My Cross Stitching Story

Hello, my name is even-star and this is my story.

In 2003 I was diagnosed with a severe form of depression and anxiety disorder. Something I had been struggling with my entire life. In 2003 the condition escalated to the point where I was in a very dark place.

It took a long time to recover from this episode and I can credit only three things for the fact that I am still here today: my and supportive family who knew I was in trouble before I did, running and walking in the great outdoors, and cross stitch.

At the time I was diagnosed a friend of mine in Canada sent me a cross stitch kit. I had never done cross stitch before and I wasn't sure what to make of it. It was easy enough to figure out on my own and didn't seem to require any very special skills or equipment. And it saved my life.

Counting all those stitches gave my brain something to focus on other than the crushing anxiety and negative thought spirals that nearly overwhelmed me past the point of no return.

Once I finished that kit I wanted to start my next project as soon as possible. I bought magazines and sifted through the shelves of thrift stores and charity shops for pattern books. The magazines were expensive and neither the magazines nor the pattern books had much that really appealed to me or my personality or where I was in life.

So I started to design my own. Just on graph paper to start with. Later on the internet furnished me with a variety of free software to develop my design skills. I found some communities on Flickr (well it was 2003!) filled with people who were designing their own charts because the market simply did not cater for them.

It took five long years for me to recover and get back to a place where I was able to manage my depression and anxiety without the help of doctors or medication.

In 2010 I started Hancock's House of Happy. I had all these cross stitch charts that people seemed to like. And I thought if cross stitch could save my life maybe there is even just one life out there it could save. It seemed like the right thing to do to share my charts for free in the hopes that someone else who was struggling with anxiety and depression (or any other hardship) would find them and discover the power cross stitch has to heal.

This is why, even though I had been asked many times, I didn't sell my charts on etsy or in other market places.

It was in 2016 that things changed again for me. I found myself in a very senior position at a big corporate with a very toxic work environment. It completely sucked any creativity and energy I had right out of me. I stopped making cross stitch charts and stitching and loads of other things that I used to enjoy.

Late in 2018 it finally became clear to me that I could not continue in that life. It was slowly destroying me. Yes I had money but I did not have happiness and I had stopped being able to make others happy and help them by giving them access to cross stitch charts for free.

In 2019 I quit my job and now I would like to see if I can make ends meet by giving back to people what cross stitch gave to me: a place to heal and find happiness. So instead of just trying to sell my charts out right, I want to create a community of subscribers and reward them with exclusive content and other happy things. They will know that their support is helping other people discover the healing power of cross stitch and raising awareness for mental health equality.

You are not alone

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