One of the hard parts about being unable to work at a job is feeling like I’m not doing anything substantial. Sure, I do favors for friends and offer advice online and do other intangible things, but it’s rare for me to do anything I can point to and say “I did that” and be proud of it.
I started knitting as a child. My grandmother made such beautiful things, and she loved knitting so much, that I thought I should try it, too. At the age of 6 I learned the basics. Unfortunately, I never progressed much beyond those basics. Then a few years back a friend taught me to crochet, and I really got the hang of that. Before I knew it, I was making some complex items.
I spend a lot of time sitting on my ass. It’s sort of inevitable when you have chronic fatigue. So while I’m sitting and watching tv, sitting and listening to an audio book, or sitting and talking on the phone, I’m also knitting and crocheting. I always have multiple projects in the works at any given time, and I love creating them. The best part is, I’m making something useful! At the end of each project I have a physical, tangible item that I can say I made, and I can be proud of it. I sell some things and donate others. It feels good to donate hats and scarves to a local homeless shelter and know that I’m helping people.
Last year I taught a friend with chronic illness how to crochet. Like me, she knew how to knit, and wanted to learn something new. Now she feels the same way I do: excited to be able to make something, especially because she can no longer work.
Crocheting and knitting doesn’t solve all of my problems. But it solves one problem. And I’m grateful for that.
What do you do to feel a sense of accomplishment? Please comment below so we can get ideas from each other!
I write. But even that doesn’t give me a great sense of accomplishment because it’s only for me. I used to be so focussed on success and motivating a team of people to results only a few months ago. It’s very hard to renegotiate your terms for success in your own brain isn’t it?
CJ, if you enjoy writing, have you thought about blogging? That way you can share what you write, and maybe get some feedback. Personally, I love getting “likes” and comments from readers! It makes me feel like what I write is actually somewhat useful to people. And yes, it’s very hard to renegotiate your terms for success (what a great way of putting that) but give yourself time. It sounds like you’ve had a lot of changes recently and it can take some time to figure out what works for your new situation. Good luck. I hope you find something that’s just right for you.
Hi! Yes I have a blog already but I must say it’s not like other people’s. I think most people are writing about how it feels to be chronically ill (and there are so many different types) whereas I’m still in the ‘trying things to get better’ phase I think. So it doesn’t get many readers, but that’s ok. I suppose I’m doing it for myself.
Doing it for yourself is good, too! And you don’t have to follow the pack, because I’m sure there are people who are in the same situation as you and love your perspective. I started this blog because I was so sick and tired of seeing “inspirational” disability porn and I wanted to talk about the reality, which is that we’re not all hiking up mountains and “inspiring” people, we’re struggling with fixing meals and taking showers. My audience isn’t huge either, but I do it for myself and for the few who do follow me and I find a lot of pleasure in that. I hope you find similar pleasure in yours!
And as a side note, I don’t think it’s all or none. I write about how CI feels and I also write about trying new things to get better. There are a lot of different topics that intersect.
What a hilarious term – disability porn! I know what you mean though, sometimes the day to day life is where the mountains are, not actually climbing mountains!
Oops, I meant “inspiration porn”!! Same idea 🙂
CJ – Hooray for you, still ‘trying things to get better’! That can feel like a never-ending quest, with lots of baby steps (pluses *and* minuses), but people *are* interested in hearing about *what you try*, and whether or not it made a difference. Keep writing, and they’ll find you!
Zen hugs from Chicago ~K
CJ, Karen makes a good point. People have asked me to write more about what I try, but that’s not my focus. They’re out there, though. It takes a while to build up a readership, but you’ll get there 🙂
Before my shoulders, ellbows and hands decided they didn’t like me much. I knitted all the time especially cardigans and scarves.I also sewed clothes as well as cross stitch, rug making and embroidery. My Gran taught me I keep thinking about learning to crochet but worry my hands wont cooperate.I can still colour, there have been some adult colouring books published that are quite good. I love crosswords, word searches, Sudoku etc. Before I had Sable my Labrador I did jigsaw puzzles. Labradors are very social dogs and either have to help you by sticking their nose into everything or being physically next to you. (she has nosed the laptop a few times whilst I have been writing.) I also read loads and loads. Hugs xx
Aw, I love the image of Sable nosing your laptop (though I’m sure it’s a lot less adorable if you’re trying to type!) If crochet doesn’t work out, I’m sure you’ll find other crafts you can do. Coloring sounds lovely. And puzzles like Sudoku are so great for helping to combat brain fog and keep up cognitive function in general – I should do more of those, too!