always alone

I’m fed up. This week has been shit. The kids have been hard work. Every morning we’ve run late because of the same arguments and the same lost clothes/lunchboxes/shoes etc. I had that lousy psychiatrist appointment which knocked the wind out of my sails. I’ve got stuff going on in England which I can’t write about yet in my blog. But it’s causing me great stress. I’m still in February so I’m still feeling the pinch of the anniversary.

My husband keeps on heaping on the pressure about university, are you excited? Blah blah. Excited? I can hardly get out of fucking bed in the morning- what makes you think I have energy to be excited?

I’m getting migraines a lot.

Oh, on the plus side I finally went to the GP about my hands. It’s a skin infection and I’m on antibiotics. She was a bit surprised I hadn’t gone sooner as it was so bad. Ah well.

So, I don’t sleep well, I have bad nightmares. I wake up tired, I deal with a gaggle of moody kids, I manage to get them to school. I do what I can to function, to be normal. Even though I’m caught up with anxiety and panic. And then I’m exhausted by the afternoon.

I have no strength, no focus and I’m emotional.

So I fear failure going back to university. My mind is so slow, so garbled. I worry about being in a large building with lots of people. I worry about the added stress. So no, I’m not fucking excited I’m terrified.

And yes, I am moody. Because I’m fighting this battle here. I have these inner demons. I’m scared and reliving things that no one else can imagine. I’m alone. I’m tired, I’m fed up. I can’t just mentally put things to one side. I’m living this all the time and it’s exhausting. 

Just because I’m not smashing the furniture up and screaming like a banshee on the roof doesn’t mean I’m not imagining doing it. Doesn’t mean I’m not close to doing it. 

I am reminded often that I’m alone on this journey. I’m reminded often that no one really gets me at all.

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Disappointing psychiatrist appointment 

My husband called the mental health team to have my appointment brought forward from March 25 as we had arranged to see the psychiatrist within two weeks of the last appointment  which had been a successful visit. They slotted me in for this afternoon which was much quicker.

The premises had changed again while they’re in limbo. This time I went to a high rise building and the office was a usually unused white washed place. The reception was a tiny square and one blue sofa sat miles away at the other side of this huge room. In the Drs office it was completely plain white aside from his desk and an uncomfortable blue chair. It was literally like a dream sequence! 

The psychiatrist previously had been well prepared. He’d read my file, knew my medication and history and impressed me by not patronising me. Just discussing the plan forward. This time was very different. He began to talk to me. At me. He talked about emotions, stressors, medications. He talked as though I’d never heard it before. Then he paused to ask if I was on medication. I was a bit taken aback. So once we’d cleared that up he went on. And on. In fact for 30 minutes he talked about, well, medications and getting rest I suppose. My objective had been to discuss the consideration of a change to my anti depressant to something with more of an anxiety managing property. Also I wanted to manage the nightmares and sleep. But he dismissed my request until a later date.

In all as I left the White wash room to the dodgy lift, I felt it had been a wasted trip. I was a little disheartened because last time he seemed to have so much promise.

Maybe he was just having an off day?

My husband has arranged for me to see an EMDR specialist next week. Although I didn’t find it useful in the UK, I hope it might be more beneficial here.

Overall I’m feeling pretty run down and tired. 

I go from the psychiatrist’s office to pick up my son from kindy and chat to his teachers seemingly without a care in the world. I am living in an altered universe. I cry alone, I panic alone, but I smile to the world. As long as I don’t get them mixed up – I’m doing fine.

Struggling

I feel in a sense of limbo. I had told the psychiatrist that I wasn’t sure if my mood would be affected by the anniversary so it would be best to meet within a couple of weeks again to review my situation objectively. Because I take managing my mood disorder seriously. Low and behold I get an appointment card through the post – redirected, they STILL haven’t updated my change of address details at the end of March. I suppose I should be grateful I received anything at all.

