Positivity

One week in to March already. I’m not quite sure where the time is going. This week has been an improvement over the last one. Week 3 of my group therapy workshop, and a visit back to the doctors for some more meds. He suggested upping them as i was on the minimum dose, and often got a decline towards the end of the month. I know the meds are only temporary, but already i feel im getting the clarity and stability i need to actually work through some of my issues.

I made a breakthrough at work, and hopefully my job role will be adapted to include more of my other skills, mechanics. I love fixing things, having studied car mechanics at college. Its all a big puzzle to me that tests my brain and my manual skills, finding out whats wrong, taking apart and reassembling to hopefully fix the problem. I walked away from the meeting, which i had been dreading all week, trying not to work myself up over, actually feeling more positive about work life than i have done in quite some time. I felt valued.

I’m actually struggling to write this update. It seems if my brain isnt clogged up with what ifs, or doom and gloom, that words dont flow as much, or as easily. But i wanted to document the positives too, because they will be a good reminder on the not so good days.

I’ve started reading a book about the brain, called The Source. It explores the workings of the brain, and how we think and can change things, backed up by Neuroscience. I’m not that into self help books (my own opinion, if you love them, then great!), but i am enjoying this one, the fact it has a scientific background helps me appretiate it more i think. Its like another puzzle for me, and although i might not understand some of the language as well as i could, the brain is just another complex machine, with work we can understand and change some of the ways we think and deal with situations, modify it rather than see it as ‘being fixed’.

One other small thing i’ve started this week is to start taking care of myself better. I joined a gym a couple of weeks ago, and the exercise definately helps, i feel good after. I also treated myself to a whole new skincare range. My bathroom was unorganised, bitty, with so many different products ive got over the years. It was immensely satisfying to go in, and almost empty it of every random pot. The stuff i got wasnt cheap, its part of the Elemis range, but ive never done luxury skincare, so wanted to try. I wrote down a skincare routine, and even the act of doing that made me feel more relaxed. Cleansing your face and moisturising doesnt sound like a chore, or a hard job. But for the last few years thats what it was to me. I was so rushed, that those 5 minutes it could take, i felt i couldnt spare, or i just couldnt be bothered. I would do it for a day or 2, then stop.

So far i am on day 5, and taking those 5 minutes has already become enjoyable. The smell of the body cream i apply a teenie bit of after the shower or before bed is divine. Smells are a big thing for me, i feel i get so absorbed by them, they are a powerful influence on my mood. I am now not seeing skincare as a chore, but as a chance to relax, and look after me. My skin does feel better, its got a long way to go, but im going to continue. Working around dirt and grease, and being out in the elements all day, my face deserves some TLC!

Later im going to write about some of the revelations ive had. I dont want to specifically write about any one person or work, so i will do my best to write about them in a coherent way. It feels like i’ve tugged a few threads this week, and finally they have come loose and i can see what i’m working with, and how to overcome them. Its been hard, realising things about myself, but equally i am accepting those things. I cant just eradicate every trait about myself that someone might not like. I still want to be me, just a better me that can handle whatever comes my way.

Squizzle x

Photo is mine, taken in Holetown, Barbados. 7.30 am with a coffee on the beach in the middle of November. I didn’t know I could feel that relaxed. My partner was snorkelling, I was just lost in the sounds, the smells and the feel of the morning sun on my back. I would go back there in a heartbeat.

One step forward, two steps back part 2

Loneliness can be a funny thing. You can have a wide social circle, have many contacts, hundreds of facebook friends, and still feel alone. I, however, have a handful of close friends, my partners family are lovely, an i enjoy being active on instagram. Yet i still feel alone sometimes. Not in the sense of having no-one around necessarily, my partner is wonderful and very understanding, his family i can talk to about anything, and even though my sister has a busy life a couple of hours away i know i can call her anytime. For me it is the social aspect of friendship. Many months can pass between seeing some of my close friends, they have children, partners and lives that keep them busy, and up until recently i was looking after my Nan on a daily basis, so i had very little time.

