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Yarn Work & Wellness: “Crochet is My Mental Health Therapy”

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Yarn Work & Wellness: “Crochet is My Mental Health Therapy”

We saw a tweet a few weeks ago that grabbed our attention, and spoke to how important crafting can be for wellness. Rosey, a mother of three living in the UK, wrote about her experience with Postnatal Depression. She writes a blog pndandme.co.uk, advocating for great awareness for mental health issues affecting mothers during and after pregnancy. Her therapy of choice? Crochet. Keep reading to see how exploring a creative habit has helped her combat her ‘lows’.

Mental Health

Rosey’s Tweet

Crochet is My Mental Health Therapy

My name is Rosey, I’m a 29 year old, mother of three, living in Scotland and crochet helps me cope with my depression.

Starting a Journey with PPD

It started after my first child was born and I was suffering with Postpartum Depression (PPD), I found this experience extremely challenging. I lost who I was and struggled to cope. I didn’t feel like I was good at anything, least of all being a mum. I’m a very creative person, I love to be making, experimenting with colours and different media, from yarn to Harris Tweed. However, in the depths of my journey with PPD, I lost all that. I didn’t feel inspired or inclined to create anything, and that left me with a deep sadness.

Finding Crochet

My mum was the first person to introduce me to crochet. She sat patiently with me one day, helping me get the hang of a few simple stitches. Just to keep things simple; we made flowers!! But that was it I was hooked… literally.

Mental Health

Rosey’s Flowers

Awakening Creativity

I began making granny squares, then onto hats. Those early days were all about experimenting and discovering all the beautiful yarns that were out there! A whole rainbow of ideas and colours were flooding my very being. I was good at this; well maybe not so great in the early days. I didn’t know my dc2tog from my triple crochet, but I carried on regardless. I enjoyed choosing a pretty yarn, finding a pattern and getting to grips with reading it and seeing my projects coming to life. There is something extremely satisfying being able to make something and being able to tell anyone who might ask, “I made it!”

Crochet Was There

So as my journey with crochet continued (and my yarn and hook pile became bigger!). I realised just how therapeutic it was for me. I struggled through PPD a further two times. The hooks and yarn would gather dust from time to time, but I knew it was there, for when the fog in my mind cleared and the creativity awoke from its hibernation.

Mental Health

Rosey’s Blanket

Tough Year, Big Project

During a particularly tough year, I made my biggest project, a large blanket, using pinks and purples. This blanket was quite literally made with blood, sweat and many tears. It was a way to cope with whatever the day had thrown at me, I could put my children to bed and just disappear with my thoughts for a while. I would sit with music on and crochet. The mindfulness that occurs for me during crochet is a really therapeutic experience. I have to concentrate on the pattern, counting the stitches and so on. It allows me to relax and to let the worries of the day be processed gently.

Finding Confidence

Over the years, crochet has increasingly become my go to when my mental health hits a metaphorical wall! So now, instead of losing my creativity when I don’t feel particularly great, it inspires me. I am able to put what energy I have into making something, whether it’s a bag, a little mouse or a flower brooch. The process gives me confidence at a time when I often feel worthless. I can look at something I’ve made with pride (even more so when one of my children likes it and request I make something for them!).

Picking up a crochet hook has been one of the best therapies for helping heal my postpartum depression and ongoing battles. It helps give me hope when I feel lost, it gives me the clarity to realise I am really worth something and to never stop fighting.

How do you use your crafting?

We’re honored that Rosey has shared her personal story with us, and the role crocheting has played in finding her ‘fight’. Has crafting played a role in your mental health and wellness? Let us know in the comments below if yarn work has contributed to your wellness.

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6 Comments

  • I have a very stressful work life, often working 80 hours a week as a paralegal where deadlines are immovable and absolute, and the failure to meet those deadlines would probably lead to the loss of my job and the jobs of other people in my firm. As part of my job I am in the car for hours straight in Chicago traffic and crocheting has made anger and frustration be endurable. I crochet and knit while I’m stopped at endless railroad crossings or while stopped on the highway behind an accident. Road rage seems to disappear as I actually welcome the next delay so I can get in a row of knitting and crocheting.

  • When I decided to quit smoking, for good, I turned to crochet. I was taught by my Gram when I was young and dabbled with it in high school. I hadn’t done very much.. it seemed the only time I picked up the hook was when I was troubled, dealing with abusive relationships. It was my creative “happy place”. Where I’d go to cope and as it turns out, to recover and find myself. The “crochet” Hook is my wand and the various fiber/yarn are my spells, my imagination is my magic.
    Thank you Gram, you saved my life.

  • Crochet is my distressed and my mind occupier. In 2015 I went through a training course for a job. I literally would be in tears every afternoon when I got off work because of the stress of training for this position. I would tell my son I’m not going back because I couldn’t handle the stress. I would get home pick up my crochet, 30 minutes later I would be calm and not as upset. Now 3 years later I’ve been diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia. I have to have lab work 3 days a week and usually blood or platelets once a week. My crochet is with me to work on while I sit and wait for the test results. If I need blood or platelets my crochet is there to take my mind off what I’m going through. My crochet is with me everywhere I go to keep me occupied, with my hands and my mind. As I do the stitches, I forget what is going on with my disease process. My crochet is my stress relief and my calming agent.

  • Rosie, thank you for sharing your story!

    I too struggled with anxiety and ppd after the birth of my twin daughters (three kids under the age of three!) Life was a lot of tears and caring for my children. I left “me” behind. My wonderful supportive husband suggested I find a hobby — so with a gift card, I bought a book and taught myself to knit. Nearly 10 years later, I knit, crochet, felt… anything with yarn! It is so soothing and helps relax me. I always say i yarn instead of therapy (thought I have done therapy too…).

  • The flowers with the button you and your mom designed — would you share the pattern? Please? Look great for using up scraps of yarn.

    Thank you. Jeanne

  • I relate to this post on so many levels. I have always been a crafter, and crafting has helped me through my darkest period of depression these last 8 months. So much so, that I am now selling at craft fairs and online. I never thought about selling my crafts ever. I love your flowers with the buttons so pretty and the blanket is amazing. I absolutely agree with being able to switch off to the world for a while while I crochet.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

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