Phoenix Fights

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


The Daily Post ‘To-Do? Done!’ – SOMEWHERE THAT’S GREEN (Updated)


‘Quickly list five things you’d like to change in your life. Now, write a post about a day in your life once all five have been crossed off your to-do list.’

Of late the majority of my posts have been about the dire stuff that has been happening in my life, hence I’ve been less and less inspired to write, so I thought ‘I know!  I’ll shut up whinging about my shit (yes I do whinge, CD!) and do a “Daily Post” challenge to take my mind of it!’.

And here we are.



WTF, I’ll do it anyway.

My five things, sorry, five OF my things are:

1. Get out of this shitstorm, sell up and find somewhere affordable to live where I don’t keep waking up in a cold sweat (and no it’s not down to the menopause) in the dead of night waiting for the bailiffs/debt collectors to come get me.

2. Find a way to manage my illness with or without the help of professionals, as right now it’s looking like I’ll have to forgo my two years of schema therapy if I move out of this borough. And I can no longer afford to live here.

3. Find some gainful employment that I can tolerate/cope with, so that I don’t keep waking up, covered in sweat, in the blah, blah, blah….

4. Sort out my body, i.e. stop treating it like shite by comfort eating, staying in 24/7 and deliberately depriving it of exercise, and look after it as least as well as I do my car.

5. Find some way of forgiving, accepting and even loving myself so that I can love and be loveable to others and have/keep people in my life.

Pretty fundamental stuff eh?  None of this ‘buy a pair of Louboutins’, ‘pull that hot guy at the gym’ or ‘have a closest clean out’ trivia pour moi.  Such stuff does not even register on my radar right now. Survival is the name of the game.

And how might things look should I achieve the impossible?

Perhaps a little like this:

To clarify, I’m not physically injured and don’t have a ‘semi sadist’ boyfriend; I sometimes wish I did, as I’d be able to justifiably beat the crap out of him, which would be a great exercise in stress relief.  😉


It’s just that I have no idea what a ‘normal life’ would look like for someone like me, so this is as good an illustration as any, and as cringe makingly embarrassing as it is, like Audrey, I do yearn to be away from the city and reside ‘somewhere that’s green’.

But I’m copping out here, because I’m scared to paint the picture.  Because in my heart I daren’t believe it might come true.

But OK, challenges are challenges, so I’ll take a punt at it.

No picket fence, no shrink wrapped furniture (no plastic has been invented that my cats can’t annihilate) and no Howdy frigging Doody who/whatever that is.

But yes, I’m living in that ultimate cliche, a cottage near the sea.

I cook a darn sight better than Betty Crocker and now have a dining room so I can have friends around for BBQ’s, parties and big Sunday lunches.  

I’m living closer to my friends.  I’m close enough to my family that it’s not a five hour journey to get to them, but not so close that it makes either of us twitchy.  

I’m walking distance (or I’ll settle for a short drive) away from the water/beach so I know I can go there and watch the waves when the mind monkeys are driving me ape shit.

I’m walking distance (OK, a short drive) from my part time job which is challenging but not too demanding, leaving me enough energy to pursue the kind of work I love, and yes I have a baking business on the side.

I have the energy to write and make even be embarking on a novel.  At the very least I’m in a writing group and mixing with like minded folk.  

I do yoga. I dance.  I have a social life.  That would be kind of wonderful.

And the biggest thing of all, NO ONE knows about my shit, and whilst I might never pass for normal (quirky/eccentric has been attributed to me in the past), I am accepted and embraced for who I am.  There is no point of me moving to the sticks if the townsfolk know that there’s a (albeit innocent looking) little monster planted in their midst.

If I can have all of that I won’t even need a ‘Seymour’; not yet anyway.  But I live in hope that one day I’ll know what it’s like to be held by a man again, cherished and maybe even enjoy walks on the beach with a strong silent soul.

Control freak dentists of the Shires should, however, watch where they put their implements ‘cos I’m nothing like as sweet as Audrey.

I’m much more of an Audrey 2 really.

With much bigger teeth. 🙂

If I ever achieve all of these things on this list, you’ll be the first to know.  just don’t hold your breath, OK?

Namaste x




I’ve made a decision.

I’m going to come off my medication.

Well I’m going to try anyway, and will have to do it gradually but the intention is to be meds free ASAP and see how I get on from there.

