Stitching anxiety

I’ve been stitching in one form or another for some time. I started with knitting squares just because it was easy and accessible. I was travelling a lot at the time and wanted something else to occupy me apart from my job – task lists, unfinished project,  texting and emailing.  I had no ambitions to create anything I just wanted to see if I could still knit squares. I discovered I could indeed knit simple squares. I also noticed that after a few rows I felt calmer and somehow more focussed – an interesting development and unexpected benefit.

Like most humans I get stressed and anxious and sometimes anxiety has been more dominant in my life than I would have liked. Anxiety has, I find, a language all of it’s own. Sometimes I understand what it is telling me – slow down, change your approach,ask for help. The voice of anxiety can be helpful and almost gentle.  Other times I don’t understand a word. It shouts and points the finger –why have you not done that, you messed up there. It’s sharp, it cuts and it can lead to a paralysis – a stuck-ness. There is no reasoning with this state – any fighting can render me exhausted and so entangled.

I have tried all sorts of escape routes and sometimes I have escaped from it and not known how I got away. I have not known why the thoughts attached to anxiety have quietened or disappeared. For me that’s the nature of it -whatever your it is. There is no quick fix. What worked before may or may not work again.

Stitching remains a constant for me. It involves physical movement with materials which can help put shape on what is indefinable. Stitching has a rhythm that connects me with body and mind – it pulls on the invisible, stretches the stuck-ness, unpicks and redefines. Stitching has has no concern about clean slates, new beginnings or resolutions. Stitching works in the present with the past and into the future.

Also published at Stitching out Stigma

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