I just need to say before i continue, some of you may not agree with the way i write about my Nan. I understand, obviously this is going to be quite a one sided account. I will try and give context where possible, but it would be impossible for me to give a detailed backstory of every situation, family breakdown or event that has happened. Know this, i love my Nan, and i most certainly would not exaggerate anything for the purpose of this blog. Thats not me.

I never really thought much about how looking after Nan impacted me, or maybe i did but chose to push it to the back of my mind and ignore it. It was a tie that meant i felt obligated never to not go round and see her, even if i felt tired or unwell, as i felt i would be letting her down, or for fear that she would pass judgment at me, and there would be some sort of backlash for not going. Social events had to be planned well in advance, or around the time i would visit her. If i went out i would make sure i was back in time. Sure, she managed when we went on holiday, she had carers going in but i had to stock everything up, plan every meal so it would be easily accessible, and i know she had the carers do the bare minimum when they went in. She would cope, though, but still i felt i couldnt take any other time off. I would feel guilty as she would tell me she has no life in her flat, she cant go out shopping or do what she wants, and that i didnt realise how lucky i was i could do these things.

Guilt is a big thing i suffer with, along with worrying. I cant switch my brain off. I feel guilty for the slightest of things, even not to do with my Nan. I constantly worry if i have said the wrong thing in a conversation, or done the wrong thing. If i have upset someone, or let myself down in some way. My worry brain takes over, if there is a conversation to be had at work i go round and round in my head with the possible dialogue or outcomes until i feel frazzled. And still i struggle to switch it off. I find it difficult to voice my opinions, to be assertive. Years of having my Nan as the main figure in my life, has unfortunatley taken its toll. Its not something i really paid a lot attention too until recently, but its been in the back of my mind for a while, years maybe. We could never have a discussion, my opinion wasnt right or valid, i didnt do things her way so they were wrong, even if i got the exact same results how i did them. Many times i would be told she was just putting me right for my own good, so i knew. Everything had to be just so, to the point i would worry when i got home that i had left something out of place. If i forgot something it was unacceptable, she couldnt understand why i forgot. Never mind that i remember all the other things, or that i work full time, have a house to run, and my own things to remember. In here eyes, it just wasnt good enough that i had forgot.

I used to drive a 1.5 hour round trip to do her shopping at a specific supermarket after work, as she didnt like the stores nearer. Why did i do it, you ask? Because it was easier. It saved the arguments. If i bought the food somewhere else, on principle she wouldnt eat it. Thankfully, about a year ago a store of the same brand opened up near me, so that did shorten my journey time, but at the same time there were a lot more requests to just ‘pop in’ after work to pick something up. My partner says he doesnt know how i did it for so long, but i just did. I felt a sense of duty, and i love my Nan. I wanted to help, even though i question sometimes whether it was truly appreciated in the end or just expected.

Another occasion that sticks vividly in my brain involves me cooking dinner for my mother in law. We invited her round for mothers day dinner, and i made the mistake of telling Nan. Not a mistake really, i guess, i had asked to go round half hour earlier to give me more time to cook. I still spent the same time with my Nan, doing everything she needed and giving her some company, then i went. The next day when i went back round there was an undeniable atmosphere. I cant remember exactly what happened, but i got told i was selfish for having my mother in law round for dinner, that i always put my partner and his family above her, and that i didnt care about her.

Still, i went back. During the years, i have had her make threats towards me when she has been in hospital and wanted to self discharge, that if i didnt help her leave or get her a cab, that she would kill herself. When i refused to call her a cab from a care home she was recouperating in (she has been there less than 24 hours) she threatened to kill herself. She called me away from work, apparently in a terrible state, only for me to get there and find she had evacuated her bowels and wanted, no, expected me to clean it up. Im ashamed to say at that point she was still able to get herself in and out of bed onto the commode, but didnt. More than twice since then she has asked the same thing of me, and i said no, which did not go down well at all. The threats were empty, deep down i knew that. Never has she done anything to endanger her life. Still part of me worried that she could, or would, if i didnt do as she asked. But there goes the cycle, reinforcing her position, her self importance, and making me do what she wants.

