Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Sometimes, when I’m overwhelmed, I get in the shower, turn the water as hot as I can stand and sit at the bottom with my hands over my ears.  It feels like I’m in another world, totally removed.

Lately it’s been a daily occurrence, sitting, counting to ten, letting tears escape, rinse and repeat.

I’m starting to get used to the idea that I might not reach this ‘acceptance point’ and feel stable from then on, that it’s going to be up and down, good and not so good days mixed in with cancer counts and banana pancakes, reading eggs and nosebleeds, horses and long drives and friendship and bullshit.

This hurts, you know? It sounds so juvenile but at a base level, cancer has hurt my feelings. It’s not fair. I’m not the type of person who gets sick young. I sleep with men I shouldn’t, get addicted to television series, love avocado and can catch the trickiest horses.  Bailey’s not the type of kid who has a sick single Mum. He’s homeschooled, wants to be a ninja, loses his brain on sugar and likes Adventure Time. I have no idea what these ‘types’ are, I just know we’re not it.

It’s ok. I’m as ok as I can be. There’s no point being otherwise. Last year when I realised I’d been misdiagnosed, mistreated, could have been cured I fell into a hole over it. When I had to write an ‘impact statement’ I felt like I would explode before I got it down on paper. How do you add up hours driving to specialists, whole weekends away from my infant son after radiation, relationship breakdowns, seeing my father cry, the loss of a lifestyle I worked hard for? How could I even halfway articulate how it affects me to know that Bailey didn’t have to know anything about this? That if I’d been diagnosed correctly I could have been in full remission before his first birthday?

These things happen, and no-one is to blame, and that’s the truth. I’ll admit to feeling some closure after seeing my first Doctor, who has no bedside manner, didn’t listen to my concerns, and downplayed independent testing I had done, avoid eye contact until I actually said ‘Fuck You’.

He apologised and it sounded sincere. And I know he would have been asked not to.


So now, I just get to be brave. I’m choosing less treatment in favour of a life where I can play ponies and have my son at home directing his own learning, where we can grow things and take day trips. Where there’s room for coffee, hugs, sex, novels, stargazing. Where I have to be brave enough to deal with the possibility that this won’t pay off, that I may look back and wish I’d done more mainstream treatment. Sometimes, when you have a gut feeling, you have to be brave enough to go with it.

Ash x


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There’ve been times, especially this year, when I thought I might not make it through. The truth is, I haven’t always wanted to be in this world. That’s hard to acknowledge, but it is what it is. Losing myself like that scared me badly, but it was also the catalyst for crawling my way back, stumbling over every rough spot, finding that flicker of light.

It isn’t a graceful journey, but it’s beautiful.

I don’t have much left really, I’ve spent all my money – what was supposed to be a cheap break-year that I could recoup from turned out to be a massive financial drain. Appointments, specialists, independent testing, alternative therapies. I made my choices. I’m in ‘partial remission’ which was unexpected for my situation at this point, so I think I made a good judgement call. I’ll probably have to sell my car and get something cheaper, I leased out my good horse to minimise costs without ripping my heart out, Craig will have to wait to sign the house over because I can’t cover it.

I have my son, I have my sanity, I have my friends and family.

Faith, Hope and Love.

Life just seems like such a trip sometimes. I’m 28 and I haven’t done anything. I’m 28 and I’ve done so much. I’ve done everything backward to other people I know, and that’s fine. I had a baby after being told not to hold out too much hope for children. I was diagnosed with cancer six months later, two months after buying my first house. Now my son is 6, and it’s just us, as I pick myself up yet again, go back to school – chemo brain and all – and try and make a life for us.

It’s amazing how I always get another chance.

I’ll probably always regret the way some things have ended up. I’ve lost people I care about due to my own inability to relate to their normal while mine has been so left-centre. When I’m hurting and scared, and people with good intentions try and push me towards something I don’t have room for, I tend to react explosively. But I’m learning.  The most meaningful relationship I had bar the one with my son disintegrated quite spectacularly, and that still hurts intensely when I let it, but I’m also edging towards a sense of acceptance.

I know it’s taking a lot longer than what people say, but I’ve had a lot to contend with in the meantime.

