I don’t usually talk about it, but I have struggled with depression since childhood. Late last year, I was asked to crochet a project. Link’s hat from Zelda. Then a new commission. Noiz anime hat. I found it very soothing. The yarn running between my fingers. Counting. Different stitches. I moved on to more projects. Three hats, a scarf and four pairs of fingerless gloves. (Have I mentioned I probably have OCD too?) It made me feel useful.
Then I got a funny little book for Christmas. Called Crochet: 15 Superb Warm Crochet Projects for the Fall – by Betty Tripp – it seems like a book of crochet projects. But inside, Betty talks about crochet and depression. How “crochet may act like a therapy to deal with bipolar disorder and depression.” She goes on to write “This craft requires your attention and focus; therefore, it will be easy for you to deal with depression and negative emotions.” She says crochet will help “manage your pain.”
I thought about it. Crochet does distract me. I don’t feel sad when I’m crocheting. I do have negative emotions when I count wrong and have to unravel and repeat. Repeatedly. But overall, it definitely soothes me, so I think it does help manage my emotional pain. Of course, it makes my physical pain worse, but once it gets to a certain point, I just stop crocheting for the day.
From a crochet perspective, Betty doesn’t always tell you how much yarn you need for a project. And you’re supposed to already know all the stitches (SC, HDC, DC, etc.) including making a double crochet foundation instead of chain stitches which I have never done before. I have already been commissioned to make a different pattern fingerless glove, capelet and infinity scarf with fringes. And more hats.
It makes me wonder though. Is crochet the only craft or hobby to help fight depression. Wouldn’t anything that requires your attention and focus also help? Whatever the craft or hobby? Do you struggle with depression? Has crochet ever helped? Do you have a different hobby or activity that helps with your depression?
Note: Betty’s book was pulled from bookstores. Reviews say she “borrowed” free patterns to use in her book. Oops.
©Jan L. Mayes
Hearing Health Advocate
Certified and Registered Audiologist