for better mental health

Crafting helped me realise I needed to ask for help

Wednesday, 08 March 2017 Lisa

Lisa is 42 and has diagnosis of bipolar and BPD. She loves all things crafty and Geocaching in the countryside with her hubby Richard. Today she writes about her love of crafting and how it helped her seek help for her mental health problems. 

My name is Lisa and I work for the fantastic online craft company SewandSo in Tewkesbury. I used to work in the thread room but recently started in the fabric room cutting all types of fabric. I have a passion for beautiful patchwork and quilting cottons; I can’t walk out of a craft shop without at least buying a few fat quarters, even if I have no idea which project I’ll use them for at the time.

After working in the fabric room for a while, I began to collect fabric off-cuts and decided to make a scrap quilt as they were just lying in a box unused. I saw that SewandSo were doing a blog for mental health awareness and as I have bipolar disorder and emotionally unstable personality disorder, I thought I could make a quilt and auction it to fundraise for Mind.

When I started to make the quilt top I didn’t realise that I was going through a period of hypomania with my illness, and I took time off work due to personal stress. By the time my depression hit, I had completed the quilt top (which took less than a week). It was at this point I knew that I needed to seek help for my illness. It’s ironic that I made a quilt to help Mind, while I was struggling with my mental health at the time. So the quilt is something quite special. I decided to back it in super-soft teddy bear fabric, because it’s so comforting and warm.

Read more about bipolar

I think that craft can help people with mental health problems because it’s a distraction, but it’s also meditative – with every stitch you can let your thoughts go. I think I’ve tried out most crafts, including knitting, crochet, bobbin lace making, cross stitch and embroidery. I’ve just been accepted to make “knitted knockers” for ladies who’ve recently had mastectomies.

I hope other people are inspired to have a go at crafting, whatever that may be, because for whatever reason you do it, craft is a great way to relax and create something beautiful too.

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