Most amazing is that I actually like bits of myself now. I can be strong and brave, funny and kind, when I have to be. When I’m having a good patch and handling life, I’m nice to be around and people like me. I have the best group of friends who try to understand me, make me nutritious meals, tell me to get more sleep and who have drenched my son in love as he’s struggled with increased awareness that this family isn’t like his friends’, because his mother is sick on a regular basis and there isn’t a permanent person to pick up the slack.

He went through this horrible acting out phase – above and beyond the usual six year old boy thing, and I was so shattered I couldn’t even write about it, but now he is even more beautiful than he was before.


Life is nothing like I thought it would be, and I’m so blessed.


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I had an awesome post written in my head last night, and when I woke up, -poof- , gone.  I’ve been struggling cognitively a little this week, losing shoes, keys, what I was about to say. Something distressing happened and I’m still ok. That’s the first thing I just plucked out of the space above my head. The kind of event that would usually make me cut and run, because it’s what I do, but I’m not and I won’t.

I haven’t been around much lately, I’m two days into the week long treatment I’ve been waiting for, that silver bullet, and it’s working. I can feel it. I know it the same way I know the sun will set tonight, what cool sand feels like between my toes.

Even though cancer cells are being zapped into oblivion as I write this, I would appreciate anyone keeping their fingers crossed for me 🙂

I have just enough hair to pull into a ponytail, and of course that’s when it starts coming out, my hands coated with dark strands in the shower, and instead of drinking half a bottle of vodka, losing my shit and shaving it completely I just go with it, trust the process, maybe I’ll lose it all maybe I won’t, but it’s actually not the most important problem I have, even if I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach. I wish someone had told me that you can let yourself feel pain and loss, and that’s all you have to do, just feel it. Not drink through it, run from it, fight it.

Just feel it.

And it’s ok.

I got to thinking about why I decided to come here this year, and even though I had some vague ideals about homeschool and some mental space and recovery, it was pretty much an instinctive pull. The thing is, this year has obviously been absolutely nothing like I expected but thank God I’m here. If all this had happened at home, it would have been 200% harder to cope with. I still want to go back – no, I’ll be honest, I need to go back, to sort shit out one way or another. Either way, I was meant to be here this year, and I’m betting that next year I’ll either settle in up the hill or decide on another long term prospect. Bottom line, I usually end up where I’m supposed to be.

I wish someone had told me I could trust myself.

I’m learning.

Another thing I was thinking about (yeah, I tend to think really intensely while poisons are seeping into my bloodstream, and my iphone is taken away) was that ‘Bucket List’ I wrote, and how I’ve done exactly one thing from it.

It was the fun item, and it was excellent and I did do it more than once <grin>.

Anyway, I started a mental re-write, and if I needed anymore proof that I’ve changed, that was it.  I want to write letters to people, just in case. I want to explore a healthy, simple lifestyle. I want to nurture myself and Bailey.

I want to detox my life, cull my possessions, focus on relationships and experiences more.

I’d still like to fall in love with someone else, it hasn’t happened yet – but I have fallen out of love, and I think that’s step one.

Sad as it may be, it’s necessary.

So, that’s where I’m at.

How are you guys?


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That you’ll never be the same again.

Sure. If I keep on top of myself and I’m careful and I have a hell of a lot of luck I *might* be able to put our lives back together. For awhile. Some bits. The important ones I’m hoping.

What’s important has changed. And that’s not all together a bad thing.

I’ve lost most of my friends, which I only realised today when I really sat down and thought about it. Some of the few that remain are surprises, as are some of the ones who left.

I haven’t written much about it, but there are cracks in my relationship with Bailey now. At the start of the year I would have said we were bulletproof.


He’s over me being sick, and everything that comes with it, and I don’t blame him one little bit. I’m tired, on edge. Everytime I start to get on top of things, something happens. I love him more than life, but fuck this is hard to deal with. I’m failing him, doing heaps of things I thought I’d never do, just to cope.

He asks why it was his mummy who had to get sick, and I have no way to answer that.

He lucked out with me, really.


