Psychodrama

This weekend I did a psychodrama workshop. Initially I was skeptical and didn’t want to get involved. I was with two of my friends, which really helped.

On the Saturday, a flash of inspiration struck me and I created my own psychodrama, which I let occur naturally. So many emotions came out. I cried a lot. It was very powerful. The audience was moved, and because of that, I was constantly chosen to appear in their dramas!

I found the workshop incredibly useful. It’s given me some closure on things and although I know I still need to work on it, I created alternate endings which gave me a sense of control.

After the workshop on Sunday afternoon, my friends came back to my house. And we drunk lots of wine!

Today is the first day that I missed my running. It’s been really hard but I stick with it. When I woke for my 5.30am start, I was still a bit drunk! So I knew I couldn’t drive. My body feels stodgy and sluggish and I miss the ache from the exercise.

I’m feeling a bit low still. My job is really draining and I’m constantly under a lot of stress. I just don’t enjoy it, but I won’t leave until I find something else. Preferably part time, my children really need me. We’ve had some issues with the 11 year old and I feel she’s just lost her way. I worry about her and would like to be around to spend more time with all of them. As it is, the nature of my job means they’ve been at Steve’s more – and I really miss them.

So there’s some more growth and things to process, but there’s a lot of guilt at the moment around the kids.

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Feeling low

I feel really down. I can’t decide what’s the contributing factor. I’ve been getting up at 5am three days a week for this boot camp and I’m absolutely exhausted. I hope I get used to the early starts. My boss has taken on a new advocate and she happens to be my other colleague’s close friend, so they’re giggling and hanging out and by default my boss loves them both so I’m the odd one out. They all went to lunch today #awkward. I just seem to lurch from one uncomfortable situation to another. I’m really fed up. And I miss Steve. I’m lonely and I miss the closeness. It comes in tidal waves and I’m riding another wave. It really hurts that he doesn’t care at all and has happily moved on. I’m pretty sure he’s seeing someone now too. I know I shouldn’t care, but I do. And I know he’s changed and I don’t really like the revised person, but my mind wanders back to the old him. The old us. I feel bruised and raw.

I’ve not had my counselling sessions recently because we’ve not had childcare when my appointments are. I’m going tomorrow so hopefully I can process some of this stuff. There’s no point talking to friends – no one gets it. I feel alone with it all.

A few days ago I nearly had a panic attack. I was triggered by something on a program, completely unexpected and that’s added to my feeling of misery and loss of control.

The trouble with the early starts is that I can’t have my son stay over. I miss him so much. I tell myself it’s only for 8 weeks. Luckily Steve is away tomorrow so I’ll be staying at the house. They all want to go trick or treating. I can’t stand Halloween but I’ll have to drive the kids around so they can get their sweets! I’ll be exhausted- I have training and counselling tomorrow. But I want my kids to have a good time with me.

It’s all very disjointed but I wanted to write out what I was feeling. I hate the feeling of a pressing low and I’m not sure how to stop it because everything feels so overwhelming.

Update

My job continues to tick along. I meet quite a few different people. Some are incredibly interesting and very humble. Others seem to be so entitled and obsess over the smallest of things. Not too dissimilar from me. I’ve always obsessed over the smallest of fractions. It makes me wonder just how happy I’ve been in my life to let somethings affect me so much.

I hate the separation. I hate missing the familiarity of Steve, the companionship and the affection and certainty that comes with a long term relationship. But I’m closer to the kids. I appreciate every second I spend with them – I can think of nothing better than spending the days and nights with my children. Of course it’s draining and stressful, especially when I’m juggling my job, but they are the absolute epicentre of my earth. Maybe I took them for granted before? Maybe I relied too heavily on Steve to look after them? I’m always there when he has his work commitments. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

I’m back at the gym – which was a huge feat for me. I was genuinely scared that I might bring on another convulsion. But I can’t keep living in fear. Admittedly I did join a different gym. Start fresh. And it’s not far from the office, so I’ve been going in before work, but if I have the kids, I can go in during the day. So far it’s worked out really well. It’s still a hard slog to go there. I think of a million different reasons not to go; but I put on my gym gear and force myself. I never regret it afterwards. In the spirit of my health and fitness, I’ve joined a ‘couch to 5km’ group. I’ve not told anyone except Steve because of the logistics. It’s a very early start Mon, Weds and Sat. So early in fact on the weekdays that I have to drive 40 minutes into the city, back home to shower and swap to my work car and back out again. It’s a huge commitment, not to mention cost, but I reason that it’s only 8 weeks. I can do it. Can I? I hope so. I’m very anxious about it. I start next week – and again, I’ve already thought of a million different reasons to get out of it. It’s sheer determination to change the rut that I’m in that encourages me.

