When the doorbell rings, normal people stop what they’re doing, see who’s there, and answer the door.
When the doorbell rings, I stop what I’m doing. My heart races, so much that I can hear it beating in my ears. I can’t breathe. I don’t want to breathe, because I’m afraid if I do, they will know I am here. Five different scenarios run through my head, and none of them are good (or even rational). I always end up hiding in the closet or the bathroom, waiting for the worst to happen.
One incident is enough to drain me for the rest of the day. By the time I’ve calmed down (minutes, sometimes hours later), I have no energy left to do anything but sleep.
But yesterday, the doorbell rang (and was followed by several knocks on the door) not once, not twice, but six times.
I was a wreck. The first two times it happened, I was downstairs and locked myself in the bathroom. I was able to calm myself down after ten or so minutes. Then when it happened a third time, the panic was overwhelming. It was too much. I didn’t feel safe. I locked every lock and closed every window, then went upstairs to my room and locked my door.
Then it happened a fourth time. My mind went into overdrive. My mother found me. She knows I’m here. It’s the only thing that made sense. Who else would be ringing the bell and knocking so consistently? Not the mailman. Not a solicitor. It was someone who wanted me to open that door. It’s her.
By the time the bell rang a sixth time, I had barricaded my door with so much crap that no one would be able to push their way in. But I still didn’t feel safe. I knew where I was. I knew I was in my bedroom. I knew the doors were locked and I was blocked in. But I still felt in danger. I was scared of my mother. My mother, who doesn’t even know where I live.
I was still on edge even after the ringing and knocking stopped. Every single noise made me jump. Every car passing outside. Every creak of the floor. Every step the cat took downstairs. Every sound was magnified and I couldn’t make it stop.
My body was tired, but I couldn’t sleep. I spent hours fighting battles inside, trying to stay in the safe reality while my mind was tied to the dangerous past. After several hours, I gave up. I took just enough medicine to knock me out, because I knew that was the only way I was going to make it through.
Now as I’m sitting here, a day later, I’m wondering when it will stop. When will I not have to hide? When will I feel safe? When will I not be afraid of my mother? When will I not live in constant fear?
Is any of that even possible?
People don’t understand the fear I carry with me every day. You’re free now. Yea, I’m physically free. Mentally, I am still in prison. I am still a scared child. I am still in danger. Your mother won’t hurt you anymore, you got away. Exactly. I got away. I was never supposed to be able to leave her. I committed the ultimate sin, and now I am perpetually waiting for my punishment.
I’m tired. I’m tired of hiding every time there’s a knock at the door, because I’m afraid she will come in and get me. I’m tired of wearing four shirts and three pairs of underwear every day because I’m afraid she will come and hurt me. I’m tired of sleeping with a knife under my pillow every night because I’m afraid she will come and kill me.
I’m tired of living my life in fear, because it’s not the life I want to live.
5 thoughts on “Endless fear”
I get this KJ. I’m still afraid – terrified – that my mother will push me into traffic. She has been dead over 8 years. Parts of me still hear her. My T is trying to talk with those Littles.
I don’t remember if you’ve read “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel von der Kolk.
Reading it last year changed my life. I now do believe I have those Littles still inside. Sometimes my T spots one – sometimes I do. So I try to talk with them too. It is so difficult to calm terrified babies.
I hear your Babies. I believe how scared and hurt they are. They are also Good and Beautiful and Very Very Brave. May I sing them a lullaby? TS
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I actually just started reading that book a couple weeks ago (had to take a pause to work on editing something). I’ve only gotten fifty or so pages in so far.
I’m sorry you’re still afraid, too.
I don’t like being afraid. And I’m not very good at calming anyone. I can’t even tell what’s my fear and what’s theirs anymore.
I’ve felt it and I know it and I hear you!
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Your hyper vigilance is understandable. It is possible but feeling mentally and emotionally safe may take years. May you never be found or punished. sl >
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I think my fear of being found or punished is irrational. If it was going to happen, It would have happened already. I just can’t rationalize my fears in the moment.