Crafting and Mental Health By: Tiffany Choquette

Crafting and Mental Health By: Tiffany Choquette

       In 2020 the world was shaken by many things, but my world was shaken by having my first child and moving states away from everything I've ever known, all while in a pandemic. Many traumas happened to me that year. In February I had my beautiful rainbow baby after 9 miscarriages and an extremely difficult pregnancy. In March the country shut down and my anxiety grew for my baby's health and safety. In May, during the police riots, we were gunned down outside of our apartment and our lives were threatened. In July we moved states away to get away from the violence. All of this shook my physical and mental health to the point where I lost myself completely. When we moved in July it was the loneliest time in my life. I have a wonderful husband who is my best friend, but struggled with my family being so far from me while I navigated this new world of motherhood. In addition to that my mother had made it a point to punish me for moving away with harsh words. I was so broken at the time that I didn't set any boundaries with her and just took the emotional abuse she gave through the phone. I didn't have friends and didn't really know how to make friends in this new mom phase in a covid world. There were no mom groups or meetups, no community to surround me with support. cute crochet bat in handmade bag
          It was at that moment I decided to learn a new skill... sewing became my obsession. I had to master it. I focused everything I had on making baby clothes for my daughter who was now 6 months old at the time. I didn't realize it at the time, but postpartum anxiety and depression were kicking in. Sewing was my way to connect to my daughter. It gave me something I could give her physically and gave me a reason to be proud of myself (which I hadn't been in a while). I quickly picked up sewing, and found I was quite talented at it. Friends I made online were begging me to sell them things I was making. By November that year I had a business going full swing. One thing I didn't realize was that time was going by so quickly and the high I got from feeling needed would soon fade. My health got worse and many times it prevented me from sewing. I'd be too tired or too weak to get in my sewing room. I had to shut down my business. This part tore me up because that was where I was getting my joy from. I felt like the world was taking away my joy and didn't realize that I was self-medicating my anxiety, depression, and PTSD with sewing. Who knew?! I also was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and found out that all of that unprocessed trauma was causing my physical pain.Mother/daughter in matching handmade outfits
            Fast forward to now and I'm happy to say I'm able to find that life balance again. I'm in therapy, continuing sewing (and now crochet too), able to handle my pain flare ups, and working on connecting to my child more. Being a mom is hard... Having fibromyalgia is hard... But learning to live with these things and cope has turned it all around. In this process I've grown so much. Just remember when the light is dim and things seem lonely, the sewing community is such a big support. Reach out to a friend, pull out your machine, and make something you're proud to show off. We need to bring more communication about mental health and normalize the fact that it's okay not to be okay. If you feel like you've lost your sew-jo, try something new. Find joy in it again. You never know what it will do for your life.
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Wow, this must have taken you a lot of guts to write! I can relate to a little of it, just the autoimmune disease part. I will pray for you that the fibro fades….what a difficult road you’ve been down, ((hugs)). I agree that the online sewing community is pretty awesome, and having a creative outlet in a stressful time is SO helpful.


Thank you so much for sharing what so many of us need to hear and practice

Diane Choquette

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