Ticking along!

Well, here in New Zealand we seem to be finally out of the worst of the Covid situation. Glad we had a faster response to the pandemic by our government and had a well organised and executed plan. When I watch TV now and see people wearing masks and distancing it seems really obscure. But I feel really sorry for the places where there is still a huge problem.

I’m working myself to the absolute bone. Well not literally unfortunately or else I would not carry the ton of weight I’m carrying! although as I keep saying I’m not entirely keen on the role I’m doing at the moment, it keeps the money coming in and I’ll be covered over Christmas which is a really stressful period obviously.

Steve is still going away quite often and I’m having the children at my house pretty much all the time and I absolutely love it. I have such a really good relationship with my children, and any emotional ties I felt to the old house are completely gone. I have no desire to stay there at all anymore as I really love my little place and love how I have it all set up.I’ve still got the dog here! Honestly I can’t imagine myself without him now. He is such a character and it is really cute the noises he makes when I walk in the front door. He’s a lousy security dog but he looks scary, which is funny because he is a real sook. He doesn’t like the cold and he doesn’t like storms. His presence is also encouraging me and the kids to go out more for walks which we’ve all really enjoyed.

For this Christmas I’ll be predominantly working and I think the children will be going back to Napier to see their hideous grandparents.

At least the kids get to go somewhere different and the weather is pretty much always nice in Napier so they will have a good time. I would actually love a holiday so much, the last time I went away was when I went to England during a really difficult period so it wasn’t really a holiday. And spending time with my parents is never really relaxing. I’d love to be somewhere near the beach and not worry about work or anything. But I can’t imagine ever being in a position financially to do that.

I’m not having my counselling anymore, my counsellor is retiring soon and I think she’s really struggling as she is getting so much older and I find myself getting a little frustrated in her company. So I haven’t had counselling for quite a significant amount of time now. I rarely see my GP either and just request new medication as I need it online which is really handy. I don’t think I’ve had such a long period of stability for so long. Obviously I have times where I get anxious or emotional but I can’t see it as being anything more than what anyone else would go through.The PTSD is predominantly managed. Again I think a lot of that is probably because I’m forced into situations that I would usually avoid. I’m living alone and the noises in the night that I have to deal with although I do have the dog which I have to say does help immensely. At work I have to deal with highly emotive situations and at times there are confrontational situations which I have to deal with. That feeling of being on the brink of a panic attack is getting easier to manage which I suppose probably is down to me being more desensitised.

I am extremely tired all of the time, it might be just because of my medication. Or it might be the stress of work and doing the long hours and looking after the children at the same time. Who knows? Probably having a bad diet isn’t helping! But I’m so busy all the time I don’t really have time to think about meal planning.

My ankle has mostly healed in terms of the bone and ligaments. But the degeneration of the bone will stay as it is which is actually quite poor due to osteoporosis. Generally I have found it has gotten better. I don’t want to take painkillers because they can interact with my medications. So I will take an ibuprofen if needed. It can hurt on really cold mornings but as we are moving into the end of spring start of summer I’m hoping that will be significantly less. And to be honest I’m quite active with my job so theres not going to be time to rest anyway.

I’ve moved my two younger children to a different school because the younger daughter has been experiencing bullying and although we tried to work collaboratively with the school, they had no real policies in place and rather than keep putting her in an unsafe situation and going backwards and forwards to the school I decided it was better to just pluck her out and put her somewhere else, I put my son in the same school as he will need to go to intermediate soon anyway.My older two daughters are doing really well. My eldest daughter is doing her NCEAwhich is stressful for her but I’m really proud of her because I know she’s studying really hard. My second youngest daughter has taken a while to settle but she seems to be really finding herself now and again I’m really proud of her as well.

Dating obviously isn’t even a thing for me. I’m just not interested. I wonder if that will change as sometimes I really miss having company but my children and my work are more important to me than anything else.

Aside from job dramas but I won’t write about in here I can say that my life is just ticking along. Nothing particularly amazing or radical has happened but that’s probably for the best!

Neglecting self care

Still here, still going strong!

