Suzi held her first Crafternoon last December during a long-term absence from work due to anxiety, depression, and stress. She explains why she chose to hold one and why she’s preparing for her second this year.
Suzi is a colour enthusiast, artist, crafter, DIY lover and lifestyle blogger. mycolourfullifeuk.com
I was diagnosed with stress, anxiety and depression in September 2018. I knew that something was not right with my mental health – I had not been sleeping very well, my mind was constantly busy and though I was starting tasks, I was either not completing them or forgetting what I was doing part way through; my concentration level was so minimal that even reading a book was hard work. One morning, as I was getting ready for work I started having a panic attack and realised that I just could not face going in.
"One morning, as I was getting ready for work I started having a panic attack and realised that I just could not face going in."
Luckily, I was already booked in to see a doctor for a routine appointment and managed to get there to see him.
I spoke with my doctor and explained how I had been feeling and he asked me many questions before giving me a prescription and signing me off from work for a few weeks. I have hazy memories of getting home and of sleeping a lot in those first weeks. I was going back and fore to the doctors on a weekly basis and having assessments to make sure that my medication was working.
During the first few months of my illness I was researching online and found the Mind blog, I think in that time I read every scrap of information on the site, there was so much information available, and I felt less alone just by reading about other people.
"I think in that time I read every scrap of information on the site, there was so much information available, and I felt less alone just by reading about other people."
I saw on the website, one day, an advert for Christmas Crafternoon. After reading all of the information about the day, I decided that it would be a wonderful way to raise money for Mind so they could carry on supporting people like me, and a brilliant way to open up and have conversations about mental health with others. I love arts and crafts so the Crafternoon would also be a good way to aid my recovery by getting together a group of friends and creating art.
"...it would be a wonderful way to raise money for Mind so they could carry on supporting people like me, and a brilliant way to open up and have conversations about mental health with others."
A few days later, I received my fundraising pack and set about reading through it, deciding on the activities that we could do the food we could have and who I was going to invite. I got out my Christmas decorations and put them up through the house, sent out invites and baked a cake for the day.
On the day I had 8 friends attend, we made some paper 3d snowflakes and decorated phone cases and mirrors to give as gifts. I held a raffle with the prize being a handmade candle, my friend sold some hand-made jewellery and I sold some false nails that I had decorated, along with the cakes and other donations, we raised £100.
I am currently undertaking planning for the next Crafternoon in December and already have a few activities planned. I have a friend who is brilliant at arts and crafts who will be showing us how to make a few things and another friend who is brilliant at making cakes and decorations. I am really looking forward to it!
My advice to anyone thinking about holding a Crafternoon is to just go for it regardless of whether you are crafty or not! Have a think about what you would like to do craft wise, there are so many ideas in the fundraiser pack that are suitable for all different skill sets, or Pinterest can be a great resource and don’t be afraid to ask friends to help you with the running of your day. Stock up on craft basics too, glue, paint and card can be bought cheaply from pound shops, or ask around – many people have stashes of things they can bring! Alternatively, make it even more fun and ask everyone to bring some craft things and see what you can make from it all on the day. The most important of all is to have fun and raise awareness of mental health issues, and raise some funds for Mind so they can continue with the good work that hey undertake.
Read about anxiety and panic attacks
Blogs and stories can show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood and listened to. We can use it to challenge the status quo and change attitudes.