I know it’s a risk and I know that I may have to do a swift about turn and get back on it if the whole thing backfires and I turn into a panic stricken, aggressive, super anxious, destructive, paranoid wreck, but I’m pretty sure that the reason I’m so stunted and not moving on any time soon with anything is because I’m so stoned on Sertraline.


Aunty C has been telling me this for years, and some of my friends think it’s a good thing because I’m all ‘Zen’ now (Hah!  If only they knew), but I think the final straw for me was the other night when after watching one of the saddest, most tearjerking programme that has been on TV for a long time, I was unable to shed a tear.

Even though I could feel myself practically boiling with emotion.  That can’t be right, can it?

Also last year I was told by a yoga teacher that all my chakras were blocked, and I’d never be able to get them active until I’m free of personality altering medication, and I’m starting to believe that she was right.

I am going to be a good, responsible Sista, go see Dr B, get some advice and do it under supervision, but I am going to do it, as I’m never going to be able to touch base with my true self whilst it’s being watered down like this.

Wait a minute, though?  If I’m not on sertraline anymore, how can I be Sista Sertraline?  This one pseudonym/identity has been the only surety in my life for the last 18 months or so, and it’s quite scary to think that I might have to give it up.

Who the fuck am I anyway?!


I guess we’re about to find out.

Be afraid.  Be very afraid…




I am invited to a funeral tomorrow.

It’s the funeral of my friend’s mother, a lovely lady whom I met only once, but whilst seriously physically debilitated, kindness, fun and mischief shone out of her eyes, and I liked her hugely and immediately, along with her husband who is an absolute sweetheart.

But one meeting does not constitute a friendship so I was surprised to receive the invitation.

And I was torn.

Torn between the fear of going into a church and sitting through a funeral and torn between wanting to support my friend.

So I told her ‘If you need me there so support you in any capacity, I’m there.’

But she said ‘Sista, I’ll be in my own world tomorrow and surrounded by my family, and we will support each other but my Father wanted to invite you, so you are more than welcome to come.’

Was surprised and touched to hear that, but am guessing he was moved by the message I sent him about his wife now being with God.  I hope this is true, and that someone was there to greet her, but if nothing else, I know she is at peace and free of the shackles of her broken down physical form which must have at times felt like a prison.

But I won’t be going.

Because I’m frightened.

Frightened because I do not belong.

Frightened to talk to strangers who may ask who I am and what I do (nothing being the answer to both questions).

Frightened because I don’t like funerals.  I have been to too many of my own over the last 50 years.

Frightened because I’m worried I might cry, and if I cry I might never stop.

Because it’s all there, bulging away inside me, tightening my chest, blocking up my throat and causing my head to pound.

A lifetime of tears that I am still unable to shed.

Plus I’m not exactly friends with the Man Upstairs right now and I’m frightened that if I enter those hallowed walls that I’ll start to burn and crisp like Damian from the Omen in a hot deep fat fryer, and my friend and her family can well do without having to scape a soggy, weeping, totally overcome Sista off the floor with a dustpan and brush, or put out my blazing, cursing form with the church fire extinguisher or drive a stake through my heart at the alter.


But clearly I need to cry.  I rarely cry.  And I think that was why I didn’t get that Sexual Abuse Helpline job all those months ago.

But I absolutely hate it.  I’m incapable of shedding tears without feeling like a weak, vulnerable loser.

But maybe I’ll watch The Green Mile or something, and offload in the privacy and comfort of my own home.  But what I won’t do is make a complete show of myself and embarrass my friend at the funeral of that lovely lady.

So I tell her that I won’t be attending and immediately feel like a pathetic coward and a bad friend.

And then a light came on in my head.

I can give them the cakes and bakes I made for the market!  And when my friend accepts this offer with gratitude I feel that I have at least done something to make their day easier.

This is my second day at home in isolation.

I could, should, go out and do something with the day, which is already half over.

And do what? Spend money I haven’t got?  Walk in the freezing cold for the sake of walking? Go to the cinema on my own?

No way.  I’ll do something tomorrow.  Honest I will, Guv.  But today, I’m doing fuck all.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I loves ya, tomorrow, thank God you’re a day away.




The other night a friend very kindly offered me some free tickets to the launch of a new West End play, along with press party passes, and without giving it that much thought, I gratefully accepted.