I went through a bit of a rough trot with a cold and I couldn’t get rid of and it turned out to be a chest infection for which I was prescribed antibiotics and steroids. The course of medication really helped and I also had to get my foot reviewed because the pain is not getting better at all. I think I’ve done more damage to my bones because I didn’t look after myself properly. I know this falls into a “ self-care“ plan I should be taken care of, but the reality is, I just don’t have the time.I continue to work full time in my role which has its challenges and variety which I really enjoy as well as meeting some really awesome people in the community. I’m not so keen on the people in the organisation, this continues to be an issue for me. But fortunately I don’t have much to do with the people in the organisation as I work autonomously out in the community.My second job which I think I may have mentioned before is going well, although it is exhausting not having the weekends to myself. I’m certainly feeling the benefit though for having the extra income.The children have been away this week with their grandparents, obviously I really miss them, but it’s the first time I’ve had time away from the children for quite awhile. It would’ve been nice if I didn’t have to work as well, but at least I’m not working around school pick ups and drop-offs and cooking and cleaning etc.Sounds like they having a great time in Napier, so I’m really happy for them.Normally when Steve and the kids go away I bolt up to the house to spend time languishing around the spacious property and using the spa and bath. I haven’t even had the urge to do that. I’ve just gone up as requested to feed the cat.I absolutely love my My little flat and while the children have been away I’ve been busy moving furniture cleaning and organising again. It just feels really refreshing and homely, and I know where everything is so I’d much rather be here at night. Plus my bed is really comfortable.The dog is still here and becoming very much a part of my life. It’s hard to imagine life before he arrived actually. He’s missing the kids terribly of course, but it is keeping me sane as I have someone to speak to and he likes to come out in the car with me.I’ve been try to stay in touch with friends and be social as that’s usually an area that’s lacking I’m working so hard.

I decided to sell a single bed online so I could replace it with a large double bed for the spare room for when the kids come. I had one guy really pushy about picking up the bed and he was messaging me late at night request in my address. I got really anxious about this and then at night time I had really bad nightmares that someone was gonna break in. It’s amazing that despite all my movement forward and everything I’m accomplishing I still have these moments where I’m extremely vulnerable and haunted by aspects of my past now.

I’ve stopped counselling now, the counsellor I was seeing and have seen for a long time is retiring and as she gets closer to the end of the time, she keeps having lapses in concentration and then going off on random tangents. So I figure it’s having more of a detrimental affect on me and then being helpful. It would be good to organise some counselling again eventually as I think it’s really beneficial and therapeutic to speak through things through, especially when I’m having a bad time with PTSD and nightmares. But at the moment it just feels too hard to try and find somebody that understands that.I still get panic attacks, not very often admittedly and I can tell when one is coming now but it still strikes me how they seem to come at such at times. Sometimes I think I know why I’ve had a panic attack but other times it just seems to come from left field. So I suspect something has just triggered me without being obvious.

Both jobs continue to test my resilience but also make me question my own perspective on things, I feel like I’m learning a great deal from both jobs and this is starting to change me as a person.

Aside from working and looking after my little home, there isn’t that much more to report. I continue on the same combination of medication that I have been on for last couple of years, and it’s working really well for me. I haven’t had any lapses which is pretty incredible considering the stress I faced and the instability of the last couple of years in particular.Steve and I continue to have a fairly unstable relationship in that sometimes we are quite communicative with each other another times we rarely talk at all. But rather this equilibrium is better than the previous histrionics.

Surviving

I’ve just been feeling absolutely exhausted the last few weeks. In desperation to try and get on top of my debts and to try and have some extra money, I’m working an extra job on the weekend which sometimes goes into the evenings when I’m already working on my full-time job. The other job is working as a court mandated supervisor for supervised visits between separated parents. In theory it should be relatively easy that I sit and watch interactions between children and the parents, but it’s actually really demanding because you never know if someone is gonna snap and say something. As such I’m now working seven days a week with occasional evenings thrown in.

I’m actually finding the lack of downtime quite difficult at the moment. I spend my time during the week with the kids and then at the weekend the younger ones go to their dads and the older one comes to me.

Although I feel sad im missing my weekends with the little ones, at the moment I really have to work hard to make ends meet.The full-time job is mostly okay I enjoy the variation and I get to meet some really cool people. I’ve also had some really good feedback.

Unfortunately i’m not so keen on the culture of the organisation. It’s hard to explain but essentially I’m very much on my own. I don’t mind that, because the job is fairly autonomous but of course there’s the fortnightly team meetings and all the various bits in between where we are all supposed to get together. I’m kind of the sore thumb in the group. It makes me feel quite uncomfortable and I’m not fond of spending time with the team. But as I say I enjoy the other aspects of the job, I just hope it’s enough to continue for as long as possible.

I continue to love my little rented flat, and do what I can to make it more homely all the time. I love that the kids enjoy coming here. Jesse my middle child tends to struggle with her issues during the week, so she’s got into the habit of coming to mine at the weekend so that she can relax. I love that this feels like a safe space for her to be able to do that.

I have noticed that there are some lonely times creeping in. You know those times when you’re just so tired and you wish you could lean on someone to cook for once, or to wash up for once. It would also be nice to have a cuddle of an evening when it’s been a full on tiring day. I haven’t really felt this need before, and it may be again just because I’ve been working so hard and I’m experiencing all these things having all these conversations with no one to actually share it with. Some really crazy stuff happens in both of my jobs and I suppose to be honest I haven’t even had a lot of time to catch up with friends to talk.

