Frat Guy Benny Willard Takes Up Unconventional Hobby to Cope With Anxiety and Depression
Willard, now known as “The Crochet Guy,” has over 28,000 followers on Twitter because, in his words, he’s “lowkey wet at crocheting.” In addition to his stitching skills, Willard also models his creations, making him stand out in the crochet crowd. Below you can see the viral crop top tweet that launched the “bro-chet” sensation.
Hey yall so i really need money and im lowkey wet at crocheting so if you want a cute top or something hmu (im too scared to talk to gurls so i had to model this myself) pic.twitter.com/1LNpybO6NS
— Sad Liam Hemsworth (@BennyWillard) March 2, 2019
Willard said he got into crocheting in high school when he began struggling with his mental health.
“I suffered from severe depression and anxiety from the loss of my dad and brother, and my therapist said I should get a hobby to keep my mind off my anxiety,” Willard told The Mighty. “I had a friend who crocheted and he was getting all the ladies so I decided to do it with him.”
Since his first crop top went viral, he’s had no shortage of attention, with people constantly messaging him about other crochet projects — and sometimes even hitting on him. He estimates that between Instagram and Twitter, he has around 5,000 DMs.
While he appreciates the attention and genuinely enjoys being “The Crochet Guy,” sometimes it can get a little stressful.
“All the craziness with my DMs and comments and people constantly texting me about it has kinda been making me anxious,” he said. “It kinda feels like my hobby and coping mechanism is becoming somewhat of an obligation since so many people are asking for stuff from me.”
Despite the stress, Willard uses his crocheting as an opportunity to talk about mental health.
Crocheting helps with my mental health because it is kind of an escape from my racing mind. I have to pay close attention to what I’m doing and count stitches and stuff. It also helps a lot because seeing that I am able to sit down and create something gives me a big sense of accomplishment which boosts my confidence and motivation.
The link between hobbies and improved mental health is well-documented. In a study on recreational arts engagement and mental well-being, researchers found that participants who engaged in two or more hours per week of arts engagement reported significantly better mental well-being than those who did not.
To anyone who might be struggling with their mental health or is looking to find a hobby to cope, Willard has some words of advice:
Don’t be afraid to talk about it or ask or seek out help. It doesn’t have to be a weakness. Go to therapy, talk to your friends and family about it, and find your own coping mechanisms that can help you out of that hole.
What hobbies help you cope with anxiety and depression? Let us know in the comments.
Header image via @Bennywillard Twitter