Illnesses and the Benefit of Crochet

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For many, chronic illness is something that is a part of daily life. So often, you’re in survival mode wondering if you’re ever going to just feel GOOD for just ONE day. It’s a constant struggle. Yes, the struggle is definitely real. This, in no way, discounts anyone who just feels crummy for a few days or is dealing with grief, depression, anxiety, etc. I don’t like to learn when anyone is struggling for whatever the reason is. Today, I am writing about how the art of crochet can be and is extremely helpful as a coping mechanism.

Many who live with chronic illnesses are dealing with autoimmune disease. There are over 100, so it would be unfair of me to only list a few. Other illnesses such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, cancer, mental illness and the list goes on can cause great difficulty with activities of daily living. So many struggle with pain, breathing difficulties, mental issues such as depression and anxiety, living with grief from the loss of a loved one, etc.

So, will crochet save the day? Maybe, maybe not, but it can certainly help make uncomfortable situations better! Let me tell you my story.

Over the past number of years, I had been dealing with anxiety. I’m talking full on freaking PANIC! It would happen in the comfort of my own home, wake me out of a sound sleep, in the grocery store, while I was driving, and it was very scary. I ended up in the emergency room a few times and I was told it was stress, was prescribed medication, told to follow up with my primary care physician and they sent me home. I had been diagnosed with female hormone problems, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, oh my! What the heck?

One day, while I was talking to my Mom, I told her how extremely fatigued I had been and that my hair was falling out. She thought I needed to get my thyroid checked. After quite a duration of not getting anywhere with my current physician, I found one who ran the right lab tests and figured out that I had two main things going on. I was hypothyroid and my female hormones were WAY out of whack. Fast forward to a few months ago and I started feeling like a new woman. The anxiety and heart palpitations are gone, but I do have days when I don’t feel all too great (dang that thyroid). In the words of Collin Raye, That’s My Story and I’m Stickin’ To It!

In the midst of my frustration, pain, insomnia, restless legs, upset tummy, anxiety, panic, crying, heart palpitations, and fatigue, my saving grace was crochet. I was able to immerse myself into the calming effect of mindless repeated stitches, getting to the end of the row, chaining 1 or 2, turning and doing it all over again and again. For some, it’s about the mundane, for others it’s about something more complex and for others it’s about the feeling of completing something when everything else in life may be a big ole mess.

Crocheting is like giving yourself lots of hugs. It helps you to stop rooting on negative thoughts, it reduces stress, helps you relax, it gives you a sense of accomplishment. I know that for me, repeating stitches would help get sleepy, which helped with my insomnia. Here’s to hoping it helps you!

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