My closest friend that I’ve known for years, has started to drift away. I think this may be more conscious than I probably give it credit for. I know when she was in hospital I was there for her every single day and did whatever she needed. I wonder if the situation was reversed if she would be the same. And now I’m working it seems harder to keep up with her particularly as she doesn’t work at all, hasn’t done for years and probably never will. It makes it difficult to relate on a different level.

At the moment it feels like I’m working all the time but I’m still broke! I’m hoping that in a few weeks I’ll start to plateau and feel the benefits. I’m doing everything I can within reason in my home to bring down costs. I anticipate my rent going up in the next few months as the rent freeze will be over in New Zealand. I worry about that and I also worry about ever being able to buy my own home.

At the end of the day though, I do have two jobs, I have a lovely home and I still have my awesome car which I love although can’t always afford to fill with petrol! My kids are healthy and wonderful and aside from not liking the environment of one job I think I’m doing pretty well.

Update!

Again, I have left it quite awhile before writing. I suppose this is largely because of the whole Covid situation, I was waiting to see what was going to happen in terms of my job and my home, like the rest of the world I suppose. I didn’t find myself overly stressed during this period, we are very lucky with our government here and the management of the situation. My job remains stable and I worked from home and the rent freeze meant I didn’t have to worry about increases so in all I wasn’t largely affected by the Covid.

A bit like the school holidays, I was able to enjoy time with the children. It’s a nightmare to take them shopping anyway and we don’t really eat out very much, so there wasn’t a great difference for me. I worry about my family over in the UK of course because it’s a completely different situation largely because of the useless government. I can only speak with them online and hope that they remain safe.

My mental state has actually stayed very stable considering all of the anxiety. Unfortunately my physical health has not been great. I broke my ankle a couple of weeks ago and it’s causing me a huge amount of pain, I was able to get a moon boot so I’m able to drive because I can’t afford to take time off of work. But I think the driving and continued activity is delaying my recovery. Again there isn’t much I can do about that because need to have an income.

Obviously I haven’t been able to rely on Steve at all in terms of support, so I continue to do my best with the kids and my best financially. Although I resent his attitude towards me, I actually don’t feel particularly bothered by him anymore! He is just an annoying aspect of my life that I have to deal with for the rest of my life because of our children. But there is definitely no love or affection there. It does surprise me sometimes when I Think about how close we were and now we are basically strangers that can barely tolerate each other. But I tend not to fester over that very much.

All I care about are the children. As long as they know that we both love them very much and we will always be there for them, that is all that matters. That is very much on point for today as my eldest turned 16! I still can’t believe I have a 16-year-old. I took her for lunch today and to get a manicure, we don’t spend too much time together so it was really nice to hang out. And now Steve has taken them all out for dinner. It was a tradition that we would all go to dinner, and I would have to put up with passive aggressive comments over the table. I have been trying to gently push the kids away from these expectations. I do think it’s unrealistic to expect a separated family to come together for birthdays and Christmas. Last Christmas I made it separate for the first time, and I don’t think it was a failure at all. And this way my daughter had my time all day and now the siblings and Dad have this evening.

My life revolves around the children and my job. Study has also started again now so I’m going to be incredibly distracted with that. I’m also looking after a friends dog. It’s a bit random but she really needed someone to look after her dog while she moved house. Sadly our cat was run over a few weeks ago and we were all absolutely devastated. So taking this dog in as part of a distraction as well from that and to help the kids deal with that grief. He’s been a welcome addition to my little family. he is very gentle and sweet natured and also very well-trained. We took him to the beach the other day on a sunny day and it was really nice to get out of the house and do something a bit different, where as normally we just have slobbed around all day.

It’s certainly been a very strange year. Most people have written off 2020 because of how stressful it’s been. But for me theres been some really good parts, that is, mainly getting my lovely little flat which I still absolutely adore and would love to be in a position to buy in a year and also getting this consistent employment.

Of course we are only midway through! So anything can happen now! But I definitely feel in a position to handle what life throws my way. I’ve proved time and time again that I will come out fighting. No matter how tired I might be, no matter if sometimes I lie in bed and have a little cry. I just keep going!

I don’t have a social life at all! I’m definitely very much a homebody. And this is probably grown even more so during the Covid lockdown. I don’t miss the social interaction, I get enough of that in my job! And I don’t anticipate dating any time in the near or even distant future. I enjoy my independence and I enjoy being able to focus my attention fully on the children. I have no issue anymore if Steve wanted to date and the children I suspect he probably is. As long as he always puts the children first and doesn’t expect anybody to replace me, then he can do what he likes.

It’s taken me a long time to get to this stage. Some would say far too long. But we will heal in our own time.

