Update 

A lot is happening for me at the moment.

Study is full on, but I’m enjoying learning more about myself and better ways to communicate 

My job is really busy! I’ve had my first client that I’ve helped find housing, access benefits and generally guide her through reintegrating into the community.

I’m looking for another property because my flat mate is really dirty and I think I really need my own space. Plus I want extra room for my kids. I’d like them to stay with me so I don’t need to keep staying at the house and putting myself in the emotionally conflicting situation with S. It’s a long draining process. At least 20 people are turning up to a small number of available properties. Some properties are just horrible. And I’m keen to find a home. 

Things with S and I continue to be emotionally fraught. I have great friends that support me, but I still miss him and I hold onto the good memories. 

My therapy work continues and I’m finding it really useful.

I’m doing another self development course, this time in being assertive. I’d like to learn ways to be assertive without the aggression. To be active in my responses; not reactive.

I’m in a process of transition. I’m learning more about myself and perceptions all the time and I’m open to that. Despite the stressful periods, I’ve maintained my mental health (psychiatrist appointments every 2 months). Some times I can feel sadness, grief, despair – but I let those feelings come. I’m not ashamed to cry or to feel vulnerable. 

I don’t hold onto anger, it’s not conducive to my journey. And I’m trying harder to live in the present, not wallow in the past or worry about the future. Only somethings are within my control.

I’m aiming towards a more peaceful way of living. Not fraught with tensions and letting self doubt cloud my judgement. 

I’m finding that slowly I have an inner strength, I have a quiet determination to do well in my studies and work. And no one can affect me with the same velocity that they used to. I can understand where I need to grow and how much my reactions say about where I’m at.

Its not an easy journey. But that’s ok. I’d rather honesty and transceparency than continuing on a road where I continually put myself down, let others dictate how I should feel or what I should be doing.

Fundamentally I’m on track! And I’m feeling ok 😊 although I kNow the ups and downs are inevitable.

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Limbo again!

I’m feeling really run down. My skin infection on my hands is so bad. Third round of antibiotics hasn’t cleared it, so it’s cracked and bleeding. I have a referral to a skin clink this week.

I’ve missed two lectures because of work. I need the income but the missed work unsettles me and my routine. 

I’ve decided this flat isn’t going to work for me. I love the little cottage but my flat mate is disturbingly disgusting. He doesn’t shower and it seems he doesn’t brush his teeth. The sofa and the nice pillows I bought stink of rotting, mouldy flesh. Men can smell bad, but this is off the scale. I’m taking such good care of the little place with regular cleaning but I’m alone in doing this. The bucket of water I use for the floor quickly turns black, dust accumulates and he doesn’t care. I clean the stove top regularly but he comes and cooks greasy foods and doesn’t think to wipe it after. I can point out a few things to him, but when someone has such little regard for their own self care, I’m not going to make an impact. And the landlady is friendly with his family and cooks dinner for him, so him moving out isn’t an option. I feel miserable, but accept everything is a learning curve.

So I’m back to house hunting, which is draining in itself. At the lower rents places are often poorly kept. But I honestly believe I will find the perfect little place and put my stamp on it. No flat mates to ruin the cleaning! And best all, my kids can stay whenever, which means less time at this house and less stress being around S.

I had therapy for the first time in YONKS. My therapist I know from various groups. She’s kind, worldly and very inspiring. I enjoyed my first session, it followed a night where I totally broke down and cried for hours. I allow myself to do that, I’m entitled to grieve and I refuse to apologise or stop it. It’s a painful process and needs to be done.

I’m very much on my own with all of this. S is so far removed he might as well be in another country and I’m trying to come to terms that he’s not going to change – and why should he?

I do miss affection terribly. I miss the old closeness but it’s never coming back. He’s accepted it and I know he’s gently trying to make me accept it as well.

So at the moment my skin hurts so much. I feel in limbo with the housing situation, I just want a place to call my own. I’m a bit stressed with the study/work balance. The organisation doesn’t appear to be very well structured. I have no training, fortunately I’m able to work things out for myself and work with my own initiative but I worry for my cases, letting them down. Last week the only two managers were away and I had my first case but no one to ask things to. I can only hope things make more sense in time and I can only do my best. 

I’m feeling rundown and tired but I hope I can work on these issues and get some control back.

It’s hard doing all of this alone but I think the pay off will be worth it. I deserve to be happy.

Getting to know ME!

