Having anxiety is like having spiders infest your brain.

Brain Spiders

This week was a particularly bad one for me. Anxiety-wise, that is. I don’t know how it started but my anxiety attacks had a cascade effect, one tumbling into another. It was only when I picked up my crochet that the anxiety was lulled into a near-slumber like a cranky 2 year old who’s finally crashed from too much sugar.

There is a rhythm to crochet that, if you let it take over you, will create a diversion from the anxiety. It’s soothing and the texture of the yarn gives your brain something to focus on.

So, my week went something like this;

Brain: WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!
Me: *crochets quietly*
Brain: WE’RE ALL GONNA… ooo… look at that color… DIE!!
Me: *yarn over, pull through*
Brain: We’re all… the yarn feels nice… we’re all gonna…
Me: *yarn over, pull through*
Brain: We’re all gonna die, you know. That’s pretty.

Eventually it gets quiet in my head and I can start to think again. The logical half of my brain can take over for the anxiety-ridden, cracked half and I can function for a while. The respite is sometimes short before that half is up and destroying the house again. Don’t get me wrong. I still love that half of my brain even when it’s keeping me up half the night with screams of terror. It’s trying to do its job of keeping me safe, even if it’s doing that job a little too enthusiastically.

I’m beginning to train myself that crochet means relaxation. It’s taken me some time and determination but I’m getting there. The repetitive rhythm of crochet is the key to it, I think. I look at other techniques used to get people into a different state of mind and repetitive rhythm is a hallmark of all of them. Just look at prayer beads or the rosary. Saying the same words while massaging the beads. Instead of saying words, I’m feeling yarn and moving the yarn through a pattern. Similar ideas, different actions.

My anxiety won’t go away. It can’t be cured or pushed down. It’s here to stay, I’m afraid, so I have to learn to live with it and use it to my advantage. Sometimes, though, it can be soothed with a bit of crochet.

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