My father was a holocaust survivor. His PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) was very understandable. His family lost their house to the Nazis. He never wanted to leave his house in Sydney and never allowed any tradesmen to enter his house for fear of being evicted. During WWII he was incarcerated in Labour camps, hid in kind people’s places. His father died in the ghetto at age 54, having starved to death. When my father turned 54, he was convinced that he will also die in that year. My father’s mum was shot by the Germans in a hospital so my dad would never go to hospital. If we ever took him to hospital, eg. after he fractured his hip, when we went back to visit, he had already discharged himself.

When the Germans were rounding up Jews from the Krakow Ghetto, his brother was selected. He asked my father to go and get him a cardigan. When my dad came back, the group was gone. His brother knew what was about to happen and spared my father the goodbyes. His whole, large extended family were murdered in the concentration camps, gased or burnt. So my father lost his whole family.

Later when I was a girl, my father was totally frantic if he didn’t know where any member of our family was; my sister and myself. He was very unpredictable and would come home very angry. Once he came home and threw my cat down from the first floor. Once I was late coming home after a walk with an older neighbour. My father hit me in the street, beating me over and over.

Was it the war, so scared to lose everyone? One day he came home and broke all the furniture. Not sure why. My poor mum, always trying to have everything done before he came home, homework finished, piano exercised but he would still get upset and irrational.

During the war for 5½ long years, there was no food. My dad was totally obsessed with food and lots of It. He bought tens of margarine containers, so he had to buy another fridge. He bought anything on special. In Poland you couldn’t find a lot of food, even after queueing for hours, before you got to the front of the queue there was nothing left to buy.


PTSD affected his whole life.


Some common symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Re-living a traumatic event – like the war; starving, losing family.
  • Being overly alert or wound up – This was my dad to a ‘T’.
  • Avoiding reminders of the event – not wanting to go to hospitals.
  • Feeling emotionally numb – I don’t know if he felt this because he rarely verbally expressed emotion.
  • People can have physical responses if reminded of the trauma – lash out anger like breaking the furniture or hurting us.
  • Negative beliefs, blame, insecurity, guilt and shame – only by my father’s actions can I see that these must have affected him.
  • Difficulty sleeping – my father would need to go on his exercise bike for hours before being able to sleep and then only slept for 2-3 hours.


There are other symptoms that can be warning signs, for more information go to (where the above points were sourced) or seek professional help.

What are your PTSD symptoms or triggers?

Fight, Flight or Freeze

In the event of danger we have a survival instinct kick in; either Fight, Flight or Freeze.

People often leave out the last one but it is really the most common in a scary situation.

We feel we are in danger so we prepare to fight back or we flee the scene as fast as possible. More common for those of us with anxiety is to freeze; to stay perfectly still until the danger has passed.

I think it is natural for people to freeze even without anxiety as it is a form of shock and gives us time to evaluate the circumstances and decide our next move.

Fighting is rarely a good option and can lead to physical injury.

Running isn’t always a good idea either, it can lead to emotional and psychological scarring.

I choose freeze, and not just because I love the snow.

What is your survival instinct?


Fear of Failure

I didn’t realise I had a fear of failure until my later years. It comes from a vulnerable place, a negative weakness and perhaps a touch of perfectionism.

I never thought too much about my studies in my youth and teens. During my Tafe courses: Childcare and Youth Work, I would stress but not fear as the work to me was understandable and easy and I got my first distinction and passed both courses with flying colours 🙂

I never felt good enough and trying new things is hard for me. I am often ashamed by my poor intellect (according to me and only me). I was always worried about not being as smart as everyone else and not understanding big words 🙁

So far these are mostly negative automatic thoughts and some PTSD from being bullied and called stupid so many times I believed it.

But I have developed a true blue fear of failure. I must succeed at every task that I begin, I must pass every subject and must never fail. I am so scared of failing my current module that I stress and rush through my assessment so I won’t fail, only to get a ‘Not Yet Competent’ result and feel so stupid and down. It is gut wrenching to fail something you have worked so hard on and been so afraid you would fail. ‘Not Yet Competent’ doesn’t mean fail, it just means I misread the word count for a few questions, needed to expand theories or correct a few minor errors then resubmit. It’s not a fail, but it hurts like it is.

On the resubmit the fear returns, what if I fail again? What if I can’t meet my deadline? What if I’m not smart enough to do this course?

So I Googled Fear of Failure and came across some interesting things:

Many of us are afraid of failing, at least some of the time. But fear of failure (also called ‘atychiphobia’) is when we allow that fear to stop us doing the things that can move us forward to achieve our goals.

You might experience some of these symptoms if you have a fear of failure:

  • A reluctance to try new things or get involved in challenging projects.
  • Self-sabotage for example, procrastination, excessive anxiety or a failure to follow through with goals.
  • Low self-esteem or self-confidence -Commonly using negative statements such as “I’ll never be good enough to get that promotion,” or “I’m not smart enough to get on that team.”
  • Perfectionism – A willingness to try only those things that you know you’ll finish perfectly and successfully.

(Quoted from Mindtools

Interestingly, I have all of these symptoms.

There are techniques to help control one’s fear of failure but if I told you what I know; my counselling days would be over before they begin. Book in for an appointment late 2018 🙂

Freaking Control

As a kid I didn’t care for control. I was wild and carefree. 

I think my breakdowns caused a change in my mind set and demanded control. I didn’t like losing control when I was manic and hated the lack of control when I was depressed. Then my physical health problems took the last of my control and that was it, I became a control freak.

I say I hate organising things but this is a lie. I love arranging events or get togethers but the disappointment when someone bails or changes things have lead me to hate organising. It’s a set up for failure. If one thing falls through I can’t stand it. I need to be in total control of every situation so as not to get let down or hurt.

If I don’t have the control I freak out. I never want to lose control ever again and I can’t afford to go back to who I was and risk losing everything I have. 

Not even for a little weed 🙂