Once living in fear

It seems like ages since I was able to blog regularly. I feel bad about that, though I know I shouldn’t. Like has gone into crazy mode, and mostly I’m going day to day dealing with things. On one hand it feels like I’m completely unstable; on the other, I know I’m not, and I’m actually coping well with what are incredibly difficult life events, if almost crippled with exhaustion. I know I’m also continuing to heal, as I was reminded last night.

Just as I crawled into bed, shortly after midnight, I heard my door bell ring. Of course, being so late, I panicked. Heart thumping, palm sweating, brain frying panic. I lay in bed, totally frozen. I was scared almost to death about who was at the door, and the bad things they had come to do. I watched the clock tick over* and waited, everything on high alert, convinced someone would break in. I literally couldn’t move.

At some stage I must have fallen asleep, because when I woke up this morning, well, I actually woke and no evil had taken me in the night. Of course, the first thing I did was check the front door – no one there, no one sleeping on my porch, nothing. Strange.

And then I remembered how many nights I’ve felt that panic before. How often, over the years, I slept with knives under my pillow, or scissors under the blankets. How often I sat under the window or by the front door, waiting for the bad men to come.

They never did.

And so, while I panicked (who wouldn’t panic that when their doorbell rings so late?), I also remembered that I’ve come a long way. It’s been a loooong time since I slept with knives or stayed awake all night to make sure nothing bad happened.

And that, my friends, as they say, is progress. 🙂



* It’s a digital clock. It doesn’t tick. But what do we say now about digital clocks? Do they flip? Swoosh? What is it we say now that analogue barely exists? What will little kids say in years to come?  

My head hurts

Does this image hurt your head? It does mine.

This is what it’s like inside my head at the moment – thoughts racing this way and that, too many things to deal with, it’s all a blur.

Yet again I seem to have taken on too much, and yet again it’s left me feeling overwhelmed. Although for good reason, and not necessarily my fault for everything that’s happening. There’s work issues, my mother’s cancer, my own health issues, issues with friends, blah blah blah. It’s not like I’m freaking out over spilt milk.

The thing that’s most consuming my thoughts right at this moment is work. My relationship with my manager has sunk to an intolerable level, to the extent that I would label her behaviour bullying and harassment. It’s brought back a whole lot of “stuff” from when Things Fell Apart – interactions with her (whether by phone, email or in person) literally now leave me shaking and panic struck.

The good news is that I’ve been offered another job. I have resigned and start my new job in about four weeks. I’m looking forward to the new work – it’s more up my alley, I’ll be working with people like me in a professional sense, and I have worked with the boss there before, so I know it won’t be all triggery and yuck.

At the same time I’m upset at the way things have gone in my current work. I think about my boss and I start shaking. That’s not good. I’m also scared of the new job – I’m wondering if I can do it, I feel like a failure where I am (though I know I’m not) … these thoughts just keep racing through my head.

And then there’s my health issues, which don’t seem to be going in the direction I’d hoped. I need to think about some options, but I can’t. There’s just too many and I’m not ready to deal with them. May be the work issues are taking up too much space?

And then there’s friends, some of whom have said insensitive things to me. And one of whom I’ve said insensitive things to and now I’m in a panic that I’ve ruined our friendship. I’m really sorry I hurt this person, it certainly wasn’t my intention, and I don’t know what else to do about it. I am hoping she’ll forgive me.

It’s noisy and messy in my head, and I don’t like it. I want to run away, never come back, crawl into a dark hole and stay there in the foetal position. I know none of that will help, so I’m just trying to sit with how I feel. Man, that’s hard… and then the thoughts race again and it’s all a blur.


I’m thinking of giving up on Nablo this year, but will keep going for a few more days.

Today’s writing prompt is: “What’s your greatest fear?”

Easy. Growing old and crusty alone – known by the neighbours as the crazy cat lady. Dying and being nibbled at by the cats for three weeks before any human discovered I was dead. That’s my greatest fear.

On friends and reality and the future

It’s ages since I posted. I’m sorry. There’s lots happening; I’m incredibly tired and I’m not sure how to deal with any of it. This might still sound cryptic and rambly, sorry.

I had lunch with a friend over the weekend. She’s one of the most uniquely kind, gentle and genuine people I know (and she has the most beautiful baby I think I’ve ever laid eyes on). She warms my heart. What struck me about seeing her again was her optimism; her hope. Especially the hope and faith she has in me. I don’t get it.

It’s like a repeat conversation my therapist and I had again last week.

The Wonder Therapist: “Will you look at yourself? When will you believe the reality?”

Me: Umm, never I guess. I don’t know.

I find it hard to join this reality she keeps pointing out to me with the “me” I know. Find it hard to believe in the reality.

Even harder to understand the faith that others have in me.

And harder still to believe that the future will hold anything good, anything I want. Any time I think about that I fall apart.


I was shaking uncontrollably in therapy this week. I haven’t done that for ages (like, AGES). My therapist asked: “Are you cold?” (I think this is code for “I know you’re not but I see you shaking and I want to acknowledge it without making you feel freaky.”)

Me: “Nah, but I could use a blankie. Have you got a blankie?”

The Wonder Therapist: “A blankie? No, but I’ll get one. What colour would you like?”


Fear and loathing in…

Well, you know I don’t live in Las Vegas, but “fear and loathing Down Under” didn’t quite have the same ring.