Still my sense of duty prevailed, fear of her doing something stupid if i didnt co-operate. Fear of how she would react to me. Guilt if i didnt. One thing about a narcissistic relationship i have realised, is its not always easy or apparent you are in one. You do what you need for a quiet life, and its only now that i am removed from that toxicity that i can look back and start analyzing it all, to make sense of it and how it has affected me. And in doing that, i can take control of my life, my behaviours and starting repairing them, learning how situations can be dealt with, learning to be assertive, that my opinions and feelings matter just as much as someone elses, even if it means we dont agree.

This in a roundabout way brings me back to my start point, loneliness. I need to learn to be social again. I dont make friends easily, in a crowded room i feel uncomfortable. I get baffled easily by the fact people have so much to talk about. Crochet has helped me in this, in that when i go to a weekly meet up it gives me something to talk about and do, and its what i post most about on Instagram. I’ve also discovered, that there is still a massive stigma around mental health, even within my own social circle. Unless someone has experience of mental health, or is very empathic or understanding, it can be quite easily dimissed, be it as a phase, attention seeking, or through lack of knowledge – not an actual problem. Most of my friends are caring, understanding, ears there for when i want to talk. Maybe they have had experience with mental health issues, or know someone that has. Others, arent able to understand so easily.

One persons worries may not bother someone else. Person A may be able to handle a barrage of proverbial crap their whole life and be completely fine. Person B might encounter some hurdles, stumble briefly but make their way through. Person C may trip on a rock and be completely blindsided by that, immediatly immobilised. Im not very good at metaphors (or whatever the correct description is), but my point is, everyone is different and handles situations differently. Just because you are struggling, you are no less of a person, no weaker, of no less value than someone who wouldnt bat an eyelid, and it most certainly does not mean you are attention seeking or imagining it.

I have been told this recently, that i was over sensitive and imagining things. I was having a particularly bad day, after a few good ones. I’m not sure why, and i cant explain why. There was nothing in particular that ‘set me off’. But being told, yet again, that it was just all in my head, did nothing good for me. It still haunts me now, i try not to let it, but it makes me feel like i have to put on this facade, especially at work, to act ‘normal’ and happy. Or be prepared to explain why im not in as good of a mood as previous days. Ignorance, im discovering, is a problem with how mental health is viewed. If someone can’t see a physical symptom, or understand the particular problems, you can be dismissed quite easily. Hearing someone say ”I dont understand why your being like this” or ”You just need to stop thinking like that” are like red rags to a bull for me. Maybe this bothered me so much as its such a similar reaction to what my Nan had in the initial confrontation, dismissive, i dont have a problem, that i just need to pull myself together.

Trust me, if it was that easy, i would! I get more frustrated and anxious after hearing them, as i think im failing, that im not doing enough, not getting better quick enough. I’m doing the things i need to to help my recovery, im under the doctor, part of a group therapy session, and i wont stop there. I like reading about psychology, how the brain works and processes things. I’m making the effort to be able to function properly in everyday life, but unfortunately its not a quick fix, it takes time, and effort.

My advice to anyone, especially if someone around you is suffering through something you dont understand, is to research it. Spend 5 minutes reading up about depression, anxiety, or any mental health issue, and you might get even the smallest insight into what could be going on, that can then help you be a positive force in helping the persons recovery.