It wasn’t till the day before the big event, when I was raking around inside my wardrobe trying to find choose ‘grown up’ evening attire that I started to feel a little uneasy about it.  The last time I went to an event like this was via my job, and time had not erased the memories of being surrounded by ‘plastics’, not being comfortable in my skin and having to spend entire evenings after a full days work trying to be someone I wasn’t.

My friend L sympathised but urged me to chill out about it.

‘It’s different this time isn’t it?  You’re not being forced to attend, entertaining someone, or having to mind your ‘p’s and q’s’.  You’re the client this time, as far as they’re concerned, and we can relax and have fun!’

This was all true. But it was still weird and I was anxious about any small talk that I may need to engage in.

‘So what do you do?’

‘Oh, I don’t work, I’m broke and bonkers, I just stay at home, watch TV and dream about owning my own business.  I did have all kinds of plans, trouble is, I don’t have the balls to get on with them and make something of myself!  How about you?’

‘Well I…oh is that Sadie Frost?  Excuse me, I must go say hello…..’

How do I end up in these scenarios where I feel lesser than others?  Will it always be this way, wherever I go, whatever job I do, whatever class of people I attempt to socialise with?

As for the thought of bumping into anyone from my working past and having to bullshit my way through that conversation, makes my blood run cold.  I’m so ashamed of not having a ‘life after corporate hell’ success story to share with them.

‘Highly unlikely you’ll bump into any of that lot,’ L sniffs, ‘anyway if you do, just smile and give them a regal wave from our posh seats and turn the other way!’

I smiled at this, nodded, and promised her I wouldn’t bail. 

But I wanted to.

When the big evening was finally upon us, I predictably had a big panic attack when getting ready, and ended up surrounded by clothes strewn all over the floor before finally settling on my most comfortable, but low cut Noa Noa LBD, a pair of black heels, stockings, a nice wool/cashmere coat and a bright pashmina wrap.

I gave myself one last appraisal in the mirror before heading out for the bus, and noticed my perplexed, dismayed expression hadn’t changed.

Who is that person?

She looks so foreboding and formal?

Why’s she got her tits out when it  5 degrees outside? And where are her leggings and favourite Dr Marten’s boots?

Fortified by an anti-d and beta blocker combo, I scuttled out of the door, onto the tube and then scurried up to the theatre to pick up the tickets.

‘Sorry madam, nothing here for you under that name’ say the box office lady looking absolutely mortified.

My heart is thumping like a jackhammer.  

They know I’m a fraud.  I look ridiculous. They don’t want me in there.

‘Ring your mate!’ says L, proper peeved, so I do, hoping fervently that he wasn’t contactable.

He picked up straight away, apologised profusely for the mix up, and arranged to meet us in a nearby cafe and sort it all out for us, and as we sit there amongst the casually dressed patrons, I feel ridiculously overdressed.  

My feet are killing me.

My legs are freezing and actually trembling.

My fanny is in shock from extreme exposure, used to being protected by knickers, tights AND jeans in these harsher than usual climes. I’m just hoping it doesn’t sneeze mid performance and put the actors off their lines….

Alex arrives, red in the face and full of apologies.

‘It’s all OK now, just go and see Sonja, she has all your tickets, and call me if there are any problems.’

‘Oh don’t worry, we’ll just go for a quick drink instead if it’s going to be a hassle!’ I say accommodatingly, fantasising about thermal leggings, Ugg boots and hot chocolate with Baileys in front of the TV.

‘Will we hell!’ mutters L, determined to have her glamorous evening.

We walk to the theatre in silence, me panicking like fuck, L fully aware that I’m in a state.

‘Look how do you manage when you did that “extra” work, with all those cameras zooming in on you?’

That was easy.

It wasn’t me.

I was pretending to be someone else.

‘So do that now!  You look amazing!  No one would guess that you’re a….erm, well that you’re…’

Unemployed?  Terrified?  A complete and utter failure?

But she’s right. I’ve got to pull my shit together and get through this.

When we arrive at the theatre, I swoop up to the box office and ask politely but firmly for our tickets.

‘Yes, we have them here madam.  So sorry for the mix up!  There will be some complementary drinks at the bar for you, by way of apology.’

I smile my thanks, and head for the much needed alcohol injection, trying not to show how much my frigging heels hurt as I glide up the stairs with L in hot pursuit behind me.

‘They didn’t even acknowledge me,’ she grumbles, swigging back the bubbles and chomping on a handful of cashews, ‘I’M the Marketing Director of <huge American TV network> and they look at me like I’m your assistant!’

