All of Me

I’m 43.

Having illnesses as a child that impacted my family’s holidays, gatherings, celebrations etc., I have always felt like I was/am a burden on people.

Most saddening, that I am a burden on the people I love the most. The people I only want to bring love, life and beautiful moments to.

People tell me I’m not a burden on them. But I tell me I am.

And as much as I fight it, my own inner voice, the 43 year old voice … the self-destructive one with roots clinging so deeply into the earth as if their life depended on it … that inner voice, is louder than those that are spoken from my loved ones.

I felt so lucky to be married to a man for 20 years, who always took it upon himself to tell me that he loved me and was never going to leave me. And somehow I believed him.

He became my carer, which is a hard thing to be. As my carer, he took me to doctor appointments, he called 000 way too many times than anyone should have to, he spent many nights trying to sleep next to my hospital bed, he watched me be unwell and have my life stripped from me day by day. For 4 years he did those things.

I have been, and sometimes still need to be, a carer for one of my daughters. And knowing how difficult being a carer can be, I made sure to try to get my husband all the support and respite he could get.

I tried to get him to see a therapist or support group where he could talk about the difficulties with the freedom of anonymity.

I tried to get him to go away for weekends or even whole weeks and stay with his friends or go wherever he needed to get rest and recharge his batteries.

I encouraged any hobbies he wanted to take up.

I tried not to get in the way of anything he wanted to do.

He never took me up on any of my ideas or offers. (For whatever that’s worth.)

Even in our 20th year of marriage, and even being my carer and all that comes with that, my husband still told me that he loved me and he was never going to leave me, and I felt so confident in his words. I figured if he was no longer feeling that way, he’d tell me.

A couple of months after the last time my husband told me he’d “never leave” me, he told me that he was “too tired to care anymore.”

One month after our 20th wedding anniversary, my husband moved out.

Because I was a burden. Because all of me was too much.

In two months I had become a burden. Or maybe I had been one for much longer? How long I had been a burden isn’t important.

What’s important is that I had lived my whole life with absolute conviction that I was a burden on people. No matter the relationship type, I still felt like I was a burden on them and they were better off without me in their life. Until I met the man I married. The man I spent 20 years married to.

That man convinced me that I wasn’t a burden on him. That man convinced me that my fear of always eventually becoming too much for a life partner, was just a fear.

For the first time in my life, I had allowed myself to think that there was a possibility of not feeling like a burden. And I felt secure that my husband wasn’t going to leave me.

I don’t want this message to come across as a blame message. It’s about my own belief of myself. My own judgement of myself in this situation.

I just wish I’d never believed it … that I wasn’t a burden. Believing it opened my soul up to be crushed, wrecking ball style. Believing it meant I would still be trying to put the splintered pieces of my heart, soul and mind, back together again, two years on.

To be clear, I wasn’t heart broken because of the love that was lost (that’s a whole other message). My heart, soul and mind were crushed because I had allowed my whole self-belief to change because of what this one person said, and suddenly they were proving my original belief about myself correct. What they had said, what I had believed, wasn’t true.

People are naturally flawed, beautiful, and complex beings. Relationships even more so.

Life is chaotic. Sometimes achingly blissful, sometimes stunningly heart breaking. But always chaotic.

I don’t think I’m shallow or naive. I know that people are all different. We’re all fighting our own battles, we all have our own stories, opinions, beliefs, choices, our own views on every situation. And we’re all living our own chaos.

I just wish I’d never believed it.

Zoe xxx

Go gently with people.


What Post Traumatic Stress Looks Like

This is what a PTSD attack looks like for me.

Sometimes I’m a lot more physical than I am here. Rocking, pacing, and other things.

No one can touch me when I’m in this state. The sense of touch makes me want to crawl out of my skin when I’m in this state.

PTSD attacks feel nothing like anxiety or panic attacks, to me. Completely different things.

For me, panic attacks definitely have a sense of extreme agitation but fear of impending doom or some other or many horrors heading right toward me is a staple sense in panic attacks for me.

I’m lucky that I haven’t had panic attacks in a very long time.

PTSD attacks are always triggered by a trauma I’ve experienced in the past.

And when having one of those, I’ve got fireworks going off in my brain. A million thoughts colliding into one another, so finishing any one thought is near impossible.

I’m having rapid random flashbacks to the traumatic experiences that caused this train wreck of memories in the first place.

And during this episode I’m convinced that whatever triggered this attack is my fault.

There’s no shame in not having a perfect life.

There’s no shame in any of what you feel are your flaws.

It can be so hard to fully realise and accept that. Full honesty …. I haven’t fully let go of the shame I feel in it yet.  And that’s okay too.

Everyone’s experience of PTSD is different.

Just as everybody’s journey to acceptance, whatever they’re trying to accept, looks different, too.

I feel tremendously embarrassed in posting this video.

But I’m doing it for 2 main reasons:

1) I just want others out there, perhaps drowning in their complexities, to know that they are not alone. And that I see no shame in them.

And …

2) I feel that letting people see this, is part of the landscape of my de-shaming.

*Feel free to share this post or tag someone in the comments, if you feel it might help someone.

Zoe Inez xxx



Post-physio glow.

