Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Government Subsidized Knitting

I was listening to the latest Stash and Burn podcast where they asked what we have learned from knitting and it got me thinking: wouldn't it be spectacular if the government would subsidize knitting related activities as a form of treatment for individuals suffering from mental disorders, like major depression, OCD... I make it no secret in the blog or in my every day life that I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder (diagnosed by 4+ psychiatrists oi!) and I was recently lamenting over the fact that there is very little naturopathic coverage here in Canada with the government health plan or my student health plan ($20 per $90+ visit). And so by association I was thinking about what else helps with MDD that isn't covered and I came up with knitting. I knit to relax, there have been days where I come home exhausted and about to go to bed and I literally knit one row just to get a bit of relaxation before I try to fall asleep.

I've tried a lot of conventional medications to treat MDD and I never stabilized on a drug for over 8 years. That means that the psychiatrist had to keep upping the dosage until I got to the maximum recommended dose and then he (or she) would switch to another antidepressant and the cycle would repeat. And the side effects were atrocious. About a year ago I decided to go to a naturopath - now I am on a crap load of vitamins and minerals at strange doses (ex: 2000-3000 mg of vitamin C - that is expensive pee..., but from what I understand it also cleanses my system so although I pee out anything over 200-250 mg (I think) the dosage is still at the correct level for me... but enough about that) and guess what. I've stabilized, I have no side effects and feel as good as or better than I did on any conventional antidepressant - and guess what again - the government doesn't cover ANY of the vitamins/minerals - just like they don't cover my knitting, the nerve eh!?*

Based upon the level of relaxation that I get from knitting I think that it is helping with my MDD. I vote that we should write to our governments to have them cover knitting in our medical plans. I'll volunteer for the clinical trials that test knitting as a relaxation treatment - perhaps they could have separate trials for merino, alpaca, cotton, linen, bamboo... I'll be a good citizen and volunteer for all trials except acrylic (unless the yarn was Berocco comfort, I hear that stuff is good). I figure that they would need provide the yarn so that it was standardized - everyone needs the same quality of medication (yarn). What do you think? Will you write to your government too? Providing me with yarn would cost the government less than hospitalizing me... I think that it is in their best interests. Ya know, I'm just trying to save my country some money - not trying to benefit myself, nooo..., I am being a patriot.

*As a side note, the overall goal and tone of this post was supposed to be funny. It got a bit serious in the middle there but hopefully I left you on a funny note.


Bells said...

I'm so glad you're feeling good. Amazing to hear. I'm married to someone who's got the same problems. I must try and explore this with him.

I wish writing to the Government worked. I spend half my working life answering such letters, which never reach the ministers, with standard words which rarely address the actual content of the original correspondence.

But I suppose we must keep trying. So write. Someone important might one day get the message.

Louiz said...

have a look at this

it's not government supported but it is seriously studying the effect of knitting as a therapy.

Glad it's working

BC said...

I hear you about acrylic. You're too young to remember Phentex. It was as if someone shredded garbage bags and spun them into yarn. Ugh.

Unknown said...


My name is Betsan and I came across your blog quite by chance. I run Stitchlinks and as a previous comment mentioned we are researching the therapeutic benefits of knitting. Proper scientific research is needed before any of us will be able to convince, doctors, healthcare workers etc of the benefits of knitting. However I'm also trying to set up a network of groups across the world to 'show' it works. I've had lots of success with a group I run at a Pain Management Unit here in the UK and doctors are referring patients to it. I need the help of knitters around the world to help me publicise the benefits and to volunteer to start up groups as part of our network. Perhaps together we can all achieve our ultimate aim of getting knitting prescribed! By the way Stitchlinks is a free resource - the Our theories so far article on the Research page will be of interest and I'm adding other articles regularly.