Laura’s Story: Finding creativity with ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
We love to hear from the Cricut Community on how they use their Cricut Machine. Whether it’s for finding joy in your own crafternoon session or to help start a business, the community’s stories are at the heart of what we do.
Creative maker Laura, of FloralLaura on Instagram, shares her story on how her creativity began whilst dealing with the day-to-day life of having ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Read Laura’s Story…
Housebound, unable to work and with such low levels of energy that doing the dishwasher felt like a 10k run, was not where I thought my life would have been at 24 years old…
Just a few months earlier in 2014, I had been a full-time Primary School Teacher, keen dancer and social butterfly, until a seemingly common virus (Glandular Fever) had lasting effects which developed into ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
As you can imagine, this unexpected life twist was emotionally very hard to deal with. I felt like I had lost my identity and purpose. Every day became simply about getting enough rest to be able to function the next.
However, I have always been a positive person. And even on the days when positivity felt like just a small glimmer, I knew I had other areas in my life that made me, me that I could hold on to support my mental health; creativity.
I soon learned roughly how much energy I could ‘spend’ each day without making myself worse. It was a smaller amount than you can ever imagine, but it was something to focus on.
Prioritising my mental health became just as important as prioritising my physical health; they were intertwined. I started off with simple card making for my friends and family. Sometimes just 5 minutes a day, which, although at a snail’s pace, I would reach the final result and be so, so proud of myself. I had a little purpose again, and those moments of crafting kept me ‘in the moment’ and less focused on my symptoms.
Over the next few years, although there was (and still is) no medical treatment for ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I focused on pacing and rest and made very small improvements.
This led me to be able to pursue a remote and very flexible role at a small business called BearHugs Gifts. This became the silver lining of my chronic illness and taught me that my ideas were still of value.
Whether in a creative or business sense, even though I couldn’t do the typical 9-5 I had some ‘identity’ back, which led to a feeling of confidence I hadn’t felt in years. I made a promise to myself to keep a work-life balance with my energy, so even with this new role, I made sure I could continue to delve into my joy for crafting.
Experimenting with crafts that I hadn’t done since I was a child, one continuously came out on top; flower pressing. I was (and still am) mainly only able to get out into nature in my garden. So this was my way of experiencing the loveliness of the outdoors and bringing nature to me.
Flower Pressing and Cricut
I began to share my flower pressing on my Instagram page. It had such a positive reaction and I took so much joy from it; from growing the flowers, to picking, to pressing and displaying them in a frame.
I soon started to sell my pressed flower frames! It was around this time that I invested in a Cricut machine, as I knew adding vinyl lettering to my frames would add such a special, personal touch.
I wasn’t aware of how much this would also add to my crafting experience in terms of the mindfulness aspect. It opened up more avenues to me, such as making wedding decor, learning new techniques and, most surprisingly, the feeling of being part of the Cricut community of crafters. They are wonderful!
I also soon realised that my Cricut machine was saving me energy in the long run. It became my little personal assistant, which I
am so grateful for.
Where you can find Laura
My Instagram page, ‘Floral Laura’ shares my love of all things floral. It is in the process of being turned from my hobby into a small business, with my own website launching in the summer. I have so much hope and excitement for what the future will bring.
Illness may have taken a lot away from me, but it’s brought a passion for creativity back into my life, little by little.
Find more stories from our Cricut community here.