A pinhead of hope

This morning I awoke with a very tiny shred of renewed hope. I had an email from my lawyer with questions answered. I was glad I’d taken an assertive initiative with my psychiatrist and requested a new medication regime. The current methods simply haven’t been working. But the appointments have been inconsistent, rare and there has been no attempt to review or change anything. I have been left to fumble along. Not that I believe that pills are my saving grace or will radically change anything, but rather something improve or I take nothing at all, then I carry on swallowing these chemicals with no benefit at all. This time I had been clear, this is what I want from a medication, this is what I don’t want. We discussed the pros and cons, the side effects against benefits. Today as I collected my prescription and began to decrease my dosage I felt that I least I was ‘doing’ something. Being pragmatic about my mental health, trying something different. Accepting the current methods weren’t working.

My husband also took my son to kindy which was a huge relief because it left me instead with just the three girls to organise, to mediate, to tidy up after. Slightly reduced stress levels. 

And finally I have ventured out and tried again with the therapy. Big gamble. But keen to keep an open mind and knowing that with the stress of the court case and with all I’m contending with and feeling at times so misunderstood and alone, I need this release. A place of safety. To be heard, acknowledged, understood, to be supported, not judged, no expectations, no misguided advice, just a trained empathetic ear, to see me, hear me and guide me through this mess.

I couldn’t find the numbers along the street so I parked and walked along in the freezing rain and cold wind. The lonely desperate trudge to find refuge, to find comfort in the words of a stranger. 

From the moment I arrived the building was old, what you might call ‘shabby’ lent to the woman to use by a local church, but not affliated with the church – she’s of Maori descent and proud of her spiritual whakapapa. She greeted me warmly. Took me to a deceptively large area with a beautifully written poem hung on a walk about being a survivor, going from the eyes of a child to an adult. I later learnt that she had written it. There was artwork, it was slightly shambolic with paperwork and toys. But I felt immediately comforted. She gave me the sense of feeling that I was in control but I had no doubt that she led the entire session. She was quick to observe body language and eye movements that I’m usually so good at not giving away. We focused primarily on my symptoms of PTSD as they are at such a peak. How my hyper vigilance and survival mode is at an all time high so that routines become obsessive and normal to me. It felt like such an enormous relief when she said things to me that I could identify with, compare to. And yet these things didn’t always strike me as being ‘unusual’ or ‘abnormal’ they are engrained in me. Part of me.

We discussed my mood swings, so intense. My need to control. My feelings of fear.

Then I suddenly felt very emotional. She told me I could live without these obsessions and routines, I told her I couldn’t believe it.

So much had tumbled out of me. And she was so kind, she understood me. She got it. 

I told her I was very tired. I didn’t know what I was doing anymore. I’d taken this to court, I’d done something about my mental health, now I have to find peace. There has to be life after this.

I’ll be seeing her weekly now. 

I anticipate the new medicine change will make things difficult at times. Talking again out loud about things so painful will be hard. 

I need to make sure my children don’t suffer from my continued failings as a mother.

I’m holding on by a thread here, reaching out. Desperate for the sweet mercy of peace and the ability to move on. To stop torturing myself, to get my power back. And to stop my poor inner 14 year old from reliving the same trauma. To stop my ex from keep beating me down.

I need courage.

Reflections on a weakened body and mind

So far the last few days have been so stressful and emotional and pulled on all of my reserves that I feel physically unwell. My body can’t control its internal temperature, I’m either sweating or freezing, I ache, I feel fuzzy, all symptoms that usually precede flu. But the fever won’t break.

I have acid reflux so bad, and I always feel unsure whether I’m going to cry, break something or fall asleep on the spot. 

My lawyer wasn’t getting back to me and I felt confused by the processes – again I was left to feel like I didn’t matter, that I had no voice, no control and no right to question anything. My nights plagued with nightmares, my days fuzzy patterns and half arsed routines. Always full of what ifs, always torturing myself, always waiting. Turns out he was on annual leave. I have a date now for oral submissions to the Judge. Further to that, I don’t know anything else. What’s the fucking point anymore? I have nothing left to give.