Not feeling good

Am I worried about my mental health? Yes, just a little bit.

A few weeks ago my car got broken into outside my house, admittedly it was my work car. But with PTSD being the way it is, I immediately felt targeted unsafe. Thus I bought various security cameras to have around the house. Feeling a bit more settled, I had a phone call from the vet to say my cat had been hit by a car and killed. Obviously I knew the two weren’t related, but I was beyond devastated. I worked myself into a panic attack and then began vomiting into the sink. I can’t even express the magnitude of pain AND blame that I feel. My girl wanted affection that morning and the footage from my camera shows are desperate for attention from me and I’m hurrying off (I didn’t tell the kids that). They’re absolutely devastated. So I’m trying to be strong for them.

Work is insanely busy – good, I thought. It’ll take my mind off things. Then yesterday I visited a family with severe mental health issues, an extremely neglected child and a house like one of those from Hoarders. I have to get advice, but clearly this will be a referral to Oranga Tamariki (child services). What a bloody horrible call to make.

Friday evening I asked Steve to have the kids. I was drained, down, sad, self loathing, etc. I did try to talk to him, but as usual, he doesn’t give a shit. I don’t know why I bother – I was desperate. I needed someone to hear me. Not him, he wasn’t interested.

I tried to distract myself with tv and wine, but I just felt too tired, to fed up. I even ordered my favourite Thai food, but it was bland and I threw it away.

Today my youngest daughter begged to stay with me. I wanted to lie in bed all day and do nothing but I obliged because I didn’t want to let her down. I actually got dressed and got up. She immediately noticed that things were different. I always have the curtains open and windows open to let in a breeze – even when it’s cold. The house is orderly and beds are made. But when she came, my house was dark, curtains drawn. I’m sure it felt oppressive.

I made an effort to make the house more like me. We had dinner, watched comedies, I drank wine, but I’m miserable. She wants hugs and to chat. I just want to lie in bed.

Monday is full of appointments so I can’t take the kids to school and I can’t pick them up. The job is so demanding.

I feel a bit wobbly. I feel so sad and so drained. But more than that, I feel so lonely.

Update

You know it’s funny, my ex-husband used to take me away fairly regularly on five star breaks, because he wanted to treat us. The reality is that over the last few years I have been busting a gut to look after the children, keep myself on an even keel, and hold the glue together. I am absolutely exhausted and probably deserve a holiday more now than I ever have! And I can’t afford one! And he definitely won’t pay for one!

I’ve continued to work during the lockdown. It’s not been very easy with the children being demanding, within their reasonable demands of course in terms of expecting lunch and dinner and help with homework. And trying to keep the house tidy. But I’ve managed and I’m eternally grateful that my family are well and that I am in a position to be able to work during lockdown. And I’m especially proud of my children for managing the situation so well and for sticking together.

Of course my anxiety has played havoc, I’m not completely in human. I have had to close myself away in the shower and have a good cry, and I’ve noticed my dose of Valium has increased over the last few weeks because of panic attacks. I found myself waking up in a panic. But I don’t think that’s any different to anybody else. As we realise that those we love around us are at risk. The things we know have changed. And the world around us is an unknown place at the moment.

I am of course grateful to be in New Zealand during all of this. We have an excellent prime minister who is taking care of all of us and the element of risk seems somewhat more less, and although I’m terrified of my children going back to school next week, I have to believe is the best thing for them and for us.

The organisation I work for is very different to anything I’ve ever worked for before. As I’ve had to work from home because I don’t want to put myself and my children at risk, I’ve had to prove myself in terms of meeting KPIs and working on other things as presented to me. I believe that I have met those targets, however the way I present myself is very different to my comrades. I am extremely assertive and I don’t like mistakes being made, and I think this sort of personality probably doesn’t bode well for the laid-back personalities and culture of this organisation that I work for.

I remind myself, that this is really an income provider for me, and I begin my new study again in June. Which I’m really looking forward to. Don’t get me wrong I am totally embracing this role, and I do take on board all of the family situations that I work for. That’s probably makes me a little bit different to others and that I really empathise with my families and their situations. My desire to help them comes from a genuine and authentic place.

I have certainly been enjoying my kids being here more often and they are really enjoying my new home. And it really does feel like a home. With property prices dropping and the need for deposits dropping significantly from the original 20% it would be nice to think that potentially I could look to purchase this property in the near future. I don’t want to get too excited about that in case it’s a no go. I just know that I don’t want to go through constant inspections and be answerable to a corporate organisation and pay somebody else’s mortgage. after all as we know, i used to be a home owner but that was taken away from me. Yes Steve continues to go from better to worse. He is doing exceedingly well financially, the house is now worth over 1 million, and he is sitting pretty. Yes I do feel some resentment over that I’m not going to lie about it. But I have to focus on myself right now and my children I’m doing the best I can for them.

