The first stitch…

18th May 2014

Well, this is very exciting for me having never ‘blogged’ before! However, no time like the present, and what a better reason to blog than to track the outcomes, adventures and obstacles of an ‘anti stigma’ project which i am excited to pilot.

I am on my very own journey through a mental health condition, anorexia nervosa/depression, due to this, raising awareness and fighting the unfortunate stigma that surrounds mental health conditions/treatment, is very ‘close to my heart’ (and my head!)

On a personal note, i have been affected by mental health issues for over a decade now, and sadly despite many admissions to hospital/treatments/motivations to recover, i am still very much on a journey to, hopefully, a life without my disorder. Again, no time like the present eh! As the Lao-tzu saying goes…”A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

It was actually during a recent admission to hospital that I started cross stitching again (distraction is the key to survival in hospitals for me, and cross stitching is certainly something i can get ‘lost in’ for hours). In the magazine i was using for my cross stitch pattern i stumbled across an interesting cross stitch project which involved creating a giant cross stitch of a popular TV series, think Bayeux Tapestry meets marvel comics and you’re on the right lines…This intrigued and interested me, aswell as sparking an idea that ‘This has big potential’ and so the ‘stitching out stigma’ project proposal began…

I am always keen to volunteer, raise awareness or contribute ideas/time/creativity to worthy causes, and mental health is one high on my ‘list’! I find having a project helps my mental health and hopefully helps others too, whether this is true or not proven, but it keeps me busy and boosts me, so i’m not questioning it too much!!

I wasn’t sure of the ‘nitty gritty’ of how the project could work (infact a week later i still am unsure of it! But, like mental health issues perhaps, good things come to those who wait/in time…or perhaps in my case i’m led to believe…good things come to those who (reach a healthy) weight…

I put the idea out in a private message on facebook to a select few fabulous friends, all whom i know have the creative bug and a caring nature….

Hey all.I had an idea I wanted to run past you.its a craft n awareness raising idea inspired by something I read in cross stitch mag n another thing I saw in ‘yours’ mag. Like a bayeux tapestry but every x by x square of cross stitch done by an individual would b representative of their journeys or experience with mental health.it would help people to do it,see it,write about it even and could be displayed somewhere for awareness events maybe? What do people think?” – message sent 11.05.14

I got such amazingly positive feedback from the message, so i decided to start up a ‘group’ on facebook for it and much to my delight it has ‘taken off’ since…BIG STYLE!

The group has over 140 members after just one week, lots of people have taken interest/given greatly positive feedback and offered assistance/ideas, a few organisations have already agreed to support our stitchers and every day new exciting posts/members/developments arise! Its been a lifeline to me, giving me a project to focus on whilst i try and restore some of my health and connecting me with amazing people. Plus, my fantastic sister has been an active admin and artist for it and a lovely lady has kindly agreed to become an admin too after being an absolute angel with launching a website/active involvement on facebook. Its truly heart warming to see the support and involvement and lets hope it continues in the same vein! The more people we can ‘stitch’ in – the better the outcome i think!

People have truly showed dedication, enthusiasm and support and hopefully it will continue and result in a project which will help individuals all over the globe!

I have started this blog because i want to track the developments of the project (from my perspective) and also my own cross stitch panel (which i have yet to start). I also find writing very theraputic, so again, its a selfish ‘self help’ mission too! I hope others will join, not only in the project, but in ‘blogging’ about their journey with the project and recovery and really help make this a stitching success!

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