My weekend intensive course has finished, I feel tired from the sheer amount of information, and yet recharged. I found the whole thing enriching. I met some really inspiring women, I self reflected a lot, sat with some of my discomfort (when I usually prefer to keep busy or ignore it) and learnt about some of my behaviours and subsequent interactions.

It’s a great complement to the theory I’m learning at uni – applying skills to my own life.

On the whole I’ve had a very ‘set’ idea on the person I am. Gradually I’ve noticed areas that cause various ‘issues’ in some of my behaviours. These include the way I am so assertive about things – I become aggressive. Feeling so ‘right’ about something I start to make other people feel inferior or just ‘talked at.’ It certainly isn’t with malicious intent. But I’ve not known how to change things in the past, noticing it means I was open to changing – and this course provided useful tools. Despite my obvious confidence in some areas, I am affected by the behaviour of others – or what I perceive as negative energy towards me. I also react quickly at times, without thinking first. I need to be less reactive. I also burn myself out putting so much care and effort into my own friends – but I never ask for, or expect the same.

I’ve realised I have many faucets – mostly under developed and there are a few things I don’t like about myself. Often I go out of my way for other people at my own expense, but I realise just how much I abandon myself. How much I give away and then feel sorry for myself when I suffer the consequence, be it financial, emotional, physical.

I realise I’m not too old or to set in my ways to change things. And I accept its not an overnight overhaul! I’m continually questioning my reality and myself. Which I feel is healthy.

I let the behaviour of others impact my entire day, rudeness, someone cutting me up on the road, a complacent comment. But the issue is really me. And only I can control myself. And how I react.

My parents pigeon holed me very early on. I realise now how stifling that was. My ex husband has equally assumed to know me and know my values, know my thoughts. And to an   Extent that’s fair because we’ve been together a long time and there are some idiosyncrasies that he’s privy too. But over the last few months I started to notice that where he assumed my reactions or responses to things, he’d be wrong. I couldn’t understand that. Now I’m realising that I was already changing, already considering my world. 

I care very deeply about things, I’m not ashamed anymore to admit that. I am triggered by things, by the fault of no one, and I will learn to acknowledge the feelings that brings up. Be it grief, fear, anxiety, anger. I am so scared of feeling things, I tire myself out by avoiding. But that just leads to depression and other unhealthy outlets. 

I intend to stay in this introspective period for a couple of days, just getting a feel for my inner self, my core conditions and self values. I intend to work on areas as they come up. I start therapy this week so I will be looking for more tools and guidance on how to find inner agreement in periods of turmoil.

I do need to establish some better self care routines as I’m worthy of self love and attention.

It’ll be interesting to see how therapy goes now I’m in the mind of being open and authentic with myself.

  

Water and ghosts and all things transparent 

This course I’m doing, it’s tough. Having to look at things objectively. Identify my failings, acknowledge my need for time, prioritising things. In a case and point, at one period the facilitator read a short story to us. The group of women curled up on the sofas, all identical in our need to either keep busy or unable to self identify our need to wind down. They all dozed off. It was invited. That’s the warm, nurturing environment of the women’s centre. They looked so peaceful and tranquil after a lovely lunch. I hadn’t joined in the luncheon. No, I had hideously mis budgeted again for the month. My petrol was on near empty and I had been stressed about making it last until my student allowance. My petrol gauge is a little fickle and the thing had dropped to empty. Sometimes that means the car has lots of kms left, sometimes it mean a kilometre later and it’s dead. Not unlike myself! I was sure I’d timed it right and not made any unnecessary trips. But driving home from the course last night had inevitably left my car floundering – steep, twisting hills. I knew I had no choice but to call on S. I felt ashamed, stupid, embarrassed. An idiot that can’t even budget. Oh how I would prove my father right. Tail between my legs I’m calling on S for help. He obliged without incident and offered to put some gas in my car. So I drove back to the house at lunch. A pedestrian at every crossing, every light going red on the way. The whole world conspiring against me. I was emotional and tired. Such huge life changes. So much self learning and no one to support me, to share in my journey. I felt alone and vulnerable. 

By the time I got back to the course I was too sick to eat. To restless to rest. So I messaged friends I was worried about. Reached out. Thus completely missing the point of the entire course.

But I knew, this evening was for me. Yes, I fucked up with budgeting but I will learn. And yes I wasn’t able to relax in the course. But that’s ok. I planned myself a lovely evening. 