I don’t really have a lot to add in terms of updates because life has been really just ticking along for me. Although there’s been work stresses and other stresses, nothing seems completely unattainable or in surmountable. I don’t know if I can attribute that to the medication or my desire to stay level and on top of things. I just know that there haven’t been any dramatic moments worth noting.

So next week we begin a new journey on level two. Where the kids will be at school and I will be in a new part of my role out on the road meeting families and children, which I am actually really looking forward to. As I said before my desire to help people is definitely genuine. I’m less looking forward to working in the office, but I think that’s pretty standard now being as I already know my passion belongs in a classroom environment.Snext week we begin a new journey on level two. Where the kids will be at school and I will be in a new part of my role out on the road meeting families and children, which I am actually really looking forward to. As I said before my desire to help people is definitely genuine. I’m less looking forward to working in the office, but I think that’s pretty standard now being as I already know my passion belongs in a classroom environment.So next week we begin a new journey on level two. Where the kids will be at school and I will be in a new part of my role out on the road meeting families and children, which I am actually really looking forward to. As I said before my desire to help people is definitely genuine. I’m less looking forward to working in the office, but I think that’s pretty standard now being as I already know my passion belongs in a classroom environment.

I haven’t been catching up with friends, primarily due to lockdown. I have been messaging friends though that have maintained contact with me throughout lockdown. I think it’s really interesting to note who is regularly in touch and who isn’t. It’s like when I moved house, there are some friends that really come to the fore and help another is it disappear into the background. I’m not particularly bothered about this, because throughout this lockdown my main priority has been my children.

Update

It would be easy for me to get carried away focusing on the current pandemic facing the whole world right now. We are very lucky in New Zealand because we have an excellent Prime Minister and we have everything relatively contained. I certainly feel less confident for my comrades in both the US and the UK.

I’m certainly glad that I deferred my study for six months. As I would’ve incurred the cost of a partial student loan and my student allowance would’ve stopped. As it happens I’m still working in the role that I was offered prior to the lockdown. Although initially it was really hard to get started especially being so isolated I feel I have found my way and I’m actually quite enjoying the job. Plus it’s amazing how much time flies when I’m busy with my cases.I have been predominantly looking after my two younger children. This obviously has a it’s stresses in terms of ensuring they are keeping up with their schooling, constantly cooking and tidying and managing my job. My salary isn’t very good, so I’m certainly feeling the pinch financially. Unfortunately Steve hasn’t increased the child-support to reflect the changes for the last couple of months. But I can’t complain because I’m really lucky to be in a roll and for all of us to healthy. Plus it’s amazing how much time flies when I’m busy with my cases.

It’s amazing how much I have realised just how strong my relationships are. I have either started strengthening old relationships or maintaining current relationships using social media. I have also noticed people that I am less concerned with and I’ve cut them off. Not through any fault of theirs or mine, but rather we are just very different and there’s been no point continuing and empty relationships.

I’m also extremely grateful to have moved into my new place so quickly and before the lockdown started. I still absolutely love my little home. It’s got a great feeling, it’s really light and airy, and the kids absolutely love it. I also have a cute little fruit garden, and I’ve been able to offer fruits to people in the community.

There is no doubt about the fact that I was feeling confident about this New Year. And I know it’s a dreadful time for the majority and we are under a lockdown so our freedoms have been taken away-for the best of course. So much has happened for me on a positive front that I still feel really confident about this New Year. obviously there is the anxiety that goes with not having certain freedoms, and I worry about the health of my children. However when I look at the US and the UK I can’t help but feel very contented in my little bubble. My priority is, and will always be, my children. And selfishly I am enjoying the extra time with them, even though as I say it is stressful to be a single parent in lockdown.

At times, like anyone else I find myself having emotional bursts, and periodic panic attacks. I recognise this is predominantly to do with a sense of claustrophobia and a lack of control. But it’s amazing how almost comforting it is to know that I’m not alone in this and we are all feeling it at the same time.

We are in autumn now. I certainly wouldn’t like to be cooped up at home in the summer. Autumn is my favourite season and has always been my favourite season. It’s beautiful with a mix of colours and it’s neither too hot nor too cold. Although this autumn so far we have already had plenty of sunny days.

So my focus at the moment is my children and my new job. I start study again in June, but this is online and doesn’t require me to go anywhere. So it’s achievable.

Still going!

The seven hour drive to Hamilton really took it out of me. I really didn’t want to be driving so long after just moving. At least I had been able to unpack all the boxes and set the house up. When I got to Hamilton, I hardly had any money as Studylink had messed up my application. Therefore there was no allowance, and the study fees to help with study costs had been delayed.