I’m having a flat day, obviously, but overall I’m still doing ok :). I’m not getting a heap of sleep, because I was honest enough with my Doctors to admit that I shouldn’t really be trusted with pills at this point, and it was one of the harder things I’ve had to verbalise lately. Of course, I want them badly and I’m kicking myself a little now, but I know myself, and unfortunately I think I’m always going to struggle a bit with things that can numb me or take me away.

Alcohol, sugar, pills, cigarettes, sex, it’s all part of the same problem for me, and I’m committed to sorting that shit out. I’m not an alcoholic, a sex-addict, I’m a chronic cope-r, and I just do anything in order to keep going and then to switch my brain and feelings off at the end of the day.

I think I’ll get to the point where I don’t need to, because I’m starting to notice the things I fucking love about my life, and building on them.


So Craig called me other day. He didn’t have Bailey the previous weekend so other than me texting him to say Bailey was sick, we hadn’t had any contact, and for a couple of weeks before that, it was very quick drop offs, no dinner, no chat. Basically because Fuck him.

It was awkward. Up until now, unless it’s been in the direct aftermath of a massive fight we’ve still been able to talk pretty easily. I mean, I could talk to practically anyone though.

‘Hey, I was just wondering how you were? What’s happening?’

‘Um, nothing much, you? Did you want to speak to Bman?’

‘No…I just wanted to know how you are? How’s treatment?’

‘Yep. It’s fine thanks. How’s work?’


-awkward silence-

‘I miss you’

-disbelieving laughter, massive smile-

‘I don’t really care’

You know those moments that make life worth living? Pretty sure that was one of them.



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So, I’m feeling like me again.

I mean, I have pneumonia, I’m dead tired, blah blah, but I’m…me.

I’m not drowning anymore, right now, I’m feeling connected to life and myself and Bailey again.

Sure, I’m stressed. I’ve been waiting to start this stem cell treatment because I keep getting sick, and if it’s effective it will make a huge difference to my prognosis. The waiting is making me want to climb the walls, because its like I’m waiting for it to work (because it has to), before I start planning to, you know, have any semblance of a life ever again.

I’m sick of being on hold, but omg you guys, that is so much better than just not caring as long as I could hibernate and numb myself.

I don’t just mean I’m feeling like the me of a few months ago, I mean I feel like…I can’t quite remember when. The me who used to smile for no reason, who would never let a guy treat her like trash (especially while cooking him dinner every Sunday – seriously why didn’t anyone just slap me?!), who would sit in the park for an hour making daisy chains with the cutest child in the world. The me who will cry at a sad movie, and then get the giggles, who would actually appreciate things like fresh air, clean water, and food in the fridge every single day, who dragged her kid out of bed to watch lightning over the ocean.

I’m sure I’ll still have days where life seems hopeless and it’s hard to get out of bed, but this does -deep breath and praying I don’t jinx it- feel like a permanent shift.

And -another deep breath- I want to ride again, struggle on with my horses for as long as I can. I hadn’t really been wanting to, but I think that was more not letting myself want to, because it’s impractical and expensive and blah blah. I might not ever get back to competing now, but that’s ok. It’s never been about that. It’s about the feeling of being the first one to sit on my young horse, the first time our traumatised rescue pony walked up to me and ever so gently tickled my neck with his whiskers.

It’s early mornings, the smell of hay, mixing feeds with molasses, warming my hands under their rugs. It’s feeling that moment when half a ton of instinct and adrenaline decides to work with you.

So, for now, fuck practicality.

I’ve always been a dreamer, anyway.


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This afternoon, I was blindsided by this horrible surge of grief. Oddly enough, I’d been feeling stable, quietly productive. It was gorgeous today and I had all the windows open, sea breeze coming in, and I was curled in a patch of sun on the bed.

I have these moments, staying here, where I feel young, and some of what’s happened just falls away. I think it’s the same beaches, the same house, the same smells and sounds. The in-between could just be a dream, right? I could just wander down to the paddock, chuck a bridle on my patchy pony to gallop bareback through the surf. I could walk for miles without being needed, feeling tired, could get lost and found again.

So I was feeling peaceful and young, and I guess my mind just drifted a bit far until I was immersed in a happy time, and when I crashed back, it felt a little…soul destroying? It’s been (OMG) over 2 years since Craig and I lived together full-time, and I don’t know how long since we last had a big ‘lets (maybe, possibly, oh wait actually, I’m not sure) try again’  talk. A couple months? Six? If I thought about it in treatment cycles, I could probably narrow it down.

