Thursday, 29 May 2014

Crafting To Ease The Pain

Two years ago I decided to start crafting. If there is one thing I don't like, it's having too much spare time. I had entire summer to kill, so what better way to keep busy then to get creative?

While I can't claim to be the next Martha Stewart, I do enjoy sitting down and spending an afternoon putting together new decorations for my bedroom, or a hand-made gift for a friend or relative.

As a student I was the same. I needed extra-curricular projects to keep busy, to escape the fact that being on my own or having nothing to do left me alone with my thoughts. And a Depressive's thoughts can be very harmful. Whether it be creating UCD's Before I Die Wall or campaign managing Students' Union election hopefuls, I busied myself with all sorts of projects I was passionate about. At times it did lead me to taking on too much. I burnt out. But I preferred that to hiding under my duvet for days on end. Spare time meant I had to deal with my distorted patterns of thinking: jumping to conclusions, feeling inferior & unworthy, discounting the positives.
'Before I Die...' Wall, UCD

I also think my obsession with keeping busy also comes from how alone I felt in my 1st year of University. I felt that I was missing out on certain aspects of the college experience (See: Where it all began...) . So I threw myself into everything that came my way over the next few years. By my 3rd year I had more than made up for it through committee, society, students' union and peer-mentor involvement.

And when it came to the summer holidays I found myself with a lot of time I needed to fill to stay healthy. I spent a lot of this time reading. I'd immerse myself in stories; fantasies I could be a part of. But I ran through them too quickly. Be that due to escapism, or just plain boredom. I read the first Game of Thrones in just over 24 hours. I needed something other than books.

I'm not blessed with creativity. I couldn't draw a heart until I was in secondary school (I kid you not!). So I did start out very simply, often finding DIY projects under the 'Children' sections of websites. But I took comfort from the pretty things I could create. They were simple, but my mind was focused and my hands were busy. It was a release, albeit temporarily, from my self-defeating thoughts.

Toilet Roll Owls
Pumpkin Carving

Collection of Summer 2013 Crafts
These days I have found that balance I lacked in the past. I still work on countless different projects and keep busy, but I always factor in downtime by myself and with friends/family so that I don't burn out. While my negative thinking will always be a battle, I have lately been able to identify and start to tackle the patterns.

So now I am finished UCD after 4 long but productive years, which leaves me with a lot more time to fill in an assignment-free world. But I am looking forward to being able to spend more time crafting. Not just to fill time from being alone, but because I do really enjoy it.

No comments:

Post a Comment