The hardest part of recovery has been learning to be patient with myself.
It’s been over eight months since I was in the hospital, and I still feel far away from what I once considered normal. There are days where it’s hard to do even the most basic actions. Brushing my teeth, eating, even drinking water is a struggle during that time. I still have nightmares more often than not. And writing–my poor writing!–sits off to the side collecting dust. These days are less and less than they were, but they still happen. It’s horrible. I hate it.
My therapist has explained to me time and time again that this is part of the recovery process. Recovery isn’t a straight, narrow road that you can just speed down without a single worry about speed traps or other cars trying to merge into you. Recovery means falling down a lot. It means having days where I can’t get out of bed. It means a thousand tiny steps that make me feel like I’ve barely traveled at all. But no matter how little I seem to be moving forward I am moving. Little by little every day is another step towards something resembling normal. I can’t go back to the person I was, but I can build up to someone even better.
The biggest help I’ve had coping with all of this has been my newest hobby: cross stitch. I picked it up at my therapist’s suggestion of finding a new hobby (have I mentioned how much she’s helped me?) that I didn’t have before my hospital stay. If you’ve been following me on any of my social media I’m sure you’re aware that I have fallen in love with cross stitch with the fever that often comes with a new obsession. I’m sure being stuck inside avoiding the chaos outside also helped me embracing the new hobby but there you go.
There’s a lot of reasons why I’ve taken to cross stitch so much. For one, it’s relaxing. A simple motion done over and over and over again. Anyone who has seen me knit knows damn well if there’s one thing I love it’s mindlessly moving my hands while my attention is occupied elsewhere. This has the added bonus of that I need to pay a bit more attention than when I knit, which makes it impossible for me to say…check the news over and over again and working up my anxiety something awful.
But it’s more than that. The progress I make when I cross stitch is clear as day. Even if I make a single stitch in a day that’s still one very bright and obvious little X standing out in a field of plain white cloth. I can run my fingers over my creations and feel every single bump and ridge on what was once flat and barren. Every piece I finish I can look up at pride and say yes, I made this, I’m real, I exist. It’s such a small thing, but it helps me more than mere words could describe.
I’m also only making Good Omens cross stitch patterns because
1) I love Good Omens
2) There is a shocking number of Good Omens cross stitch patterns
3) I love Good Omens
I’ve also made a bunch of cross stitch patterns which you can find here for free because it’s physically impossible not to go all-in when I pick up a new hobby.
I’m happy to say that today is one of my good days. I’ve had a full lunch, a delicious cup of homemade sweet tea (proper southern style) and going to do my laundry after I post this. When all that is said and done I’ll have my current cross stitch project waiting for me to work on. And I know even if I only make a single stitch that will be one more small step towards a completed work of art.