I feel my mood had slumped overall. Physically I don’t feel myself. The skin on my hands is torn open and poses a constant risk to infection, no amount of creams has helped and I realise a dr visit is due but I just can’t find it in me to see her. I know my cholesterol requires medication it’s pinged up twice in blood tests as dangerously high and my husband pokes at my moles frowning convinced they’re growing into a small village. For the grand finale my period has arrived in style this month. Painfully heavier than it has been for a long time. Sometimes I find my menstrual cycle can be quite triggering.

A few nights ago I had this terrible nightmare where I thought I had awoken quite sleepy and my own husband forced himself on me. Then I awoke for real a bit confused and upset.

Yesterday evening we had guests over for dinner. The whole day leading up I was a terrible anxiety driven bag of nerves. People in my home? Where would I hide? I couldn’t disappear if it got too much? I had to rely on diazapam to keep me calm. I worried how I could keep my happy, hosting face on, when i all wanted to do was crawl into bed.

The female guest last night asked after my mental health, how I was doing. We spoke very matter of a fact. She’s expressed her discomfort before at talking about anything to do with my mental health or my past. So I’m impressed that she at least tried. We talked like we were discussing discount deals at the supermarket. She commented I should go on a walk with her. I smiled. Chat over. Our husbands were outside drinking beer. In my head I felt like saying, a walk? Some days I can barely get out of bed. My husband had to take my own kids to school. You know I dreamt he raped me the other night? I think I’m losing it. I’m stuck in a perpetual nightmare at the moment. I’m holding on as best I can. I take my pills, I TRY to see a psychiatrist. The only reason I’m not breaking down and crying to you is because I know you don’t want to hear it. It’s ugly and it’s inconvenient. So let’s drink our drinks and pretend everything is normal. I’m used to it, I have my four children. I’m used to swallowing it all down.

The evening, don’t get me wrong, was lovely. But I was thoroughly exhausted. Today I slept most of the day.

I realise I’m still in this shitty month. And I’m apprehensive about starting uni in a couple of weeks. Medication does blur the mind somewhat and make it harder to think. But then so do mood swings so I can’t win either way. Also commuting into the city and being around groups of people. Talk about out of the frying pan into the fire. It’s definitely going to be a sink or swim outcome.

But the fact remains im miserable. Lost in old memories, bad sleep, feeling vulnerable. I desperately don’t want my mood to dip any further. I feel I’m dangerously on the edge and its place I can’t visit again.

Bad night

Last night was a bad night. I felt physically ill, yet I knew the symptoms were from the thoughts in my mind that had plagued me all day. Body memories, heightened anxiety and stress. A feeling of being unsafe. My stomach felt twisted in knots. I could hear every sound like a wolf. My body felt bruised as it relived old traumas. By the time I crawled into bed – a significantly early night for me, I was shivering, both in fear and pain. I like to sleep with windows open and my fan on no matter the season. But last night I was just too cold, too sore, curled tight in a ball. I had to ask my husband to close everything. I didn’t want to move. Usually if I get cold I snuggle into his deeply sleeping body for warmth. But I didn’t want to go anywhere near him.

I would drift off in sheer exhaustion but then jump awake in fear. Not sure where I was. I couldn’t identify the man sleeping next to me. I felt alone. Vulnerable. And the pain kept coming. At one point my husband got up to go to the loo, I hoped he wasn’t naked as I peered over the covers. And in his absence I began to wonder what was he doing in there? Would he come back to bed and try to fuck me? Should I pretend to be asleep or let him know I’m awake? What’s better for me? Why was I so scared of my husband? He’s just a big goofy teddy bear. But last night it all felt unknown.

Finally as I watched the sunrise my husband’s alarm went off and I was immediately thrown into a flashback with my ex’s hands around my throat.

I didn’t tell my husband. As he showered and got ready I went off to get the kids up and ready, putting on a facade that everything was normal. That I was ok.

A brief text exchange between my husband and I made it clear that there was a disconnect so he asked me what was wrong. I took the easy option and text him about my night. Still feeling quite shut down.

I decided to leave the house as being alone with my thoughts probably wasn’t healthy. I headed to the mall, but drifted. My mind wasn’t really there. Then i went for a mani/pedi and the girl chatted brightly and enthusiastically about things. Nothing took. I was drained. I felt like I would drain her too.

