Trigger warning: Trauma, loss, grief, PTSD.

As predicted it has been a very crappy week. Tomorrow I will be heading off on a plane to the wedding, which for me is a very good thing. Life affirming. Can’t come fast enough really and just in the nick of time. Because of the stress I have been under my nightmares have ramped up a bit. Not surprising really and tedious definitely, but that is life. My life, to be precise.

In the early hours of this morning I woke up with a start. That doesn’t really do it justice. I woke up unable to breathe with my back arching up off the bed as I desperately attempted to get air into my lungs. I frantically searched beneath my pillow in the dark with my hand for my inhaler, my heart hammering so hard that it felt like it was breaking through my ribs before falling back inside my chest cavity with a thud.

I don’t remember the entire nightmare, just that right before I woke up there was a female figure standing in front of me and she set herself alight. I watched her hair catch and whoosh up in flames and her features melt and blacken, her disappearing eyelid exposing the entire eyeball. I don’t remember recognising her as someone I knew but then she wasn’t foreign either. In truth I don’t want to think about it too much or examine her too closely. Maybe she is me but definitely she is my Daughter Number One, crumpled and broken in a crushed lump of metal that used to be a car. The woman/girl in my nightmare is my reading the eyewitness reports and the words of a newly minted police officer as he described the smell of burning flesh. It is seeing the mangled metal remains of the vehicle and the perfectly preserved McDonald’s fries in a bag under the charred mess and mounds of ash of god knows what in the passenger foot well. It is not being able view my Daughter’s body or dress her for her funeral. It is a post mortem report I read and photo’s my solicitor refused to let me see. It is Bali bombing victims all over the news. The figure in my nightmare is all these things and so many more, layer upon layer (like the old advertisement said) of thoughts and the associated emotions that assail me the instant my mind is concious. EVEN as I struggle for air, EVEN as I search frantically for the cold metal plastic combination of the inhaler with my fingers. INSTANTANEOUSLY. DEVASTATINGLY.

And no, it isn’t just a nightmare, or like a horror film, not real, or something I can just shake myself free of. The weight of it clings to me like a tar I can’t wash off. A cloying psychic cigarette smoke that permeates my being; stale and unpleasant and persistent long after the source is gone. I don’t enjoy it. It is not something I hold onto; I try to move my thoughts on. I employ various strategies learnt over long years, purposefully. And yet, here it is, 10pm and my chest has remained tight all day.

I finally fell back to sleep this morning and had another nightmare, I kid you not. Different but the same themes of trauma, pain, loss, grief. Some nights are like that. I’m not here asking for your sympathy. I’m not asking for your understanding – please know how genuinely HAPPY I am that for most of you, this is beyond comprehension. I’m also not asking for your judgement. If I could just move on I would. No one would choose this. And maybe I am weak, who knows? But any systemic vulnerabilities have been caused by numerous assaults on my being from various sources. Because you see, my worst nightmares have happened while I’ve been awake.

All that I’ll ask is that we be gentle with one another, that we be kinder. Because we all fight our own battles. And tomorrow I will try to be kinder to myself.

This morning I read this poem by Greysie. He has his own Greysie’s Poetry facebook page – it is powerful stuff. It’s not always pleasant or easy reading but it’s always real and I like the real. I liked this. It said it all.


I crept in while you were sleeping,
Laid waste to your mind,
I woke you up screaming,
Pain is all you’ll find.

I am always in your body,
Chewing on your soul,
Sleep is just a fantasy,
To destroy you is my goal.

As you woke in tears,
Another nightmare in your brain,
I’m already plotting further,
How I will drive you insane.

Keep you awake for hours,
You to scared to go to sleep,
To scared to close your eyes,
I intend to make you weep.

All the while surrounded,
With your friends who can not see,
That I’m tearing you apart inside,
I will never set you free.

I eat you inside out,
I will kill you in the end,
I am your enemy,
You will never call me friend.

