Treading water

Life is trudging a long and I continue to fight the low. I’ve continued my gym routine and walking and swimming with the kids on Sunday.

The manager at the volunteer agency offered me a job working with her interviewing people, so I had my first experience last Wednesday as that will be my regular day of the week. I’m was absolutely shattered by the end of the day! Then I had to drive to another town to pick up my three little ones and then go back on myself to pick up my eldest from volleyball training. It was a hot day too, so we all felt tired and irritable that day. But I’m glad I’ve decided to try this role. I hope the tiredness will fade as I get more into a routine.

Today was the start of an anxiety course my CPN put me down for. Ironically I hardly slept last night, anxious about the course! I’m up at the house as Steve’s away, so this morning I dropped the kids off and then crawled back into bed. I was warm and snuggly and wanted to miss the whole day. I reasoned with myself, I was tired, I hadn’t slept, the course would probably be crap, I couldn’t be bothered to go to the gym. But at the very last minute I decided to at least try and then leave if I didn’t like it. So I did. I got out of bed, attended the course, which wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before but I’ll continue with it in case there’s any snippets of new information or advice. I’d packed my gym clothes so I went straight to the gym afterwards.

I’m really proud of myself! On the Sunday I felt tired and sluggish and wanted to stay horizontal but as it was another nice day I’d promised the kids a walk and they were looking forward to it. It did them good as well.

So I’m doing my best. I can’t say I won’t go into a deeper depression without a fight.

I have my counselling session on Wednesday morning – which I’m dreading! God knows what direction Satchel will take us! I have contacted my old counsellor but I’ve still not heard back. I’m not sure she’ll be able to work with my budget constraints.

Things between Steve and I remain cordial. Although it nearly got bumpy. I attended a course on Saturday ‘parenting through separation’ which is done by the Ministry of Justice. It was really interesting and unfortunately I also found out that Steve and I made some costly mistakes at the beginning. Still, going forward there was some useful information and I was also given a ‘parenting plan’ which is a useful template for parents to complete and use as a frame of reference for each parent’s responsibilities. I tried to discuss it with Steve but he wasn’t interested. He feels what we have in place now is working. Which it is, and we’ve always been united where the children are concerned. But I was so badly stung by the separation agreement we put in place through lawyers, I can’t help but feel some insecurity about things further along. As our relationship hasn’t exactly been linear.

Still, a lot of people I met have terrible issues over custody. I’m thankful this isn’t the case for us.

Tomorrow I’m meeting my good friend to try a yoga class, which we’ve both had to delay for various reasons. So I’m anxious about that, but at least I won’t be alone.



I did go for that walk, (Sunday) then later in the evening I went swimming with two of my daughters – which I love doing. That evening they had a special aqua aerobics session which I joined in with.

Then Monday and Tuesday back to the gym. By Tuesday lunch time I started to feel really unwell. I was up at the house and really enjoying being with the kids. I put a lot of effort into each dinner and kept the house tidy. So I didn’t want to give in to an illness. By Tuesday night I had a bad stomach, my ears were ringing, my sight was blurry and I had obvious tremors. I realised that I was feeling the effects of lithium toxicity. Presumably all of my activities and not enough water was the cause. As I had the kids, I didn’t want to let them down, so when they were at school, I rested and drank lots of water. I also stopped taking the pills. On Wednesday night I had this horrible sensation of something being lodged in my throat. That continued through the weekend. It was really getting me down.

I saw my GP on Monday who confirmed that the lump in my throat was caused by the lithium. Now the stuff is fully out of my system, the lump has gone away.

I refuse to take the medication again. I’m seeing my psychiatrist on the 16th to discuss. I’m still on anti depressants and they’re the most important.

On the Sunday it was really nice, I had three of the kids at mine (surprisingly my youngest daughter came along too). Although I still wasn’t 100% I didn’t want them to be stuck inside on their devices all day, so I took them for a walk along Plimmerton Beach, which turned into an impromptu swim for the kids!

It was a really lovely day 😊

Steve and the kids took me out for dinner on my birthday (8th). It was a fantastic surprise, and the kids had a little present for me. I really appreciated the effort Steve went too. I didn’t expect it at all. Although at the end of the night when we all separated, I found that difficult. Suddenly alone again going to a dark, quiet house.

I’m back at the gym now and trying to increase my fitness. It’s a hard slog!

The low is still largely present in my everyday life, but I keep forcing myself to do things I don’t do when I’m really ill. Like shower every day, wear clean clothes and get some exercise.

Im also Skyping with my family more often, it makes me feel less alone.

Doing things

I have been trying to fight this low. I can’t bear to feel like I did before. I joined a gym and have made myself go everyday – even though my body is painfully resistant. I can’t believe how unfit I am.

I also saw the volunteer agency to see if there was anything I could offer my time towards. There were a few suggestions, and I’ve contacted the places. Unfortunately I’ve only heard back from one and their training doesn’t start until August . I thought volunteering would be easy to organise.

