A fan has left me a personal message about dealing with stress and energy levels. Stress has hit her hard and depression is kicking in with barely any energy to get through the day.
Firstly, I’m not a therapist but I do have some of my personal opinions to share on this particular topic. I do understand depression and hitting rock bottom lows. One of the reasons The Crochet Crowd is exists today was due to hitting a low back in 2008.
A Bit of Back Story
I’m now 41 and I have lived through the worst years ever, high school. The emotional damage of high school is something that is heavily within me today. Yes, over 25 years have past but my high schools dictates the person I am today.
I learned in high school that I was worthless and I didn’t have friends. I was a social reject to society. I got myself a part time job where I felt like I mattered to society. Helping people, stocking shelves and this job allowed me to feel important where other parts of my life were messed up. The more I worked, the more valuable I felt and so I channeled myself to work and work and work. By the end of high school, I paid cash for my college tuition and paid cash for a brand new car. I had earned my place in society by being self reliant. I moved out of my parents home when I was 18 years old, never to look back.
If it wasn’t for the cruel kids in high school, I might not have figured out how to be self reliant so quickly. Could be a blessing in disguise but I wish those memories were gone.
Crochet filled my void when I was at home not working when I was a teenager. It was my go to as I watched Star Trek, The Next Generation. I enjoyed my family life though I felt like a loser at every moment, at home, my parents were good to me put me on the right path in life.
Though I dated a woman and got married and began life. I was struggling as I was in the wrong situation of my life. It took me a long time to identify I was gay but when I started to figure things out, the world I knew it crumbled and it went down hard. The marriage was done and I was flag in the wind. I had no direction, no goals and I was living day to day.
Throughout the years, when life was really rough, I turned to crochet as a way to self bury myself into a project to get through. The act of creativity was important for me to exercise. I felt self pride when I finished a project. When life was good, the crochet hook was put away and I was sailing through life.
The Art of Goal Making
While in school, I had set goals for myself. Some of them were school related but others were personal related on what I wanted to do. I fell into the trap of making too many goals unrealistic for what I could achieve. The art of goal making is to make goals that are within four tiers of accomplishment.
- Immediate Goals – Things that can be done within the next few weeks.
- Intermediate Goals – Things that can be done in the next few months.
- Long Term Goals – Things that are a year or more away.
- Wishful Goals – If the cards aligned, this is a goal I want for myself.
I had set myself up with goals where I had written them down so I remembered what they are. When I go to review them, I realized I was accomplishing tasks that I wanted. Sometimes, I just forgot about the goals but my subconscious was remembering the direction I wanted to be in. When looking back, I am like “Hey… I wanted to achieve that goal and I did!”
In the 2000’s decade, I lost my way. Life was completely turned upside down as I had ended a marriage, came out of the closet and life as I knew it wasn’t the same. Behind the scenes of The Crochet Crowd, I tend to be really introverted to the point where I keep to myself. I’m not one to pick up a phone to call people nor am I one to just strike up a conversation without being prompted first.
My high school years automatically kick in reminding me that I am worthless if I am not working. I work to occupy my time but also work to feel like I am contributing to society.
In a workshop hosted by one of my employers, the reminders of goal making became apparent once again. This workshop got me back on track and before I had known it, I quit because working at this place wasn’t a goal I was wanting as it wasn’t on my goals list of life’s achievements.
I realized that if I am struggling, it can only be me that makes the changes to put my life into a different direction. Hard decisions, self sacrifice and determination are the only things that can get you through.
In the early 2000’s, I was heavily addicted to chat websites. I would spend every waking moment on a chat site. In retrospect, complete waste of time but it was my go to back then. It’s part of my life that I cannot deny.
Remember MSN, I had like 100 friends and gawd forbid there would be 3 friends on at the same time. Bouncing between conversations keeping up. I’m not a great multi tasker. If I am chatting with one person, I couldn’t manage a 2nd or 3rd very well without being detected. Personally, I hate when the time is divided up between people as you wait forever for a response.