With Anxiety and depression, i think people expect to see panic attacks, glum faces, complete breakdowns. Other signs like frutration, anger, intense emotions, lack of sleep, lack of interest, low energy and crying to name a few, i feel in my experience can be misunderstood as just an outburst, not part of the deeper issues. I certainly dont want to end up a quivering, sobbing, frustrated emotional wreck when trying to have a conversation, unable to express what i am feeling in an eloquent way. Words fail me, i cant rationalise or explain what i want to, which adds to the frustration. But it happens to me, normally with a person that doesnt understand, because im trying to have a conversation i dont want to have. It leaves me feeling down beat, exhausted and emotionally and physically frazzled. That, more recently, has lead to me distancing myself from some people, because i dont want to, or rather, shouldnt need to offer explanations all the time. If i dont seem particularly happy with you one day, its not a personal attack, im not angry or annoyed at you. Maybe i just didnt sleep well, maybe my brain is running at 1000 miles per hour and i cant focus, maybe im trying hard not to cry, or let a thought bother me, or maybe i just dont feel good for no real reason at all. Don’t isolate me for being different or moody, talk to me, i might say i dont want to, but i would appreciate the fact you asked, and try to be less of a bitch.

I’m starting to realise that to help my emotional well being, that i need to be around people that i want to. Not necessarily that are constantly supporting me in an enabling way, but that have an understanding, and make me feel included and normal. With people that i can talk to if i want to, the same as i will always happily lend an ear to anyone that needs it, do what i can for anyone that needs help. These people may be few in my life, i have no other family relationships other than my dear sister. But the few friends that i have i hold close, and treasure, and i will always be there for them like they have been for me.

This post might seem a bit all over the place, jumping from one topic to another. I find i just write, then re-read to make sure it makes sense in some sort of way. I’m not a proffesional writer, i just write from the heart and as a way to unclog my head. If you have made it to this point, i thank you greatly.

More soon x

Squizzle x

One step forward, two steps back.

I’ve decided that im not going to apologise for my updates at the moment not being crochet related. This blog is my sounding board, and if i can help anyone or get things off my chest just by writing, then its worth it. Crochet related posts are imminent, but my mind has just been all over the place still, that i havent had a chance to draft them properly.

I just re-read my last couple of posts, and i found it quite difficult. Its been about 6 weeks now and i have had no contact with my Nan. The guilt about that is hard, but i still dont feel in a position where i could handle the possible outcomes. Rejection again if she didnt answer the phone, text or door. Frustration if she still saw none of it from my point of view. Or more worryinly to me, the overwhelming guilt of knowing her situation, and that if i contacted or saw her, that i would feel so bad that i would end up begging to help her again, fall back into the old routines, and see any progress i have made go straight down the pan.

Its ridiculous, isn’t it? That a person can go through a breakdown, burn themselves out, have to seek medical and proffesional help, but still know that they would end up falling back into the same patterns that contributed to the breakdown anyway? I love my Nan, but i cannot be around her at the moment. She has become a toxic presence in my life, and one that had such a hold. In an effort to understand our relationship, i have still been doing a lot of reading of phsychology articles, and other peoples blogs and posts. After reading one article in particular, all of my Nans behaviour, not just from recently, but throughout my life, and through her relationships with other family members and even friends, can be summed up. I know i said it in my last post, but i think i am still processing it, but my Nan, i think, is a Narcissist.

Thats a horrible thought, and i still feel awful for labelling her. I had a conversation with my sister, who whilst in contact with my Nan, lives far enough away that she has never really had the burden of caring for her. I told her what had happened, she looked for reasons why Nan reacted the way she did, that she could be protecting me because she felt bad. This could be a valid point, but i dont believe it. Different disagreements that have ever happened always go the same way, only this time, i didnt go back. Im usually the one begging, persistantly asking, pleading with her to let me help her, apologising profusely for what ever happened, even if it was just me expressing an opinion, or whether it even needed an apology at all. I know now she thrived off this, it reinforced her power, her position as an important person, rose her up on that pedestal. And i enabled it through feeling the sense of duty that comes from being the only family member left to help her.