I’ve achieved nothing today. I’m not sure what last night was about but I hope there isn’t a repeat. My body is feeling less like mine. I hurt.

Time is up!

My husband has chauffeured the kids around, he’s been cautious about my needs, knowing when to ‘play it down’ when his presence is required. He is respectfully subtle. Juggling work and the kids needs.

He looks tired.

Most notably his patience is thinning. He shouts easier now. He gets fed up. He’s clearly chomping at the bit to get into work and do a full day tomorrow.

The checking in with me has stopped. The watchful eye. It’s a conscious thing. A disconnection. The trauma that is shared privately between us, the pain he observes within me has passed. We have become individuals again. And as the slight changes come from him, I too make my changes. My anxieties I will bury. My fears. My lingering memories, they become mine again. I will swallow back tears and smile and when I’m caught in a moment of disassociation I will flippantly say I was thinking about something else.

Because as a survivor that’s what I must do. My husband has this window where the past is acknowledged. But then it must go. He saw the ongoing so called ‘healing process’ and I was supposed to be ‘fixed.’ Now I have these condensed periods.

For him, I did hold it together well. He barely saw me cry. I didn’t harm myself. I managed to crawl out of bed. The nightmares didn’t render me a screaming mess. I functioned.

Inside my heart was breaking. Inside I wanted to cut my flesh, I wanted to scrub my skin with bleach, constantly make myself vomit all this disgusting vile evil away. At night my nightmares made me wake disorientated, I didn’t know where I was half the time. I wanted to get in my car and drive away and be alone, but I was scared I might mentally breakdown. Things on television that seemed so innocent triggered me. Memories were like bubbles floating in my brain and then popping randomly. Violent, police statements, clinic, eyes, voices, clothes, places. Each burst causing a horrible painful gut wrenching image. Nowhere to hide from it, nowhere to stop it. But always able to carry on.

So now my time is up. My husband is tired of the routine, he needs to get back to his routine and rightfully so, why should he suffer?

I have had my time. It’s time to dust myself off, swallow my pills and carry on.

The anniversary is over. I should be over it.

Let’s talk about…..NOT SEX!

It’s coming up to Valentines Day, that god awful movie about the misogynistic sexual aggressor and the subservient submissive inexperienced girl has just come out (that’s 50 Shades of making sexual abuse mainstream Grey) to you and I.

It seems sex is everywhere.

And maybe everyone is happily romping away – sex aids optional.

For most people they have always had a normal healthy sex life. They probably get the physical pay off of an orgasm. Afterwards they might get on with their day, go back to their assigned seat, go to sleep, drive away, whatever. Life resumes. Flushed faces and satisfied bodies.

I wonder what that’s like.

For me, that’s a movie.

You know how in movies the first time is usually portrayed as a fumbling, awkward but romantic moment between two people that love and care for each other? They might not stay together but they go on to experience sexual relationships with others. Not always mind blowing, but all experiences of choice, mostly desire?

I can only watch that on screens or hear from others. Sometimes. Depending on my capacity to hear. Otherwise the nature might trigger me.

I can’t imagine how it FEELS.

My experiences of sex have been rape by a stranger and ongoing rape and abuse at the hands of an abusive ex. He loved to have the power over me, to tell me he wasn’t like the person that raped me, as me pinned me on the bed and f-cked me while I cried in pain. Who told me off for scrubbing my body. How dare I infer he was dirty? When he was too drunk or too exhausted he would use ‘things’ to shove inside me.

When I finally fell asleep next to him I was awoken often with his hands around my throat. He’d apologise of course. Or I’d wake up with him f-cking me. If I said no, I often had infections from the bruising, he would carry on regardless. Because he wasn’t a rapist he would say, he was my boyfriend. Sometimes I would have to kiss him over and over until he was sufficiently satisfied that I was ‘into it’ and not faking it.

From there sex in a relationship was an endurance. If I met a guy and he wanted it, I felt like a prostitute. Like it was my duty. Better to put out than be forced. Lie back and think of England right?

When I went travelling I didn’t date so it wasn’t an issue.