I will be crying and in unbelievable amounts of pain later on.

But I’m happy I got the second consecutive day of my new physio routine done.

It’s working every single part of my body … and every single part of my body is feeling it.

Invisible Illness

Shouldn’t Matter But It Does

I was out someplace. Someplace where I sorta-did/sorta-didn’t, know most of the other folk there. Everyone’s doing their own thing at Someplace.

I remember the state I felt I was in. I remember I’d dragged myself, with every ounce of I-Think-I-Can, to Someplace, that day.

I had been *regular person* sick for a couple of months (3 flues and a chest infection), but I’d also been behind the *regular person* scenes sick, for a bit longer now (blowing my stomach ulcer open which lead to vomiting multiple cups of straight up blood and my body deciding to not keep food down, a mast cell flare up which saw me covered in rashes and my body just generally reacting to everything, and, finally, some weird anomalies turning up in my lungs, intestines and brain.) I was fucked.

I was so done.

I’d reached I-don’t-give-a-shit-creek, my life raft was dodgy as fuck and letting in shit like there was no yesterday, and I was now unashamedly allowing myself to be taken by it.

I had surrendered to Shit Creek.

So back to Someplace and that day. As soon as I got to the door one of the sorta-know-hers took one look at me and said, with eyes a’widening: “Oh my god, are you sick again?”

I replied: “Not sick again, just still sick.”

She looked, understandably, like she hadn’t ever seen or heard anything like it.

She couldn’t wrap her head around how I could be hit with illness after illness? How a human could look so awful, without there being a reasonable explanation and/or a fix for this horror show she was watching.

As I lay, folded up trying to ignore my aching body, and clutching my soul, I watched her doing her pull-ups and realised that we weren’t just different — we were polar opposites. 

Her idea of what ‘sore’ feels like, her experience getting medical help, her ability to remain fit and (most of the time) illness-free, her ability to just keep getting as strong and fit as she desires with so many less roadblocks than me — and the radically different way society would judge the two of us on exactly the same topics … like fitness or our body sizes and my being overweight; on the days when I am not in the wheelchair, I would definitely be seen as overweight due to just not putting the effort in. Ah, jeez, the irony of that notion! That’ll fill another several blog messages.

Anyway, as I pondered all that, she lowered from one of her pull-ups, turned to me, and asked:


By this point that question just makes me laugh.

It shouldn’t make me laugh. But my life’s experience has taught me that there’s laugh or fall into a deep dark depression. 

And somehow my choice is mostly to laugh.

I nodded and mumbled a ‘Yeah, yeah.’ And then I saw it. That look on someones face when they can no longer even digest anything you say about your health. I saw it on her face.

So I quickly said:


I said this as a really fast reflex … to stop the swirling of going-nowhere thoughts that I could see were running round her mind.

And it worked. 

She shrugged sympathetically, but then I could see her face relax and she got on with her business at Someplace.

Later that evening I had a moment of physical reprieve, which allowed a very clear thought to occur to me, and that thought was…


Why on earth was I thinking or saying that it doesn’t matter?

I wish it shouldn’t matter, but it does.

Sadly, it showed me how much the medical community has mentally battered and bruised me during my lifetime thus far.  

Positively, it showed me how much the medical community has mentally battered and bruised me during my lifetime thus far AND how angry I am at that AND that I am determined to see this changed. 

People think/talk all the time about what imprint they want to leave on the Earth. 

Well I hope to leave the Earth a place where people with invisible chronic illnesses NEVER EVER say ‘It doesn’t really matter.’ Where they never BELIEVE It/They don’t really matter, because they absolutely do.

We all do. 

Milly with Happy

When Beginnings End

I never knew love could hurt so much.

I’m coming to the end of a 19 year marriage. It’s amicable. It’s a peaceful finale. I’m constantly aware of the reasons, the logic, the adjustments … they’re all easy to see, they’re ever-present.

As it turns out, the end isn’t the hardest part for me.

For me, the hardest part of the end is remembering the beginning.

The beginning is an innocent. It knows only of hope and endless possibilities.

It’s a beacon of light, reminding hearts of their way home to one another. 

It’s a soft place to land.

In the beginning — there was no end.

And however real, the end I’m now standing in may be, it doesn’t make it any easier when I remember what the beginning felt like.

But I do recognise that I’m not the only person to have ever gone through this experience. Obviously!

And I can see that so many people go through this situation and have so many different experiences, all the time.

So I want to put forth the notion that in this emotionally confusing time when we are separating from loved ones, we might also be able to take action, no matter the size, and help remind other people going through this, that whilst they are separating from a loved one, they’re not separated from everyone.

So this is my action. A small blog post, telling a bit of my story, for my own therapeutic benefit, as well as to possibly help someone who may stumble across it and feel a little more connected, during their time of separating.

And especially express that I don’t believe there is any “normal” way to experience this. However you’re feeling, is your way, and that’s okay. We all have our own ways and they’re all okay.

We’re all okay. No matter how fragile we feel and for how long we feel that way.

Separated but together … we’re all okay.

Be good to you.


Currently All Round Messy and Emotionally Confused but Getting There,

Zoe xxx