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Crocheting through Fibromyalgia

For those that don’t know what fibromyalgia is, you can read more about it here. I don’t want to spend the time to explain ‘fibro’, because this is not what this blog is about. The thing is, when you hear about fibro, like the Lyrica advert that airs here in the U.S., you only hear about the pain that goes with it. There is so much more that goes with it. Like brain fog.

I wish that brain fog was talked about more. It can be more debilitating than pain. There is a running joke that I need an adult to go out in public. I’ve gotten lost going to the grocery store before…and I have lived in this area for years and shopped at the same store for years. Talk about feeling stupid.

Anyway, there has been some research that has gone into how crochet and other repetitive crafting helps keep relieve depression and anxiety, how it can postpone cognitive impairment – such as dementia and Alzheimer’s – as you age, how it can help you deal with chronic illness, and how it can help with insomnia. The soothing repetitive act of crocheting is a bit part of this.

This all may be true, but crocheting while in the midst of a full blown fibromyalgia flare is no easy feat because you have to work through the brain fog. There is a reason it’s called brain fog. Have you ever gotten up and looked out the window to find heavy morning fog that makes it difficult to see anything from your front window? Now imagine that same kind of thick fog covering your thoughts and you have to pick them out of it.

I have two projects in the works that are going to take me while to get done. They both involve sewing pixel squares together to make afghans. These are small granny squares that are about 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches.

These are squares from the two projects. The grey one has been blocked and the right one hasn’t. As a side note, the colour of that pink square isn’t off because of my crappy picture. The entire skein of yarn is like that. I think it was the end of that dye lot. It actually doesn’t matter that it’s like this for the project I’m doing, but I thought it was odd. I’ve never gotten a skein of yarn like that before. The others that I bought at the same time have consistent colour as they should.

This is really a simple enough pattern, and when you have 200+ of these little squares to make, it’s pretty repetitive. Here’s the thing. While working on the first of the pink ones, I kept forgetting what I was doing, despite having made a good number of the grey ones. I tore it out at least 10 times. I honestly felt like I had never crocheted before. It was quite frustrating. It took me well over a half hour to put one square together.

What’s even worse, is I didn’t make the squares the same as the grey ones. I noticed this yesterday and my ever supportive friend who is getting one of the finished afghans had a good laugh over it all. Meanwhile I was sitting here wondering how in the world I managed to make two completely different squares. Obviously I mess one of them up. That was the only explanation I had.

I went looking for the pattern I was using to verify which was right. The only pattern for pixel squares I have saved on Pintrest is the one from Repeat Crafter Me. This is most definitely the pink square. A quick Google search produced a second pattern from Geek With a Hook. This is a website that I don’t recall every being on, but this is the pattern used for the grey square.

This is crocheting with fibromyalgia. Using two different patterns to make the same thing, and not even remember that one of the two patterns exists. Forgetting how to do something basic that you have done over and over and over. Messing up the simple and having to start over…several times.  Doing anything – even the simplest thing that you have done a million times – with fibromyalgia can be frustrating on the worst of days. “One hour” crochet patterns are never one hour for me. They take at least twice that amount of time.Hobbies are supposed to be enjoyable. Sometimes I find it amazing I get any projects done.

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