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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Childhood Trauma, Vulnerability and Where Knitting Comes In

Where you can find me:
Instagram: Tangledmania
Ravelry: Tangledmania
Ravelry Group: Tangledmania
Facebook Group: Tangledmania Blog

I wanted to write a mid-week blog post and for the past few weeks I have been toeing the line, in my head, about posting more heavily on mental health and depression. This is hard because of my history and uncertainty. How personal should I get? I showed my mother my Youtube video back in November and she said I got too personal, so that should tell you something about how hard this can be. It’s hard to be vulnerable, but I know I’m not alone in these feelings so this blog post is about two topics: the ACES test, and a TEDtalk on Vulnerability.

These two are so fantastically useful that I had to talk about it. So take a moment and go take the ACES test and come back. Or just read on. :D The ACEs test is a short test of just 10 questions, which ask about events that occur before the age of 18, when we are at our most vulnerable. They address physical, sexual and emotional abuse as well as neglect. I won’t get into the details, but I have a score of 5, which is considered very high. And it is part of the reason why I’m so passionate about talking about, even though it’s very hard to talk about it.

This is where the TEDtalk comes in.

Vulnerability in the United States is very hard, because of the opinion that everyone should “pull up themselves by their bootstraps” and “buck up”. It is also a big reason why we suffer from debt, food addictions, alcohol/drug addictions, and over-medication; which numbs all feelings, not just the ones we’re aiming to numb such as fear and shame.

How are these connected?

If you go through a chaotic childhood with very little parental (or any adult) unconditional support and love, and a great many of us have, than we almost constantly feel fear and shame. Those experiences can make it hard for us to form friendships due to withdrawing in fear that we are not good enough (shame) and making a connection when we did not have healthy connections that were not betrayed as a child can be very difficult. So having courage to be vulnerable can be very hard to not just have initially in a relationship, but to hold on too throughout the relationship.

The goal is to try and have as much compassion for ourselves as possible, even though we may not have learned to love ourselves through example on a consistent basis. It is so easy to be bitter out of desperation and depressed out of loneliness but the first person that we never learned to love was ourselves because no one showed us that we are worth loving unconditionally.

As adults, we may keep looking for that magical soul mate that will heal us and make us whole, but what we are really looking for is ourselves. If we do not learn to love ourselves, that person that could have been a great match and would have been a great love, may get tired of chasing us and convincing us that we are worth loving.

Maybe you’re wondering why I’m writing so heavily on this, and less so on knitting today. But knitting is a type of self-care because it promotes a meditational state that encourages breathing, accomplishment and the ability to make something that is comfy and loving. Knitting is also self-protective, as in some circumstances it can be a shield and a comfortable and safe way to start a conversation. When knitting, you can relax enough to face emotions that you would otherwise be afraid to face.

Knitting also makes us vulnerable because we are putting work into something we're creating and risking insults or put-downs on what we do from family, friends or even strangers.

I knit every day at work during my lunch half hour. I go into the bathroom and sit on the comfy couch (it really is comfy) and knit for 30 minutes. Women through and glance at my knitting, some with disdain, and some with interest. But I still do it every single day. So put yourself out there and show the world that knitting is making a comeback. But also make it possible for someone to be interested in what you are doing. The folks who are disdainful have their own issues that transcend our own haha.

If you want to comment on this post, please feel free to go to the facebook page linked above and comment!

Be well!