‘Don’t let it bother you,’ I mutter in reply, ‘at the end of the day, it doesn’t mean jack shit, does it?’

But she’s right; I clearly look the part and get lots of smiles and nods from people both at the play and the after party, clearly assuming that I’m something that I’m not.  So I took L’s advice and acted the part of a well to do, well connected lady (whatever that means) with a big house and even bigger job.

But when it all got too exhausting, we snuck off and sat down somewhere quiet for some much needed respite.

‘So!  Nothing to worry about hey?’ L grins rather drunkenly, ‘have you enjoyed yourself?’

‘Yes, it’s been fun!   But this is the last time I’m getting tarted up like this for a long time!  How the hell did I ever walk in these things?’

Suddenly there is a bit of a kerfuffle at the other side of the room, with lots of camera flashes and excited chitter chatter.

‘Oh look!  The actors must be here!  Quick, let’s go have a look!’

But I stay seated, because to be honest, that kind of thing never did get me off, and it certainly doesn’t now.

They’re just people like me, pretending to be someone else.

They just get paid for it, that’s all.

And perhaps, just perhaps, they’re as mad as I am.




Yesterday after I got over my little panic attack shit fit, I decided to make some sourdough muffins, and reached into the dark, dank, depths my fridge for my starter.

Having not used it for a good six months, the bakers amongst you will not to surprised to hear that it looked a little grey, with about a centimetre of brackish looking liquid floating on top, so I took the lid off and gave it a sniff.

God, it smelled absolutely rank!  But I know it’s meant to be a bit funky to give the bread that lovely tang, so I give it a quick stir then add equal amounts of flour and water and put it on top of the fridge, where it is usually, for some reason, quite warm and left it overnight.

When I managed to drag my arse out of bed today, I went to have a look at it.

It had barely moved, let alone doubled in size, only one or two bubbles had appeared to break the surface, and it seemed to be separating again.

Hmm.  This isn’t promising….

So I added another tablespoon of flour, an equal amount of water and mixed it all up again.

I then got paranoid about how crusty the plastic tub it was kept in had gotten, so tipped it into a bowl, washed and dried said container, put it back in again and put it close to, but not touching the radiator, and left it there to recover it’s va va voom.

An hour later?


Well maybe it had farted up just a couple more bubbles, sighed and collapsed back down again but it was very hard to say.

I search the internet for advice and inspiration, and surprise, surprise I’d done the wrong thing.

‘The dark liquid is a form of naturally occurring alcohol known as hooch (yes it’s alcoholic, wish I’d known that before I got started….), this is harmless but does need to be poured off and discarded prior to stirring and feeding your starter’

Shit. But the teacher from my bread making course told me to mix it in?

And there, on another bread making forum, it is in black and white:

‘The hooch is perfectly normal, just mix it in….’

Ha!  See! Bloody, scare mongering wankers.

‘…if you culture is too dry, and pour it off it it’s too wet.’


I look at it again.  It stared back moonily, all pallid and lethargic.

Huh, I know how that feels.

I continue to scout around on t’internet and find a remedy equivalent to the kiss of life for stinky glop, so then I halved it, fed it again, then grabbed my phone to set an alarm so I would remember to do it once more before bedtime.


….I thought ‘Fuck it’.

Maybe like me, it need to get it’s shit together in it’s own good time.

Some things just can’t be rushed.

Let’s hope it doesn’t need 18 frigging months plus, like it’s mother…..






Today was my first day volunteering as a kitchen worker for a charity.

I’d requested a local branch, but the only post available was in town, so whilst inconvenient, I thought it would be alright.

You wouldn’t think it would take very long to get anywhere in London, would you, what with all the buses, trains, tubes and trams at our disposal would you?  

But I practically have to use pretty every mode of transport available to get to a tube, let alone to the venue, and yes, you’ve guessed it, I missed two buses and found myself, once again, tardy for the party.

And then the panic set in.

The shaking.

The dry mouth.

The heart palpitations.

The stomach churning with fear.

The gremlin’s voices in my head.

‘How can you have missed it?  You should have set off early just in case, stoopid!’

‘There isn’t another one for at least 20 minutes now.  You’re going to be at least half an hour late, how embarrassing!

‘Late on your first day. They’re going to love you!’

And they laugh, and jeer and cackle, hysterical with mirth.