My parents had to come to the rescue to pay for my accommodation. Fortunately for the first time since I’ve been coming to Hamilton I was able to find a nice motel, that was clean and quiet. It was extremely hot in Hamilton, reaching 30°. I was tired and irritable. On my first night the fire alarm went off in my room for no reason. This only added to my irritability and exhaustion.

On Monday, I arrived at the University. The campus is really nice, but I actually don’t get on with anyone on the course. They all live within fairly close proximity to each other. So they often meet up. However, as I’m so far away I’m really out of the loop. And I don’t use social media enough to maintain interactions with people. I found it very hard to concentrate in the lecture. Every single noise from everyone was really grating. A guy in front of me kept moving, people sniffing really loudly, people incessantly whispering to each other, the heat, and the bright lights. People don’t think about sensory overload for people with mental health issues. Although considering how tired I was I think these things would’ve affected anybody. For me, I started to wonder if I was slowly coming undone. I was emotional, tired, and feeling exceptionally lonely.

I left the university during the middle of the day. I still had to ring Studylink continuously to try to organise the funds. I decided to email the professor at the University and explain that I was struggling to finance my stay for the week. Unfortunately that week on campus is compulsory to pass the course. She emailed me back to meet her in her office.

I explained to her that I had just moved house, that I didn’t have much money because Studylink was slowing things down. And then I was starting a new job the following week. She suggested that perhaps I study in semester B instead. Therefore deferring and not doing semester A. This was really upsetting for me because I’m really keen to finish the course as soon as possible, that said a lot of my problems in the past, have come about because I’ve pushed myself to the very brink. I had to take an objective look at the situation and decide that I need to put my energy in my new job and my children. The course I could do at a later date when I was feeling financially stable, and secure in my new job. My new job would inevitably require lots of training. So I knew I would be putting pressure on myself to complete lots of different things at the same time.I was able to leave the university the same day. Ironically, my money from Studylink came in that night!

Due to deferring study and the period of time of two weeks before my new job started, I had no source of income, as no agency was prepared to take responsibility for the gap before full time employment. I considered having a conversation with the rental agency about missing a week on rent, and speaking to the finance company about my car and missing a payment, and then of course all the utilities trying to play for time. I did go into Work and Income as a ‘walk in’ client. This meant waiting for about four hours to see someone to explain my situation. Fortunately I was able to see somebody that I’ve met with before and she was incredibly helpful. She was able to tide me over with a temporary benefit until I go into full-time work. This is a huge relief to me because I have always prioritised my rent. I never imagined being in this situation as I always had financial security when I was with Steve. However I have worked so hard to provide for myself and my children. And of course now I’m not averse to asking for help when I need it.

So now, I only have a couple of days until I begin my new job. I am both nervous and excited for the opportunity, I’m also looking forward to having a stable job security. Although I love being a Teacher Aide as I’ve mentioned a few times because I really feel it’s a vocation for me to work within a school. I simply cannot afford the lack of security. For example today, I was due to go into work this afternoon. I received a call this morning to say that the boy I usually look after has been sent home. Therefore, I will not get paid. It’s pretty hard to budget when you never know if you’re going to get paid.

I feel that I’ve taken some control over the next few months and that things aren’t running away from me. I’m still disappointed about deferring my study, but I know I simply couldn’t have managed it. I am confident that by mid year, I should be ready to start again with my study, and manage my job and have a better understanding of my responsibilities and time that I have available. I still haven’t told anybody about the new job. As I guess for me it’s not a reality until I’ve signed on the dotted line.

I’m actually still really hopeful for this year. Things have worked out for me so far. I have a lovely new house, I have a new job to look forward to, I’m still continuing with my study just later on in the year, and more I’m than anything else I just keep on going. A couple of years ago I would’ve crumpled by now. And I think that’s really important to note, that despite everything, I have been able to manage my mental health.

It’s certainly been a learning curve For me, in terms of knowing what is a true friend and what wasn’t. Although I’m sad to realise that I don’t have many people I can really count on on the chips are down, I also realise that I no longer have to race around after other people. I have spent so much time trying desperately to be there for other people, a lot of the time my detriment.

I can’t even be bothered to reference my relationship with Steve in any detail. He continues to be obnoxious and unhelpful. It seemed to take a long time for me to fall out of love with him. But I can honestly say that I have no regard for him at all. He is completely different to the person I once knew. And most of the time I find him intolerable to be around.

I ended up leaving during the day, and then I had to sit on my phone for hours trying to sort out the issue with the study link. The wait time for Citylink can be anything over an hour. And then the outcome of the call, there is according to the person you’ve managed to get on the phone. My fear, was that no money would be processed and therefore I would be in Hamilton with no access to funds. It’s one thing being at home with no money, it’s completely different being away and having no money. And I had to make sure I had enough of petrol to make my way home.