Steve and I got into it last night, i ended up getting drunk. This afternoon he’s basically referred to our entire marriage as a sham and that stung. He thinks so little of me, and can barely look at me in person. It’s incredible how quickly he’s come to loathe me. I suggested we have a conversation, try to hash out our differences and reach a compromise, but he’s turned me down point blank. I guess I need to get used to it. He’s not going to change and I have to stop letting it hurt me. I worry about the children though, they pick up vibes really easily. It’s so unfair to them.

I’m still attending my Married, Separated and Widowed group. I’m determined to stay committed to this course, as it does me good to get out one night a week. And it forces me to be social – even when I don’t want to be. One of the facilitator’s offered to go walking with me this weekend in a bid to keep me active. She text this evening, so we’re going out tomorrow morning. I also have the monthly survivors group tomorrow.

Next week Steve is away so I’m up at the house. It’ll be great to spend time with all the kids and in a nice house – with a bath!

So I’m doing what I can but it feels like an uphill battle. I can’t imagine getting to a place where I’m genuinely happy and enjoying everyday.

Getting low

I’ve been trying to fight it, but the low is beginning it’s suffocating embrace. I’ve put it down to my past and the anniversary but time is passing and I’m not getting any better.

I saw my counsellor today, Satchel, and she’s heavily into Buddhism (I don’t care about her religious preferences) but it means the therapy always goes off on a tangent about what Buddhists think/do. The last session and this session I couldn’t face the pain of talking about confronting things, so I let her waffle on. She seemed oblivious at times that this was a counselling session. I think a good counsellor would bring out what I’m thinking about and give me space to work through it. But I’ve never been very good at facing the pain, so I have good distraction techniques and as she likes to talk, it’s worked out for me. Although then I walk away and feel cheated, that’s on me I know. But now there’s so room to open up, I feel like we’ve become a student/teacher dynamic.

My grief over my marriage is huge, the enormity of all I’ve lost, the sense of loneliness, the feel of being out in this void. I have no direction. I’ve lost my best friend. Memories keep floating up, of which we’ve accumulated lots, and it just fills me with this intense pain. I miss my home, I miss being part of a family. The kids prefer the house naturally and have voiced that they don’t like mine. I don’t like mine! I hate returning to my dark little house, leaving behind my family and the warmth of the house. It feels like a waking nightmare.

Steve has fully moved on. His career is really soaring, he loves his job and has a great social life. He’d probably say he’s doing better without me. Perhaps that’s true.

I also saw my CPN, I was completely honest. I told him I considered stopping my medication (as previously that’s pushed me into a mania) and I’d give anything for that energy. I’ve also considered taking all of my medication and ending it all. To my surprise he said he understood, it made complete sense that I’d want to get away from the depths of my depression. I appreciated his response. Not panic or judgement, just acceptance. He said he’d speak to the psychiatrist and get some advice. He’s recommended the usual cures. Not staying in bed, getting exercise, good ideas but I’m seriously lacking the motivation. I’m literally only getting out of bed to see the kids. Without them, I’d be stuck in bed and would have long since given up.

My CPN did email me and my anti depressant is going to be increased. I’m doubtful that it would have any effect, but I’m willing to try it.

I can’t stand another low like before. It was that which sent me to England in the end.

I just don’t see much point in anything anymore. Aside from my children obviously.


I’m mindful that it’s not even 10pm yet, so I don’t want to get too complacent about the day. But I’m tired and want to document this day.

I’d planned to catch up with my good friend J today. And it was the best planning/decision I could ever have made. I put on a dress I quite like, I dropped some more dreaded forms off at the benefits office, but it was less of a chore because they’re situated next to my favourite bakery, and I headed in there for some morning tea to take to J’s. and off i went! It was a sunny day, J lives over a big hill and in a small town quite isolated from anywhere else, so it always feels really nice to crest the hill and feel like I’m heading into a different world.

J and I drank coffee and chatted about this and that. I felt extremely relaxed, and I also felt very in control. I knew J was completely flexible about the day and that really helped because I didn’t feel any pressure. And she offered to make eggs! Yay! Fresh eggs again! If I still owned my own house, I’d consider chickens.

And as her sons came home I felt part of their warm family and really privileged to be party to it all. Her sons are awesome, and I think/hope my boy is going to be like them at the different ages.

I think I felt empowered by the day. I’d taken charge, I was going to rule this day. I’d taken the very rare step of reaching out, and I’m really glad I did.

We parted company at 5.30, but I didn’t feel ready to face an evening at my house. I called Steve and asked if I could come over, he grunted, why? I explained I wanted to see the kids. As I drove there I considered his response, it was cold and unattached. Having been together for so long, I expected compassionate, regard, respect. No, I wasn’t expecting him to fall at the floor and cry for me, but just an acknowledgement would have been nice. I got to the house and the kids were post dinner playing together (not my eldest of course!). I sat in their room and tried to understand their computer world. We were all together for a few hours, laughing and playing. It was balm to my soul. Then I corrected something I thought Egg was saying wrong, we checked with Steve and it turned out I was wrong! But this lead Steve to tell me how he ‘hates’ how I get then/than wrong and how it couldn’t be more simple. I was firmly chastised. Not that’ll it’ll make much difference!

