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Feeling the fear


This painting is titled 'Place of Safety' and by a German artist called Paula Bisi; I bought it to grace my new home in Chichester (more about that fiasco later) and, as much as I love the paining itself, it was the title which resonated with me enough to part with my limited cash to acquire it. Why, though, was I drawn to needing something to represent safety? Because, for the last couple of months, I have been suffering from debilitating anxiety. I have spent my life taking risks (see previous blog posts where I boast about this characteristic) and would have previously described myself as pretty much fearless. No fear of failure, authority, intimacy, conflict, although admittedly, a smidgeon of fear of rejection lingering from childhood. However, as I type this blog post, I am terrified of almost everything and the effects of this are both mentally and physically causing me distress. You are probably thinking that it's my health which has been the cause of my anxiety and that it would be perfectly natural, but whilst there is certainly an impact due to poor outcomes of treatment, it's much more than that - my faith in people has been rocked and that means that a cornerstone of my values and beliefs has been shattered. So, here's the house move stuff and how the process has shaken me to the core... I will try to keep this brief, because the situation in which I find myself is all-consuming and I could write reams about it. In essence, after 4 months of negotiation and legal procedures with the buyer of the cottage and whilst I was hooked up to chemo and with just 2 hours before I was due to complete on the sale and purchase, the buyer pulled out. However, this was not the first time she had done so; two weeks previously she pulled out for the first time. Just 48 hours after pulling out on this first occasion, the buyer (an elderly local lady) called me apologising profusely for having a 'wobble' and begged me to continue with the sale to her, promising faithfully that she would not do do again. And so, because I was committed to wanting my beautiful home to go to a local person and feeling empathy for her, I agreed to proceed once again - more fool me. There was nothing wrong with the property itself and all legal questions had been satisfactorily answered, so I was completely blind-sided by the news delivered so sensitively by my solicitor. And this single action by one woman has been responsible for me falling into a tailspin of anxiety, fear and dread; I've fallen so hard and fast that I don't know how I can recover. I have suffered short bouts of anxiety in the past, often about relationships, the health and well-being of my son and, of course, exams, tax returns and global insecurity, but it has been fleeting and manageable - this time it feels enduring and unmanageable and I don't know what to do. It has given me nightmares and tremors, I've completely lost my appetite and even usually simple tasks have become overwhelming. A couple of nights ago, I watched an episode of one of my favourite dramas and got to the end realising that I couldn't remember anything about it - that was really scary. I am on so many drugs for my physical health, that I don't want to resort to more medication for my mental health, but it may still come to that.


I was loath to admit all of this publicly, but I promised honesty and so I will honour that commitment. This week is Mental Health Week and we are all being urged to speak openly about this; I'll admit that, whilst I always felt empathy for those struggling with mental health issues, I always prided myself on being relatively healthy and secure in that aspect of my life, but now I am overwhelmed with the stress of my current situation and it is truly frightening. I want to use this blog post to reach out to others, to show that you are not alone and, importantly, to demonstrate that there are ways in which to cope and, hopefully, recover from episodes of anxiety and low mood.