About 10 years ago now, we spent a lot of time together here. We’d wander along the beaches with my then-puppy, hang out with my best mates, I’d scare him with my interesting shortcuts through gravel tracks.

Sometimes these days, I don’t think about him in an us kinda way for days on end, and then it hits me how real this is. We’re not getting back together. This isn’t just a glitch. Even if the first part of a miracle occurred and he got his shit together, I actually couldn’t forgive him now anyway. Not because he cheated on me, hit me, any of the things when you think ‘unforgivable’. Because he let me go through cancer alone, because I just wasn’t enough. The probability  possibility of me dying doesn’t provoke enough in him, and I know how I’d be if our situations were reversed.

That. Absolutely. Kills.

I’m just staying away from him. As much as I can. It feels like I’m being torn apart but I’ve done everything else.


I don’t think I’m cut out for marriage anyway, and maybe I shouldn’t just be realising (or admitting to) that now, but I think at heart I’m a bit of a commitment-phobe. I mean, in a relationship, I am committed and I do love very deeply but I also have itchy feet a lot, I genuinely enjoy change, and I need a decent amount of stimulation I guess. Aside from my relationship with Craig and my closest long term friends, I tend to have shorter but quickly intense relationships and friendships.

Or maybe I’m just hurting too much now, and ‘realising I’m not cut out for marriage’ is a bit of a cop-out. I honestly wouldn’t know at this point. I’m one of those blessed people where I don’t seem to find it hard to meet nice guys, genuine people who are funny and smart and kind but god forbid one of them should try to get close to me. I’m even like that with friends now, and I’m getting so. lonely.

The flip-side of all this is at least I’m really actually starting to deal with things (and I am definitely in touch with why I actively avoided this) and I can feel myself changing, and not necessarily in the negative ways people would expect. I think I’m either getting stronger or realising my strength, I’m more inclined to speak up, I’m noticing people don’t put nearly as much emphasis on my physical appearance as I do, and I just feel..free-er. People have been criticizing me left right and centre lately, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care, but I also haven’t compromised myself to please others who don’t even know all the factors behind my decisions :).

So? Win. I think. Who the hell knows, really, and it doesn’t matter.

Anyway guys, I’m sorry for the word-vomit, just wanted to get some thoughts out :). Bman is at Craig’s this week and I also have the week off treatment so I guess that’s why I’m thinking about all this stuff I generally try to keep out.

Love to you all 🙂


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‘So, will you write about me one day?’ he asked casually, leaning back against the couch. He passed her the joint, half smiling at her hesitance.

She thought, trying not to show him how her skin prickled. Took a slow drag.

‘Do you want me to?’

‘Write something just for me now. And then something when I’m long gone.’

She smiled, picked up the notebook. ‘You’re not that old’, teasing him.

‘No. Just too old for you.’

She made eye contact, wearing her sexuality like a dress as she crawled into his lap.

‘So why am I here?’

He closed his eyes.


As the months wore on, she started dressing differently. Not to please him, she’d tell herself. Just to try to bridge the gap a little. She cursed less, wrote more. He liked her to wear her hair back, instead of down and styled with salt water. They listened to classical music, staying in to explore each other. He drew her flowers and she enveloped him in prose. Her family was drawn to him; most were.

‘He’s quirky, isn’t he? That’s probably good, you know. For you. You’ve always been mature, anyway.’

The first time, it seemed almost charming, the flip-side to his creativity. She wasn’t scared, even when he made her load the gun again and again. But that night, without knowing why, she took it.

‘It’s because I love you. You need to be able to protect yourself’

‘You’ll protect me. Nothing’s going to happen anyway. Unless you’re not telling me something.’

His eyes darkened.


She took him to the hospital, listening to him talk to ghosts in the car. Adjustment, make sure you keep taking your stabilisers, was what she remembered. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. The intensity left. Stability didn’t suit her. They decided to see someone else. So he could be him. But well. No more bullets on the stove. No more sleeping for 16 hours. They went to the beach, for bushwalks. The apartment was covered in drawings and notes. It was Spring. She visualised this being for always. Keeping this Balance.



