TW: Flat Out Honesty about Mental Health
A few days ago I had my first panic attack.
Looking back, I’m sure it has been brewing for a while but I didn’t see it coming until it hit me, like the metaphorical 18-wheel truck.
For those of you who suffer from panic attacks or bouts of extreme anxiety, I’m sorry. Each of us experiences these emotions differently so I am not going to say that I feel your pain, but I can definitely empathize. And, I’m sorry.
In order to limit the potential for triggering others, I won’t go into the details of my experience other than to say that I was fortunate that I wasn’t driving, I have a supportive spouse, and I am safe.
But I will tell you one thing that helped me cope in the days after my panic attack: stitching and the stitching community.
While I have been quiet when it comes to commenting on or starting conversations in the groups that I belong to, including StitchLife, I have been following along and taking comfort in seeing WIPs and reading words of encouragement among the stitching community.
But I seriously spent about 3 days doing nothing but stitching. I didn’t have an appetite. I wasn’t interested in TV or podcasts.
I just wanted to stitch.
For me, there is something calming about the repetition of pushing a needle through fabric and pulling it back up again. The sound of the thread sliding against the rough Aida. The colors that pop on the white background. The progress made with every line from the pattern coming to life on the canvas in my hands.
Sure, I was slower than usual. And I had to double-check my counting many, many times because I would just...forget. But I was able to do something when I wasn’t able to go to work, leave my house, or even shower.
I could stitch.
When I felt like I couldn’t accomplish anything else, I could stitch.
If you, or someone you love, suffers from any mental health issues, including thoughts of self-harm, please reach out to a healthcare professional using one of these resources. If you are outside the U.S., please share reputable contact information with us so we can share with others!
If you would like to share your story about how stitching helps you through life’s troubles - whether mental health issues, family stress, un- or under-employment, or more - please feel free to share with us via email at TeamStitchLife@stitchlifemag.com. All submissions will be held in confidence and nothing will be shared without your permission.