Quick trigger warning. This post will mention depressions, suicidal thoughts and sexual abuse.
In August, it’ll be 2 years passed from the date I decided to drop out of university and move back to my hometown, and moving in with my fianceé. That was a life saving decision, quite literally speaking. But let’s rewind even further back, to the time I was living in Trondheim, alone aside from the two mice I decided to take on.
I’m 20 years old, living in an apartment complex 5 km from my university. My days were routine, like most students’ days are. That’s until one day in October, when I was made a victim of sexual abuse by a stranger, inside my own apartment.
I wouldn’t tell anyone for a couple of months. I was struggling with intense flashbacks, fear and severe depression because of what had happened and me keeping it to myself. Right before Christmas I wound up telling my girlfriend everything. She didn’t freak out, she got incredibly upset and angry.
Still, my depression carried on and I lost track of sleep, food and school routines. I was a mess for quite a while and it was a good week if I’d managed to go to school more than 3 days that week. I stayed in bed, watched Netflix and wrote a journal.
I had never thought depression would have such an impact on my life. I was a mess. Every night I cried, wanted to die and talked to my girlfriend over the phone. I ended up telling my parents between 18th- 23rd of February, and my mom tried to get me to free counseling for victims of sexual abuse. I went a couple of times but then I started ditching more and more appointments in favor of my depression. Every day I looked up which pills would be effective to end my life.
I figured one day that it wasn’t worth it spending my money on food, so I bought a sewing machine and some fabrics. It took every single penny I had left for that month. I stayed up many nights sewing from 10 PM to 8 AM. Now this isn’t my life changing moment, because I still was depressed, skipping school and avoiding most people.
However, sewing gave me something to do, and at least I was learning something (kind of) useful.
Summer arrived, went by and in August 2016 I told my parents I probably wouldn’t survive another 2 years alone with my thoughts. They let my girlfriend and I move into the apartment in the basement of their house, where we still live.
My dad pulled some strings and got me a job, so I’d be able to pay my loan, and live a good life. Routine made it better for my mental health, and I started sewing because it made me happy, rather than because it occupied my mind from flashbacks and fear.
I started learning proper techniques, making clothes and stuffed animals for my siblings, niece and nephew. Sometimes I’d make things that shouldn’t have seen daylight, but more and more often I made things that made me proud of myself. Now I’m proud and happy about almost everything I make, and it makes me feel a sense of purpose. I sew to sell now, and sometimes my siblings ask me if I’d be so kind as to sew something for them. Seeing them get happy about the garments I’ve made for them is the best feeling I know.
This is how sewing changed my life completely, and it’s also why I’m holding onto it for dear life.