Claire became a resident with Falcon Support Services 3 years ago, after a relationship breakdown and reasons to no fault of her own. Claire suffers extreme anxiety, panic attacks, experiences suicidal thoughts and feels isolated. Something she has struggled with since a teenager and first came to FSS at the age of 16, and then returning in 2018. Claire made some positive steps with FSS and moved into one of our semi-independent projects where she lives independently. However, she suffered a major setback when her father passed away and this escalated when due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we went into lockdown. At this point she was referred to me, to help support her mental health and wellbeing.  Upon referral Claire told me how “I will never be able to do anything. I’ll never work, I can’t even go out. My anxiety stops me, and I start thinking suicidal thoughts just because I want it to stop. I’m a prisoner to it”.

Not long after supporting Claire, she reached out to me asking to talk. We went for a walk and Claire expressed her feelings. She has high anxiety about the medication she had been taking and had stopped taking it completely. She was unable to sleep, was enduring panic attacks and extreme anxiety. I suggested for Claire to contact her GP, which she said she would, but instincts told me she wanted support with this. Claire told me how her anxiety stops her on the phone, she will seize up and cannot convey to the receptionist how she is feeling. Together, we called, and I spoke to the receptionist and a GP callback was organised. This went over to the crisis team, however Claire struggled to tell them how she was feeling, and the crisis team advised her to double her medication and nothing else was needed. The next day Claire called me distraught. She looked exhausted and highly emotional. I called the GP again and told them what had happened, and she was referred back to the crisis team, this time speaking to a doctor. He agreed to change her medication. Claire was anxious about starting it, so we discussed having someone around her for the initial first weeks, so she is not alone. The medication helps her sleep too, and week by week Claire seemed far more settled. We went out into town together to get some groceries, Claire started talking about her hobbies such as baking, and less about her anxiety. She enjoyed showing me a Harry Potter shop and started to laugh again. As she was settling, she felt that she could switch off and enjoy an activity again. She told me how she has always wanted to learn how to crotchet, so with the funding for care packages I have, I bought her beginners guidebook, hooks and wool.

Claire used YouTube tutorials and only a month later created a scarf that she was so proud to show me. Her whole persona had changed at this point, her mental health had stopped taking over her and she wanted to talk on how she had found making the scarf “I got lost in it for 8 hours and really enjoyed it. It has been lovely to not think about being anxious”. Claire is sleeping far better, is happier and able to take herself out to run errands in town and engages well. She recently contacted me to say she had successfully crotched her first 3d model, a whale. She wanted to send me pictures to show me. She called this ‘worry whale’ and had made it using wool and material that had been donated to us., and then shortly after, completed an Elephant. She felt accomplished in what she had achieved and has joined some online crotchet groups for advice and mutual connection. We discussed how Claire can make some items that can be donated for the rough sleepers and she is making positive plans, setting realistic goals that we can help support her to achieving.

Thank you to all for the kind donations of wool, hooks and tools. Learning to Crochet has really been helpful for my mental wellbeing, reducing my anxiety and helping lift my mood with depression, something I often struggle with day to day. Crochet has allowed me in the short space of time to cope, feel a sense of achievement when creating something and having fun making it, I'm very grateful for the generous donations to allow me to continue.

Thank You." - Claire