Jump to content

A crafty recovery: knitting as therapeutic and meditative vehicle http://wp.me/p5nnb-9v2


GiaK
 Share

Recommended Posts

a friend contributed this lovely article. I have another friend that found knitting very helpful too. it's an incredibly good practice....really has all sorts of important meditative qualities...AND in the end you also have tangible results. 

 

By Heather Buchler

 

A crafty recovery: knitting as therapeutic and meditative vehicle 

 

My grandfather had a woollen mill, and the whole family knitted – my mother and her four sisters, her mother, and also my grandfather. If anyone called around to visit while he was knitting, he would quickly hide his work under a cushion. My mother taught me to knit when I was five years old. I still have the fair-isle bonnet that I did when I was about seven. It looks pretty lame, but it reminds me of what I could do then. I knitted obsessively all through my childhood, adolescence and young adult years, and then I took a big break from it when other things took over.

 

I picked it up again during the throes of benzo withdrawal, on the urging of a friend. When I found myself very ill and traumatised, I needed something to fill in my days besides colouring in kids’s books and feeling miserably sorry for myself. When my friend suggested that I take it up again, I was dismissive of the idea, but was urged to until I eventually gave in and bought some yarn to knit a simple scarf. Once I began, I realised that knitting is like riding a bicycle – you can put it away for an extended time but it isn’t forgotten. I knitted my way through the scarf, and then several more scarves for family and friends. The more I persevered, the more creative the finished product.

 

I adored the feel of the yarn, and spent pleasurable time in choosing colours and textures. Very soothing and satisfying!

 

I recently came across an interesting article which helps to explain why I have found knitting to be so helpful and important to my own recovery. It begins, “Knitters across the world say it’s simply the best therapy, but why? Is there any substance to these claims?

 

More from the article:
 

Therapeutic Knitting

It’s already known and accepted within the medical profession that occupied people feel less pain and depression, so that’s a good start. However, the large amount of anecdotal evidence suggests that knitting has much more to offer. It isn’t simply about keeping people occupied with an activity they enjoy. It’s not just ‘old fashioned’ occupational therapy either. There’s a lot more to knitting than initially meets the eye! (read more)

 

After scarves, I became adventurous and more confident and began on beanies and hats. Then when I found myself expecting a first grandchild, I launched into baby clothes, where I was able to be more creative. At this stage, the withdrawal symptoms were daunting and difficult, but knitting helped me through. It is a meditative and calming activity, as the article describes. The more painful the symptoms, the more complicated the knitting became, as it took my mind off my pain, and onto counting stitches and concentrating on an intricate pattern. Counting and concentrating, followed by the calming, rhythmic activity was just what I needed.

 

This is what the article says about the meditative quality of knitting:

The rhythmic repetitive movements of knitting are important – quite how, we’re not absolutely certain of yet, but we have our theories. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that they induce a form of meditation very similar to Mindfulness. Recent research has shown that Mindfulness can be very effective in treating depression and chronic pain. It can also help those who are fit and healthy to combat stress and to manage life’s downs. It helps you to put into perspective any traumatic issues that would normally dominate your waking thoughts helping you to find a stable balance between problematic events and feelings and more positive, pleasant sensations within the current moment. It’s a state of mind where you’re not mulling over the past or fretting about the future. (read more)

 

 

I am still knitting my way to recovery, am now well equipped with some cosy winter garments, and am knitting for those whom I love. It gives me much pleasure to have the intended person in mind while I knit for them. Soft toys, sweaters, shawls and wraps, socks and jackets. Is it fun, and very satisfyingly creative. I am not alone either, even though I am still at home a lot, as there is a huge,friendly knitting community online that I spend time with. It is also a great resource – Ravelry 

 

No matter how tough my day has been, I still manage to finish each day with a feeling of satisfaction that I have created and achieved something, and I look forward to the next day.

 

Anyone can knit, anywhere, any time, as the article goes on to say, and there is plenty of online tutoring and help if it is needed.