My daughter’s best friend’s mother and I are close but she’s embroiled in a bitter custody battle after a nasty divorce. Unfortunately I found myself accidentally dragged into after the girl stayed with us last weekend. I managed the situation as objectively as I could – my only concern being the girl. I adore that girl like she’s one of my own. But being privy to mud slinging and other peoples bitterness is not my business and I felt sad for the girl, my daughter and having to deal with an unexpected battle.

Then my older daughter bruised and hurt through school sports seemed so vulnerable to me. She’s usually my headstrong independent girl. She was so small and sad. I wanted to offer her all the support and care in the world. My energy directed towards her. Not indulging myself with my court stuff and struggle to be.

Then today my youngest daughter hurt at school, her wrist caught in a door and someone had put glue in her hair. Lots of cuddles for her. And I picked out every strand of her until the glue was free and bathed and washed her hair. No cutting involved. She was so happy. She’s often overlooked as the youngest girl. 

I feel I give so little of myself. There is so little to give. I am so twisted up in my anxieties and fears. When I give part of myself it feels so draining. I worry, is it enough? Does it make any difference? Am I better to just be in the background? Do I make things worse?

I can’t provide consistency. I have no way to replenish what’s used.

I saw my psychiatrist today for the first time in ages. I told him I needed my prescription changed. I need better anti depressants. I need more energy and motivation. I need to feel a notch above this melancholy I feel. It’s a gamble to be playing with meds now. But I can’t carry on as I am. I am lost at sea. Overwhelmed and drowning. As a new stress arises – I simply can’t cope.

My body is telling me it feels ill. It feels weak. It reflects my mind. My soul is broken.  Getting up in the morning feels so hard, moving is trudging through mud, thinking is sporadic spurts, feelings are pangs of guilt, pain, nothingness, shame, disgust, anger, despair, frustration, loneliness, desperation, fear, and a deep need to be loved, reassured, told it’s going to be all right. But would I accept or believe that anyway?

Storm

Storms have ravished and flooded the area we live. My husband left work at my continued ‘nagging’ yesterday because I knew he would be stranded in the city if he didn’t leave soon enough. There is one direct motorway to our town which became impassable by noon because of flooding. The other motorway requires a detour over a highway notorious for accidents and once thats closed, which would be the case; he would be stuck in the city. Public transport stopped running first. By lunchtime the emergency services were suggesting people in the city stay over. By 3pm people that lived in the city were offering their houses, emergency accomodation was being set up and overnight parking was being offered for free – a rarity in any city. Besides all of that chaos, driving conditions were treachorus, and my husband isn’t the most patient driver and his V6 sports car isn’t exactly made for water drenched roads.

Fortunately my children are all down the road, and my car is an AWD, better built for the conditions. Our home is on a mountain so no chance of flooding and I know that we have safety measures in place. 

However, at this point in time my PTSD symptoms are off the scale. The dark weather, the storm, the unpredictable scale of the storm, the networks going down, potential power cuts, my husband being stranded or getting killed on the way home all seemed suddenly too much to bare. I felt vulnerable. When I sent him updates from the emergency centres and land transport, I know he thought I was being paranoid or dramatic. He had ‘meetings.’ Work had to be done, conference calls made. But I was isolated. I’m a practical thinker, I prefer for things. I train the kids for emergencies, all contingencies, fire, earthquakes, illness, if they get lost. What to do, who to call, where to go. In the midst of a disaster I’m calm and cool.

But when I tell my husband, shits getting serious, you need to get back, the depth of complacency ignited my anger and showed his overall lack of understanding of my current position.

I live both in the current and in the past.

What’s usually a 30ish minute trip for him took him 3 hours. In that time communication was difficult because the networks weren’t consistent.

He arrived home tired. And I naturally went to get the kids because it was unfair to send him back out again.

The rain lashed down. Unforgiving. Unrelenting. The kids of course oblivious to the fact we were essentially cut off now. Home our only destination.

