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Why knitting is my therapy

I am Danielle Kerani, singer/songwriter and Founder/CEO of the up-and-coming fashion company AK Kerani. AK Kerani sells handmade knitwear to advocate for mental health, promoting knitting as a therapy for anxiety and depression.

At AK Kerani, my team and I encourage people to find their outlets. By outlets, we mainly mean activities such as knitting, that allow us to both pour ourselves into something while simultaneously escaping from our regular patterns of thinking. The reason knitting is such a therapeutic activity for me is that it allows me to create something. No matter how I am feeling at the time I start knitting, I am reminded that I am releasing content into the world and that the content I am releasing is beautiful. Through the repetitive motions that I do, something is coming to life that didn’t exist before – something functional, artistic and unique. By releasing creative content into the world, we find purpose. Even if that purpose is temporary, we can know that in those moments, we are making the world a newer more vibrant place. Above all, we are contributing.

When I talk about AK Kerani’s link to depression, I’m often shy to talk about my own experience with depression. I struggled with depression and anxiety throughout college and sometimes I would feel worse than others. When I don’t talk about my depression, it’s not necessarily that I feel ashamed or embarrassed. I encourage others all the time to be candid about their struggles and I strive to do the same. It’s more that I now have the opportunity not to be defined by depression, anxiety or the pain that they both caused me. I don’t have to cancel meetings at the last minute, saying that I had a panic attack. I don’t have to explain to people who love me why I’m incapable of trusting them. Getting out of bed in the morning no longer feels heavy. I’m able to do the things I consistently beat myself up for not being able to do. There would be no signs for people to point to and say that I’m struggling. But that’s not the point.

In many ways, depression is a part of all of us. Some things that we tend to do while depressed, such as question life, become overwhelmed with emotions and feel out of control are natural and even healthy from time to time. What I’ve found to be most important is finding the balance between the darker sides of our emotions and the lighter sides, which can be inspired by creating something. I’m not saying that there is one answer to tackling mental illness or stigma. There are many facets to explore, which hopefully I can do in blogs to come. For today though, what I challenge you to do is to go, find a cool outlet to pour yourself into and with all the inspiration you can muster, create something.

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