I have has this post sitting in my drafts for months, mostly written but never posted. While the title is an amusing statement said by many sewists, for me it actually covers a semi-heavier topic.
I have generalized anxiety disorder, with a strong lean towards social anxiety disorder (or perhaps the other way around if I’m being completely honest; I become a nervous wreck anticipating social situations and things that often seem like nothing to other people – like calling a hair salon to make an appointment – are things that I have a lot of trouble doing). This is something I lived with for most of my life without knowing it. It’s really hard for me to interact with new people, especially in a situation that my anxiously-wired brain deems unsafe.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying here that sewing is a replacement for therapy if that’s something that you need. I have talked to an actual professional therapist about these things. Once I understood what was going on with my brain, it became much easier to control on my own. I’ve always been a relatively fast learner and after months of talking to a therapist, I was going broke and I felt like she was starting to cause more problems than she was fixing.
The greatest cure for my anxiety, I have learned, is not to focus on it. When I’m feeling anxious or stressed the best remedy is giving my brain something else to focus on. Sewing is amazing for this. I have to think about what I’m doing, and pay attention to the fabric and the tools, and before I know it, I don’t even remember what was worrying me anymore.
Instagram and this blog help, believe it or not. The crutch of having a screen between myself and my followers works and allows me, somehow, to be able to share with others more freely. I believe this has something to do with not being able to literally see people’s reactions to what I’m doing or saying. I can’t see any facial expressions that I might misinterpret and I can’t hear you say anything if it’s being said. It also helps that the sewing community on Instagram is one of the most supportive groups of people I have ever come across.
I am not saying any of this to discount therapy (nor do I discount the possibility of seeing one again if it’s something that I need to do). Without a therapist I never would have understood what was going on with me, and I wouldn’t have the tools that I use now to keep this anxiety under control 98% of the time. However, having a creative outlet works wonders for my brain. It takes all the unnecessary worry out of mind and forces it to find something else to do with itself.
So, it is true: sewing IS cheaper than therapy. Although… after all the fabric purchases, maybe not!