So, even though I feel largely paralysed right now, I have been massively supported by family and friends, especially my son, Charlie, who took control of the situation at the weekend and made a huge decision for me - I am still packing up my stuff and proceeding with the move to Chichester on the date originally planned! The removal company will place my belongings into storage and I shall move in with Charlie. This was always going to be the plan, whilst my new home was built (scheduled for October) and, as Charlie wisely said, "Don't let one woman steal your dream"! Another shout out has to go to the management of Bellway Homes who are the developer of my new house; they could have legally cancelled my reservation and kept my deposit on that fateful day, but they demonstrated such kindness and empathy, agreeing to maintain the reservation (thus keeping that part of the dream alive) and shifting the process to include their Express Mover service, so getting two estate agencies to co-list my cottage, aiming for a speedy sale - hopefully this time to a verified buyer who won't suffer from indecision and with a penchant for letting people down! All is not lost, folks. Even though things feel very bleak for me right now, I have the support and commitment of others steering me through and largely taking actions on my behalf; this is not easy for me, with my high need for control, but I am not in a state of mind to take control of anything much currently, so relinquishing it to others seems to be sensible. I do have the capacity for reflection, however, and I acknowledge that making such a huge life-changing move (physically and emotionally) may not have been my finest decision whilst on a year-plus treatment journey, but at the same time, it still feels right and necessary! I am still confident that brighter days are to come and that, once I reach Charlie's house and my new temporary home, my anxiety will ease and I can start to enjoy a summer with my son, new friends and nearby beaches. My treatment will transfer to a new hospital and the end of this gruelling and brutal intervention is now in sight. I have actually found writing this very cathartic and I thank you if you have read this far, or read any at all! Whilst I started this blog to document and track my chemotherapy and blood cancer journey, so that I could help others, I also did so knowing that it would help me and it does. I get lots of wonderful messages saying that I am an 'inspiration', but I don't feel like I am inspiring right now; I feel pretty hopeless and fragile, but then I realise, I am just a regular human-being and that's just fine with me! And talking of inspiration, I am going to finish by attempting to manifest my future, so here goes: I believe that my October blog post will be written at the kitchen table of my new home, 17, Limestone Road, Chichester. All my belongings will be out of storage, I'll be shopping in John Lewis, visiting the Lobster Pot restaurant on Bognor Regis beach for breakfast, a member of Goodwood Health Club, close to the end of my treatment and gazing at my 'Place of Safety' painting from my new emerald sofa! Please join me in sending this humble wishlist into the universe!



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janette.rawlinson
May 26, 2023

Thank you Angela for being so unafraid to remove the veil of 'coping' which so many do and being honest about your spiral of anxiety. You're not alone - nor are the many who sadly do not speak out at such times and find nowhere to turn.... we're only just becoming aware how many people have felt and still fell like that - many of whom we would never have suspected due to their outwardly steely determination and apparent super coping abilities. Sometimes as you've found, we can get over major trauma/challenge or at least move through it feeling as if it's not affected us too badly but each of these challenges leaves some sort of scar that can buil…

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angela7678
angela7678
May 26, 2023
Replying to

Thank you so much for reflecting back so well what I am experiencing and ensuring I don't feel alone or 'alien'. I am lucky in so much as many of my issues are circumstantial and will in some way and at some point change. I cannot imagine how it must be to live like this long-term and with no prospect of things improving. It has made me determined, once I'm back on an even keel, to support more mental health charities because not everyone has the support of family and friends - I am so very grateful for mine right now. xx

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snickers.carol
snickers.carol
May 25, 2023

I am in awe of your lust for life and your determination to live it. You just keep keep picking yourself up and moving on the the mark , whatever that might be. I thought I would lose my mind when my daughter of 46 decided to take her own life. Isn't it amazing how your heart tells you, it is not over yet. Keep moving , keep growing. I hold you in great esteem girlfriend. I love you so much and have never even met you. See how you affect those in your circle.. Oh no, you will continue on!! You are so loved by so many, I see that in your posts and I feel it in my…

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angela7678
angela7678
May 25, 2023
Replying to

To my enduring friend and cheerleader - thank you! I too draw strength from how you have managed to cope with great tragedy and sadness. I believe that we women have incredible resilience and, when applied, we can conquer anything. There is no doubt today in my mind, that I will succeed in achieving my goal of having a thriving and loving life with Charlie nearby; even though the road is far from smooth, I'll ride out the bumps and get there somehow! xx

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About Me

Angela.jpg

Hi, I'm Angela, also known as 'Space Angel ‘, on Twitter and 'Snakey' to my family (both monikers require a long story to explain!). I'm 58 and the proud mum of Charlie, my 26-year-old son. I live alone in my cottage in Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant, a beautiful village in the Tanat Valley in North Wales, and the location of the tallest waterfall in Wales.

#BLOODYCANCER

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