My mood felt sour. Like the weather. Stormy, menacing, angry. Unforgiving.

My husband worked from home today, most people took that option, the roads still a mess.

The rain still pouring. Still black outside.

I slept badly last night. I often woke unsure what was a dream and what was real. I felt restless and uneasy. 

This morning I felt exhausted. My body has begun to ache. Getting up feels physically hard, like I have flu. My muscles and bones feel weak, they shake, they struggle. My mind is spacey. I think things and wonder if I’ve said them out loud. Sometimes I feel like I’m watching myself.

I feel irritable. Then I feel nothing.

I feel worthless. I have no fight.

I have no emails from the UK overnight. I’m powerless. 

I’m fearful.

I feel sometimes like I’m 14 again. Terrified, confused, alone, wanting to reach out but not sure on the words I need to express myself. I don’t recognise myself.

I feel clumsy, ugly, repulsive, heavy and tired.

My husband suggested lunch today. I imagined going into a cafe and everyone staring at me. The whispers, the looks. They would know I don’t belong. They would see this clumsy circus freak ambling in.

We went to a DIY store for some mundane article. I couldn’t make it out the car. The tears eventually came. Big fat wet tears of weakness, of misery. To redden my eyes. To fill the car with an air of misery. To bring attention to my self pity and to wallow in all my ugliness. 

The rain still beat down on the car. The weather itself matching my own unrelenting misery. Causing misery and inconvenience and sheer shit for everyone around.

Then a furniture store for a table. Where I grew tired of the obnoxious sales lady. And my voice and demands were made. Brief, stated. My objective made, I got what I wanted. A brief triumphent. But who was that? Was it reminiscent of my old self? Do I exist in there? Is there a glimmer of hope?

Home again and I crawl into bed. 

I’ve tried emailing my lawyer – no reply.

The weekend now – so nothing will be done.

I am both here and past. I am but functioning on a thread of sanity so fine that I’m not even sure I’ll know when it’s worn out.

Sometimes I think my husband gets it. Other times he’s a stranger – is it me projecting? Or am I in an existing in a world so different now I can only watch from behind an obscure window.

The storm is here. But it won’t end in a matter of days for me.

My screams are stifled. My body stuck in thick mud. My mind so tired. I’m disorientated and I’m losing my will.

Case and point

My case has been referred to a Judge in another county. The complication being that the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) didn’t proceed previously. I only found out yesterday morning. It was a hurdle I hadn’t anticipated. I knew the CPS could step in at any time and drop the case, despite the private prosecution – it’s outrageous but I’m tied by the laws as they stand in the UK. But this Judge suddenly coming in before anything else happening was a surprise I hadn’t expected. That’s another set of eyes reading my story – my private intimate details. Making decisions about me, my life, the crime, the defendants guilt.

All I want is a fair trial. My voice heard. A trial carried out before a viewing of my peers. I want it fair. I want to be heard. I could live with the not guilty verdict, although it would crush me, I could hold my head high and know I spoke out loud, that I really did everything. Threw myself at the mercy of the courts. Bled before the people. Exposed my soul. Ripped open my painful, raw wounds. Perhaps that would be my starting point to heal. Where people go to church to pray and find solace and comfort, I would grieve and unburden in a court room. Purge my mind and soul of all the ugly inside of me. 

Now once again I have lost control. My voice, my mind, my wishes, my objective, my soul, like my body have been taken. I don’t matter to the system. My story is a piece of paper. It has no meaning only legalese. My suffering is a context with no emotion or depth or reality or quantitive measurement. I am not a person but a Manila folder. A sticky label. Someone’s data entry.

I am a nothing.

I was treated like a piece of meat. I wasn’t a person to him. I wasn’t a girl. I wasn’t a daughter, a sister. I wasn’t human. I was a sex toy. I was dehumanised. I was there for his pleasure, his rage, his control.

