WHAT AM I DOING?
I am going to ride my bicycle around the world and meet with as many of the global crochet community as possible.
WHY AM I DOING THIS?
I want to highlight Mental Health. It’s a global issue that is increasing at a staggering rate. Crochet is a wonderful tool for giving the brain a rest from negative thoughts, and regular exercise is also really important for mental health. I find great joy in riding my bicycle.
A Little History
In September 2018, my Mum – now 72, and a smoker since she was 13 - was hospitalised and diagnosed with COPD - Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. She has permanent lung damage.
Seeing my Mum in hospital, wearing a full-faced oxygen mask, forcing oxygen into her lungs because she was unable to breathe by herself, was the catalyst that forced me to look at my own life, and make a LOT of changes. I was faced with not only my Mum’s mortality, but also my own. I had 2 thoughts. One selfish, and one not.
1. “I don’t want to die like that - struggling to breathe because of lung damage from cigarettes”
2. “I don’t want MY children to go through what I am right now”.
So, after 30 years of smoking, I quit on the 1st October 2018! These 2 thoughts, and all the emotions attached to them, are what I held onto every time I felt like a cigarette. Quitting was REALLY hard! After helping my parents for a month, I came home and stopped using Nicotine patches. My mental health took a giant nose-dive. I found that smoking helped me to “hide” from the truth, which was that I was very unhappy with my life……. I saw very clearly how I’d been living my life, and that I was really, really unhappy.
In the 12 months before my Mum was hospitalised, from the time I got out of bed in the morning to the time I went to sleep at night, I lived by 3 C’s. Coffee, Cigarettes, and Crochet. Upon reflection, I can see now that I actually made myself sick. My anxiety and depression were the result of denying to myself that I was very unhappy with my life . I didn’t want to see it, didn’t want to know about it. It wasn’t happening.
I denied the truth, and I coped by “hiding” from it with the 3 C’s. I had shut down emotionally and physically. I was a shell. I wasn’t living, I was just “existing” and now that the main coping C’s was gone (Cigarettes), I couldn’t hide any longer and it hurt. I mean it REALLY HURT!!!!. Once the Nicotine left my system, I was a BIG mess. With the help of a Psychologist and my GP, I was able to recover and make the necessary changes to start “living” again.
Fast forward - The cigarettes are still gone (I will NEVER smoke again!) I still drink coffee but only 1 caffeinated in the mornings and I still crochet. Did you know that the human brain cannot have 2 thoughts at exactly the same time? The concentration and counting are great for giving the mind a break from negative thinking. I now Cycle and LOVE it!