Saturday, January 28, 2017

How Quilting Saved My Life

Coping skills have never been my strong suit. I'm not sure I ever had them until recently. I work diligently to be self-aware, to let go of the negative thoughts that invade my mind consistently throughout the day, to breathe through the anxiety rather than let it overcome me. It is exhausting work, but the gift of life is worth the effort. However, the best coping skill I have adapted into my routine is quilting.

I have always been a creative type. Acting, singing, piano, guitar, writing... these are just a few outlet I've had throughout my life, but nothing compares to quilting. 

My mamaw has quilted her entire life. Her involvement came from necessity, but as time went on, it became a hobby. Her quilts are beautiful. Her stitches small and tight. She has made quilts for almost every member of our family, and our family is quite large. I received a gorgeous quilt from her for my 16th birthday. It is rarely used because I do not want it to get ruined. It's a keepsake to me. A treasure that hopefully will be passed down for generations. 

Now, I quilt. It isn't out of necessity for warmth. I have collected plenty of quilts throughout the years between those made for me by my mamaw and my mom. No, for me, it is out of necessity for sanity. 

Quilting keeps me occupied. It allows my mind to shut down the anxiety and depression and 100 thoughts per minute that plague my life daily. It is an outlet I can pour myself into without regret. Plus, I hand quilt. My mom has a machine capable of quilting. She prefers to machine quilt. I do not. I guess I get it from my mamaw. Hand quilting means it takes longer to finish a project, but it also means more down time for my anxiety. I pour myself into these quilts 100% once I get started. Most people I know who quilt prefer to make the quilt tops. That part is actually my least favorite. Cutting all the pieces and sewing them together, which I actually do on machine, is fun but I really get in the zone when I have the quilt basted and in the frame. Turn on some music or Netflix and just run stitches. 

I guess what I am getting at is if you a struggling, find an outlet. Find something that occupies your time and your mind. Something that will help you tune out the wreckage your illness is trying to cause. 

Below are pictures of two projects. One i have finished. The other is now in the frame being quilted. I have even started cutting squares for a new one. 

Peace, Love, & Creativity!

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