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Confessions of A Quilt-aholic: Sewing Through Depression

25 Jul

I have a confession: I have depression.

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I was diagnosed with depression about 2 years ago, and up until last year I never really had anything that made me very happy. That was the case until I found quilting. I think there is something therapeutic about watching the sewing needle pierce fabric thousands of times, and not to mention beating down corner seams with a mallet to get them to lie flat. I find the entire project therapeutic. I get to watch something I make go from a pile of fabric to a gorgeous quilt. I think each step of the process really helps me get out of a slump, and even pushes me towards being happier in general. That’s actually part of the reason I started this blog.

First, I get to pick out fabric, and I mean, come on now, who doesn’t love petting fabric and dealing with color ways. I get to go through my stash and pick out some fabrics I like and just kind of stare at them, and pet them, and just play around with them. I’m kind of like a kid in a candy store when it comes to fabrics. Then I get to plan out a design, and since math is one of my favorite things in the world I take great pleasure in it. It’s really nice, because while designing a quilt I get to problem solve and I’m not going to lie, it makes me feel rather self-important to be able to do that.  Once all of the technical stuff is done, I can focus on construction.

Constructing a quilt is one of the most rewarding tasks in the world, or at least I think it is. The feeling I get watching a project go from nothing to something is like a high. It’s a feeling of accomplishment that just can’t quite be duplicated. It’s how an architect feels when the build out his plans, only I get to do all of the parts of the project. Sometimes I even dye my own cloth for things just so I can say I had that much larger of a part in it.  It’s very easy when you get a slump to stay there and just feel sorry for yourself, but quilting really helped me with that. It’s like a form of art that game me purpose. I wake up every morning excited to quilt, and excited to blog and show off my work and talk about it online and get feedback. It kind of makes me feel like I’m never alone.

If I get stuck on a project, there is an entire online community that I can ask! Sometimes it’s just asking what kind of border should I put on something, to what colors should this be, or how can I sew this faster. There is such a great amount of comradery that I feel within the quilting community. Don’t get me wrong, I still do get some hate mail, and for some reason it is mostly from older women, but I really pay it no attention, and I get way more positive feedback from everyone anyways. So, yeah, I just wanted to let people know that sewing and quilting really did help me with my depression, and I recommend it for anyone who has similar problems.

 

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20 Responses to “Confessions of A Quilt-aholic: Sewing Through Depression”

  1. TruDee July 25, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    What a fantastic solution! I have to tell you, this blog is so encouraging to me personally, because I have in my head that I have to be in the mood to quilt, and I haven’t done much of it for the past three years, mainly due to space issues, but that may be just an excuse. Mostly I just haven’t been in the mood. Thanks to you, I’m willing to now try to “fake it till I feel it” and dive back in. Bless you! (And I love seeing your projects posted. You’re not only imaginative, you’re prolific as well!)

    • Eric The Quilter July 25, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

      Thank you very much. If I can motivate one person I feel like it’s a job well done.

  2. stitchsewquilter July 25, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    I find quilting has a similarly therapeutic effect for Generalised Anxiety Disorder.

  3. Kathy July 25, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    I agree. I have major anxiety and when I am busy quilting I forget about everything else and just focus on sewing straight lines! I also enjoy the math too.

  4. Barbara Sindlinger July 25, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

    That’s why they call it quilt therapy! Glad you found something that makes you happy.

  5. Donna July 25, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    My favorite saying is that sewing is my sanity.

  6. Elizabeth July 25, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    Eric, Job well done. I’ve been going threw a rought two years with a work accident and in the mean time i have been diagnoised with Depression. I am very new at sewing. But i am trying to make this quilt so my mind is not sitting around thinking. So yes you have accompished helping out one person. Thanks for the help.
    God Bless Elizabeth

  7. Jen July 25, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    Eric, I wish you all the best! Keep up your creativity! I am a middle school reading teacher and I understand all too well about depression, especially when it is brought about by a poor working environment. But, after a long and stressful week, even though I am mentally and physically exhausted, I feel good because I know I get to go home and quilt on the weekend!

  8. Elaine July 25, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

    How authentic to share this! I’m sure many of us use our hobby as therapy. My grandmother quilted and my mother and I sewed but didn’t take up quilting until after her death. The year my mother died, in August, I went home and sat down at my machine and made 5 quilts as gifts for Christmas while working full time! I just had to quilt through my grief and it brought me closer to her. My son would come over and catch me in my pajamas at 5:00 pm on Sat knowing I hadn’t gotten dressed all day, and suggested I call QA – Quilters Anonymous! Thank you for sharing and reminding us all of the times we lean on it for the control we don’t have in the rest of our lives, 🙂

  9. Ronson Dalby July 26, 2013 at 12:10 am #

    I have just started quilting at a late age and I hope I too can get some relief from the chronic depression and anxiety I’ve had most of my life. I spend hours in the fabric store looking and touching – I just love it. Despite being a beginner of only a month’s standing, I’ve already begun to accumulate a nice stash. 🙂

  10. latejanita July 26, 2013 at 5:23 am #

    I absolutely agree with your post! I work 12 hour to 16 hours shifts in a very high stress environment, and coming home for one of my long weekends, there’s nothing better than picking up my current w.i.p. and quilting away! Definitely therapy in my book!

  11. val Robinson July 26, 2013 at 5:26 am #

    I am in a sewing group and we are lucky to have Eric drop in and show work in progress as well as finished projects. Way to go Eric its a pleasure seeing not only your text but your photo’s too x

  12. aprilsewingjournal July 26, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    Hi, Eric! Nice post. I have anxiety and sewing is part of my self care: among other things- exercise, sleep, eating right etc. Take care of yourself.

  13. Melissa Evans July 26, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    I to suffer with depression sever anxiety, and bipolar panic attacks. Often at time very hard on myself! One thing with sewing and quilting, I actually feel good about something I have done. I am self taught by watching video’s and reading many blogs. I so do appreciate the time people take within the sewing and quilting world that give and show Free how to’s……I am a visual learner and could not learn just by reading alone, believe me I have tried it in the past and It was not good :(…now I am addicted to the fabric and the sound of my machine 🙂

  14. Ruthann July 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    You have expressed so well all the feelings I have when quilting. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Denise July 26, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    I have had depression for over 10 years. Being creative in any way is my refuge

  16. Mandylockey July 27, 2013 at 12:38 am #

    Thank you for sharing that Eric, I too suffer from depression and have recently found sewing as an out let, I found your post very helpful and your quilts inspiring, than you for shareing

  17. Sarah July 30, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    Eric, I’ve been lurking around your blog for awhile now. This is my first time commenting. I, too, have depression and find that quilting helps. I think there is something very meditative and calming about the rhythm and repetition of sewing. I can sit down to my quilting in a terrible state and within an hour, be right as rain. I’m glad you’ve found this outlet!

  18. Klue August 1, 2013 at 1:14 am #

    thank you for sharing your story. i have depression and PTSD after the death of our daughter. quilting has been my only outlet for the pain and grief i am dealing with – when i’m quilting i can’t think of anything else except doing my best at making the quilt.

  19. Jan August 2, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    I also use quilting to “recharge my soul” as I put it. I am so glad you have found an outlet for your depression and an ability to create things that are healing.

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