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The two words I never said to my ex

1
”I’m scared”.

Ok so there’s a reasonable chance I said those words in the context of ”I’m scared of spiders and moths”, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Plus I think my screaming, crying, running away reactions to said creatures said it all anyway, so it’s possible it never did actually SAY it.

No I’m talking the other kind of scared. The kind that follows you around every second of every day:

”I’m scared to talk to people”

”I’m scared to go outside” (even the back garden)

”I’m scared to make a phone call”

I’m

SelfishMother.com
2
scared of taking my child swimming”

”I’m scared of being a mum”

”I’m scared to say I’m scared”.

I’m talking about that kind of scared. I’ve been thinking about why and can come up with a number of reasons.

Firstly, for a long time I didn’t realise I was actually scared. My deep need to hide inside on the sofa while other people were out and about made me feel like I was just lazy. I couldn’t explain why I didn’t feel up to doing something so it looked like I just couldn’t be bothered. So I battled through and did my best to

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3
pretend I was OK. This generally resulted in one of two things: either I wouldn’t do what I was scared of and be deemed lazy, or the stress I’d feel from doing it would result in some sort or meltdown/argument on my part (which I can now realise was more often than not a panic or anxiety attack). Unfortunately this led to two negative (and incorrect) beliefs about myself: I’m lazy and I’m difficult.

The second reason I didn’t admit to being scared? Even once I realised that there was a name to how I’d been feeling all my life, I genuinely

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4
didn’t believe anyone would believe me, even my husband. Sadly, I was eventually proved right when he informed me that I couldn’t use my anxiety as an excuse for how I was. It’s an unfortunate thing when you suffer any mental illness while married to someone who went to the school of ”it’s all in your head, snap out of it”. If only it were that easy.

Reason number three? It’s simply terrifying to actually admit that you’re scared. Even if you’re talking about the big stuff, stuff that most people are scared of. So how do you admit you’re

SelfishMother.com
5
scared of the small stuff that other people seem to be able to handle without issue? Simple, you don’t.

I’m starting to come to terms with these constant fears, but that doesn’t mean I’ve learned to overcome them yet. As I type this I’m sat at my table and it’s a beautiful day outside. But the idea of opening the front (or even back) door has my stomach in knots. I know I’ll have to go to school pick up later. And I have to take my eldest to the shops after school to buy some new school shoes. And I actually know the fresh air and sunshine will

SelfishMother.com
6
do me good. So I’ll put my brave face on and do what needs to be done, knowing I can come hide again in my safe place later.

But what I do know is that I’m not hiding from it anymore. I can’t. There are people who won’t accept my fears, even call them ridiculous. These aren’t my people (even if I thought they were). Not everyone will understand my fears, but my people need to understand that they’re a part of me and be willing to support me through them, even when I’m being ’difficult’. Those people are my tribe, the ones I don’t have to

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pretend for and who don’t have to pretend for me, and I’m so grateful for them.

xx

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- 17 Apr 18

“I’m scared”.

Ok so there’s a reasonable chance I said those words in the context of “I’m scared of spiders and moths”, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Plus I think my screaming, crying, running away reactions to said creatures said it all anyway, so it’s possible it never did actually SAY it.

No I’m talking the other kind of scared. The kind that follows you around every second of every day:

“I’m scared to talk to people”

“I’m scared to go outside” (even the back garden)

“I’m scared to make a phone call”

I’m scared of taking my child swimming”

“I’m scared of being a mum”

“I’m scared to say I’m scared”.

I’m talking about that kind of scared. I’ve been thinking about why and can come up with a number of reasons.

Firstly, for a long time I didn’t realise I was actually scared. My deep need to hide inside on the sofa while other people were out and about made me feel like I was just lazy. I couldn’t explain why I didn’t feel up to doing something so it looked like I just couldn’t be bothered. So I battled through and did my best to pretend I was OK. This generally resulted in one of two things: either I wouldn’t do what I was scared of and be deemed lazy, or the stress I’d feel from doing it would result in some sort or meltdown/argument on my part (which I can now realise was more often than not a panic or anxiety attack). Unfortunately this led to two negative (and incorrect) beliefs about myself: I’m lazy and I’m difficult.

The second reason I didn’t admit to being scared? Even once I realised that there was a name to how I’d been feeling all my life, I genuinely didn’t believe anyone would believe me, even my husband. Sadly, I was eventually proved right when he informed me that I couldn’t use my anxiety as an excuse for how I was. It’s an unfortunate thing when you suffer any mental illness while married to someone who went to the school of “it’s all in your head, snap out of it”. If only it were that easy.

Reason number three? It’s simply terrifying to actually admit that you’re scared. Even if you’re talking about the big stuff, stuff that most people are scared of. So how do you admit you’re scared of the small stuff that other people seem to be able to handle without issue? Simple, you don’t.

I’m starting to come to terms with these constant fears, but that doesn’t mean I’ve learned to overcome them yet. As I type this I’m sat at my table and it’s a beautiful day outside. But the idea of opening the front (or even back) door has my stomach in knots. I know I’ll have to go to school pick up later. And I have to take my eldest to the shops after school to buy some new school shoes. And I actually know the fresh air and sunshine will do me good. So I’ll put my brave face on and do what needs to be done, knowing I can come hide again in my safe place later.

But what I do know is that I’m not hiding from it anymore. I can’t. There are people who won’t accept my fears, even call them ridiculous. These aren’t my people (even if I thought they were). Not everyone will understand my fears, but my people need to understand that they’re a part of me and be willing to support me through them, even when I’m being ‘difficult’. Those people are my tribe, the ones I don’t have to pretend for and who don’t have to pretend for me, and I’m so grateful for them.

xx

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