To be continued. If I’m brave enough.

Just wanted to try something a little different and this has been on my mind lately. I hope you guys don’t mind :). It’s important for me to start putting this to rest finally, and writing is the best safest way I know.

Thanks for reading,

Ash xxx

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I am not a fan of birthdays. Most years I have a predictable emotional shit storm in the weeks leading up to it, and then suddenly go ‘Oh ok. Not so bad’ when the actual day rocks around.

This year was better, and it was worse.

It was better because I kept forgetting it was coming up, and because I was so bogged down in the big stuff, it barely mattered.

It was worse, because you know how when things go wrong on your birthday, it seems harder to take than any other day?

What my birthday did not look like

In addition to the phone thing (which I may have a resolution for fairly soon) there was a mistake with a parking ticket, so I found out I’d been driving without a license for god knows how long :(. I was home alone – my mum had Bailey because it was my treatment day, and all I ended up doing was frantically trying to the suspension on my license lifted.

Didn’t happen, so I missed treatment. I wasn’t devastated. My bestie came around ‘for drinks’..we had one and went to bed at 830. I was just exhausted. That week 2 members of my extended family had passed, there was the phone drama, license, treatment, my dog was out of control (Bailey’s dog I should say, my dog is perfect 🙂 ). Masses of bills, medical and otherwise piling up… We decided to get me out of the house the next day…I was sinking, badly. Of course we ran into one person I really hoped I wouldn’t when I decided to move back here. The kinda person you maybe don’t want seeing you at an incredibly vulnerable point.


That was last week. This week has been less awful, just with a couple of random extra things to cope with. Although my finances are being cut – again. I have to report every 2 weeks – still have cancer. Still have cancer. Still have cancer. God. Talk about demoralising. I’d love to be working. Unless I work something out (or start selling stuff) before too long, horses will start going, and my house next year and my previous life will really just be a memory, not something I’m on hiatus from and can go back to.

I don’t even know if I want to go back, but without rental income I’m fucked. Without a base, I’m also fucked because it is incredibly hard to find a rental here, and a single mum with cancer and two dogs isn’t going to make the top of any list.

These things happen, and I can survive ok for roughly 6 months (barring anything else absolutely unfair happening) before I have to make hard choices. Thank God I own my cars, float etc outright and I don’t have any store debt etc. I know that’s unusual for my age and situation – and a massive blessing, and it’s what’s saved my ass so far. If I just could have stayed in remission, I could have gotten through, recovered, without too much long term damage to mine and Bailey’s living situation. But it wasn’t meant to be, so now I just have to be in damage control, bucketing out water and trying to plug leaks so we sink a bit slower, hoping something comes up in the meantime.

I know we’ll be ok. If everything else goes and we have food on the table that’s ok. I’ll grieve, but we’ll be together, and sometimes that’s what left and you can focus on what’s lost, or you can focus on what you have and make it work.

First thing tomorrow morning I’m pulling my head out of the sand, finding out where I really really am, what I can and can’t afford to lose and regaining some control.

Love you guys


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When someone asks me how I am, I’ll quite often respond with this. I don’t know where or who I picked it up from (conversely, I’ve noticed a few friends have picked it up from me) or even what I mean by it.

Maybe it’s a ‘I’ve said everything there is to say, nothing has changed, so let’s move on’

That’s generally the type of person I am. I get on with it. I ‘pull my socks up’, my ‘finger out’. I ‘build a bridge’, ‘move on’, keep my ‘chin up’. (‘You have a determined chin, Flossy’, one of the most special people I’ve ever known used to say.)

Also, I’m not great at small talk. I find it boring and suburban and annoying, and it probably shows.  I don’t want to discuss soft furnishings past a ‘yes that looks good’ or ‘omg no’ opinion when asked for.

(But I know other people LOVE small talk, and with people I love, I’m happy to indulge them. They usually notice when I start twitching and cut me a break.)

Maybe (lately) it’s code for OMG. CAN’T EVEN.

I’m not ok.

People are noticing.

I’m not ok to the point where even fucking Craig calls to check on me.

‘Hey. Just checking in. You ok?’

‘Yep yep. How’re you?’