I didn’t experience desire. I can fancy men and sometimes women but I never feel that deep rooted sexual attraction.

I met my husband 15 or so years ago in the US. We were both travelling. We ended up back in NZ but we both took things slowly.

As it happened we’re both incredibly fertile people! So we’ve been busy having our four children. Children and length of marriage means that bed really is for sleep! There are no expectations.

This time of year is particularly painful. Even touching is hard. I can go through periods any time of the year when the slightest touch can make me want to curl away. The worst is when I don’t like my children touching me.

That is never the impression I would want outside of my private world because who wants to hear about the awkward, frigid wife? I have nightmares about the male anatomy. Sometimes I can cry during sex or get triggered. I feel sore for days after sex. Even after four children, sometimes it’s physically impossible for me to even have sex. I can’t orgasm during sex. I disassociate most of the time. I hate my body. I hate myself ‘down there’ so I don’t like anyone seeing it. And there’s certain acts I won’t allow because they have been ruined for me.

I’m damaged goods.

Psychiatrist and a more eventful day

Before my appointment to see my new psychiatrist (which I was dreading) my husband dutifully drove me into the city to sort out paperwork for my university course. It’s turned sunny and warm again. My car has been booked into the panel beaters because a guy at the service station bashed it by accident when he was attaching a trailer. So it works out that my husband is there. It all falls into place. There’s no need to voice the fact that really he’s babysitting me. That he needs to check work emails every five minutes. That’s he’s rescheduling conference calls. He thinks I can’t see he’s stressed. I can. He thinks I can’t hear his phone buzzing – I can. When he tells me there’s no worry, I can see there is. We know we’re using my car being in now as an opportunity for him to drive me into the city because of my anxiety. We’ve been together for years, we can spend a whole day not really looking at each other. But I can tell that when his eyes are on me he’s checking. I’m both frustrated and comforted by that. I’m an independent woman I don’t need looking after. But the truth is, I do feel weak. And I’m not sure that I’d be getting through this alone.

The university is quiet. The paperwork doesn’t take long, as the majority id completed online.

We head back to the car and he suggests lunch in a smaller town closer to home. It also has one of my favourite stores ‘Trade Aid’ which is items made from developing countries and sold here in New Zealand with the profits going back. There are some beautiful items, trinkets, housewares, jewellery, etc. usually I spend ages browsing, enjoying the mix of vibrant colours and cultural pieces. But my heart isn’t there. The shop is getting busy. The woman behind the counter sings and chatters which I would usually love, but the noise is too much. The chatter of customers, the space is closing in. My husband is asking for things that are running out of stock so things are being ordered from their other stores, I can’t concentrate. I see the three monkeys, HEAR NO EVIL, SEE NO EVIL, SPEAK NO EVIL. I become transfixed. Doesn’t that just epitomise the people in my life?

After paying for our goods, we load the car and wander down the high street for lunch. My husband wants to sit outside naturally in the sun and watch the world go by. But it’s getting busier. I fear people are staring at me. Laughing at me. I feel inadequate. I opt for a sushi restaurant. Darker, removed, inconspicuous.

I was ready for home after that. Keen to rest. I asked my husband for some tea and it transpired we had run out of milk. I proceeded to scream angrily at him. How could he not have checked? Must I do everything in the house? How could he be so inconsiderate?? At the time I felt so justly angry. So fed up. Of course he shouted back. Which upset me further.

I have no idea if it’s the stress, the tiredness, the need for tea! I was out of line I think. I don’t really know anymore.

I did nap. Deeply. Until we went to the psychiatrist.

He greeted us asking if a student could be present to which I declined. I’m not a fucking lab rat.

Turns out the Dr was really nice. Probably one of the nicest psychiatrist’s I have ever met – and I’ve met a few! He wasn’t patronising,he wasn’t arrogant, he was smart, friendly warm and compassionate. I took to him very quickly. What a relief!

I’m home again, feeling quite drained. My husband commented that I’ve done exceptionally well this year. Thoughts pop into my head, but there is an underlying determination not to be held down this year.

And of course, I have my husband conveniently working from home! Let’s just hope when he picks up the kids he remembers the milk!