 

More from the article:

The rhythm of these movements has a calming effect which is already being used successfully to manage disruptive behaviour and ADHD in children. Many who have written to me say they use their knitting to manage anxiety, panic attacks, phobias and conditions such as asthma, where calmness is important. Of course the portability of knitting means you can carry your calming remedy around and use it when and wherever you need. This portability makes knitting, along with some needlework projects, unique in the craft world. (read more)

 

 

Although I still have pain, I feel it less when I am knitting. The article explains why this is so, and it describes why knitting has pain-relieving properties.

 

My knitting has seen me through some dark days, and it goes everywhere with me now.

 

Also by Heather on Beyond Meds: An anniversary: a story of withdrawal from benzodiazepines

(see original article) --  http://wp.me/p5nnb-9v2

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds 

https://beyondmeds.com/

withdrawn from a cocktail of 6 psychiatric drugs that included every class of psych drug.
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member

GiaK,

 

This is just precious beyond words, for a lot of reasons. Some of the girls here have chimed in on my thread where I am going through a thing about my 'crafting life' and what it has been like. Alto put a voice to it: "need to part with my old craft ambitions". I have always said I don't like to knit, I always preferred crochet, maybe becayse I was better at it. I say I love working with beads but it is really a love/hate relationship - it is stressful, the creating the idea part and other reasons. But I have attempted knitting during some times in life when my other crafts are dead inside me, somehow it seems to get me going on life again. But I drop it after that, after I have searched for some really cool yarn in all the fabulous colors and textures, for pete's sake bought them all and added them to my stash, started on a project and never finished it. I have an intuitive grasp that the excerpts you posted have a simple and elegant truth in them. Something about knitting (maybe other needle arts too) in the context of a life just does something for us. I just might explore knitting again just for the sake of 'knitting as meditation' and see what happens.

 

My mom is a knitter. Can't see well, has tv on all day, feeds her cat and knits those rectangles for Warm Up America. She says she's content with life as it is. Her smarty pants college educated daughter has at times ranted, sobbed, moped, banged off walls, tried to meditate to find the 'meaning of life'.

 

Wait for it.......

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Mom Is Meditating.

 

No wonder she feels content.

What happened and how I arrived here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4243-cymbaltawithdrawal5600-introduction/#entry50878

 

July 2016 I have decided to leave my story here at SA unfinished. I have left my contact information in my profile for anyone who wishes to talk to me. I have a posting history spanning nearly 4 years and 3000+ posts all over the site.

 

Thank you to all who participated in my recovery. I'll miss talking to you but know that I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, suffering and rejoicing with you in spirit, as you go on in your journey.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:-) 

this piece is getting a whole lot of positive comments in my circles...it's nice...it's not getting as much traffic as more "sexy" posts but the people who get it are taking notice!

 

thanks for sharing

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds 

https://beyondmeds.com/

withdrawn from a cocktail of 6 psychiatric drugs that included every class of psych drug.
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member

Thanks Gia!

 

You must have been here while I was composing, I saw when I logged out. I get it about the sexy posts ;)

 

The littleoldknittingladies have been found out by the scientists who have pronounced it a 'good thing'.

 

Michael's better be ready for the knitting rush again :D

What happened and how I arrived here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4243-cymbaltawithdrawal5600-introduction/#entry50878

 

July 2016 I have decided to leave my story here at SA unfinished. I have left my contact information in my profile for anyone who wishes to talk to me. I have a posting history spanning nearly 4 years and 3000+ posts all over the site.

 

Thank you to all who participated in my recovery. I'll miss talking to you but know that I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, suffering and rejoicing with you in spirit, as you go on in your journey.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator Emeritus

I think I will dig out my knitting needles again, I lose interest if I try to knit anything bigger than a newborn outfit

but have some huge needles so will try those and knit bags or something.  :)

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member

I'm doing a scarf with some electric blue yarn, K 2 rows, P 2 rows. (Saw a scarf online with buttons strung along the fringe). Then I'll take it to the thrift store. My mind can't follow anything more complicated than that. (And you should see all of the SWEATERS people knitted for their CATS on one site I visited, my cat would kill me if I did that to him!)

