My name is Denise and I am a writer. I write about "the darker stuff", homelessness, mental health, addiction and trauma, and I'm known by my followers for calling a spade a spade, and just “chucking it out there"...no fake fairydust, no candy coloured sugar-coating...just honest emotions mixed with cold, hard, facts. People call me "inspiring" and think that I'm brave.And yes, at times, I think I'm brave too. It takes guts to do the things that I do...to lay yourself bare and to leave yourself open, especially when you don't feel very brave because you secretly live like the cowardly lion from that epic movie The Wizard Of Oz.I'll let you into a secret...I live in a caravan that I share with my cat (who's not actually my cat but is convinced that he is, which is why he is now a permanant fixture)It's compact and cosy and a roof over my head. It's also my hiding place where I live like a recluse, and it shelters me from the outside world that just a few years ago was terrifying to me.I work, and I write and I talk to my cat, and very few people are allowed past my threshold. My firewalls are huge (but for very good reason). The chosen few who are allowed through clearly adore me and I adore them, and our interactions help keep me sane.I'm a huge, huge fan of “voice notes" now... they're my new bestest thing...(especially now that we are in lockdown again and most of my “ real” friends live hundreds of miles away) so our friendships rely on these interactions...it also helps to disguise the fact that I'm actually scared to answer my phone.If we do physically talk on the phone, you need to know this...you are very, very, high up in my world (Emma, Clare, Sally and Sarah, yes, I do mean you!)I have PTSD, in case you are wondering, on quite an epic scale. Mostly I manage, I have safeguards in place, and if I'm absolutely honest I choose not to talk about it much, but lockdown for me is “recovery time"... which basically means “not having to do things that freak me out or trigger me” - like going to work with people who think that I'm weird, because they don't have a clue about why I'm so guarded. It means that I get to spend more time inside, unravelling my head, in the hope that one day maybe I can fix myself.The journey that I went on has scarred me for life. I am never, ever going to be fully the woman that I was before, and sometimes I miss that person a ridiculous amount. I miss her sass and her bravery and her not being scared or intimidated by anyone...I miss the woman who gave precisely no fucks what people thought about her, and who was happy just being in her own skin and doing her own thing.My blog allows me to be that woman...to bring her out and dust her off, and show people just what I'm actually capable of, and I feel brave and resillient and everything I yearn to be again when I am her...And then I'll go to put the kettle on and my phone will ring, or there's a knock on my door, and I'm peeling myself off the ceiling again because hypervigilance kicks in, and in seconds I'm a hot mess of adrenaline and fear.Which brings me back to earth with a bump and reminds me once more that I've still got quite a big mountain to climb, and an awful lot more unravelling to do in order to get my bravery back... Something that sadly can't be fixed by a pair of ruby slippers and a journey down the yellow brick road...
People say that I'm cold at times.
At work, I'm known as "The Ice Queen".
I turn up, do my job well (which is probably why I still have one) and quietly count down the hours until I can get the fuck out of dodge and make my way back home.
I speak if I'm spoken to, but most of my conversations these days I have with my cat...I don't mind, and he seems to like it, so it's an arrangement that suits us both it would seem.
But here's the thing that people don't realise; I didn't ever plan to be
"Cold", it wasn't something I aimed for or ever aspired to - back in the day, before PTSD hit, I was funny and witty and clever and kind, it's just that somehow, somewhere along the way, after one too many kicks in the teeth, sometimes you just " get" cold …and then you find you can't warm up.
You get spiky, angry, protective, defensive...you forget how to just "be" with people, and so you in the end you just don't mix.
And people around you call you weird, or think that you're a witch because all you seem to do these days is stay at home with your cat (because that's where you feel safe, and anyway, that cat is all you have)
They don't know the half of it.
Because weeks, months, and years of total headfuckery is enough to freeze even the warmest of hearts, so its hardly surprising then that one day " Poof!"...before you know it, old happy, carefree you is gone, and suddenly you're standing in a garden with a scarf around your neck, waiting for someone to stick a carrot on your face…
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