Kate Gillie



What is it like living with early childhood PTSD? Life is never dull, that’s for sure.  Overwhelming.  Incomprehensible.  Frightening and lonely, but never ever dull. I haven’t always had a name for it, when I was a teenager and young adult I knew I wasn’t normal but each and every head doctor I ever spoke to shook their respective grey heads, told me to keep my pandora box of horrors tightly closed, never ever speak to a therapist because frankly, the child mind is a hell of a lot stronger than an adult’s and nobody would be able to put me back together again if I ever opened those dark treasures in my brain.  I avoided close relationships that asked more of me than I could give.  I was numb to pain and numb to pleasure.  I could walk the walk, talk the talk but it was just that, a…

Work in Progress: to complement AWESOME

Working on a new painting to complement AWESOME – this time of West View from Tsawwassen.  It’s not a view I’m overly familiar with and the ferry terminal keeps getting into my way.  I don’t like the noise it creates in my head.  It’s hard to walk through the valleys with a giant white mechanical beast constantly inserting itself in the view.  I feel like an orca caught in its engine noise.

Thelwell: celebrating child riders and their ponies

Who doesn’t love Thelwell?  Running my eye through his books is like my mind through a fun filled bruise encrusted piece of my childhood. Being the poor African cousin living in rural Ireland in the 80’s had its advantages.  Firstly, there was always the sympathetic cousin who had a horse to lend for hunting, jumping, pony camp. Secondly, said horsie was generally rather a nice horsie with knees that reached above my head, a back that stretched from one of my kiddie ankles to the other and a mouth as gentle as a newborn babies.  I’d sit on top of these giant beauties and pretty much giggle my way through the day.  With such a fly on their backs they could leap great ditches, fences and jumps. It didn’t always go well for my friends following behind on their solid, stocky little ponies.  As I leaned over the bank to…

Flashbacks are not Memories

Hyper vigilance is a fact of my life.  I grew up hunted.  No adult was safe to be close to.  Nobody was trusted.  Those that I had loved and trusted had been murdered, massacred, machete’d into tiny pieces of useless flesh, blood and vomit.  Sound extreme?  How could you understand.  You who sit quietly comfortable in front of your favourite cop show on t.v.?  The reality of violent death and torture are so far removed from you that words like this fall like hyperbole in a windstorm of make-believe. A childhood in an african civil war adjusts reality perceptions permanently.  Live to Die.  Die to Live. A heartbeat.  Perspiration.  Thoughts.  Emotions.  Subtle body cues.  Faces, so much information.  All the time, every day, every minute.  The noise in my head is deafening.  Mostly I just avoid big social events, when I can’t, I scan the room for safety.  Hide behind…