When I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I couldn’t stop asking “why?”. Why did this happen to me? What did I do to cause this disease? What could I have done to prevent it? The truth is, there isn’t a reason. I know that. But four years ago, I needed something tangible to tie my diagnosis to. The year right before my diagnosis, I was busy. Busy with a husband and two young children. Busy working full time in a job that required me to work early in the morning and late into the night. It required weekends and events that had me on my feet for almost 24 hours. In between meetings I would rush home to say goodbye to my daughter as she was getting on the school bus or quickly help with homework. I was exhausted but I never stopped.
I look back on the few months leading to my diagnosis and realize my body was trying, trying so hard, to tell me to slow down. I didn’t listen. Eventually, my body just stopped. I literally could not walk. It took another serious diagnosis (I already have Type 1 Diabetes) to realize that I needed to take care of myself. And that’s where self care comes in.
When I first saw the term self care, I thought it had to be a certain something. It had to be an appointment and it had to cost time and money. Like a spa day. Sure it can be a day getting pampered but that doesn’t fit into my life or budget.
Self care is something you choose to do for your physical, mental and emotional health. One of my favorite things to do for myself is knitting. My Grandmom taught me how to knit when I was a kid and I think of her every time I pick up a pair of needles. I love browsing stores for yarn, I love looking at all of the beautiful colors. There is something so calming about hearing the click of the needles, even when my cat is pawing at the yarn.
My Rheumatoid Arthritis has not always been knitting friendly. There are times when my elbows hurt from holding up the weight of the project I’m working on. But I’ve found ways around my pain. Lately I’ve been working on a patchwork blanket. The squares are simple to knit- garter stitch, nothing fancy. I use thicker yarn and bigger needles which are much gentler on my aching hands. The squares don’t weigh much at all and I get to switch colors continuously which is something I miss when working on one large project.
Working on my patchwork blanket has also made my self care easier to do. I can quickly pull out my project without a lot of supplies or preparation. I’m currently in the stage of sewing all of my squares together and then I’ll curl up in it and watch Netflix, another great way to self care!
My name is Molly, I live with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and I love to knit.