Finally, FINALLY, I have found courage to say I AM WORTH MORE THAN THAT. WORTH MORE THAN A SHODDY POLICE INVESTIGATION, WORTH TIME AND RESOURCES – PLEASE LET ME GET PART OF MYSELF BACK. LET ME BELIEVE THERE CAN BE JUSTICE. LET ME BELIEVE I CAN RISE ABOVE THAT NIGHT. THAT MY ENTIRE LIFE WONT BE RULED BY BEING RAPED BY AN ANGRY MAN WHO DIDNT SEE ME.

And what happens? I chase my lawyer to get informed my case is referred to someone random in a random place for a random amount of time.

I am back to square one.

The things he said and did have been viewed time over, discussed. Analysed. I have no privacy. No confidentiality. No faith and no trust.

I am a Manila folder, passed around. Touched, damaged in parts, faded, old, worn, left and forgotten. Not fought for. Barely bothered with. A Manila folder that’s story is uninteresting, doesn’t matter, too much effort. Simply, a piece of trash to be scribbled over.

To write off Mother’s Day or not

Mothers Day. Another commercialised sensationalised ploy by Hallmark and Interflora and soap companies alike to bring on the punters to throw their cash at the products to proclaim their love and devotion for Mothers that they probably don’t care too much for, see too often, or respect most other times of the year. It’s like Valentines Day, make it count all year – or don’t bother. One day just ain’t going to cut it.

I don’t send anything to my mother, Mother’s Day, birthday, Xmas, she doesn’t do the same for me either. Our relationship is severed. So we at least we can agree on one thing, insincere tokens are pointless.

My husband doesn’t send his mother a Mother’s Day card – she’s a bitch to be honest, so why bother with a faux gesture?

It’s like a Christmas card list. I actually send cards to my bin men, my neighbours, the guy that valets my car and the local Indian takeaway, the most random people. Because they do me a service. I’m grateful, I want to acknowledge them and I want them to have a good holiday regardless of religious beliefs. But I’ll be damned if I can be arsed writing cards to people that I couldn’t give two cents about any other time of the year.

Anyway, this year my kids came into the bedroom, marched in by their father holding some bits he’d bought in the city during his working week. I graciously thanked them and hugged them. That day they tidied their rooms and put their stuff in the dishwasher. That day – why not every day?

My daughter’s best friend was staying over. I like her immensely. She’s smart, witty, independent. Better than her other friends who smile shyly at me then swear like a sailor when they think I can’t hear. 

We went out for the obligatory Mother’s Day lunch. My son was over tired so tended to the noisy side. My older daughter moaned in boredom, moaned about the expensive Italian food, and acted like a brat (for her friend’s sake I think), her friend was well behaved and polite. My youngest daughter refused to eat her risotto because it wasn’t as Daddy described and I just necked the red wine. 

After lunch, I took my middle daughter and my older daughter’s friend into a favourite shop of mine. Trade Aid. It’s where goods are made from poor countries and the profits go straight back. There’s some beautifully made things in there. I told the friend she should pick some things out for her mother. As she hadn’t realised it was Mother’s Day and we were taking her straight home.

And that’s where the magic began. Firstly the girl was incredibly humble. She spent ages admiring the handiwork. The crafted items. Thinking about what her mother would really like. We looked at different hand made jewellery boxes, hand made chess sets. She admired every piece. She picked out a woollen made heart as well as a box with roses carved into it and then a pretty hand made card. Thought, love and appreciation went into it.

When we got her to her home I saw her mother for the first time in ages. It was then I learnt her mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. But having already lost friends because they couldn’t handle it, she’d grown fearful about telling more people.

She felt like a social pyriar. It had been hard on her. She took the gifts from her daughter tearfully.

And there was the most beautiful part of the day, a bond between mother and daughter. An opportunity for the daughter to show her mother her love and regard for her in a way that might not have presented if it weren’t for the commercial thrust of the predetermined day.

The girl ended up staying another night, I offered so that she could have more rest. I’m driving her home soon so that I can spend more time with her mum and reassure her she’s not alone.

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing?

Truths.

