Running Up That Hill


And if I only could
I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get Her to swap our places
I’d be running up that road
Be running up that hill
~ With no problems..’



I’m not sure what Kate Bush had in mind when she wrote that song, those lyrics, but they really speak to me. I feel I’ve been running up that hill forever now, getting nowhere. It isn’t getting any easier, and I really wish there was a way to swap places, to make that deal. I’ve been running up that road for so many years, but nothing has changed. Lots has happened, but nothing has changed.

Last night was the 21st anniversary of the very first time I tried to end my life. I was seventeen and I didn’t know how to make the abuse stop, didn’t dare communicate what was going on – what had been going on for as long as I could remember, because I didn’t know what would happen if I did. So, at the very end of my mother’s 50th birthday I swallowed a cocktail of random anti-depressants, mood stabilisers, sleeping tablets and painkillers. This was before the internet, before you could google your way to the perfect concoction to put an end to your misery, and as a consequence I survived.

I woke up to a whole new world. One where – in a flurry of activity – suddenly lots of people knew about the abuse. Social services got called in. I remember so well how the head of social services – who just happened to be a close friend of the family – told me that ‘No one is allowed to make you do anything that you don’t want to do. Ever.’ Except, of course, that I would have to talk to the police and I would have to go to court, whether or not I wanted to, because those were not things I had the choice to opt out of.. You see where I’m going with this? Something happened, but nothing changed.

I’ve been in therapy for years and years and years by now, and although I firmly believe that talking about what happened – in a safe environment with a therapist sensitive to my needs [as opposed to at a police station or in a court room] – is key to ultimately reducing the traumatic re-experiencing of abuse that I am faced with every time I have a flashback, it feels as if that day is very very far away. Hardly even a blip on a distant horizon.

I know that if I manage to find a way to keep running up that hill – because, trust me, therapy can be such an uphill run – my day to day life could be greatly improved, in terms of the amount of flashbacks I suffer, in terms of being able to make and keep plans, in terms of feeling more in charge of my life. And that would be great. It really would.

But then there is that other thing. The Not Having Children.
No amount of therapy can change that. I could do therapy every day for the next two thousand four hundred and sixty-eight years, and that fact would simply not change. People are forever telling me that ‘No, that wouldn’t change. But, you might change. You might feel differently about it.’

Only I know that I won’t.

This is a wound that cannot heal. There are constant reminders to keep that wound open and bleeding. Three people in my life are currently pregnant, due at various points next year – so I already know that 2015 will be another year of Everyone Else having children. Another year of tears burning my skin as they roll down my face. Of a pain so sharp it shreds my soul from the inside..

And the problem is that every year is going to be A Year Like That. Until it turns into endless years of Everyone Else Having Grandchildren. And I can’t face a life like that. I just can’t.

Even if I managed to somehow accept that I won’t have children, I just can’t accept a life without them.

I will try, as I have been trying. But, I know that one day, soon, I’ll run out of steam. And I’ll stop running.

It is sad.
But it is what it is.


Running Up That Hill [A Deal With God] Copyright © 1985 Kate Bush

8 responses

  1. I am not you and I was never abused and I never had PTSD. But, I will tell you that I’ve been surprised by the things that I’ve come to accept, the changes I’ve been open to. And, as a psychologist, I saw lots of others (in and out of the office) who have changed over time, to do things or feel things differently. Perhaps, as you say, you will never accept a life without children. I’m assuming you are referring to your own biological children, since adoptive or foster children remain a possibility (I imagine). You seem to be saying it is a life without your own kids that will inevitably lead to running out of steam. I certainly hope not, but it is your life. I wonder if you have asked others who don’t and won’t have kids what keeps them going? Some, I know, have found a worthwhile life. Indeed, I can’t recall a single patient who killed herself because they were without biological children. Nor can I recall any of my colleagues reporting this. Still, we are all different and I accept your uniqueness and your right to define what is essential in your life, the thing without which life is valueless.

  2. Hello dear one. I read your post the other day and it left me feeling quite sad and I wanted to reach out and talk to you. I know that feeling of running up that dreaded hill over and over again and it reminded me of Sisyphus and his rock. I guess we all have our rocks to push, hills to climb and steam, well….we can all run out of it at some point But steam comes from boiling water so it is an evolving substance as such and so it too can change form and become something else. What I am trying to say is that nothing stays the same and in time everything changes, form, shape, water into steam etc. I’m not saying or telling you that this should make it all OK because I know words can only do so much but sometimes it is worth looking at the trail we leave behind and less of the road ahead. Everything is a state of change. So with this new year upon us I wish you a much happier year filled with changes that bring you much joy and contentment, whatever form they come in for you. And if you have time do pop round to mine i.e. my blog, and visit me. I could do with the company. Take care now.

  3. Perhaps it is not about anything changing. Yes, things happen, and in going through psychotherapy and some damn difficult times, during all that we examine all of it, we grow to know things, about ourselves, the world we live in, the people in our circles, perhaps even, if we are lucky, our tribe. We come from harshly putting things into the bad and good things we happen to us to one day finding ourselves in a place where we can just think and say, this happened to us. It doesn’t change. We don’t really change – our lives were lived and will be lived with everything shaped by our childhoods and everything that passes our lives. Perhaps it is not to strive for that change but for the acceptance that it won’t change, and you are still… here. And perhaps slowly believing that there are a number of people, whether directly in your life or indirectly through your blog, that do love you, now, today, just the way you are. There is no big conquest that needs to be won here. Just quiet acceptance. So that when you stop running, you’ll see that it was a treadmill after all! No big magical valley to discover or a line to break with your chest. Just… when you stop running, that is when you will make the choice of finding yourself at peace with the unchanging of things and finding deep in yourself the reason for life. Or not. I tell you one thing: that it is not out there, and no amount of running will get you “there”. It is within. You already have it.

  4. I know what it feels like. I was molested as a baby by my dad, again by a neighbor as a teen, raped at 20. And I’m unable to have children. It sucks. It’s a never ending reminder of what you don’t have that everybody else seems to again and again. sad that there is someone else out there who knows what that feels like. ((hugs))

  5. I’m in therapy now so things are getting more manageable. My abuser from my teens is supposed to be going to court again next month to answer for 2 more lewd and lascivious conduct charges. he may get 8 to 16 yrs more on top of his already existing 18 yrs charge. I May have to testify as a witness for the prosecution next month. But I believe I can do it now. I”m stronger now than I was then. God bless you hon! you’ve already won and beat the worst of it.

  6. Hello Kim,
    Firstly, let me say that I am so sorry that you have been dealt such a challenging set of cards in life. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog and for so bravely sharing your own experiences.

    Take good care,


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