Hi all. This isn’t really related to Seeing Double, so if you’re not interested in my personal life just scroll up or down for more articles about autism. If you are interested, I want to talk to you a bit about my Etsy store. I’ve always found arts and crafts to be relaxing and therapeutic, especially where my autism/mental health is concerned. During the year of my breakdown I became obsessed with making sock monsters (small cuddly toys made from socks). I was unable to leave the house for very long because of my health, so I’d sometimes make as many as 5 or 6 a day. It kept me… well, sane isn’t quite the right word, but without this distraction my mental health would have been a lot worse. Eventually my bedroom was full of sock monsters, so I created an Etsy store where I could sell them online. Several people had bullied me into it, insisting that they would pay good money for my crafts. Of course (with the exception of a couple of family friends) nobody did. Eventually the sock monsters came off Etsy and I donated them to my Mum’s charity store, where they actually sold out pretty quickly. My mental health improved, and I was able to get back to a relatively normal life instead of just hiding in my room sewing. The Etsy store still came in handy though, as I eventually used it to sell copies of my book Seeing Double: The Poetry of Autism and the audio book version. There are plenty of copies available, which you can buy here:
Hand bound/hand decorated book:
Those of you who’ve already bought The Poetry of Autism and were wondering why my Etsy store is called HandmadeSockmonsters when it contains no sock monsters… well now you know. Although I do less sewing now, crafts are still really important to me in helping maintain my overall health. In the past year I’ve got quite into jewellery making. It helps me relax in the evenings, as I find it difficult to sit still in front of the television after work unless I have a substantial amount of wine in me. People often use the expression ‘switch off’ when they come in from work to relax. If only it was as easy as flicking a switch! Making jewellery keeps my hands busy, enabling the rest of me to sit still and focus on tv. Recently I’ve put some of my jewellery on Etsy, including the pendant pictured above, which you can buy here:
I would recommend arts and crafts (or if you want to get technical, art therapy) to anyone with autism or mental health difficulties. The jewellery making has been good for my autism because it’s improved my fine motor skills and helped me sit still and focus. It’s been good for my mental health because… well, I enjoy it, and the end result is something that I can ware in public and feel proud of. It would be great if you could show support for me by sharing my blog/Etsy store or buying one of my necklaces. But it would be even better if I could encourage you to try some arts therapy for yourself.