Fail

Yesterday was a spectacular fail on my part and the culmination of stress, anxiety, non communication – reached boiling point because I was stupid enough to add alcohol to the mix.

I’m not really a drinker. I enjoy the odd glass of wine but because I get migraines, and I’m over my party days, I’m happy with a coffee or a nice tea (that will be the British in me). I’m also addicted to coke zero!

So, Sunday came along and I slept a fair bit during the day. Some nightmares crept through the night prior. And if I’m honest, I’m avoiding the arguments and tension.

The evening came along and as I’d sorted through the office cupboard I found some lovely canvas pictures of the kids. I hung them around the house. One overlapped a light switch in the girls room. Marginal but I felt it more an aesthetic issue which could be sorted another time. 

Unfortunately Egg hit the switch and the picture fell right onto her mouth. Splitting her gum and knocking a baby tooth. There was a fair bit of blood and she was in agony. My husband was naturally furious (about the picture) and overly concerned and I knew it was totally my fault for the picture. 

Used to dealing with all manner of child incidents, I coaxed her to take some pamol for the pain and keep a wrapped ice pack over her lip to minimise swelling. 

But I felt like a total shit. And it was another epic failure of mine for my husband to chalk up.

Really I should have settled her and then gone to bed. Instead I angrily took all the pictures down and plonked them in the wheelie bin. Then grabbed a bottle of wine and headed out to the spa pool.

It didn’t take long to feel the effects of the drink with the heat of the spa, the tiredness, etc. and when the bottle was empty I turned to gin and tonic.

In a rational moment I realised it was wrong to argue with my husband over this as I was leaving soon and invited him into the spa. He joined me, and amidst talking I made a move on him. We haven’t had sex for so long. I guess I wanted to see if there was any chemistry left. I wanted to be touched and I wanted to feel wanted. More than a frumpy housewife, a woman. 

He rejected me immediately.

I wasn’t surprised by this. There is so little affection already and considering how things have been between us, it was unlikely I would ever arouse him again.

So I drank more and the verbal defenses came up. Then I talked about my flashbacks and nightmares and I knew his responses to me were obligatory. They were without tenderness or concern and I felt stupid for trying to confide in him. He doesn’t care anymore.

I had a shower and in a moment of weakness and shame and self disgust as well as the alcohol making my horrible images clearer and it harder to cope, I resorted to the only release I knew. I broke my husband’s shaver and used a blade across my arm. Not to render myself a bleeding mess. But a punishment, a way to process the shame. Just small lines to give release. The relief was short lived. I felt stupid, like I’d backtracked so far. I felt ashamed and I felt afraid that to drink so much would reduce me to this.

In bed I lay with regret and my heart beat fast and almost painfully against my ribs. My husband slept beside me. I felt the increasing loneliness and isolation suffocating me. 

I decided to walk the dog.

In smashing up the razor I’d cut my fingers and hadn’t realised. There was drips of blood over my hands and everything I touched.

The dog and I walked in the silence of the early hours. With only my iPhone for light. The madness of it all.

Fortunately friends of ours live locally so I called them and crashed at their house. My dog curled up in bed next to me.

This morning my head was painful, my fingers have slits like paper cuts. I feel appalled and disgusted with myself. 

My friend dropped me home early this morning and my husband and I passed each other. Not much was said. 

I had to drive the kids to school. Feeling unwashed and sick.

Today I have mostly slept. 

I’ve reached my total limit. 

I don’t belong here. I will get ill being in this environment. It’s not my family – it’s me. 

I’m failing all of them and myself.

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Leaving

So today we celebrated Egg’s birthday. It was a great success. And my husband and I didn’t argue all day.

There was plenty of mess and chaos (and me with my trusty rubbish bags!). And in all, a nice way to spend the last weekend with my family.

  
  
I even got lots of cuddle time with my son

  
But my bag remained pack. And whilst I will miss the children terribly, I must go on to fulfil my opportunity to work in Cambodia, in the most poorest, rural areas. 

Although I enjoyed the day, the atmosphere is still tense. I still feel misplaced and something’s just require too much energy and commitment – which clearly my husband and I can’t give each other at the moment. Sure, we could band aid it, but the damage is deep and I’m still feeling extremely alone, hurt and confused. My legal case will still go on, his issues remain his priority and I am still drowning. Still unsure of who I am anymore. Unable to connect, and feel trapped by expectations and denying my need to grow, to experience my own journey of healing and grief.

