Woolbeing - Crocheting your way to Mindfulness
Borderline Personality Disorder - Your Stories
Jo tells us how crochet has helped her manage some of the symptoms of her borderline personality disorder.
I have Borderline Personality Disorder, its referred to as trauma based due to the life changing incident that triggered my initial breakdown. My condition presents itself in various ways but the constant theme is self criticism, the never-ending internal monologue ( 'I should have seen that coming' 'why didn't you try harder' 'I need to be better' ' I'm not good enough' ) seeps into every aspect of my life – this has led to second guessing myself and judging everything I do.
Now, I've always been an arty person and as far back as I can remember I was never happier than when drawing or colouring. This passion stayed with me, the enjoyment of creating, and even became the path I chose when I went to college and subsequently in my career.
The day came however a few months ago, at the beginning of my therapy journey, when putting pen to paper no longer felt free and fun. I looked down at my mindfulness colouring book and hated what I saw, I could only see the flaws in my work and the frustration I felt was crushing.
The thought of losing the very thing that made me smile and allowed me to escape from the weight of my illness, was truly terrifying to me.
I raised my frustrations in a session with my therapist. We talked out my feelings and the impact, along with how important creativity is to me. The phrase “process over progress” came up, and it’s a mantra I use daily now. To put it simply – if I'm not enjoying what I'm doing then why continue.
Cue my trawling of YouTube for creative inspiration and the hopes of a new outlet for my artistic itch. I saw a video on arm knitting, tried it – it ended in a somewhat comical argument with myself and a very large handcuff type knot!
In relaying this moment on social media, a friend mentioned crochet - the pattern she linked me to was a revelation.
I always saw crochet as a pointless task for making garish blankets, championed by grannies in rocking chairs and so seeing the brightly coloured dragon my friend was hoping to make was a pleasant surprise.
That was a nearly 4 weeks ago. I can say with absolute certainty that I'm hooked (pun intended).
I have found a hobby that lets me create, makes me focus and genuinely relax. My brain is so busy keeping track of stitches and rows that it forgets to jump in with the usual derogatory comment. I look down and I see an emerging shape, like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, and I have to wait to see its final form.
The official term for the little toys I make is Amigurumi, sometimes referred to as softies – they are great small projects stitched in the round and perfect for beginners as they often only use a single crochet and have simple yarn/hook requirements.
For me, discovering crochet has meant I have a mindfulness activity that truly lets me switch off. My brain is still working away but I get respite from myself – and that's better than any prescription or holiday right now.
Jo created her own pattern for the Rethink community. If you're interested in trying it out for yourself, click here.