Phoenix Fights

Fighting the FEAR, depression and BDP on a daily basis AND making my own bread. Bring it on 2016….




There’s a joke that comedian Harry Hill used to tell about his Nana, and it went something like this:

‘Ah, my Nana she’s always knitting.  She sits in her favourite armchair and she goes <miming the actions, elbows bent and jiggling furiously> “Knit, knit, knit!  Knit, knit, knit, knit, knit, knit, knit!”.  Then one I day I said “Nana, you might want to try it now with wool and needles?”’

OK, so you had to be there…..

But that’s been me of late; head bent, arms out, knitting away furiously, at top speed, counting all the knits, cables and pearls in my head in order to drown out those voices of doom whispering in my ear.

And because they keep trying to break my concentration, I keep going wrong.

In fact, I’ve had to unravel half of this wretched garment at least three times, because I didn’t pay enough attention to or fully understand the instructions, and each time I go wrong, I groan, pull out reams of stitches swearing profusely, then stuff it back in it’s bag before going to the kitchen to seek comfort in a soothing cup of tea or glass of wine.

But I always come back.

I don’t quit.


Because no one knows that I keep messing up.

No one can see.

Or judge.

Anyway, this bloody yarn cost a fortune and I’ll be blowed if I let a bit of applied mathematics bamboozle me 😉

It’s the same with baking.  I’ll have a crack at something, it usually turns out, in which case I’ll try and make it even better next time, but when it doesn’t I’ll figure out what went wrong and try again until I get it right.

In this instance however, it’s also a good way of procrastinating and avoiding doing something I should have done weeks, no, months ago if I’m being honest.

I have an test I need to pass in order to move my business venture along, but for some reason I’ve done everything I can to avoid it.  I doubt it will be that difficult, and if I study enough I should easily pass it, but they prefer that you do it at a centre with other people rather than online.

Other people who’ll find out how thick I am because I’ll get all nervous and get it wrong.

Other people who’ll judge me.

And find me wanting.

And laugh at me behind my back.

I don’t like being tested.

I’ve bailed on practically ever course I’ve ever embarked on and if I’ve managed (or had) to see something through to the bitter end, I’ve put very little effort into studying for it and just about scrape through.

In the workplace if I had to present or take conference calls, I would need beta blockers to quell the panic and stop me shaking as everything I ever knew about the subject would fall through a trap door in my head and I’d stumble and fumble over every sentence like an eejit.

It’s extremely annoying and frustrating and I had no idea why it kept happening to me.

Until now.

Today I remembered.


If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I fully remember my loveless childhood, the indifference of my parents, and the friction between me and my brother, but today it hit me how much it all affected my confidence, hence my education and career.

It wasn’t so much that my parents didn’t really care how I did at school, it was more how little they praised me when, by some miracle, I did achieve anything academically or otherwise.  I grew up in a working class town oop North where praise was hard earned and for the most part, everyone had to pretend to be humble therefore most kids weren’t told how wonderful they were in case they ‘got above themselves.’

Mine weren’t any different.

But that was only part of the problem.  The biggest Jeff Goldblum sized fly in the ointment was how i was treated by the male members of my family.  Especially my brother.

I want to make a point here that, for once, I’m not judging him, because when I look at it objectively, he too was a product of his environment and as a typical boy and a consumate tease, he did everything he could to put me down, wind me up and make me cry.

And because I was (and am) HSP and had no one to love and reassure me the way I needed, or tell me I was anything other than shit, whist I gave as good as  got, I believed everything he ever said to me.

And because I didn’t take it well, he ended up hating me and the teasing rapidly turned to bullying, sneering, mocking and violence.

Which made everything worse for both of us.

I keep walking away from writing this, and coming back to it.

Everything I did was laughable, crap, stupid, pointless, desperate, idiotic, needy, ugly, selfish and WRONG.

I could not do anything good or right in his eyes and if for one single moment I found myself thinking that I looked nice, fitted in. had done something good or had some fun, he would be lying in wait in the wings just waiting to jump out triumphantly and hoot derision at me for ever being stupid enough to believe in myself for one single second.