As the evening drew to a close (the kids going to bed) Steve started on at me for leaving the garage door open. I only have a garage remote to access the house, he hasn’t and I expect won’t get a key cut.

He didn’t ask how I was, he didn’t offer for me to stay, he wasn’t gentle with me, he didn’t consider that we were parting on him having a go at me. And for the first time in a long time I thought, fuck you then! I don’t deserve to be treated as an inconvenience. We may not be together but I’m still the mother of his children. We still have a history in which he knows how painful this stuff is for me. He’s tended to the nightmares, the panic attacks, the tears. But he couldn’t be bothered to simply enquire as to how my day has been.

I think because my day has been good, I am doing this course, I am doing far more for myself then I ever imagined, I didn’t feel angry or let down. It just served to show me on how different territory we’re on.

I’m looking forward to hanging out with my kids tomorrow afternoon as Steve is going out for drinks (despite him making it abundantly obvious he had man flu).

From history I know it’s not a home run. I feel the effects of these memories for days/weeks after. Like the 16th I spent at a clinic, so that day is raw for me. And I’ll have flashbacks about the event and how different my life had become. At least I’m prepared. I don’t know how I’ll handle it, but I know I won’t go knocking on Steve’s door expecting any understanding.

I do know I have friends I can turn too. And this is the greatest lesson of them all.


I. Am. So. Tired! Brain and heart drained today. But I think it’s a good thing.

Firstly I saw Ian, my friendly CPN, he checked to make sure I have plans for tomorrow (I do) and had printed off a bunch of information on anniversaries and people with PTSD. Very nice of him indeed.

Then I stopped at a bakery (I never do) and had a strawberry milkshake and a cream doughnut! Naughty but delicious.

Then I met my new counsellor, and I had no initial warning instincts about her. She seemed very genuine and I liked her honesty. But she was compassionate as well, unlike Clipboard. Apparently she teaches in part from a Buddhist philosophy, which works for me. She was also into primates and our primal instincts. She also carried a satchel, so that’s my name for her. Satchel.

Satchel and I chatted only briefly about my past (I’ve learnt my lesson there!), but she helped me identify my monkey brain…ok this all gets a bit weird so I’ll leave it there, but it made sense to me anyway. I certainly felt calmer when I left.

Then I had a brief reprieve before picking up my kids at all their different schools. They were all hot and tired and about ready for the weekend – they must be working really hard at school!

Next Steve came over and like a tag team, he took over as I took off. I saw my GP for the FORTH time to get this bloody medical certificate for the benefits office. I’ll be dropping that off tomorrow.

Then on I went to the ‘widowed, divorced, separated’ group that I started last week. I was already a bit raw from therapy so I was surprised when I spoke up (last time I avoided it) and even let go of some emotion. I hope I’m on the right path to grieving and healing. I literally can’t do anything else.

Now I’m back at my dark and lonely house, missing the kids, missing the big house and it’s peace and serenity. It’s Valentine’s Day and I haven’t had anything. Nada. So it’s tempting to just throw in the towel. But I really felt I gained some traction today, and I haven’t felt like that in a long time.

Tomorrow I’m spending the day with my beautiful, warm mate that’s been an absolute god send through these really rough times. I know I’ll feel safe and respected with her. I’m very lucky.

Counselling fail

My counsellor, whom I’m going to name ‘Clipboard’ because of her constant use of the biggest one I’ve ever seen, is a nightmare. I’ve had three sessions now and I can definitively say, it ain’t working Clipboard.

About 30 minutes of our session was her having a go at me for not practicing the breathing exercises she taught me on our last session. She went on about the benefits of it and basically said, I can’t help you if you’re not going to help yourself. Bit harsh over some deep breathing!

Then I told her I was up all night last night, terrified that someone was breaking in. Firstly she reiterated the deep breathing stuff, then she went on to say, as opposed to lying in your bed scared, get up and check the house. (Admittedly I got used to Steve doing that when we were together). She told me if I felt uneasy I should just call the police. I said I didn’t want to call the emergency line over every little noise I heard. She told me that’s what they’re there for. They’re probably twiddling their thumbs waiting for a job, and if it’s just a cat or something they can let you know and you’ll feel better.

So on the basis of her advice, I’m to walk around my house deep breathing (god forbid I forget that) and call the cops if I hear a noise.

I realised at this point our relationship- it was doomed.

I’m feeling particularly vulnerable around this time and she did nothing to soothe that, she made reference to it being just like any other date, but that was it. I sat there wishing I’d stayed in bed and got a few extra hours.

The benefits office was a nightmare in itself. As usual I was made to feel like absolute scum. And then I was told I had the wrong medical certificate- this is the FOURTH time. But they take no accountability for the misinformation and the fact I have to pay to see my dr again for a revised form. So I’m off to the GP on Wednesday, right before my ‘singles course’ which will be stressful.

I’ll be glad when this week is over.