I showed my sister an article about Narcissism, i was shocked at the list of traits, behaviours, actions. Some are quite benign, that on their own wouldnt be much to pay attention too, but as the article went on, bar a couple of points, it was like someone had wrote down how my Nan is. My sister was shocked too, i think finally she realised that i wasnt making anything up, exaggerating for dramatic effect. She wonders why she is like that, and i do too. But Nan will never see or admit that anything she does, is anything other than right. I have plenty of experience of that.

Enough about my Narcissistic Nan, there are things that i may write about in the future involving that. But i want to move on to me. Things are still difficult, some days are easier, almost like everything is heading back to normal. Other days, not so much, and sometimes for no reason. I am in a group workshop with a mental health charity to help manage depression and anxiety. Its only 4 sessions, but its re-affirming to be in a group where there is no stereotype, and that you are all there because you want help. I think it is helping, but given the nature of why i am there, and the history with my Nan, sometimes i find it difficult to analyze my behaviour to look for ways to break the depression cycle, without that turning in to an analysis of my behaviour to pick myself apart and find where i am at fault, what i did wrong, what i said wrong. I am still working through it though, and as i learn more about how the depressed and anxious brain works, i understand how breaking part of the cycle can help you recover and function better. The road may be long, but you dont have to travel it alone.

Part 2 of this update will follow shortly, i need a breather and i dont want each of the posts to feel like a novel to read….

Squizzle x

p.s The photo of the Ray is one i took whilst at Discovery Cove in Orlando a couple of years ago. I find it such a peaceful, calming picture.

Moving on.

A week has almost passed since my last post. In some ways, everything has changed, in other ways, nothing has changed at all. I promise after this post to make things more crochet related, I have some projects to share, but I wanted to update you on the situation and start moving on.

I tried to make amends with my grandmother. I visited her a couple of days after my breakdown, hoping to move on. Naturally everything is still my fault, my problem, and there was little to no understanding of what I might be going through. I need to learn how to cope, I will spend the rest of my life on pills if I don’t get a grip, I need to sort my head out. These, along with other opinions expressed by my nan, meant i found it so hard to stay calm, but I did. I offered to visit 3 times a week to help with shopping, washing and cooking if she wanted a hot meal, and company. She seemed to agree. Carers visit 4 times a day, so it’s time that she started to accept she needed them to do a little more.

In between all this I went to the doctors. He was very understanding and I’m making steps to get help. I think things go way back in my life that are having an impact now, so it’s time to talk about them with someone and let go of them. I got some pills too, although I daren’t tell nan. I still have mixed feelings about taking them, but with physical symptoms of anxiety and stress happening every day, I know it’s best to help get me back on track.

Fast forward a couple of days, I did the shopping for Nan, and went round as agreed. Immediately when I got there I got a vibe and felt there was an atmosphere. She barely said anything as I greeted her and put the shopping away. Her next words were to ask for her key back. My heart slammed to the floor, I should have known things wouldn’t have been that easy to overcome. I did the rest of the things she asked me to do, and then I gathered my things. As I said goodbye, she told me not to visit anymore. I asked why, to which she said this is the way you wanted it. I stood firm, stayed calm and replied, no this is what you are doing.

In her opinion she needs more care than 3 times a week that I offered, and that she doesn’t think it’s unreasonable to ask for an hour every evening to go and care for her, but that I clearly can’t cope with that, it’s too much to ask, so she doesn’t want me to visit anymore. I stayed quiet during everything, and then I said goodbye, as I was going out the door, her rather harsh tone struck me like a blow to the chest, as she called ‘good luck’.

And that is that. I’m still processing everything, probably will be for some time. I haven’t contacted her since Thursday, if I went round I would imagine she wouldn’t let me in, and at the moment, I don’t feel I can visit anyway. She made her opinions quite clear.