A lot has happened since my last post. Too many twists and turns to describe in detail. What I did want to talk about is this:

Funny how you can be travelling along kinda nicely, if a little miserable, but trying hard to believe in the faith that others have in you, and then you do something that makes you feel completely and utterly ashamed of yourself. Disgusted. Appalled. Filthy and rotten to the core. A dirty, rotten scoundrel*.

Yep, that’s me.

I’m not going into details, but trust me when I say I’m disgusting. I haven’t been able to shower enough to wash off this scunge. I haven’t wanted to write for fear of infecting you. And I certainly don’t want to talk to my therapist about it (though I will, my Inner Compass is good at keeping some common sense, even when the rest of me completely abandons all rationality).

And, yes, it has made me want to do things to myself that I haven’t done for quite a while.

For those of you thinking this is just my Inner Critic talking again: it’s not. She’s very quiet at the moment. She’s just sitting smugly in the corner filing her nails. It’s a shame the rest of me couldn’t follow her lead.

* Use of movie titles unintentional and of no psychological significance, other than perhaps that I am so pathetic that I cannot even to find my own words to describe how I feel.


They say that change is as good as a holiday, but I don’t know. I find it kinda stressful. Ok, very stressful. My anxiety has returned with vengeance this week. I’ve had a number of things happening that are pulling and pushing me towards the edge. My therapist thinks the biggest thing causing the anxiety is that I’m at a crossroads with my job, and about to start a new one.

Yes, that’s right. I’m about to say farewell to the d!ckhead boss. I pretty much already have. I had been negotiating with a colleague to move to her area prior to Christmas… now with my extended sick leave, I won’t return to my current position – I just have to go back for the obligatory (sick-making) farewell. I start in the new position next week.

Good news, right? Yea, it is. It’s scary though. I’m moving to a new position. I’m not even entirely sure what I’ll be doing. I’ve lost a lot of confidence on the work front. I’m changing classifications so have to give up a few things. And I’m going part time.

So… from corporate ladder to… to…

I’m not sure what.

Rationally I know this is a good thing, not just moving away from that boss, but going part time, looking after myself, starting to have a life, creating space to think about “what next” for me. Etc. Etc.

But, you know what? I’m scared to death.

I met with the new team today – they seem like a great bunch (though it took every ounce of energy I had to go in and do it). A huge relief, but there’s still the anxiety. What if they don’t like me? What if I don’t meet expectations? What if it’s the wrong move for me? What if I can’t put boundaries around my working hours and become a workaholic again? What if my anxiety is still really high at work and I end up being unable to work ever again? What if… what if… what if? Plus the anxieties about leaving the old job, and seeing the world there move on without me.

So, despite my progress of late, I find myself dancing that nervy, edgy, tied in knots dance. I hate it. Passionately so. I’m swinging between being on high alert, nervy as anything or being slumped in the adrenalin crash afterwards. It’s exhausting.




I know this won’t be news to most of you, but… I live much of my life in fear.

Fear of noises.

Fear of smells.

Fear of people.

Fear of places.

Fear of situations.

Some days, even fear of my own shadow.

Some of these fears have a direct and obvious link to my past; others are more indirect.

I realised too that much of my healing – if not all of it – is about getting over these fears. Or at least learning to live with them so that I’m not paralysed by them all the time.

I could list for you a trillion times I’ve felt afraid – that familiar feeling of stomach flipping, heart beating faster, can’t get my breath, breaking out in a sweat. You know the feeling, I’m sure.

One particular situation is front of mind. For ages (years) I’ve loved photography, and wanted to do it. More. Properly. Better. But I’ve been too scared. Despite the fact that many of you have told me my photos are great, I never believed you. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but it’s true. I’m sorry. I thought you were just being polite – just like my friends in the real world who are not only being polite about the photos, but also only being friends with me out of pity, or obligation, or…I don’t know what. I didn’t believe that this photography thing was may be something I could do. Not until my therapist told me how good she thinks some of my photos are. So why did I believe her, and not you?  Well, I guess I trust that she doesn’t BS me. Not about stuff like that anyway.

So she convinced me to enrol in a photography short course. The first class was last night and I can’t tell you how afraid I was. Afraid of going, afraid of not going. Afraid of the people and looking like an idiot. Afraid of being the dumbest and most hopeless person there. Afraid of failure and not being any good at photography at all.  

On the way there I had to deal with my fears. With all these things as well as my fear of being late and

getting lost and

being trapped in the lift and

the crowds in the city and

a creepy man in dirty clothes standing outside his shop who I thought was going to grab me and

having to talk to people in the class who I was sure were thinking I’m an idiot and

not having a good enough camera (even though I do) and

not wearing nice enough clothes (even though I did) and

having to walk back to my car by myself after class (even though it was still light) and

and and and…you get the picture.

But I went to the class. To quote the cliché, I did “feel the fear and do it anyway.” I’m still afraid of all those things, but I went. I’m pleased I faced the fear, even though I know I’ll have to face it all again next week.

I guess this is why my therapist says I’m “gutsy”.


In other news my (half) brother-in-law had a stroke this morning. They are still testing but it sounds serious. I am freaking out. Selfishly I don’t think my freaking is for the bro-in-law (who I have only known for a few years and who gives me the creeps) but because I’m flashing straight back to when my father had his strokes last year. Please don’t worry, I’m ok. I have rested, refreshed and seem to be “back to a mild panic.”

Oh, and thanks to Wordle for helping me make this image.