Ami James knew that she needed to do something for herself at the beginning of 2013, when she decided to have a new focus in her life after years of medical treatment for bipolar disorder. Her illness had been so bad at one stage that she was admitted to hospital with depression in 2009. This had been followed by periods of feeling a bit better but then this was often interrupted with periods of severe anxiety leaving Ami in doubt that she had to take control of her life again.
As a mother, Ami wanted to do something that would help her relax, give her an interest of her own and stay well for her own child. So she took a big step and in September 2013 she enrolled on a creative textiles course at Swadlincote Adult Community Education Centre. Ami soon found that she loved making things from scratch and that this really helped her manage her biggest symptom, which is anxiety. She said:
"I still get it, but when I’m sewing it goes away, because I am thinking and making something”.
Over the next year Ami continued to enjoy her classes and developed a passion for cross stitch and tapestries. She found that she was never bored while she was working on one of her projects and she developed real skills in making patchwork quilts and other similar items.
Ami took a very brave step at the beginning of 2014 as she decided to open her own haberdashery shop and online business in West Street in Swadlincote. She wanted to encourage other people to pick up a needle and thread and develop a new hobby just as she had done. Ami has called the shop Simply Needlecraft and she has developed her own business from scratch.
Ami says of her new start:
"Opening my own business has helped me stay healthy. I’ve been completely stable since January because I have something to focus on."