My counsellor asked me the other day; am I pleased with myself? Am I happy with where I am. But I don’t feel I’ve done anything to warrant feeling proud. Each day is a grind that I survive. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly happy either. But was I ever? I can’t think back to a time in the last few years where I stopped and thought – I’m genuinely happy. It’s been about survival for me. And some days have been better than others, but there hasn’t been a defined period of contentment. That’s not because of the separation – it was before then. The benefit of losing everything is seeing the bigger picture. And I’d genuinely like to go to bed and smile. Sure, time with the kids is awesome, but at night I ruminate over everything little thing. Was I a good enough mum? I stress about work all the time. I wonder when I’m going to cop the next bad mood from Steve. Things still aren’t great between us. The reason being; it defies my expectations. I want a relationship of sorts with Steve, but he’s not willing to participate. Instead there’s this uncomfortable dialogue and unpredictability of sometimes getting along, sometimes having a slanging match. I try not to get sucked in, but old behaviours are hard to break. I can’t control his behaviour, like I want him to show me more respect, so I have to learn to control my reactions and change for myself the impact on me. It’s actually really hard to do that. It’s amazing how much power we can give people.

My medication has changed radically. Some things recently I changed (after seeing the GP). I’m really more in control of my medication. I’m seeing a new psychiatrist in a week, sleep is still an issue. My new exercise routine hasn’t changed that. I obviously need chemical input, I just need something that’s cost affect and works. My CPN has left which I’m quite gutted about. I had a lot of respect for him – even being a man! I’m supposed to see this new woman but I’ve put it off. I don’t feel able to establish trust with anyone else at the moment.

So life continues for me. Not particularly interesting. I’m trying to grow as a person and a lot of times I think I am. Usually it’s interaction with Steve where I end up doubting myself.

Maybe this new fitness program will bring about some positive change.

Work stress

Work has been incredibly stressful. One of the women has resigned and for two weeks building up to her resignation she complained to me constantly. I realise I need to take some accountability, I should have shut that down, but I didn’t. I took it all on, so I became increasingly exhausted, drained, miserable etc. I wasn’t sleeping, I was doubting myself, dreading work. I’d already found my starting at the company incredibly stressful but I’ve stuck at it. When things finally felt like they were levelling out, this happened. She was asked to leave the company within days of her resignation as opposed to work her 4 week notice period. She felt very hard done by. Of course there’s two sides to every story and I shouldn’t have been so quick to believe her side. Gradually the story has unraveled and in fact her conduct has been anything but professional. She jumped ship before disciplinary action commenced. I have taken on some of her clients; so I can see her poor work. It’s been a total head fuck. On Thursday I completely broke down. I was so exhausted from not sleeping and the atmosphere at work was grinding me down. My mood has dropped and I’m TERRIFIED of becoming unwell. I miss seeing the kids everyday and the relationship with Steve is either civil or horrible – there’s no middle ground. I had reached my end. Instead of taking time out, I forced myself to conduct a meeting with a client in the mental health ward, he was incredibly aggressive and security was called. I lost it. I panicked and ran out (obviously the ward is locked down so I could only run to the doors). I did this in front of my colleagues. Totally unprofessional. I hate that I did that.

I took a huge gamble and told my boss I felt under huge stress and the thing with my colleague had really affected me. She seemed to be really understanding. If I go by the colleague that left, I’ve just made a huge mistake. But I don’t know what’s real anymore and who to trust.

I’ve spoken to my CPN, he knows I want a new psychiatrist. This current one has done nothing for my sleep. She won’t prescribe zopiclone, and whilst I understand her concerns – she’s not prescribed an alternative either! And everyone knows sleep is a major trigger for people with mood disorders. I think it’s really poor management on her part. My CPN is arranging that for me in the long term but is arranging an urgent referral in the short term. He has been really good to talk to. He really put my reaction in the ward into perspective. He said a lot of mental health workers have days where they get easily triggered by patients. It’s part of the job, but it’s important to talk about it. I just feel like I’m being judged all the time.

Last weekend Steve was away and I had an absolutely fantastic time with the kids. It meant the world to me. This weekend Steve is with the kids and I’m making an effort to catch up with friends. Also a friend has given me some zopiclone so I’m having some good sleep which is making a world of difference. I’m making a concerted effort not to keep thinking about work and I’m planning to try and start Monday afresh.

I just hope with everything I’m doing I can keep my mood from slipping.

Dinner fail

Failed at not making passive aggressive comments. It seems entrenched in me. Definitely something I inherited from my mother. As usual I felt like shit during the meal. Steve made me feel like an idiot, or rather I let Steve make me feel like an idiot. I’d spent the day battling traffic, I don’t feel well, I’m tired, I just wanted to crawl into bed but made a show for my daughter. I made the passive aggressive comments, Steve made the outright comments about not giving a shit about me. Then my 14 year old made the remark that everything I say is pointless. So in all, I should have just rain checked dinner and taken my daughter out for breakfast or something over the weekend. I think this family dinner thing is past it’s use by date – it simply isn’t working. I dread to think what Xmas will be like. Although neither Steve nor I will be willing to relinquish any time with the kids. Anyway luckily there’s some before that.

My counselling session was a bit disappointing. But again, I’m supposed to lead that, so it’s a fail on my part. It ended up just being a superficial chat. I didn’t get anything out of it. I had mentioned the dinner afterwards, so perhaps my counsellor was avoiding anything heavy.

