I very rarely talk about the ‘other side’ of my life, mainly because I prefer to share joy and laughter and a pinch of inspiration to those I care about … and those of you who kindly interact with me on here and on my Facebook page, definitely fall into that category. But sometimes, when that other side means I regularly drop off the radar for a bit, I think it only fair that a little explanation is proffered.
The very short version (strike that!) is thus: In 1992 I suddenly and unexpectedly became very ill which culminated in surgery and a 32 pound growth was removed from my womb, whilst recovering I had my first ever major panic attack. (Not helped by both my parents passing unexpectedly around the same time.) Over the years, a certain level of anxiety embroidered my existence, M.E/IBS/Osteoarthritis/Tinnitus and huge weight gain were all thrown into the mix. I met someone lovely and amicably divorced my husband/friend of 23 years and moved down to the Isle of Wight. Six very happy years followed. Mark and I planned to marry, he understood my fatigue and nerviness and I understood his battle with Bi-Polar. He was a remarkable man, troubled … but remarkable. A talented artist and great thinker, it seemed to me that he was born into the wrong era, he would have been a fine Victorian philosopher. Sadly, one sunny July morning, 9 years ago, he lost his battle with the deep thoughts that at times engulfed him and chose to find peace. I miss him.
For 4 years after his passing, a strange kind of coping mechanism kicked in, life needed to be sorted, a new place to live (supported hugely by my two fabulous sons), a new career, a new way of being by myself. But, inevitably, the grieving/anxiety cogs just wound tighter and tighter until one day they burst and splintered inside my head and heart and I stood still. Stock still … literally. By this time, I had moved on from my beloved work as a special needs TA in a High School’s Art department and had been working as a community carer, predominantly with families with special needs children and night-time palliative care (not the wisest choice!), I arrived one morning at a clients in order to get the children ready for school and I froze, I couldn’t get out of my car. My heart was pounding, I couldn’t breathe and I really, really thought that I was about to die. It was more than panic, so much more. From that moment, life altered for ever. Work became impossible, the anxiety grew immeasurably and day melded into day. For 3 months I didn’t venture outside and for 3 years I grew more anxious, more scared and acquired an extra truck load of fat cells!
Then, around 18 months ago, I rediscovered my love for knitting. I had always been a tad ‘arty farty’, when I lived in London with my ex, I designed and made needlepoint commissions (my favourite being the Walker Book logo bought by one of the children’s book editors for their office), I have made and sold jewellery at craft fairs and even dabbled in selling stock photography for a while. But when Mark passed, my creative mojo had disappeared with him. However, because my financial situation had also changed as a result of my circumstances, I decided that for Christmas, I would knit everyone a gift. The reaction took me totally by surprise. These small offerings that I, quite frankly, felt a little embarrassed about giving, went down a storm. My youngest son’s boundless enthusiasm and support (which has never wavered) buoyed me up no end and by the New Year, I had chosen a name, he had bought me a website, a domain name and my first pattern design went live on Ravelry.
I would love to say that meant the end of my battle but of course we live in reality … I still love, nay, adore, my woolly world … nothing gives me more pleasure than having the spark of an idea and seeing it through to the end and the first time someone parts with their hard earned pennies because they like one of my designs never fails to thrill me to the core. My artistic forays have expanded to digital designing for various other products too, and again, the feedback and sales of those is a fantastic boost. BUT, some days, the anxious feelings get the better of me, my needles remain motionless and just the thought of posting onto my Facebook page or twitter feed, bring on the palpitations and shakes … there is no rhyme nor reason to this ‘condition’. When my youngest married, it was the most fantastic of days, I laughed, cried, even danced (without causing an earthquake … lol) and felt just like my ‘old self’, all this despite staying up all the night before with my beloved sister … my legs were a little wobbly but I felt great … But then there are days when I can’t even bear to walk to the corner shop or I am quite happily watching a film and my heart does a somersault and the next 3 hours become very dark indeed.
So, yesterday, I attended my first CBT meeting. I have been put on the waiting list for a health advisor to help me lose weight and I came away feeling pretty positive (of course, it was a little spoilt by the heat and my temperature soaring to 38.39° which set me back a bit … health anxiety plays a large part unfortunately, but, I’m here writing this today so it couldn’t have done me any harm.) The CBT course lasts six weeks and I have every hope that maybe this time I can learn to control this horrible malady … now, tackling the menopause is another tale entirely… lol
So that is where I go when I disappear from your news-feeds, into my own little nightmare world of hot flushes, pain, acrobatic heartbeats and all encompassing thoughts …
Apologies to those expecting pretty things made of yarn or a dose of my weird humour, although when I saw this, I did think that maybe now I’ve seen everything… 😀
*The Asherah Shawl is in the process of being modified and test knitted & today I am determined to cast on the second design of this collection which I will share soon.
Happy Yarning Lovely People, Strength and Peace to us all… ❤ x