I've been plagued recently by panic attacks again. I even dreamt about having a panic attack last night (caused by my inability to communicate with words in the dream setting) and it wasn't the best way to wake up.

So I'm taking stock, and quietly knitting on swatches that please rather than challenge today.

Trying to get to the bottom of why the panic attacks have been triggered again can be helpful.

I've committed to give a talk next month, and it's taken me a little further out of my comfort zone than I'd normally dare tread. But I used to represent my school in public speaking competitions as a child/teen. I've been the teacher and lecturer that stands in front of groups of people (admittedly, normally <18) and talk as a specialist on my subject. I don't think it's this commitment that's causing the attacks, but I guess it might be a trigger.

What I'm fairly certain of is that it's life events that are causing the panic attacks.

We've lived through years of uncertainty with Aran's health, my health, and the stupidly lengthy legal battle to save our small artistic community. Regular readers know all this, but it doesn't hurt to be reminded. And thanks to Brexit, we have more years of it to face.

We hit the road because we wanted a different life for ourselves, a hopefully better life for Aran; one where we felt we might belong rather than be the outsiders. We've worked hard for this. I work bloody hard to keep us in the black. I don't get any financial support from a partner or family or elsewhere to help me house, clothe and feed our family of 3. And quite honestly I could do with a break from all of it, but I'm not going to get one; that's not a luxury I can be afforded.

It doesn't help that I haven't found it within myself to forgive people for voting to put us in this situation. I'm sure that's not what people were thinking when they voted; I very much doubt anyone thought about us at all. But here we are, facing an unknown future as bartering chips in a stupid political game, and this is what it's doing to me.

I won't apologise for how I feel. Given our uncertain future, my current poor physical health and mental health, being a mixed bag of very strong feelings is perfectly bloody normal. But rather than sit here and "wait and see" as "the worst might not happen" I need to be pro-active in carving out the path we end up follow. We're not sure yet what that means, but we'll work it out.

When I sat down to type this I didn't intend for it to be political. But I'm sat here asking myself, why not? The sheer act of making, of following your own path, are political statements in and of themselves. I've had enough of folk telling me, us, crafters and knitters, to cut the political stuff, to play a neutral game. My answer to that is no: I won't be silenced or compromised any longer.

And now back to my knitting, and planning. I'm starting to feel better already, having exercised my freedom to speak my mind.

AuthorTom Paterson