I eat just under the surface,
So no one else can see,
All the while you in agony,
Terrified by what is me.

I am the Evil Clown,
It’s you that I taunt,
I’m hidden just around the corner,
It’s you that I will haunt.

I’m a door left open,
That stops you in your tracks,
I’m that tightening of your chest,
You can never just relax.

I’m the shadow walking past you,
That no one else can see,
That scares you to death,
I am you, you are me.

We are one until your end,
As that reality does sink in,
I am your Evil Clown,
I’ll tear you open from within.

You will never have respite,
This painful sorrow will never end,
There is nothing you can do,
Your brain will never mend.

I’m the blood that you still smell,
I’m the epitome of terror,
I’m horror after horror,
I am your forever.

I’m just around the corner,
I’m waiting just for you,
To terrorise you further,
There’s nothing you can do.

Written 21.7.14

Safe onward travel. Sleep tight x


Oh Baby Baby it’s a Wild World.

Off to a slow start today, fresh from one of my recurrent nightmares. In it I am looking for Daughter Number One and becoming more and more frantic as I can’t find her. In days gone by I’d keep looking until I awoke with a start, mid panic attack, and it was only then that I’d remember. These days, eight years later, I usually remember someway through the dream and spend the rest of it trying to convince myself. ‘She’s dead Kate. You can’t find her, she’s dead’. I expect that’s progress. Perhaps. It still feels pretty shitty though and leaves a bit of a hangover of raw grief when I wake up. Much as it was for Nana when she went through a stage of asking ‘Where’s Daughter Number One?’ as the Alzheimer’s first took hold, and I had to tell her, again and again, that she had died; it is like hearing it for the first time. That is hard to shake off. 

Still, three kids to look after and all that. Soldier on. I’ve made bacon sandwiches for them all and the house smells fantastic. Son Number One has left for a social group for a few hours. Son Number Two has a friend over and some time and space in Number One’s absence to enjoy his company without being hassled.  Daughter Number Two is meant to be seeing Baby Daddy today, but I haven’t heard from him since our last conversation and it’s now past 11am, so we shall see. I am playing music and taking deep breaths in and out.

Daughter Number One gave the best hugs. She laughed often. She loved freely. She was tolerant and expressive and funny. She attended a selective performing arts high school and was talented in that regard, but also excelled academically. She loved learning Italian. She read for pleasure. She wanted to travel. She was heading for NIDA ( and I’ve no doubt she would have made it. She was passionate with a strong work ethic. She was a loving, compassionate and fiercely loyal friend. A champion of the underdog. She was all this and so much more. She was amazing, my daughter.

I miss her.

I’ve got to get out more….

So, last night I had another nightmare within a nightmare. No wonder I feel exhausted when I wake up! On the plus side last nights dreams weren’t quite as cryptic and I guess I feel that if I am working through any issues while I’m unconscious then theoretically it should save me time while I’m conscious, right?

I’ve got alot going on at the moment, both inside and outside my head.  You would think the stuff outside- including two beautiful boys with special needs, one enchanting almost two year old girl, a grandparent with alzheimers who I’m helping my sister  find a residential care placement for, a newish romantic entanglement of the long distance variety, an ex-husband I still care for…….where was I? I had to leave to change a delightful poo filled nappy. Oh, yes, I was thinking that the everyday glamour of my life would dull down the roar from inside my head. But it doesn’t.

I am an introspective person by nature. That has really only been magnified by depression and PTSD. I watch reality TV and read trashy magazines because they produce a soothing white noise effect in my head. A friend I was speaking with last night says the internet does the same for him, and I’d have to agree. That is partly what this blog is about, as the title suggests it is space for me to dump what is in my head.

I feel like I have entered a new phase in terms of personal growth and that is probably what the intensity of my dreams is about. This can only be a good thing, even if it is leaving me feeling a bit strung out.  Anyhow, the ‘real world’ calls…….later!