Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I have woken up feeling afraid today. Not just a mild fleeting anxiety in my belly but actual fear. I have no idea why. I didn't sleep very well at all. I don't know what time I woke up but it was long before it was light and I lay there until it was time to get up at 6:30 to be ready to take John to the train station at 7:30.

I then had a common battle with myself: do I go swimming as planned or do I come home and go straight back to bed because I am very tired and I need to sleep. I decided on the latter, thinking that I can do a lunchtime swim. If I had gone swimming I would have ended up going to sleep this afternoon. That would have made matters worse.

I have said before that I think that I often wake up feeling fear because I did for so many years.  Meaning throughout my whole childhood and into my 30s. It wasn't until I started therapy to deal with my childhood abuse issues that I began to wake up some days without fear.

I am almost too ashamed to even talk about this but I do think this might possibly have to do with why I keep feeling fear so much recently. Firstly, I do think that if one has felt a particular emotion all day every day year upon year upon year it becomes a habit even when the reason for the emotion has gone. However I do think that this fear is coming up again for a specific reason.

 My life is going very well. The house is finally settled.  I think we have both decided that we will never be uncluttered! We are financially secure. John's health is very manageable and so is mine. I have found a medication regime that works well for me now.  I am doing well with my dogs and I am pleased with what I have bred.  I am back doing my knitting. I will soon be back doing my dyeing also.

I am not used to things being good. I am very used to things not lasting and being taken away from me. I know that everything in life is  temporary. When I was a boy though I experienced no security whatsoever. I did not feel loved and accepted or safe within my own family for good reason. On top of this we moved constantly and so I was constantly going through the grief of loss until I eventually just stopped feeling and getting close to people and animals. It was just far too painful to constantly have to say goodbye.

I have been thinking quite a lot about my past life recently and I don't know what I really should think about it. I don't really have any good memories. The only really good thing that happened was meeting John and then my therapist and the friends that I still have, all two of them. (I have since made more.) I remember clearly just how awful it all was and I remember particularly my own behaviour and how bad it was. All the self harming and compulsive behaviours and the harm that I caused other people albeit unwittingly. I cringe when I think of who I used to be. I do truly understand that I could not have been anybody else and that I really did try my hardest and I eventually made it and pulled myself out of the mire. However I am left with all these terrible memories and I don't really know what to do with them.

I had thought I was going to write about how my life is so good now that the rug is going to be pulled from under my feet and that is what I was afraid of. I didn't realise I was going to start talking yet again about my childhood and my past behaviours but I think I haven't thought about it from this angle before. If I stop and really think I can remember exciting times like when we first arrived in Singapore. That was a very exciting place to me with all the smells and sounds and different looking people but these memories are soon interrupted by the fact that this is where I was first sexually assaulted as far as I can recall and was also where my father nearly killed me for the first time. Everything I try and remember every nugget of good I try and pick out always has this bad stuff connected.

I love music and over the last few years I have collected lots and lots of new music and part of the reason for this is that my music collection is hard to listen to without it bringing up memories that are dark and painful.

I want time and plenty of time to enjoy what I now have. I want my body to last me long enough. Thus I do what I can to keep my disease from progressing too rapidly. I want long enough to be able to have years of good memories so that when I reminisce the dark stuff is a long way away.

You have to bear in mind that I did not start to live in colour as I describe it until the very end of 2007 when I had my epiphany. I'm not going to describe this again but it came at the end of the most painful period. I will never forget it as long as I live and the dramatic change in me is still with me. I became the Colin I was always meant to be. And truly the best way to describe it is that I went from living in monochrome to living in Technicolor.

I don't feel as afraid as when I started to write but I'm not sure that any of what I've written is the reason for the fear. I think probably fear can be habit as well as of course my own thinking which is often worrying about John now getting really sick and dying on me or me getting really sick.  I have even become acutely aware of how short the lives of my dogs are.


Mary Beth said...

Weirdly, I experienced a PTSD episode in the past few days the origin of which actually occurred 45 years ago. I had anxiety that spread to all my current concerns and had me waking in the middle of the night with big, startled worries. What brought it on was watching the movie, Life of Pi, and it's drowning scenes. 45 years ago I almost drowned but woke on the beach undergoing resuscitation by a lifeguard. I was disturbed by the movie at the time I was watching but not greatly so, and didn't expect such anxiety to surface. 45 years after the incident, PTSD. Once I put it all together I could sleep through the night. Do you think that "facing your fears" is the key? I don't know, I survive, I strive, I think it through and try to find the key. Can we find fault with ourselves when we are ambushed by unexpected or even unknown memories?

Iris said...

I, too, wake up afraid fairly often. Sometimes, it's in the morning, sometimes during the night. There is no problem. I'm fine. I wake up terrified anyway. What works for me is to say to myself, "Cut it out! Everything is fine and you're making your own problem." Usually, it helps. I hate this, but it's been going on for about four years, now. I don't have any awareness of anything that would cause PTSD. I don't feel guilty about anything. I have no idea why. I guess where I'm going with this is to say that, maybe, it's something that's "normal." I don't know. It's not fun, though, is it?

Anonymous said...

If you keep picking at the scabs, you are bound to reopen the wounds. Leave them alone, move on, don't look back. You are what you are NOW, and you will be who you will be tomorrow, but you will never again be who you were, so leave the past.