Life is out of balance – uncomfortably so. And though it would be easy to stick my head in the sand – I can’t bear many more nights of feeling so empty and waking with the immense dread of the forthcoming day.

I’m not naive enough to think that the demons won’t follow me. That my dreams will become peaceful and that I will have a life changing epiphany while away. I know the struggles will follow, and the pain will at times be all encompassing. I know I’ll have moments where I wonder – what the hell am I doing here? That emails will drop into my mailbox from my legal team – both triggering and painful reminders of what I have endured and continue to endure.

Symptoms of PTSD will accompany me on the plane and to my destination. They will try to stop me, second guess myself/people/environment. But the difference is, I need to find acceptance of who I am. I need to find peace and enjoyment in the simple things. I need to connect with different people, test myself, and not feel the weight of the unhappy person beside me. I need to make my own judgement calls and form thoughts and feelings without trying to suppress myself for fear of upsetting the children or causing arguments at home.

I have booked my flights. I need to embrace a different chapter in my life. I want to find peace and a renewed sense of purpose and hope.

Simply I need time. More than a few days to refresh. I need time to rediscover the person I am, the passions I once knew. 

I need to be able to stop living because of my children – I need to find a way to live because I want to live for myself and not out of obligation.

  
So, next week my travels begin. I’m both excited but terrified.

Admin

My son accompanied me as I collected my much anticipated passport from the post office today. Then straight to immigration in the city – which of course didn’t go smoothly. My husband had to get involved and the saga went on for ages. Eventually my son and I took a brief lunch break after I had to get some more hideous passport photos taken 

  
Poor little guy was so patient! But we ended up getting my visa stamped and then onwards to the mall to pick up bits for my trip. 

It was all very autopilot, I guess being with my boy makes it harder to imagine being apart from him.

Finally, once I’d pushed my son’s patience and felt comfortable that I’d got everything needed, I started to pack

  
This evening my husband and I talked more than we have done in months. Admittedly the conversation seemed to sway more towards what he was going to miss out on with me being gone, boat trips, overseas opportunities, get togethers. But i must remind myself that this trip is something I need to do. To take pressure off of us, explore a country I’ve been desperate to see and help with an aid organisation.

I also talked to my daughters this evening about my intended plans. They were a bit upset, but thought the cause was good and were happy that we could Skype regularly.

I suppose the reality won’t sink in until my flights are booked – which I’ll be doing over the weekend. I’ve been so focussed on getting organised and researching and the awkwardness at home I’ve not let emotion seep into my thoughts.

Since getting the Depo shot though, I have been experiencing painful cramps. Getting worse by day and especially in the evening. I hope desperately that this settles. Removing periods was my way of removing possible triggers while I was away. Cramping that moves down deep into my lower abdomen will only serve to aggravate my triggers.

Tomorrow is my youngest daughter’s birthday. This daughter is still very ‘girly’ likes her pink and is extremely excitable and loud. She’s the daughter I can find most grating at times. The only time she’s silent is when she’s asleep! So I anticipate a long, action packed, messy, chaotic weekend. Yes, I’m the one at Xmas and birthdays that runs around with black bags to gather the mess and try to keep order. 

Finally getting to Cambodia still seems like a dream. And the guilt of leaving my children is growing. That said, I feel the challenge and need to spend time finding myself over again will be paramount to my finding strength and courage.

I’ve heard nothing from my legal team in the UK, so I assume I won’t until November.

Life feels uncertain, unknown. I can’t know for sure what the right path is. And if this gamble will pay off. But I’m not prepared to lay down and die just yet, so I have to make this push out of my comfort zone and connect with the older me. That felt confident, that took life by the balls.

Seed

Looks like my passport has arrived. I have been like a dog jumping at the door whenever I hear a van. I knew it would be any day now. 

This afternoon I took my eldest daughter, my boy and me out for haircuts. In that time the courier arrived. I have a ‘come to collect’ waiting for me. So tomorrow I will duly collect my passport, head to immigration in the city for a stamp and will at that stage be free to leave when I choose.

Some power back.

No more limbo.

To date, my husband and I have avoided each other. Sick of arguments and knowing that we are only existing around each other. Communication is the odd question or text, usually relating to the kids.

How did it get so bad so quickly? I can’t pinpoint the exact moment. Just the awareness that things were cracking. Then the panic, no one likes the status quo to change. The fear of being alone, of being rejected and unloved. The attempts to band aid the situation. Barely lasting a day. My desperation to see the caring supportive man I devoted most of my life too. And no doubt he too has been trying to remember why he fell in love with me in the first place. 

