Her struggle with anxiety and depression was ruining her life, but she found a way to control it.
“I guess it sounds weird to say crocheting saved my life,” Erin Carol said, wringing her hands. She had been dealing with anxiety most of her life and says to have been on more medication than she can remember. “The pills don’t really help, you know? Sure, I guess they must help some people, but not me,” she added.
Ms. Carol sat in a large room full of yarns, canvases as well as a vast collection paints and needles, obviously uncomfortable. “It’s not that I don’t want to do this, I do. I want people to know they can work out their issues,” Erin said.
With a deep breath, she explained the source of her anxiety and depression. Erin was the youngest of four sister’s, her parents had split up their violent relationship leaving Erin’s Mom to raise the girls alone. “It’s not that my Mom didn’t care, she was busy working and never home. My sisters are a decade older than me. They practically raised me but ended up leaving home by the time I turned 9 years old,” Ms. Carol stated.
Once Erin’s sisters were old enough they moved away, leaving Erin alone most of the time. The family moved around a lot, not staying in the best of places, so it was extremely hard for her to make friends. “I guess I was about 10 years old when I first started acting out. I went big, stealing, fighting, vandalizing and so much more”, Erin said with her face in her hands.
Eventually, Erin’s Mom had no choice but to keep Erin at work with her after school. With her Father out of the picture, she was pretty desperate for a male role model. Ms. Carol said she made friends with her mother’s boss. “He was like a big kid, you know? He was everything I really wanted at the time. Someone to play with. Kind of be my dad,” Erin said, this time taking a long pause.
It happened slowly, her Mother’s boss played strange games, like ‘horsey’ but instead, he bounced her in his lap. “Looking back, I know he was trying to figure out how far he could go without scaring me”, She said. Ms. Carol said the abuse happened about a month later. Her Mother’s boss told Erin that if she told anyone he would fire her Mother. Afraid her mother would be angry she kept it a secret for years.
Rather than return to her mothers work, Erin did her best to stay out of trouble and stay at friend’s houses, instead. Around that time her father came back into her life, still violent and always drunk. “That’s really when it started. It sounds weird but rather than act out again I drown myself in activities to keep busy and to not go home,” she exclaimed.
How she learned to cope.
The young woman didn’t know how to sit still and it reflected in her home. It was filled unfinished projects. She felt the unfinished projects didn’t keep her busy enough. “I needed to keep my hands busy” Ms. Carol explained. So she introduced herself to crocheting and knitting. She is self-taught and says she learned new patterns on YouTube. “At first all I could figure out was the granny square. It never dawned on me to check online for help”, Erin said while picking up a needle and blue yarn. Almost instantly you could tell it made her calmer, as she had stopped slouching and wringing her hands. she smiled nervously.
To Erin’s delight, not only did crocheting help to take her mind off of her own anxieties but it helped her focus on tasks at hand. She learned that she could crochet and still take an imortant phone call or while watching T.V. It’s something her family has learned to accept as Erin’s way of coping with her anxiety disorder.
A truly inspirational woman.
Erin Carol, a young woman in her 30’s, still struggles to be around other people but has found a hobby that brings her peace. Erin has found friends in the same interest who talk online in FaceBook groups. Despite her fears, she wanted to share her story to help others who may be struggling. She hopes her story will inspire others to find what makes them happy.
“I just want to let people know there is hope for severe anxiety and post-traumatic stress, even depression. You just have to keep looking,” Ms. Carol said.
Erin has found friends in the same interest who talk online in FaceBook groups. Despite her fears, she wanted to share her story to help others who may be struggling. She hopes her story will inspire others to find what makes them happy.