I’ve been reading up on a few things, and I’m beginning to see a few patterns with her behaviour and the way she reacts, treats people and situations, and her whole demeanour in general. Its something that’s floated round in my mind for a few years now, especially with the other breakdowns in relationships she has had with people, and different events that have happened over my life. Its become quite apparent, that she shows narcissistic behaviour. I know she is unwell, and I would love for that to be the reason she behaves as she does, but it goes back over my whole life, and beyond. Its a rotten thing to say, and it might seem quite hard to use the word narcissistic, or toxic, and I know I’m no psychologist. But it fits. Reading online the past few days people’s stories of dealing with this sort of relationship has been an eye opener, and a massive support. Its showed me I’m not alone, that there will be some hard decisions, some unwanted emotions, but that ultimately, you will come out if it ok. I feel the escalation of her behaviour is because I haven’t reacted in the way I may have done in the past, I haven’t gone back begging after one day of not going round, pleading to be part of her life again, to let me back in.

For now, I won’t be contacting my Nan, I still need to get better in myself and get back to being able to deal with situations and handle things well again. And for that I need to look after myself, and surround myself with supportive people and things to do. I still feel so guilty, and that feeling probably won’t go away any time soon, but I will learn how to deal with it. I am finally starting to admit and accept that I have done enough. I know I am not perfect, far from it probably. But I am human, I make mistakes, have wobbles, have emotions. I work full time, have a partner and a house to run, my own life. A life that I have spent the last 5 years helping my nan, and the last 2 and a half of that pretty much putting it on hold to help her daily. I felt some sense of responsibility, being the only member of the family left and willing to help. But maybe it’s time to let that go, and as much as I have things to learn from and move on, i only wish Nan could do the same and realise how her behaviour has an impact, consequences. I wont hold my breath though, but I will stay strong, for me.

Breaking Point

It’s been a while since I posted, life got in the way and I just found I didn’t have the energy. However things have just reached a point today that have tipped me over the edge.

For anyone reading this, this post won’t contain anything about crochet. Apart from the fact over the last week I’ve struggled to pick up my hook as I have been feeling so rough.

January is turning out to be a tough month. We all know the blues are more common once Christmas is over and we go back to the monotony of work, usually with dull grey skies and a dwindling bank balance. This January for me has unfortunately been my breaking point. Work is leaving me feeling disheartened and pushed out, to the point each morning waves of anxiety come over me, and stay niggling in my chest for most of the day. Work relationships feel strained, but conversations to over come this aren’t my strong point. I’m not good at voicing how I feel, and I play the conversations in my mind, how they might go, what the outcome could be, even though I know it could be different if I was just to do it.

I also provide additional care for my grandmother. Due to family feuds, I am the only person left to help. Carers are visiting 4 times a day as she cannot get out of bed. But she won’t allow them to do anything other than basic hygiene tasks. So I have been round every evening after work for the last 2 and a half years, cooking dinner, doing chores, shopping, whatever she needs. I find it hard to put in to words, and I don’t want to be judged as a horrible person for anything I write here, but my Nan is difficult. There is a reason for so many feuds in the family, and there is a reason I am the only one left to help. She can be self centred, controlling (I have come to realise I have experience of this, it was not a welcome revelation) set in her ways and expectant of so much from me. I really do get that the situation she is in must be so difficult, multiple medical conditions mean she suffers a lot of pain every day. I do all I can, but sometimes it is never enough. I do 10 things, forget one and it’s such a big deal.

When someone has nothing positive to say, and you are already in a mentally fragile state, it can suck the energy from you like a black hole. This week, every night there have been minimal conversations that don’t involve moaning at me, or about someone. I tried to bring it up in a kind way earlier in the week, but to no avail. And today, I really am not happy to say, I snapped.

I raised my voice, I didn’t mean to, but the frustration in me became to great. I cried, everything I felt blurted out. I felt, and feel absolutely awful for the way it happened, but part of me feels like it was something that was going to happen. Let me get this clear, I did not verbally or physically attack or threaten her in any way, I did however have a complete breakdown that left me in gut wrenching sobs. I said how I couldn’t take the constant moaning, how I get frustrated when I try to help her and give advice on different situations, and how I am finding everything just weighing me down at the moment.

