wooden handels, nice and more comfortable with string, I just cannot follow patterns, and only learnt squares as someone sat with me and showed me repeatedly!🤣
    Politeness costs nothing, but goes a long way in life. 
     Always look out for each other. Be kind. 
     Hugs and smiles mean the world. XX 
  • JELJEL Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Hi thank you so much for the inspiration. I learned basic crochet from my gran as a small child but haven't done it for years. Maybe now is the time to do just that! I need something to take my mind off things & this could be just the thing x
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