 

You go, mammaP!

What happened and how I arrived here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4243-cymbaltawithdrawal5600-introduction/#entry50878

 

July 2016 I have decided to leave my story here at SA unfinished. I have left my contact information in my profile for anyone who wishes to talk to me. I have a posting history spanning nearly 4 years and 3000+ posts all over the site.

 

Thank you to all who participated in my recovery. I'll miss talking to you but know that I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, suffering and rejoicing with you in spirit, as you go on in your journey.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

this is interesting... while i was tapering, i did not notice it then, but i was already having WD symptoms... like restlessness, depression, irritability...all i know is that i started knitting again after many years..did not know why, but i felt that i needed to do it...the easy repetitive action occupies our brain and takes our mind away from other thoughts and feelings...i only made scarves, very simple ones... too bad i was not able to do it anymore when the WD symptoms got worse....but at the beginning, it did help a lot......

have been on various antidepressants (many SSRIs, SNRI, MAOIs) for chronic fatigue syndrome for more than 17 years, was on zoloft 100mg for the last 2-3 years, tapered over 2.5 months, ending october 24 2012.
reinstating AD:
march 28: started on 25mg co-sertraline, took it for 2 days
april 1: 12.5mg ONLY FOR ONE DAY- STOPPED taking meds
april 9: started on 2.5mg co-sertraline
april 17: increased to 5 mg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member

Hey Abir!

 

GiaK noted that this post on her blog is not getting very many comments but voices are chiming from here! I like your comment about it helping in the beginning for you, like you felt you needed to do it. And about not being able to do it now in the face of symptoms. For me, it is just something I am going to do in the context of my day expecially since my frequent method of always needing to do something involves endless games of every type of computer solitaire. Somehow they were contributing to my unease. I find myself dreaming of BEING the meditative knitter but I am not (yet). My intuition tells me there is something here but as with everything, it takes some time to get into the 'flow'.

 

Last night as I was surfing for a channel to fall asleep to I came upon a sciency type thing that was about knitting! Before I nodded off I watched the scientists putting this lady, on her back with knitting in her hands, into an MRI. They showed the brain scans as she was working, what lit up and where. Then they did one where they told her to do knitting she wasn't as adept at and watched her scans. I fell asleep then.

 

One thing about life is, you just can't make this stuff up! I am completely fascinated about stuff like this.

What happened and how I arrived here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4243-cymbaltawithdrawal5600-introduction/#entry50878

 

July 2016 I have decided to leave my story here at SA unfinished. I have left my contact information in my profile for anyone who wishes to talk to me. I have a posting history spanning nearly 4 years and 3000+ posts all over the site.

 

Thank you to all who participated in my recovery. I'll miss talking to you but know that I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, suffering and rejoicing with you in spirit, as you go on in your journey.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator Emeritus

Would love to see that programme, Sounds interesting. Still haven't got my needles out! 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member

Can't find it but a post on a tennis board 2012 mentioned the same thing. The words I used to search for it brought up my very post from here in the first page of the g00gle results. I am trying not to let the fact that the whole planet has access to my musings creep me out. I pray that I haven't said anything I'll regret. I must edit my posts better so they can't look as though I am talking about someone specific. I just feel weird......

What happened and how I arrived here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4243-cymbaltawithdrawal5600-introduction/#entry50878

 

July 2016 I have decided to leave my story here at SA unfinished. I have left my contact information in my profile for anyone who wishes to talk to me. I have a posting history spanning nearly 4 years and 3000+ posts all over the site.

 

Thank you to all who participated in my recovery. I'll miss talking to you but know that I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, suffering and rejoicing with you in spirit, as you go on in your journey.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy