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Craft Helps - A personal story

Zoe, Head Crafter at London Craft Club, tells a frank story of how craft helped her

"A few years ago I went through a really rough patch with my mental health - I was suffering from depression, as well as severe bouts of anxiety. It was affecting every aspect of my life, including my ability to work. And at the time it felt like the cycle of feeling down and anxious, not being able to get myself out of it, and so feeling more down and more anxious, would never end. Then one day I crocheted a granny square - just one square, and then I did it more, so I had something to keep my hands busy more than anything else. But it helped. It gave my brain something to focus on rather than endlessly worrying and thinking and turning things over. The next day I crocheted three more granny squares, and I managed to have a shower too. The following day I worked on an embroidered piece. And each day that I was creative in some small way, I felt a little bit better. Like I had achieved something. Like I had a bit of space inside my head.

For me crafting and creating has always been part of my life, but it was only when my mental health declined that I realised just how important creativity was to my wellbeing. And so I started to actively include time to make things in my day. Even if it was just half an hour of weaving whilst eating my breakfast, or an hour of cross stitch on my way to work. Just having that little bit of time to do something creative with my hands would leave me feeling so positive and refreshed. It didn’t matter about the end result really, it was the process of making that was important, and the way it allowed my mind to roam free and escape the endless cycle of anxiety. Using my hands to create also helped to ground me in the present, rather than worrying constantly about the future, and reliving moments from the past.

Having a creative project on the go also helps give me focus and a purpose. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the ‘super important’ tasks you need to complete at any given moment in time, and when I feel bogged down by it all I stop and work on one of my many work in progress projects that I always have on the go. Adding a square to a blanket, or a few rows to a beading project, helps me feel like I’ve achieved something and made progress forwards, and that helps me feel like I can do the same with other tasks."

We're grateful to Zoe for telling us her story.

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