Now if someone, no matter what they had said to you, or how much you liked them, had a breakdown in front of you, what would you do? I know for sure that I would be concerned for that person. That’s not what happened here. My Nan doesn’t believe in mental health problems, she thinks everything can be overcome if you just sort your head out. So I got told I have anger issues, and that I, the one person she can rely on, clearly cannot cope in helping with her needs, and that as far as she is concerned the relationship is over.

Many years I have stood by her, helped her through poor health, through family rifts, even when I don’t agree with her stance. But this is apparently how much I am worth. I am finding it difficult to write enough context to understand why this has upset me as I don’t want this post to be a ‘Nan bashing rant.’

I composed myself, apologised so much for my outburst, and that I found it difficult in admitting to her that I need to get some help, but she responded with, you just need to sort your anger out, you need to learn how to cope.

Anyone that had finally reached the point that they know they need professional help, I think will agree that that is not the sort of thing you want to hear. I offered her help before I left at her insistence, she declined, so I went.

Now I feel overwhelmed with guilt. She’s ill, I shouldn’t have let things get the better of me. But being ill is no excuse to be nasty or unsupportive to the one person that stands by you. Now I feel our relationship has meant that little to her, that the one time I fail, I cannot be supported by her for once.

So I think it’s finally time to go and see the doctor. I don’t know exactly what I need, but I know I can’t carry on feeling the way I do. Maybe I need to talk to someone, there have been many things that have happened in my life, mainly revolving around my Nan, that could have left their mark on me, left me with issues it’s now time to deal with. I’m not taking this as a weakness anymore, I want to get better, I want to be a better person, happy again and able to deal with situations life throws at me without the constant shadow of anxiety, self doubt or worry hanging over me.

I will beat this.

Squizzle x

Granny squares galore

We all have our own stories, experiences, joys and our own burdens in this world. I’d like to share with you a piece of mine, and about when I got the crochet bug! I’ve already re-wrote this post 3 times because I can’t work out what to say, so here goes.

I started to Crochet about 7 months ago, and almost gave up so many times! A friend started a sewing and crafts group, so I went along for moral support at first, but then found it enjoyable seeing everyone’s creations and talents.

The group situation was very much out of my comfort zone, I feel awkward around people and never know what to say. Starting conversations isn’t my strong point! Looking back social situations have always been difficult, I often wonder what people talk about all the time, and with such ease.

Meeting and speaking to people was a bit easier when a chief tea maker was needed yipee! This made me a bit more comfortable as I had something to focus on, and let’s face it, tea and cake are an excellent ice breaker.

After a couple of meetings I bought a hook and decided to try and join in with that weeks crochet lesson, even though it was from the safety of my tea counter. My progress was slow and not much was achieved, I kept getting myself flustered and frustrated, so I carried on at home.

Many practice granny squares were started but I just couldn’t get it. Holding the hook felt wrong, holding the yarn ended up in a tangle so many times I kept putting it away. My normally co-operative hands where all thumbs and I couldn’t figure out why. A few weeks went by and I decided to try on a different ball of yarn and hook, and everything just clicked, slowly but surely my granny square grew! Fast forward a couple of months and 4 balls of yarn (so far) and that same square has turned into a continuous granny square blanket! It’s not yet finished but it’s a very good pick up and put down project. For those times I don’t want to concentrate too much on what I’m doing it’s a great piece to work on. I used stylecraft candy swirl in very berry with a 4mm hook.

The repetition of the pattern helped massively with learning how to hold the hook and yarn, and tension. This is when I also discovered how therapeutic crochet is for me. Time just seemed to pass by, I found whilst crocheting I didn’t think as much.

