Karen tells us how craft helped her when she became ill and about the community she has set up to help others in a similar position to herself.
In 2011 I was perfectly healthy going about my workaholic lifestyle when BOOM! – I started fainting up to 10 times a day and my bed became my best friend. A year later I was diagnosed with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) a rare condition affecting the blood vessels and heart rate. There’s no cure, but reaching out to others with the same condition has been a huge help in learning to live with it. 3 years later I was told my POTS was caused by EDS (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) a connective tissue disorder affecting the skin, cartilage, ligaments and blood vessels – everything that holds us together! I also have some bonus conditions: Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME, Raynaud’s Disease, Chronic Pain Syndrome, Migraines and Asthma. Life has been tough, but I’ve met some wonderfully strong friends who also live with chronic illnesses.
After becoming Chronically Ill in 2011 almost overnight, I found my way to various support networks. I noticed we all shared the same sense of loss, we’d lost friends (because not many stick around when you have to let people down at the last minute), some of us had lost jobs (due to being unreliable) and the biggest thing that hurt deep into my soul was the overwhelming loss of purpose, we all felt useless. I desperately wanted to make that better. So in 2011 the idea was born to create a community for everyone to showcase their talents in one place and give people a way of creating their own businesses. It was also a way for me to feel useful again, by using my skills to help others. Conscious Crafties is about empowering us all to be successful, tell our stories and meet new like-minded friends who understand our struggles. I’m also hoping it plays a key part in changing the way disabled and sick people are viewed by the world. We can still contribute and are incredibly talented!!
We have over 100 ‘Crafties’ with 150 on the waiting list wanting to have a shop on the site, mainly UK and US currently. I’m overwhelmed at the response to this little idea.
When asking the SewandSo community about their experiences with craft and mental health Conscious Crafties came up time and time again. We think it is an amazing thing that Karen is doing and wish her and all the Crafties the very best. You can follow Conscious Crafties on Facebook & Twitter.