Then the honesty, it’s been like this for far too long. Is it actually fixable? Is it worth it?

Considering I’ve been so alone the last few months and my husband has been aware of my pain, aware of my fight, but chosen to turn a blind eye is testament to the degeneration of our relationship. The change in the way he makes me feel. The look of disdain, freezing me out. It’s been a hard pill to swallow. 

But I can’t ignore this sadness in my soul, even just for the children’s sake. I feel like crap, I feel so empty. 

I’m sat in the bedroom now while he plays computer games. He has no interest in me. I have sought him out time over to encourage dialogue but end up feeling like a neglected puppy trying to get his masters attention. That’s not me. Our relationship should be equal. It always used to be.

Everything has changed. Can I give a time and date of when that happened? No. Could I have predicted such turn in events? Actually yes. When you pretend that everything is all right for so long, you are lying to your heart and soul. And this emptiness grows inside like a seed. Stressors come and go, but the damage is done. The seed grows a bit more. Eventually you are forced to face the truth. You can either hide from it or embrace it. I’ve always preferred to hide. I’m a coward. But now I can’t handle living like this. The gnawing away at each other, the second guessing. 

I have to find myself again. I have to experience my passion – for doing something I enjoy and for life in general.

I have to learn to love myself again. Over time I became dependant on my husband. He was my guardian, my rock, everything safe. Familiar, warm and loyal.

Recently he’s made me feel inadequate, unattractive, unworthy, lonely, weak and desperate.

I need to breathe. And I need to relinquish this seed.

I need to remember who I am. I need to be ready for my trial, because my husband won’t be holding my hand anymore. He won’t be comforting me in the night. He won’t be my person.

I’m so sad. Devastated that it’s come to this. But determined to be true to myself.

A small victory

I went to the family planning clinic today. I wanted the Depo injection. I’ve had before between births and aside from one time it’s always been good at holding back periods. My menstrual cycle can be a huge trigger for me. Despite having four children, the blood and the available sanitary options provoke nightmares. The pain and loss of control can make nightmares worse. 

My gynaecologist care is done separate to my GP. I like it that way. I can rely on nurses and discretion. Which is a huge contrast and surprising since after my rape case it was a family planning clinic that lost my notes and has been slow to respond both to the police and my lawyer for my subsequent treatment – following the rape.

But there is some comfort in its ethos, the lack of judgement and its usual especially nowadays awareness of my plight.

I had been called by the kindy prior to my appointment that my son had blisters around his mouth – they suspected hand and mouth disease. I was doubtful. They tend to dramatise on the slightest symptoms – but I dutifully picked up my full of beans boy and I took him with me.

I knew that if I didnt make this appointment – I never would. Fear and the unknown would envelope me. Form bubbles of panic in my gullet, squeeze oxygen from my lungs. A place to avoid. A place that might represent memories. The child in me, not seeing a clinic in NZ but a clinic in the UK, being talked at. A world unknown to me. Diseases unheard of. Pain encompassing my entire body. Fear so great it freezes me. Tears wanting to form, the world help I learned to choke on, and still do.

But I went with my boy. He sat on my lap while I answered standard, innocuous questions. I breathed in his hair, kissed his soft scalp. He help keep me present. 

The injection itself painless. The conveyor belt shifted, we left as others walked in. I consciously ignored the waiting room. Terrified to see the heartbroken, desperate, confused, lonely girl waiting there. 

So this evening I celebrate my ability to a, prevent an ongoing traumatic event for me – for not especially while I’m overseas. And the ability to forge forward. Without support, just my boy sat on my lap. Calm and watching.

A close call between past and present. 

This evening I sat in the spa pool for hours. My husband had taken my son to the GP appointment confirmation of his virus, of which I received some shitty texts because my son had poo in his nappy. In both our sleep I’d missed it.

Other than that we haven’t spoken. There is no need. Why would there be? So he can ridicule what I say? Point out my failings? Now we’re on territory that points to me being a bad mother.

I’m over it.

I sat In the spa for ages. Enjoying the warmth. The jets massaging my back. A cold glass of NZ Marlborough Savignon Blanc.

What made me think this was fixable? 

I have faced a fear, I have managed myself. I no longer expect support, I no longer expect any acknowledgement.

My journey is mine alone. There are no comforting arms, no familiarity anymore.

I am alone. And I must deal. 