And because I believed him, I had no confidence, plus I looked like a classic ‘please punch me in the face’ geek, so I had no real friends to confide in.

My parents refused to take sides when we fought, and just screamed and threatened both of us.   They did nothing to stop him hitting me and left me to fight back with all my might, tears streaming down my battered face in outrage and pain.

HSP’s, more than anyone, are delicate little flowers and need a warm, nurturing, reassuring, nourishing garden plus a lot of coaxing in order to flourish and grow.

I had less of a garden and something more along the lines of a cold, dark yard made of filthy, cat piss stained concrete slabs that someone would occasionally throw the odd bottle or brick into.

But I survived.

Because I acquired and developed a number of survival/coping mechanisms in order to get me through life safely.

But there is a difference between surviving and thriving.

That said, I did learn a few talents over the last five decades. But I am only good at them because I tried, screwed up, tried again, got it right and then made the effort to hone these skills.

In sum, I allowed myself to be a bit crap at first.

But I only seem to do this when no one else can judge me.

What I really need to ask myself is does it really matter if they do?

Will the sky really fall in?

Will people really judge me as harshly as I myself tend to judge myself?

And others?

That’s the other rather nasty side effect.

In the past I have been super critical of everyone because I learned from the best.

It’s a defense mechanism you see.  If you get in there first, people will be too scared to back come at you.

But the people who lash out at others invariable do the very same thing to themselves, but even more brutally

This worked for a long time.

But as soon as the frightened, hurt child in me would dare expose her vulnerability to someone she thought loved her, then it was invariably, eventually used against me.

And my heart would harden.

And that 6 inch thick steel door would slam shut again.

And I would vow never to trust anyone again.

So I was either a snarling venus flytrap or small white daisy, just waiting to be trodden underfoot.

I suppose I should aim be more like the Rose, as I get to have a couple of nice sharp thorns if needed, but can risk coming out from under cover whatever the weather, and learn to tend my own garden rather than expect anyone else to turn up with a shovel.  And when I’ve got it how I want it, then and only then will people turn up with cuttings, seeds and the odd thermos of tea if I’m lucky.

Because it’s MY job.

Not theirs.

So I’d better get working and book that test.

Well.  After I’ve done just a few more rows of knitting perhaps….



  1. I think your sensitivity is a gift—you likely sense things that typically go unnoticed by others—you have a knack for knitting it all together. It’s just unfortunate that you had to go it alone. But maybe that’s just made you the best at your job.

  2. I used to have a really low self esteem and was bullied in school. Good God! If only they could see me know. I don’t give a FUCK what others think about me. Saying that, I would never, EVER go to a high school reunion. Ever. Fuck that. Saying THAT, I actually have a few old highschool friends in the city I now live in (Canberra – about 18 hours drive from where I went to high school) who I love to bits and can’t believe how well we get along even though, in highschool, we didn’t talk that much. They are friends with a lot of the people from highschool whom I couldn’t bear. So people change, I guess. Do you still talk to your brother? I have a friend who has disowned all three of her brothers because they are such arseholes. I say you can pick your friends, but not your family.

    Anyway, enough rambling!!! I say GO FOR IT AND DO THE TEST! If you fail, you fail. Simply learn from it, and resit the test later. Put your chin up and face the world, and if they don’t like you, then FUCK THEM. And you would be surprised how few people actually ARE judging you. Sure, if you weigh 200kg and leave your house in a bikini, then you might get a little judged… but just for doing what everyone else does, whether it’s poorly or well, you most likely won’t be judged as the people who you think might be doing the judging are too busy trying to get by in their lives, hoping they won’t be judged, to judge. Think about it.

  3. er.. if only they could see me now? lol

  4. I really really relate to this post. I am so unable to want to do well because of my ex and his continual abuse- the minute I do something well, I feel like something else goes wrong in my life. I think you need to stick two fingers up to the ghosts of your past and go do the things you need to do. Take a supportive friend, or call them when you’re done, or meet for coffee when you’re done. I think that would help you as it’s helped me a lot. xxxx

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