I’m taking legal action. That’s what the ambiguous blogs have been about. The last few months have been discussions and information sharing between myself and my lawyer in the UK. If the state couldn’t help me, I will have to do it myself. There are complications and parameters that can’t be avoided, the state can STILL wade in. I can go into further details at a later point. 

The time difference means I spend my nights emailing, waiting on emails, calling, reliving details. My day time pretending that everything is normal. 

If I’d had a car accident and was taking legal action I could tell people. I’m traumatised reliving the accident. I’m tired from the time difference, I’m understanding the legal standpoint. I’m getting body memories from the accident. People might grimace and be grateful that at most they’d experienced a fender bender but they’d sympathise. They’d get my tiredness. My jumpiness. They’d understand why privacy and paranoia were a huge part of my life now. 

People would rather hear I was thrown through a windscreen and mangled on a roadside, then thrown down on a bed and raped. That my injuries were glass cuts and broken bones, not intimate and psychological. That at night I relive losing control of a car and feeling my body being flung through glass than being pinned down, and penetrated so forcefully I thought someone was sticking a knife into me. That I remained undiscovered by the road for some time, not that people knew I was being raped and did nothing about it.

So it’s a lonely time for me. The body memories are so intense. I got my period, and I couldn’t use tampons. I tried and cried in pain. When I finally used the smallest one I could find, I had these terrible spasms and I thought I would never get it out. I’m a mother of four. I’m a mother of four and tampons are something I struggle with to this day. No one wants to hear that. 

I’m scared a lot of the time. I don’t know what of. The past, the present, not getting peace.

My body doesn’t feel like mine. My stomach cramps all the time in anxiety, my breathing is a struggle even as I write this. 

I have to live two lives. The one that deals with the past and the one that does the school run, that acts normal.

But the truth is, without this decision, without pursuing this, I would never be at peace. 

I was hurt so badly. Nothing will repair that. 

Nothing will stop the nightmares, the body memories, the pain, the damage.

The car is written off.

But I want my chance my justice. I want my child’s voice to be heard. That scream that no one heard as the body went through the windscreen, it needs to be acknowledged now.

I deserve that much. 

Anger and the internal battle

Sometimes I get so god damn angry. This rage builds so internally like a volcano, my body holds onto the tense emotion, the fury, the anguish, the fear and sense of self pity, self loathing. All balled together. A fire deep within me. How it’s expressed can vary, but today it manifested into a painful debilitating migraine. Different from the others. Different in that I could feel the seething rotten anger behind my eyes, but the migraine was almost a protection from stopping me from doing anything about it.

I slept it off. But when I awoke the irritation remained. My frustrations, my deep rooted anger, unleashed, unforgiving, misdirected anger. But my body is tired. My mind flashes hot, but I’m drained.

Is this mental illness or the stress? Or both? I don’t want anybody around me. No one can comfort or cool me down. Over the last few days I’ve noticed I’ve started grinding my jaw. That’s a new thing. My husband does this thing where he acts all surprised, as though I have absolutely no reason in the world to be angry. As though any change in emotion comes as a complete shock. It makes me feel more frustrated. Why can’t I be fucking stressed and angry? Must I be at a plateau all the time?

My sleep is shot to pieces. I’m relying more on sleeping tablets – dangerous game. I’m so fucking tired but my brain is too stressed and the nightmares are relentless. 

Periods of feeling numb and disassociated are happening more frequently and they’re welcomed albeit unnerving. I can go hours without clicking a single minute of what I’m doing. It’s all fine until I have to pull on a conversation I had, remember an appointment or lose time.

In my head I can imagine smashing things, hitting people (in a fight – not random), I imagine screaming and shouting until my voice is almost gone. I want to throw things across the room, punch a wall until my knuckles are bloody and broken. But my body is a dead weight. The fury is in my mind. I’m scared to release what’s inside. It’s why my tears are short bursts. It’s why I disassociate, why I’d rather take a blade to my own skin. And why my head hurts. Why my body memories come back so painfully.

The only knack I have is for taking out my irritation and pushing people away. 

Everything else I do is internalised.

Everything ounce of pain and anger is in me. The people around me get the mere tip of the iceberg.