Tomorrow I have my ‘formal support’ where my boss identifies any weaknesses and areas where I need training or support. That should be fun! And as the name suggests, it’s formal so it’s all documented and passed to HR. What a week!

The client

Today I met a client that seemed to read me like a book. She sensed my uncertainty and pounced on it. When I asked her anything she cried and wouldn’t answer, but her tears were very short lived. She doesn’t want an advocate – by her own admission, she wants a support person. As the story unfolded what she essentially wants is a taxi service to drive her around. Although it’s not my place to make those judgments, I just write the paperwork. The thing that got to me was in amongst her aches and pains she confided she had been raped. It sounded like a disclosure. She started to cry. I’m not good at hiding my feelings. I blanched, I know I did, she caught it. So she seemed to get graphic. I struggled to keep my composure, lots of things whirring through my head. The next minute she was up showing me her paintings. Then she picked up her bag and requested I drive her to the shops (which is not something we do). I was so taken aback by the whole thing I didn’t object. The woman isn’t under the mental health act, so there’s no illness. I felt well and truly manipulated. Which is not uncommon in this sort of job. I duly dropped her off and then drove back to the office in tears. I felt really angry with myself for losing control in the meeting, for being triggered, for letting my past get in the way. This woman’s story may or may not have been true, but I should have controlled the meeting better. She took control and walked all over me. I feel like such an idiot.

Fortunately I have counselling tomorrow so I can go over it then. I need to learn to manage my triggers.

The rest of the day was fairly nondescript. I went back to the Ward, which used to be my trigger, or at least triggered me the first time I went, but now I’m in and out and don’t think anything of it. The client I was seeing there was just arriving the same time as me in the back of a police car, and I thought, yep, here we go! At least this job isn’t predictable!

My daughter has twisted her ankle (my 11 year old) which is a common occurrence with her. She is hell bent on having crutches- I have no idea why. So every so often we go through this bloody thing of her twisting her ankle and saying she can’t walk and needs crutches. Then we feel like horrible parents making her keep walking. This time however, she has completely put her foot down, or not, as the case may be. She’s adamant she’s really hurt herself. Her father definitely wouldn’t put up with it, but I’ve decided on this occasion to take her to the GP. Just in case. Most likely response is he’ll say she’s sprained it and to rest it where possible. No crutches. No time off school. No bandages (which she also loves). It’s a really frustrating situation. We all know the story about the boy that cried wolf. I’ll never know when/if she’s truly injured unless she’s got a bone jutting out somewhere.

Tomorrow is Egg’s birthday. She’s insisted that I join in the birthday dinner, much to Steve’s chagrin. He has no choice, so it’s a family affair. A couple of hours of being civil. I’ll have to try and not make my passive aggressive comments.

Visual representation in therapy

My therapist today told me that I’ve worked incredibly hard, particularly over the last few months and I’ve achieved a lot. The way I talk about things is different. And she sees us moving forward onto the ‘next level’ of things. I didn’t understand what any of this meant and asked her what that might look like. She actually did a visual representation for me which was really helpful and unlike anything I’ve experienced before.

She took a bunch of toys and books from the box and laid them out on the floor in different spots. Each item represented some aspect of my life. The abuse I’ve experienced, Steve, the kids, my home, my job, my friends. She showed me how it was all a jumble when I started counselling. But things have separated and I no longer mix them all up. She showed what things are my priority (kids) how my home has moved closer to me (it feels more like home) and how my past has less power over me. How my friends are of great value to me, and how, despite a Baptism by fire, I have continued to stick it out with my job – and who knows where that might lead for me in terms of a career. Seeing my life laid out in an external format was really enlightening. I couldn’t identify the emotional connections, but I know I felt some contentment that it wasn’t as overwhelming as I always think of my life to be. My therapist explained that I would, in my own time, work through the different dynamics and discover new feelings, identify things I hadn’t worked through or considered before. Carefully unraveling layers, but ultimately consolidating foundations with the ultimate goal of becoming stronger, more aware, healing.

I’d really like to be handed a manual and told exactly what the processes are and rush through to the end. I find all this work very painful and often wonder if I’ll ever truly be at peace. But I guess I just have to trust the process.

This session certainly wasn’t like last session which was incredibly intense and I felt the pain for days. I didn’t think I’d stop hurting but obviously I did because at some point normal life resumed. The weekend was pretty tough but that’s because the kids didn’t want to stay with me so I was pretty gutted. I felt the familiar tug to wallow in bed the whole time; and I pretty much did. But on Sunday I went out to watch a movie – The Wife. I enjoyed it immensely. I like watching movies alone. I cried during the movie, it was really just an excuse to release some emotions.

I’ve had the kids the last couple of nights and I feel so much better for it. And Steve is away for most of next week, so I’m looking forward to next week with them. Time with the kids means everything to me – even though they’re messy and noisy! They make my house a home, they’re my whole world.

I feel a bit numb from this afternoon. I tend to after a therapy session, unless it’s been particularly intense, in which case it’s harder to control, I have to seal it off as I’m looking after the kids. But I’ll be thinking about that visual representation a lot. I can move things around in my head and think about what issues are requiring my attention sooner.