Tipping Point

The computer keyboard looked alive, warped and waving as my eyes roamed over the keys. They were everywhere. Ants crawling in and out of the space between the letters and numbers, piling over each other to get to…Where were they going? Wait, where were they coming from? I searched frantically around the desk, my heart picking up speed as I discovered my unwelcome visitors had also found their way into the desk drawer.

I followed the trail to the windowsill, their entry point.

Our bedroom was on the second floor. How in the world had so many managed to infiltrate my tranquil domain? It would have made more sense for them to have entered the ground floor. Of course I wasn’t thinking about any of that; I just wanted them gone. They were too numerous to kill by smooshing, and anyway, they would spread out and scatter to all corners of the room.

What is happening?! The last two days I’d spent researching how to get rid of the bed bugs we had finally identified in the boys bedroom. Thankfully we’d noticed them early, and they hadn’t spread. We’d moved the boys into the bonus room, effectively depriving the disgusting things of their hosts. And now here were—additional insects forcing themselves on our home. 

Panic set in, and I shook my hands rapidly at my sides as I bounced on the balls of my feet, unsure of what to do next. I’m trapped! Trapped with an army of six-legged intruders. Somewhere in the recesses of my brain I recalled an article, or was it a label I’d seen in the garage…Diatomaceous earth!

I bolted from the room and rounded the landing, taking the stairs too fast, nearly tumbling to the bottom. Another u-turn pointed me in the direction of the garage, down the short hall, and through the doorway.

Where is it? Scanning the shelves for the yellow bag, I finally spotted it near the bottom. Snatching it up and retracing my steps to the bedroom, I mixed a bottle of water with the white powder and began spraying, paying no attention to the measurements, covering every part of the computer keyboard that was moving. Why aren’t they dying?! 

I surmised that I had diluted the potency too much, and in an effort to rid myself of the fit my nerves were in, I began dumping the bag all over the desk. I opened the drawer and poured more inside. I covered the floor beneath and around the furniture legs, following the trail to the window. Clouds of white dust rose in puffs, and I coughed, backing away. 

Not stopping to see if my last-ditch effort had yielded any results, I did the only thing I could think of to do. I ran downstairs and called my husband as if I’d just dialed 911.

“I need you to come home right now!” I screeched in a panic. “There are ants crawling into the window, and we have to leave. We can’t stay here anymore!” 

“What?” His unfazed tone disturbed me further. My heart beat in rapid staccato rhythm as I fought to take a steady breath. Why couldn’t I take a steady breath?

“Ants! There are ants everywhere! They’re all over the desk in the bedroom! All over the keyboard! I feel like they’re all over ME!” 

Tears stung my eyes, and I gasped as words stuck in my throat. 

“It’s liked I’m trapped! I’m backed into a corner, and there is no way out!” 

I froze, jolted by my own words, immediately aware I was describing someone who had been abused.

Aware I was reacting as though I were held captive by an attacker. Aware I had physically positioned myself in the corner of the room.

Two weeks later I sat across from my first therapist. Knowing what I know now of trauma and its effects, I can only image what she saw in my wide eyes, blinking quickly to keep my tears at bay. 


Vanessa Sadler approaches her client sessions with the understanding that our styles of relating were not formed in a vacuum. Our formative years and stories shape who we are today and are worth exploring. Through story engagement, the Enneagram, and spiritual practices, her desire is to come alongside her clients as a guide on the path toward deeper abiding, and to support and encourage them as they enter into the fullness they were created for.