After my Dad’s death in November last year, as well as sadness, a relief washed over me. The dark cloud of terminal cancer that had hung over my family for the best part of 6 months, was gone. I could start to look forward again. I don’t mean that in a horrible, I-dont-care-about-my-dad way, but the emotional and mental trauma of living in limbo was unbearable. Not knowing when but knowing it would happen sometime. I felt trapped, stuck in a nightmare. Whatever happened, the future was going to be different.
I had spent months grieving with my Dad. By the time he passed away, I felt like I had no grief left. I was glad that he was at peace, away from the cancer that ravaged his body and took away everything about him.
Around the same time as my Dad’s diagnosis, I was not feeling myself. I had changed jobs at work, and I was struggling with getting to grips with new processes. I wasn’t sleeping well and Nancy was waking a few times each night and bedtimes were a constant battle. I began to feel anxious, tired and worried. I was snappy and angry, very angry at the slightest thing. I became disengaged, not wanting to socialise and at work I was speaking my mind (which was a bit angry and ragey) which was raising eyebrows. I wasn’t myself. All this on top of my Dad diagnosed with a terminal illness. I worried about him, my Mum, my younger sister with learning difficulties. I felt duty bound to help sort it all out and I was overwhelmed by a feeling of burden, being my mother’s oldest child, of how I would get us all through this. I’d always been the helper, the one who sorted everyone else out. My fingers were gripping the edge of normality and I was starting to slip.
I went to the GP and was prescribed an anti depressant. However, I didn’t take it. I felt stupid, silly, overreacting. I pushed it to the back of my mind and carried on until the day I walked out of work before a presentation I was supposed to undertake. I went home that day and was then signed off work for 6 weeks.
Medication alone, I don’t think, can help with this kind of illness. You need time to refresh, time to talk if you feel you need to, and you need space to be yourself away from the stresses of life. I felt that I had totally lost who I was.
I had mentioned I wanted to learn to crochet a while back. I had tried myself with you tube for help a few years ago, but I gave up pretty quickly.
For my birthday I received a gift voucher for crochet lessons. I was intrigued and wanted to give it a go. However, the next lessons didn’t start till the end of November, so I booked in and didn’t think much of it.
I had my first crochet lesson about a week after my Dad had died. The timing was not brilliant and I did contemplate not going. It felt a bit of a stupid thing to do given the circumstances. But the lesson was booked and having a few hours to myself sounded a good idea. I was nervous though.
The 2 hour lesson was a complete relief; I thought of nothing except about what I was doing right at that moment. We crocheted a granny square and the sense of achievement I felt was a new feeling for me. For the first time in 6 weeks I felt almost normal again.
Picking up the crochet hook meant that I could do something physical, use my brain and have time just for me to contemplate, reflect and relax. I felt that by making something, it was a positive coming from my negative mind. It felt healing. It felt therapeutic.
6 months on, I feel much better now. I still have some low days but these are manageable. Having a new craft, a new hobby has really helped me feel like I’ve moved on from all those negative thoughts. I miss my Dad and I always will. Crochet hasn’t cured me but it gave me an outlet I didn’t previously have. It has given me a love of crafting and a desire to try more things and be a bit more adventurous. Things I find interesting and engaging. Things just for me. And that was really what I needed.