Life has to change. It is not as though I have a bad life, not by a long shot. I live in a beautiful house on a stunning and unique property, and running that property is my livelihood. It is a lifestyle. It should be good. I am surrounded by beauty, by nature, by things that I love.
It is hard work, but I have never been one to shy away from that. In fact, I have workaholic tendencies.
It should be peaceful; it should be simple. Cleaning, gardening, housework and homemaking on a grand scale. What is complicated about that? This was my lifestyle change away from the hustle and bustle of suffocating city life.
It is a seven day a week job because it is lifestyle BUT being lifestyle means there is no boundary between work and personal. My home is my work. And my home is only a home when I am not tending to client needs.
This was a lifestyle change, but it is the wrong lifestyle change. Not because of what it is, but because I am wholly unsuited to the job at hand.
It leaves me on the ceiling.
I feel unable to leave. I think I must be on call 24 x 7. It is expected. My presence is required. I am trapped; I am on edge, I should use this quiet time when guests are here; when I am not cleaning or gardening I should relax, paint, draw to attend to my self-care. But I cannot.
With strangers on the premises, I am stuck on alert. I cannot come down. I don’t know what is going to happen; what is going to blow up; what is going to go wrong; what damage is going to occur; what accidents may happen.
My distrust of strangers is too intense. My anxiety levels peak. Particularly on long weekends.
I should feel joy when families stay; relax at the sounds of children running, laughing, playing. I should be pleased by the low hum of conversation while adults sit and sip wine by the pond. I should feel a sense of achievement and gain pleasure from watching people stroll hand in hand enjoying the outdoor environment that I have created for them.
But I don’t.
I pace. I fret. I jump at shadows. I shake, and sweat, my breathing’s shallow, and I am primed and snarly and ready to fight.
A raised voice; a high-pitched sound of a child, a cry a scream and I’m prepared to charge in. Watching people drinking is immensely threatening; alcohol changes people, they can become dangerous, and I always expect fights and hurt, and blood and I scream on the inside. Fear surges through me all the time. I pace and watch and wait for chaos to descend. I anticipate violence at all times.
It’s an invasion of my home; an invasion of space; an invasion of privacy. My damaged mind perceives all these strangers as a threat.
Because I live here and my clients know it, I am a 24-hour reception; I am on call at all times for the smallest thing, those fleeting thoughts, ideas and questions. I am there to answer. I am the 24-hour provider of service, of advice, of extra butter or sugar, and even sanitary products. I am the plumber, the cleaner, the maintenance person, the tour advisor, the fountain of all knowledge for all things tourism and hospitality related. And sometimes I am the servant, the slave, that insignificant being to be there at a click of fingers; a nameless, obedient, subservient spoken to with the most profound disdain.
I am the wrong person for this job.
The property that I love, the house that I have made my home must go.
It impacts severely on my mental well-being.
I cannot breathe, I cannot move, I cannot enjoy.
Because it is people and people trigger me. Trigger after trigger after trigger.
My hostility sensors are through the roof. Previously rarely experienced paranoia is escalating.
I see danger everywhere.
I cannot now accept a group meeting of ex-family for what it is – an olive branch, an attempt to understand – for me it is hostile. For me, it is a threat. I could not attend a funeral. I cannot go into a small town for lunch on a day off. There are too many people.
This pressure is not sustainable.
I survive on little food and 2-3 hours sleep a night; I run all day charged and powered on adrenaline and cortisol.
This is dangerous.
I know this in the back of my mind.
So things must change. This property must go. The business must close. I must farewell my home and the beauty that surrounds it.
I have a long road to recovery. I am willing to walk that road.
But to do it I must give up everything I know, get myself into a safe place with manageable human interaction.
Peace, quiet and time to tend to my soul and fix my broken mind because if this continues, there will be nothing left to repair.