For most of my Facebook life, the Facebook Chat has been around. Knowing that I have a lot of acquaintances on Facebook, I have the chat turned off. I know I cannot manage to balance myself properly with so many people wanting to chat with me. So I rely heavily on email today so I can prioritize myself
Today, I am addicted to Facebook but also the community in which our team has built. The Crochet Crowd is my go to when I’m having a hard day to see others’ creativity. I have a sense of feeling better when I compliment others. It gives me joy to extend gratitude to others when I am not feeling great myself.
Changing the Rules
Over the years, I have seen people I know still in the same relationships, still working at the same jobs and still battling the same issues. There almost seems to be comfort in being into a broken situation verses having the desire to make drastic changes.
I’ve seen others make a drastic decision and then start heading out but end up U turning back into the situation as they got nervous or decided the new path wasn’t for them. Only to end up back where they started with the cycle repeating itself.
While others made a change, set their path and didn’t backward. Their lives are completely transformed into something completely different. People in their past may be left behind and these people are in a much better space in life and in their own heads.
My favourite saying of all time is, “Without Traction, There’s No Reaction!”. Which means that if you want something, you need to put down the traction to cause the reaction. For example, if you want your car to go, you need to have the wheels turn on the pavement which causes the reaction to move forward. Same thing exists with life.
Choose Who You Surround Yourself With
If you decide to surround yourself with negative people who are holding your collar around your neck, you are not going to go anywhere. You get stuck being in a viscious cycle of being negative. If you are negative, you will attract negative people into your life.
Making new friends isn’t easy. However, this is where the traction needs to be put down to cause a reaction. Find ways to meet new people such as joining groups, charity and other events where people come together on their own free will. Your next best friend may be waiting for you but you aren’t putting yourself into the path to make it happen.
Stop Blaming The Past… Be Accountable to the Now
While it’s easy to blame our past for the way we are. Yes… High School was horrible and has damaged me… I have to let that go and move forward. I had to put my goals in front of me to keep me looking forward. When you have something to look forward to, even the most mundane things, it can distract you from your past to create a new path for you.
Today, The Crochet Crowd is here because of my past. It’s here because creating a community that was connected was a dream for change instead of wallowing in my home feeling lonely and non-connective with society. The crochet side of the community wasn’t planned for me but was the direct result.
Be Accountable For the Energy You Project
Be the energy you want to attract back to you. For the most part, I made a conscious decision in 2009 to keep our Facebook primarily focused on the positive. Life around me may be falling apart and though I don’t want to live with rose coloured glasses on. If I project my frustration, anger and hurt as often as I feel it, I will attract it. I will also turn off others who don’t want to read about that sort of thing at the same time. For myself, I tend to avoid negative people because I know I will fall into the trap of being negative myself.
I found with myself, by consciously focusing on the positive and having gratitude, it comes back to me 10 fold which helps me greater than focusing on the negative feelings I may have had.
I’m Not An Expert
I have used the above to help me in life. I’ve had to learn to be grateful for what I have received and not continually hold out my hand to keep asking for things that are missing. I’ve had to look for opportunity when opportunity wasn’t in front of me. I’ve had to change my path as the path I was going wasn’t where I wanted to be. Why would I continue down the road when the next exit may be just what I needed?
I have learned it’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them. It doesn’t make me weak, it makes me human. As kids, we learn before we attempt it that fire is hot. As kids, we have a need to test it… burn ourselves and then agree the fire is hot. I’ve learned that I learn and grow through errors.
At the end of the day, when I figure out life, I’ll be sure to let you know. I doubt that will ever happen. I’m still navigating my way through and will never have things figured out. And you know what… I’m okay with that. I’ve learned that being perfect or having a perfect life doesn’t exist. We strive to have things being to perfection but it goes back to my list of goals, it’s wishful thinking. Live for the now, learn for the tomorrow and be the best that you can be.