‘Yes, they’ll be falling over themselves to offer you training, oh and maybe permanent employment, probably a directorship – not!’

‘I bet they’ll leave you with all the dishes tonight and it will serves you right!’

‘Can you picture their faces when you walk in now?’

I can.  

Disgusted, angry, exasperated.

My heart skitters even faster now, and I’m frozen to the spot.

‘Are you OK?’

A young guy touches me on the arm, his face concerned.

I start, and smile, trying my hardest to look, well, normal.

‘Yes, I’m fine, I just remembered something I forgot to remember!  I mean i forgot…I….’

He laughs, ‘I know what you mean!’ and walks on, then glances behind him looking directly at me.

‘Look, you’re attracting attention!  Go inside!  You look like a raving lunatic!  Go home!’

I head for the door, push the key fumblingly in the lock, stumble inside and slump against it, my heart hammering in my chest.  

I’ll wait in the warm, just until the next bus arrives.

‘Who are you trying to kid?’  

‘You can’t go now!’

‘Stay home, it’s not like they’re even paying you!’

‘They’ll hate you whether you turn up or not now, It’s not safe, bail!  BAIL!’

So instead of helping others help needy folk, I’m sat here typing this, my face burning with shame and humiliation.  I sent an email, apologising profusely, and the kindness and understanding in their response only make me feel worse.

How the hell am I to set up my own business if I can’t even catch a bus without freaking out?

How will I get through any job interview process when I’m like this?

How I am going to earn a living?

How will I survive?

The gremlins have stopped their noise for now.

But, just out of the corner of my eye, I see them smile.

Oh how they smile.





You know those times you wake up in the morning and think ‘What the fuck am I going to do?

I rose this morning to that familiar refrain and the first thing I saw was this amazing piece of work.

Ash Beckham talks about our ‘closets’ where we hide in the dark and clutch our unacceptable truths to us, like the ticking bombs that they are.

I live in such a closet; only trouble is that mine has white walls, a sitting room, two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, a full fridge, central heating, all mod cons and I don’t want to leave it.

I tell myself I’m going to do this, that and the other and carve myself a life outside of these walls, but I’m starting to realise that I’m creating story lines to hurl at people from my past so that they don’t sneer and laugh at me. Little do they know that I’ve barely done shit about taking anything forward really.

I look like a yoga teacher so as long as I’m not challenged to do a head stand in the pub, they’ll buy that.

I’m a great cook so why wouldn’t I monetize it? Surely any fool without a job would?

I’m a writer, so surely must be working on a book? That my friends, is something I can’t hide behind, unlike this blessed, anonymous, life saving blog.

The only thing I’m truly, truly embracing is my ‘extra’ work.

Because I can show up to a set, be made up as and be someone else for an hour/day/week and hell, when you’re as terrified as I am of going back out into the big wide world as yourself, what’s not to love here? Shame it isn’t paying anything yet….

This isn’t the story I wanted to write, and I KNOW it’s not the one that you want to read.

I wanted to start 2013 at ‘only way is up’ level and graduate in December 2013/January 2014 with flying colours, a great job, a loving partner, a career/careers and clouds of ticker tape, having totally sorted out my shit and prised that massive fucker of an orangoutang off my back. And whilst there has definitely been advancements, realisations and mini successes, I’m not entirely there yet.

And that ape may not be digging it’s claws in quite as hard, but it’s doing something infinitely worse.

It’s cuddling me. Stroking my hair, gently holding me to it saying ‘Stay here with me where it’s safe. Live for the moment, that’s what all the good ‘self help’ books say don’t they? You’re not ready yet, let’s hunker down with a mug of tea and watch TV. You’re worried about money? Let’s not think about that right now, it will all come right in the end.’

I know I should be writing about my successes and making this blog a more inspirational read, but I swore to be honest and authentic on here, no matter how many readers it might cost me, and this is where I am today.

Wondering if I actually like doing anything that I say I do, and if so why don’t I get a move on and use it to make something of myself?

As a matter of fact, who the hell am I anyway?

I’m not sure, it’s too fucking dark in here, and the monkey notwithstanding, I know I’m on my own.

So this is my ‘hard’ conversation with you. I’ve inched forward slowly in something of the things I claim I want to do, but when it comes to doing them for real, I really scared that I might be making it all up and have no intentions of doing any of it.

Clutching my own fear filled grenade.

Waiting for the courage to open that fucking door already.