Everything was slowly catching up with me. So I spent that afternoon lying in bed the air-conditioning on full blast. Trying to work out what I was going to do from here.

The next day I arrived at the University feeling quite defeated. I emailed the professor in charge of the course and explained that I wouldn’t be able to stay for the week, simply because I couldn’t afford to. The week on campus is compulsory in order to pass the course. So I realised I was taking a gamble by letting her know. She emailed in response that she wanted me to meet in her office. I had visions of being asked to leave the course. I explained that I had just moved house, that I had no money and issues of study link, and that I was due to start a new job the following week. Considering all of these factors it was her suggestion, that I don’t study in semester a, and instead commence study in semester B. The thought process being that I could at least settle myself in my new job and my new home and sort out my financial situation. although a deferral is upsetting for me because I have been so determined to finish this course on time, the reality is that I’ve been known to push myself to the brink, and I have to be able to take a step back and make a proper plan so that I don’t make myself unwell. Particularly as I need to be there for my children.

Having considered the offer I agreed with the University. As such I was able to travel home that day. Ironically, my money arrived that night!

It was nice to be back in my new home now.

The move

During the move, I genuinely wondered if I might lose it. There came point when the house was full of boxes and rubbish and I just felt so overwhelmed. I was so exhausted from so little sleep that I lay in bed and simply cried and couldn’t see a way out of it.

The house didn’t feel like a home, and it felt like I had no one around me that actually cared about me aside from my kids, who of course have been fantastic.But I allowed myself that time to wallow, and eventually got into the task of unpacking.

I made the decision to take time off work, although that had not been the plan, I wanted to listen to my body. Taking this time off work has allowed me to unpack at my own pace and also have time alone which I really needed. I invest so much of my time and energy in other people and my own children, that the quietness and space was very much a leisure.

I also didn’t have Internet, so there was no TV and no surfing the Wi-Fi on my phone.

By having this extra time, I have quickly worked to unpack the entire house and it feels like this is a lot more like a home. I actually felt really relaxed this evening, even if the house was empty, I didn’t feel lonely.

I have huge concerns about going to Hamilton next week because I simply can’t afford it. It’s been more important to me to ensure that everyone has been paid up-to-date than for me to go for my compulsory week in Hamilton.I talked about this with my parents today and they have said they are willing to pay for my trip to Hamilton. Initially I declined the generous offer because I don’t want to take more money from them in their retirement. Particularly as I know my ex-husband relies heavily on his parents. And at my age I should know better and be able to provide for myself. However due to the help I am now I able to commit to my compulsory week in Hamilton. The week after I begin a new job which I will have a secure and stable income.I actually feel quite sad at leaving my new home, particularly as I have gone to such exhaustive lengths to ensure it does actually feel like a home.However I have made this commitment to finish my course and I’m really looking forward to the new job opportunity when I get back. I also hope that this will lead me to reap the rewards of my hard work.Steve wants nothing to do with me or anything to do with this move or in fact any of my commitments .

Of course I suspected that Steve wouldn’t offer any help or support and of course he probably shouldn’t even have to. However, once again this has taught me a huge gift of resilience. I have managed to achieve so much in so little time. And I continue to stand, and I continue to keep fighting. This evening I sat with a cold glass of white wine on a very humid evening and marvelled at just how good the house looked. This is all my hard work. I would dearly love to have spent tonight with the children, but I simply can’t afford groceries this weekend. That said I think I really needed the time to myself to recharge. I still feel so drained, but I’m so glad I listened to my body and decided not to work. My default setting, is to keep going until I completely collapse. I have no room for this in my life any more. So it’s been absolutely fantastic to focus on unpacking for the last couple of days and then start to consider my trip to Hamilton. In the old days I would’ve pushed and pushed until there was nothing left and I became very unwell. It’s not been easy to maintain stability, but I consider my emotions and my instincts and allow myself to feel whatever is in the moment. I try not to fear Breaking down. Although there is a part of me that would’ve relish the time spent in respite to just rest and not think about anything other than myself. I wanted to show my children the importance of being able to do things alone. And being able to maintain a strong sense of stability, without necessarily having the income.

I have really enjoyed my home this evening. It definitely has a better feel about it. Yes it’s old and there’s issues around maintenance, but on the whole I feel so much at home here.

At the beginning of last year I never would’ve coped with the events of this year. But I have maintained a positive outlook. Even though times I’ve gotten so very difficult and I’ve doubted my own capabilities to carry on, I have managed to find a way through. And this is without anyone other than my parents helping me financially. It’s been a really good experience of learning who is a good friend and who doesn’t deserve to be in my life.

So I maintain that 2020 has so far been a positive year, despite a lot of things going against me.

