I’ve been doing some knitting this week. I used to knit a lot, but when my depression got bad, I just didn’t feel the urge. I was looking for something to do to help “decompress” after work, to make a space to transition from my work world to my home world. It’s soothing; the repetitive nature of it smooths out my anxiety (which hits, like clockwork, each day around 4pm) and allows me some quiet time to move into the next phase of the day.
Knitting is interesting. One string can be pulled and pushed around and through itself to become a fabric of your choosing. You are the one in control, and have the final say in what that string ultimately becomes. There is a certainty to it that I find comforting.
In a way, knitting parallels life—you are the master, sort of. Any number of things can go wrong, and you have to figure out how to fix it, how to live with it, or just completely unravel the whole thing and start again.
Dropping a stitch sucks. If you drop a stitch, there’s a chain reaction, and all the stitches below that one will unravel. One careless moment, and you’re left holding this thing in your hands and wondering how the hell you got into this mess.
Oh, how I know this feeling…
You can fix it, if you want to. You can follow the trail of dropped stitches to the beginning, and carefully put those stitches back where they belong. It’s tiresome and easy to screw up, but you can do it. Or you can learn to live with the hole. It all depends on when you notice your error, and how much it means to you to get it right.
I started doing EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) a couple of weeks ago.
The first session, we set up an outline for the process, which basically means going through a bunch of questions with the therapist and detailing the instances of trauma I remembered, and what I felt when thinking about those episodes. So, pretty much 90 minutes of crying. Not pretty crying either—snot-nosed,swollen-eyed sobbing. When we were done, I felt like a wet dishrag hanging over the side of the sink. Wrung out and exhausted.
The second session, you begin the reprocessing. You start going through those traumatic experiences, while “reprogramming” your brain using bilateral stimulation. You begin to quiet those feelings of terror and shame and anger. You reprocess that information so it doesn’t hurt anymore; your memories are just memories, instead of land mines on a hair-trigger.
It’s kind of magical, actually.
I certainly didn’t think that I would lose the damaging feelings that I had about those traumas, but I did. So now I’m trying to pick up my dropped stitches, patiently pulling the loops up and putting them where they belong again. It’s slow, and frustrating, but I don’t really have the option of unraveling and starting over. I can pick up the stitches, or I can learn to live with the gaping hole.