Living with Loss
Survivors of trauma and loss live with their experiences for all of their lives. Long after the flowers have faded, the "if you need anything just ask" offers have stopped and people understandably forget to remember what has happened, survivors are usually just coming to terms with what has happened. Their lives usually look like they have returned to normal, but the memories revisit them, often, and sometimes unexpectedly. When this happens frequently, and when the challenges of everyday life mount up, they can find themselves in a deep pit of darkness and despair.
When you're in that pit, it's so so difficult to find a way out. You might feel able to reach out for help, and it's often given from people you would never imagine! But if that doesn't work out, something has to happen to stop the pit getting deeper.
Helping is Helpful
People who have suffered trauma are often more likely than not to offer help to someone who really needs it. It's a way of coping, to think that despite what you're going through, there is somebody who is worse off than you. It takes the focus away from the internal cycle of misery and forces you to look outside yourself. And it gives you a chance to do something useful, when you truly believe you have nothing more to give to the world.
When I was at an all time low, I found that doing something creative distracted me from my sadness and gave me a time of respite from everything that was going on in my head. I want to offer creative experiences to people who are suffering now, to give them a compassionate place where they can come, not for counselling or formal support, but to do something good for their own head space, while making something practical, beautiful and useful for somebody else who is suffering in a different way.
Healing Through Caring
I can see a project running where people have been bereaved make blankets and scarves for refugees. Perhaps the resettled refugees might make baby blankets for premature babies. Homeless people looking to get a place back in society might make blankets for dog shelters. In making these things, they are proving their worth, doing something useful, and benefitting from the mindful, therapeutic activities we will offer in the workshop.
Kindness is All We Need
It's not about counselling or therapy or offering mental health guidance. We will bring people together in our warm, safe place. When the eyes are downward and the hands are busy, people are often able to open up about how they are feeling, in a way that they struggle to do when having to sit face to face, making direct eye contact with a stranger. If it feels appropriate, we can signpost people to organisations who might be able to offer specialist help. We are there for companionship, not therapy. But maybe taking part in our workshop will help the survivors see how much they are valued, and they might then make the decision to reach out for more support from elsewhere.
Weaving is for Everyone
When we are up and running, we want to encourage the people who have enjoyed our service to help out in future. We also believe that the type of crafts we do are particularly suitable for people with learning disabilities, who will be encouraged, if they like it, to take their work further. We will offer sales outlets for the products they make, and we will hope they will learn the skills to run their own workshops, teaching others what they have learned. Longer term, this will provide a meaningful employment role, in what I hope will be a very worthwhile project.
What we Need
To make this happen, I need to raise £7500 for equipment, premises and running costs. Please do consider giving what you can. Please help me to help others make their lives more colourful, and leave the pit of darkness far behind.