Radical Simplicity and a Beautiful, Messy Life

What Crocheting a Row a Day is Teaching Me About My Mental Health

It started because a friend was beginning a temperature blanket, crocheting a row a day for an entire year, in a colour that represented that day's temperature. I wondered what if I did the same thing for moods?  Chronicling a year worth of emotion in a colourful, seemingly random stripe-y blanket.  So I pulled out my yarn stash and made up a plan.

Ten colours and ten moods.  Black for depressed, grey for sad, red for angry, orange for anxious, yellow for inspired, pink for excited, purple for frantic, green for ashamed, turquoise for contented, teal for happy.

Some days it's hard to pick a predominant mood.  I could've used a rainbow yarn for those days but I wanted to force myself to dig deep and see what I was really feeling.  This is work, emotional work.

The blanket is a reminder that every mood will pass.  In the moment, the darkest days seem to last forever, to cover everything in a thick and endless fog, but they always come to an end, don't they?  No mood, no matter how debilitating and pervasive, lasts forever.    

The blanket is a reminder that every mood will return.  No mood is ever gone forever.  Those dark days will return again, and pass again.  Good days are always on the horizon.  Life will ebb and flow, and that's ok.

I'm seeing patterns emerge.  That some moods lead to others, that purple, the frantic colour, appears for me every 28 days or so, and that sometimes moods cycle faster than others. 

I'm learning that I can stick to something I've begun.  I have a long history of uncompleted projects,  I give up when I become bored or frustrated.  But this blanket has become proof that I can choose to see a project through.  In this small but meaningful way, I am persevering. 

Most of all, The blanket is a chance to reflect on the day and my emotions. To check in with myself every 24 hours and examine how I'm feeling.  How much of those feelings was my circumstances, my attitude, my brain chemistry?  How can I prepare for a better day tomorrow?  It helps me recognize that good things can happen on hard days, and bad things can happen on otherwise good days.  It shows me how seasons and medication changes are affecting me. It's a quiet moment and a deep breath at the end of each day to make some sense of my day and accept that it was what it was.

So I will continue this work, this emotional work of identifying and crocheting my feelings.  Of checking in with myself and watching patterns emerge and trusting that no mood lasts for eternity. And I will be truly thankful for those rare teal happy days.  

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  1. Hi Kelly,
    I feel like we may have much in common. I really appreciate your writing and hope to connect with you more in the future as I try to tell my story. Your crochet project is beautiful!! Congrats on sticking with a big project. Take care.

  2. Hi Kelly,
    I've been following your blog(s) for quite awhile now. You do so many great, creative and thoughtful things. Keep going! It's wonderful to see what you accomplish.

  3. What a great idea to get a grip! Everyday is really special.

  4. I do hope you are well. I miss your thoughtful and thought provoking posts.

  5. I found your blog and wanted to let you know that your blogs are really helping me deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. I am sorry you have not posted since April but what you have here has really helped.

  6. I just discovered your blog and love the idea of crocheting my feelings. I suffer with Major Depression Disorder and instead of eating or stuffing my feelings this will be a truly therapeutic outlet. Thank you so much for sharing this on your blog.