A big problem is that I get lost in my own thoughts. I worry, over analyse and can’t switch off. A few times lately I have just cried, for no reason. I can’t tell you what’s wrong, and I can’t just stop. It’s just an overwhelming sadness that comes over me. Maybe it’s hormones, who knows? But its affecting my daily life. Sobbing uncontrollably might not happen every day but I do struggle to put on a happy face all the time, and I worry about it affecting the people around me. What goes on in my head can make me feel so lonely. Trying to explain to friends or family how I feel is difficult, as some just don’t understand and can’t see why I feel the way I do.

I haven’t spoke to anyone professional about things yet, but I’m considering it. Even if it’s just to talk to someone who is impartial about the things that are are going on. I know there is no harm and no shame in asking for help, but for now I am using crochet to help me unwind and switch off my thought process. My boyfriend doesn’t mind, he’s very supportive and is getting a very big blanket out of my nights crocheting while we watch tv! He also doesn’t bat an eyelid if another ball of yarn arrives……definitely a keeper (not that I didn’t know this before my yarn obsession began)!

So the granny square was the start. Once you get the hang of it it’s very satisfying and easy to do, and gives you a great start at learning the basics, double crochet, chains, and tension. I turned my work after each round to stop the blanket twisting, so the colour pattern doesn’t stay in the same order. From what I understand you don’t have to, as blocking when the project is finished should make the piece square again, but I will admit I haven’t tried it that way yet!

I then went on to make another granny square blanket for my friends baby (I hope she’s not reading this, I haven’t gifted it to her yet!) And I enjoyed every second of it.

This was made with King Cole yummy in battenberg and lemon with a 6mm hook, it’s a chenille yarn and beautiful to work with. It works up quick and is so soft, perfect for a baby.

There are many excellent tutorials on YouTube, one of my favourites to follow is Bella Coco. She gives great instruction and her videos are easy to follow. There are many more depending on how you like to learn, a quick Google search will give you more results than you can shake a hook at!

If you have a craft gathering near you, give it ago! If your like me, pushing yourself to do something you may normally shy away from can be scary, but people have a wealth of knowledge to share, and the inspiration you could get would make it worth while.

Happy crocheting people, I will post again soon with the next projects I tackled, a scarf and the beautiful virus shawl.

Squizzle x

The Journey Begins

Good Morning fellow crochet lovers, and thanks for joining me on my first venture into the blogging world!

My crochet journey started about 7 months ago, and it’s an understatement to say I’ve fallen in love with the craft. From the texture and colour of different yarns to the satisfaction of mastering a new stitch, I’m addicted to it all.

What I also want to do with this blog is explore how crochet helps me, and share my experiences so that maybe it could help someone else. Mental health is such an important thing, and I struggle sometimes daily, sometimes less frequently, with my own troubles. From anxiety to unexplainable sadness which reduces me to tears for no reason, from anger to fear, and more recently, loneliness, I sometimes find it difficult to control my emotions and either withdraw or have the inevitable outburst after which I fear everyone thinks I’m crazy.

I’m not very good speaking about my feelings out loud, I don’t have many friends and I’m not good in social situations (hence the lack of friends I guess) but when I started crocheting I found it helped calm me. Anything from the colours of the yarn, the feel of the fibre to the repetition of the pattern soothed my soul, and I found I just stopped thinking about everything else, even just for a while.

As I get to grips with the blogging experience, I want to share with you my creations, my WIPs (work in progress) and also my feelings. Eventually, as my skills improve I hope to even create some patterns, but who knows!

Crochet is a wonderful hobby, there’s a fantastic community out there on social media to share, help and get ideas for new projects. For me, if even one person follows this blog and decides to pick up a hook and yarn, and finds some peace within themself in doing that, then I will be happy.

Thank you for reading my first ever post, and if you decide to follow me, thank you for letting me share my personal experiences and my (limited!) knowledge of crochet with you!

Squizzle x

 

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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