‘Yeah good. What’s happening with -insert phone company name-? And did you get your license back? How’s treatment? What’s happening for school holidays?’

-mumbling so he can’t hear me fighting tears- ‘Yeah. I’m getting through it. Thanks for calling. Sorry, I better go. Bye.’

Somehow, through all of this, we’re friendly again. I think it makes things worse, somehow.

I’m not ok to the point that MY MOTHER is moving back. Anyone who knows me personally knows what a head fuck that would be. The conversation when she told me was so circular that she probably doesn’t want to come back now, I don’t know. All I could say was ‘Um. Why?’, and ‘You know it’s Perth, right?’. Apparently it seems ‘like you and Bailey might need me around a little more’, and I think it’s a testament to my self-restraint that I didn’t point out that I actually needed her 15 years ago, instead murmuring something about my grandmother being thrilled, while my mouth slowly filled with blood.

I’m relating to people less and less or maybe I just don’t have it in me to try right now. I’m sick of people asking me ‘what’s wrong’ or saying that I just need to learn how to accept help, ‘let go and let God’ (whatever the fuck that is), restore my karmic balance, meditate, whatever. I just want to scream ‘I HAVE CANCER AND IT’S ACTUALLY OK TO STRUGGLE WITH THAT!’. I’m sorry that I’m not pouring drinks, making everyone giggle, that I’m not able to be cruisey with my time and energy. I’m sorry that I actually don’t feel like I can spend a day at a horse show right now, or give some lessons. Or whatever.

I am doing better though. If nothing else, I’m sticking up more for me and Bailey and really really starting to accept that it is just us, that I can’t rely on anyone else. I won’t rely on anyone else, won’t compromise myself ever again. I’ve always put other people first, and I just can’t anymore.

If there was ever a time to put myself first, this is it.

I’ll never give anyone the power to (almost) break me again. Not that it doesn’t feel like that could still happen, I know I’m not all the way through yet. I don’t know how to get all the way through. I feel like you probably have to want it, more than I do.

I have no idea what I’ve written or why I’ve written, but the pressure in my chest just eased off a bit, and that’s enough for me. So no editing, reading back, anything. For once.

Love love xx

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First, an update.

That cold I thought I had? Pneumonia. I don’t feel as bad as you’d expect. But bad enough.

Also, severe depression apparently. Right up in the glowing red, clanging alarms, danger zone.

I’m surprised and I think maybe they scored wrong, or didn’t listen when I said ‘sure, of course I’ve thought about it, I wouldn’t follow through though.’

I still think it feels ‘not me’ and like it’s from…something external… The professional opinion is life catching up to me though.

I guess it doesn’t matter either way.


I keep getting this awful feeling that something is going to blow, with Craig and I.

He’s never gotten violent, and I didn’t used to worry about Bailey in his care.

I just have this awful ‘tick tick’ type feeling. He’s irrational…the mood swings are epic. He can’t grasp cancer being worse than a cold… He doesn’t understand that it’s not fair to tell me everything I’ve ever done wrong, practically string me up over these half-truths and exaggerations and flat out lies without any intention in his behalf to make any commitment to sorting himself out.

He can’t seem to see that it’s not the time, he can’t see outside of his own feelings…I guess what I’m trying to say is, he doesn’t seem capable of empathy anymore, not just with me, how he talks about his family, workmates now… I barely know him anymore.

He has me over a barrel financially and could make my life hell if he wanted to. So I try to play nice, and it sucks. Because I want to scream at him to wake up. I don’t know how to deal with all this, how to stand up for myself without making him worse. Without him getting worse, I mean. I know his behaviour is on him.

I can’t handle anymore drama.

I can’t shake him off, or move on properly without losing a lot. I’m not in the position to start from scratch and rebuild my life.

My instincts are screaming at me…when he was here last week, I was jumpy…I can feel his anger and resentment towards me. I felt like every sense was heightened every time I turned my back on him. He’ll lay into me, verbally, saying he ‘needs to talk to me’ and when I defend myself, say something is not true, his jaw clenches and his hands shake…

I’ve never been scared of him before, but he’s never given me reason to be.

Maybe it’s just my messy head mixing things up.

But it feels like something is going to give, soon.


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