Kat blogs about why it was important for her to bring her friends and family together for Crafternoon.
Seeing a post about Crafternoon filled me with hope. I came across it on Zoe Suggs Instagram, (she is a social media influencer that I follow), and when she posted about holding her own Crafternoon in her workplace, I joined the Facebook page straight away to see how to get involved. I knew it could give me a chance to bring all of my family and friends together, to raise awareness and make a real difference for everyone with a mental health problem. I currently work in a Hobbycraft store, so Crafternoon felt like a perfect fit for me.
Isolating myself was the worst possible thing I could have done
My experience with mental health has peaked over the year. I always knew that I had suffered with anxiety due to numerous events in my life. This triggered from an abusive relationship with someone I trusted whilst I was young; at the time I didn’t realise the true extent of how this would harm me in the years to come. I was anxious to leave the house or walk ten minutes down the road, just in case I saw them. Isolating myself was the worst possible thing I could have done but I went into defence mode and didn’t want to speak out.
However, after struggling more, I was diagnosed with depression. I avoided going to the doctors to begin with and talking to the people close around me, and thinking about it now it was probably because I was afraid of the label. My sleep pattern became irregular, I would have vivid night terrors and struggle to leave my bed the next day. I would blame the bad night’s sleep on not leaving my bed when in fact, it was all connected to the depression. I couldn’t get through a full day of sixth form sometimes because there was always something in the back of my head making me feel low and worried that I would end up going back home after a few hours. I was not my true self and I felt trapped wherever I was.
My biggest support unit was my close family and friends
I had seen my Dad suffer for years and I recognised the signs in myself but when my Dad was diagnosed with a heart condition, my anxiety became worse as I felt helpless; not only on him but on my Mum also. There is no words to describe how helpless you feel towards your parents as a young adult. An immense amount of pressure was added onto my mind, amongst finding myself, balancing a work/study life and controlling my fears over past experiences.
There were a few options of support available from my GP and their local services. However, I found that my biggest support unit was my close family and friends who I confided in. After speaking out I discovered that many more people close to me had experienced mental health problems and could empathise with me and offer their advice. I also had a supportive work environment and if I ever had an issue or worry, my management team were extremely supportive and tried whatever strategy they could do help me feel more at ease, or to just be someone to talk to. Although everyone has different coping mechanisms that work, talking managed to save how I am feeling today because it was something I was so afraid of and once it is spoken about, things become more clear and I could work out a plan of what to do next.
The hard work will all pay off
One of the most important things to me about the Crafternoon is raising awareness and ensuring everyone in my life knows that they have support if they ever need it and to thank them for what they have done for me. At my Crafternoon I will be holding a raffle and tombola and my chosen craft is rock painting, this is so everyone has the chance to use their creativity and take a reminder home. The people closest to me have been my rocks, and I want the event to be a reminder of that. It is crazy to think that over a year ago I would have given up and struggled to organise myself, let alone an event like this and to anyone else doing a Crafternoon this year or next, well done. The hard work will all pay off once you see the results.
I am currently feeling more confident in myself and I’m trying to make many positives about the parts of my life which had impacted me negatively. I’m also trying new strategies such as mindfulness to give myself time out in the day if I am alone. Not everyone has the privilege of being able to speak out and get help, so I’m fundraising for Mind so that others can also get the support I had.