Getting down to it

It is been quite awhile since I last wrote anything in this blog. The main reason is I didn’t really feel I have anything to contribute. My mood has been fairly stable and not a lot has been happening. Aside from the usual looking after the children and arguing with my ex-husband.

Since the start of the New Year things have changed dramatically for me. Although in a rare occurrence I haven’t ended up in respite, despite the huge amount of stress.

Not long into the new year, my landlord told me that she was going to sell the property. They put a ‘for sale sign’ out the front and the Real Estate agent was very pushy and I ended up with open homes and lots of viewings going on, which of course aggravated my PTSD. I often felt unsafe and vulnerable in my own home. Not to mention the many cars pulling up outside the house to I have a sneaky peek.

On top of this my ex-husband has started a new job and has rarely been available.  he has made a very pointed stance, and that he won’t help me at all with the move. In terms of costs or logistics. This financial burden has been really hard for me especially as I’ve been predominantly looking after the children and doing all the driving around as well as trying to make arrangements for the move. There is a huge demand for rentals in rent in Wellington. Landlords are able to charge pretty much whatever they like for places that are in sorts of states. I’d be dragging the kids around  at all times of the day to look at properties and they would be at least 20 odd people looking at the same properties with me. I was putting in application after application, as typically were the 20 other people. The situation is so bad that a lot of people are staying in motels which is considered emergency accommodation while they look for new places to live. I started to feel that I might be one of those people and the idea of staying in a horrible motel was terrifying to me. However, I got very lucky and was offered a property that is in good condition and the rent is in the whole lot more than what I’m paying right now. I was able to give my notice to leave this rental. The move happens on Wednesday. And on Wednesday I have a bond inspection which I’m really dreading because the landlord has made a big production about making sure the property is in really good condition for the new buyers. As such I have arrange carpet cleaning, window, cleaning getting things fixed and organised 

My hours at work were cut quite significantly as with the rest of the teacher aides, because of funding issues. I’ve also not been able to secure work during the holiday period, so during the summer holidays I’ve had no real income. And it’s been quite difficult to try and secure a temporary job because of having the children to look after.

So bearing all of this in mind , I have been struggling. I continue to take my medication and try to balance my mood as best I can. But it has been a very lonely process. I’ve been very surprised at the lack of support I’ve had from friends. And this has been a very important learning curve for me, as I have invested so much of my time and energy helping other people. But when the chips are down, there’s not been many people around.

My parents have been extra  supportive, both in terms of listening to me, being available to me and being able to help me financially with the move. I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without the help during this period. I also forgot to mention that I took a tumble over the Christmas period and fell on my hand that I had previously damaged. I’ve managed to avoid having a cast because it will be too limiting, but I’ve agreed to a splint which has really slowed things down and to be honest I’ve been taking it off most of the time. This means I’ve been in quite a bit of pain, but I continue to take painkillers and carry on.

I saw my GP recently to check my prescriptions were up-to-date and she commented how well I was managing, considering people that don’t even have mental health issues would be struggling at this stage.

A major influence for me has been my children, I’ve really been enjoying their company and I realise just how important they are to me and my time is to them. I’ve always maintained Steve has been a good father. I still attest to that, however the children have found his stress levels since taking the new job to be at times quite intolerable. This does concern me a lot, but I make myself available to them as much as I can so they know that I will always be there for them.

I am incredibly tired. I literally don’t stop every day. I’m trying to attend interviews, pack the house, pick up the kids, deal with various government organisations such as to do with disability payments etc.

One of the best things that has come out of this is I realise my own resilience. That’s not to say that I haven’t cried over a bottle of wine by myself of an evening. But I feel that is justified and a release. I’ve realised I’ve been able to accomplish so much by myself against the odds. And the reality is that at the end of the day the only person you can really count on is yourself.

I am back at work now with minimal hours that I work, and I still enjoy it very much . I find it extremely rewarding and I like the challenges that I face. It’s amazing that I can actually put aside all of my personal issues and focus solely on the children that I am there to careful. Of course it’s draining at the end of the day, but I wouldn’t be without it.

Study is supposed to start in a couple of weeks. I would’ve just moved into my new house, and then I need to drive to Hamilton, which is about seven hours away. However because I failed two papers last year this has put my student allowance into disrepute. So I’ve been trying my best to work with the agency responsible to ensure that I do get that a student allowance so I can continue my studies. Although I sometimes wonder how I’m going cope with the added strain, because last year it was very difficult. But I feel I have to pursue something that I’m really interested in, and something that I do actually really enjoy. It’s something for me.

So these last couple of months have been quite excruciating, but I’ve learnt to take the falls, the hits, the punches and all of the bad stuff and try to make something good comes of it.

Obviously I’m nervous that the ball may drop at any time and I will be left in a mess on the floor. But for now I have to do everything I can for the sake of my children and for the sake of myself.