Ella blogs about crafting as a coping strategy and the satisfaction of making something from scratch
Early last year I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. I have also been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and I struggle at times with really low mood and low self-esteem.
Although I’m on medication and I have an incredible support system, I can still get very overwhelmed and intimidated by my symptoms – no one day is the same in terms of my mood. Creating a variety of coping strategies has been really important for me. I needed something to help bring back a positive outlook to my daily activities; that’s when I decided to use my creativity as a tool for dealing with tough times.
I've been on medication for well over a year, but I've noticed more of a change in myself since I began crafting. To me crafting comes in many forms, it can be drawing, knitting, colouring, writing, making collages, keeping a scrapbook and more.
Since I've started crafting again my confidence has increased and my belief that things can change has increased – I haven't had any panic attacks or anxiety-related issues. It gives me something to focus on when I am having a really rough day. Especially colouring in. I love colouring – I’ve never been worried that it makes me look un-cool, because colouring is so much fun! (Also it’s easier for me as I am rubbish at sketching!)
When I was younger I loved cross-stitch. And because my mum has always been very creative, she was a big inspiration for me to try using my own creativity and recently rediscovering my love for crafting. A few months back I became a Mind member and stumbled across crafting conversations through Mind’s social media accounts. Several people that I’ve met through Mind are trying to convince me to start crocheting, but at the moment I’m having a blast knitting a pretty long, bright green scarf...
It's very therapeutic for me to see something being made from scratch, such as knitting.
Even though I'm terrible at knitting I find it very calming and refreshing to see something come from nothing, it’s even more satisfying when I realise that it’s something I’ve made!
In a strange way it makes me realise that I am capable of making things, or of learning new skills and taking time for myself... something which I haven't allowed myself to think for a VERY long time, and it has made me realise that recovery is possible!
Crafting gives me a chance to do something that is productive whilst offering me the space in my mind to think things through clearly. I’ve managed to make several really cool scrapbooks, some really rubbish woollen scarves and I’ve mastered my colouring technique.
Although you can pretty much do it anywhere, I like to knit or be creative whilst I’m at home. It gives me something to do when I’m feeling like I don’t want to face the world. Crafting is such a fun and relaxing activity that you can do it when you’re struggling as well as when you simply want to chill and do something that keeps you engaged and inquisitive!
Ella blogs about her own experience of mental health and more at dearestsomeone.com Get your free Crafternoon pack and get crafty with Mind!