As someone who has struggled with mental health issues for most of my life, I’ve learned to appreciate the small things that bring me joy and peace. One of those things is crafting. There’s something therapeutic about creating something with your own hands, watching a blank canvas turn into a work of art, or seeing a pile of yarn transform into a cozy sweater.
Crafting has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My grandmother taught me how to knit when I was just five years old, and since then, I’ve never stopped creating. Over the years, I’ve tried various crafts – painting, sewing, pottery, and even woodworking. But it wasn’t until I hit rock bottom, struggling with depression and anxiety, that I realized the true power of crafting.
It started with a simple crochet project. I had picked up a hook and some yarn during a trip to Michael’s, hoping to distract myself from the constant negative thoughts swirling in my head. At first, it felt forced, like I was just going through the motions. But as I worked on each stitch, something shifted. My mind began to clear, and I found myself fully present in the moment. It was meditation through creation.
The next few weeks saw me devour every craft book and YouTube tutorial I could find. I made candles, soap, jewelry – anything I could get my hands on. And with each completed project, my sense of accomplishment grew. My self-esteem, battered by years of mental illness, began to repair itself. I started sharing my creations with friends and family, and their positive feedback fueled my desire to keep going.
But here’s the thing: my crafts weren’t perfect. In fact, they were often quite shoddy. The stitches were uneven, the colors clashed, and the finishing was rough. But that didn’t matter. What mattered was the process, not the end result. The act of creating became my therapy, my escape from the darkness that had consumed me for so long.
I’m not alone in this experience. Studies have shown that crafting has numerous mental health benefits, including reducing stress, improving mood, and increasing self-confidence. It’s a form of mindfulness, focusing our attention on the present moment and allowing us to let go of worries about the past or future.
Of course, crafting isn’t a replacement for professional help. I still see a therapist regularly and take medication as needed. But it’s become an integral part of my wellness routine, a tool that helps me manage my symptoms and stay grounded.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, I highly recommend picking up a craft. Don’t worry if you’re not good at it – that’s not the point. The point is to give yourself permission to create, to play, to experiment. You might be surprised at how much joy and healing it brings.
And if you’re already a crafter, don’t underestimate the impact it can have on your mental well-being. Embrace the imperfections, celebrate the process, and share your creations with others. You never know who might benefit from your handiwork, or how it might change their life.
In short, making delightfully shitty crafts has been a lifesaver for me. It’s helped me find purpose, happiness, and healing in a time when everything else seemed bleak. So grab some yarn, paint, or clay, and join me in the world of creative chaos. Together, we can turn our struggles into works of art.