Gloomy

My husband called on his parents to help during his own situation. His father and him have formed a somewhat better relationship over the years. His mother, well, technically I’d call them estranged. But that’s not really my business. If he can get support he needs in whatever form necessary than I’m pleased he has that at his disposal. God knows my family would barely fill a bucket of water to put me out if I were on fire. They’d probably think burning would be a valuable lesson for me, and besides, I must have asked to be burnt right?

My only request was that my case not be discussed. I know, selfish of me to be thinking about my needs during his saga, but that’s the kind of self absorbed bitch I am.

He got home later last night as he’d been meeting with them to discuss things. Frankly I’d struggled to keep my eyes open as it was.

Once home, it seemed really pointless to initiate conversation. No doubt it would spiral into an argument. I’d say something wrong, something stupid. 

Luckily his parents have superior intellect, and were able to offer advice and insight that someone like me never could. 

He seemed calmer and perhaps on the way to reconciliation with his family. 

Certainly once they get wind of our troubles and my leaving, he will never face a day without their full monetary support again. 

So I went to bed. So tired to the core. Happy for him that life is becoming more calm. He might overcome his hurdles with minor damage.

At some point, I was half awake. Aware that I was at home but watching dream like at the waist down of a man. The belt undone, his manhood sickeningly in my vision. But unsure of it. Having never seen one before. But feeling the rise of fear and revulsion. I needed to wake up fully to get out of this dream like state, but the medication seemed to stop the overwhelming panic that accompanies such flashbacks/nightmares. That feeling I had written about yesterday, of being a nothing. I felt such shame and disgust at myself as id written that, the feelings had stirred something deep within me. 

And now the feelings were back. But had brought with them a disturbing flashback.

I felt my breathing quicken as I started waking and instinctively wanted to reach for my husband. The safety, the reassurance, the calming voice. The warmth and familiarity of his safe body.

But I held back. He’d help me, but by obligation. He’d follow the processes that soothe me, but not with love and tenderness. He was tired, he was worn out. He’s made it clear that this time is his. 

I must learn to look after myself. To deal with this. 

I am not his cross to bear.

I took my diazepam, and found falling back to sleep relatively easy. The exhaustion is overtaking the emotional needs.

Most mornings I don’t have time to shower, so I shower later. This morning I took a very hot, long shower. I wanted to feel clean. I wanted to feel the separation between sleep and wake. The body in my sleep and the body in wake. I scrubbed and washed myself.

Then I did the usual school run on auto pilot.

The weather here is dire. Poor visibility. Constant rain. Cold. The wind picks up and lashes the house. It feels like misery encompasses everything.

I’m waiting.

Horrible weed in a garden

I’m fed up trying to defend my actions to my husband. I’m the perpetual bad guy. 

I have relinquished control of my family. He’s on his own course now, and anything I say, feel, think or do is irrelevant to him now. 

Most of the time I feel like this annoying bug that he wants to swat away. 

Sometimes I wish he’d just lash out and hit me. A tangible release of his frustration and annoyance with me. He might feel better for it. And the pain, a ripping blast, would be a wound. Visible to watch heal. As opposed to the look of sometimes revulsion, sometimes hate, mostly fed up – that lingers and bores into my soul. The way his presence fills the air with static – his mind a million miles away. The way he corrects me, my arguments disintegrate into childish babble, beneath him. I’m beneath him. That’s how he talks to me, makes me feel.

I feel more alone then I ever have. 

I dream constantly of getting away. 

I want to wake up and feel like I have a chance to be happy. I don’t want to wake up and feel the intense misery and loss of hope.

My daughters make constant remarks about me not doing anything. How Daddy does the work. He doesn’t defend me like used to. Why would he? It’s true. 

I want my children to be proud of me. I’m tired of being seen as weak, useless, pathetic – although in truth, that’s entirely what I am.

My fire has died. 

My precious son is young enough so that he can still love me unconditionally. And I adore him. He gives me purpose. He gives me strength. 

Today he had a rare moment of sadness before kindy, perhaps he picked up on my own misery. I picked him up and cuddled him. So close, his little heart against mine. Time stopped. A warm, soft doll in my arms. A need between us for affection, for love and understanding. Neither wanting to let go. My beautiful boy. I don’t know how long we stood like that, even when the rain started. He stayed silently holding me, safe, cherished. 

But one day soon he will look at me like his father, like the others. What do you do? You’re miserable? You don’t do anything. The reality that I’m a nothing, a nobody. Their disappointment a mirror of my own.

I have no fight. How can I expect respect?

Even as I write this my tears are flowing, my nose is running.  I’m a mess. 

It’s not a case of wanting to go away anymore, it’s a case of needing to.