I have relaxed at the flat alone and I don’t feel guilty for that. I watched ‘the hunting ground’ just available now on Netflix. You see, good old NZ has banned VPNs, that’s software that tricks Netflix to thinking we’re overseas and getting to watch recent releases. Now we are back on NZ viewing alone, which sucks because we are last for all movie releases. But I watched this documentary and I cried. I cried for the victims and I cried for myself. I am not wallowing in self pity. I am identifying a hurt. I am relating to the stories. And I will allow myself that.

Most of my life I have felt angry and betrayed. Dismayed and confused. Why me? Why didn’t my parents love me? Why was I attacked? Why haven’t I been given love and support through this time? I NEEDED this, I WANTED this, how come OTHER people do this/receive that/got that etc. 

My reality is I was let down by my family and by the system. But rather than wish away time on things being different or lamenting on the immense betrayal I feel, I am grieving for myself and accepting things how they are. Because I can’t change the things that have happened. But I can change the way I deal with it. And I don’t need to apologise or make an issue for being sad. 

I am inviting growth and self reflection into my life. I don’t know what being separated is supposed to be like or how I’m supposed to feel, but I know that the majority of time isn’t supposed to be feeling sorry for myself, shutting down, drowning in the whys and how’s. Living in regrets and questions. It’s about accepting – this fucking hurts! This ist what I planned – but I’m going to survive it like everything else.

It is ‘baby steps’ – make no mistake. This morning I awoke in my cottage, there was no water. I decided to ask the landlady if it was an isolated problem or on the land (rural living, we don’t have mains!). I was in quest of an answer or to initiate a fix at some stage. But I wasn’t stressed. I didn’t care about the water. Yes I wanted coffee and a hot shower. But the shower could wait and the coffee would be provided at the centre. Now in normal course of events I would have felt the water was a BIG deal, ANOTHER stress to add to my bow. But, and only with restrospect when I look back I was concious of many other things this morning. How warm the morning autumn sunshine felt, how peaceful the land felt, how friendly my landlady was/is. I was basking in so many other observations at that ‘present’ time – the water wasn’t a big deal.

That’s a shift in my thinking. That was an ability to remain in the present despite a ‘stress’ and to see positives that would usually be blurred by my agonising drama.

I am becoming increasingly aware of the people around me. I’m listening and hearing, I’m acknowledging their comments/points, whereas previously – did I not know people that were so open? Or did I just not hear them? Did I chalk them up to ‘over sensitive’ as my father has always done. Have I dismissed so many people in life and lost quality? 

I begin to consider my words and statements. I begin to listen to those around me. And I must start listening to my soul, to my heart. 

The women’s Centre is reportedly house to a ghost. A female that comes and makes noises both vocally and physically (footsteps). Today I heard a woman sigh. We were all in the room and the sound was too close to be a neighbour. The sound came from a room behind the wall, and no, no one was in there. I didn’t state what I heard. Even though my entire being was terrified! My heart hammered and fear sat close to my heart. Instead I kept the sound I’d heard to myself. The experience locked in my personal vault (and this blog!) until I wonder if it was just my imagination. But the metaphor is with me. To express, to face fear, to acknowledge, to be heard, and to feel everything, hear everything and live every moment. To not judge, to not fearjudgement, to consider and to be open. 

I am both drained and disappointed, relieved and satisfied. And that’s ok. 

New job! And gel blues

This afternoon I started my first day at work. Yes I have a job!! I’m really excited about it. I found out a couple of weeks ago but I didn’t want to tell anyone until it was secure. I got my contract couriered and my start date changed so I waited until everything was signed, sealed delivered and I was on the clock!

I’m working with female offenders that are released from prison. I’m supporting them to reintegrate back into society. I think it’s a great opportunity and a very rewarding position. Considering my upbringing and experiences, that could have easily been me. In my case, it was just literally luck. These women have fallen through the cracks and I’d like to be able to offer support and consistency that most wouldn’t have had before. I can work easily along side doing my degree so it’s a great opportunity and to learn and develop counselling, studying, and empowering women. My ultimate combo!

I was feeling pretty happy this afternoon, my manager is fantastic and we get on very well. I was feeling confident, professional, positive – just overall brimming with enthusiasm and hope. Something that’s been sorely missing recently. I guess in the midst of it, it’s easy to forget just how much of a divide there is between S and I. Why did I think he’d share my enthusiasm? Why did I think he’d be supportive and proud? I set myself up for a fall. I’m an idiot! Of course he doesn’t give a rats arse. Of course he’s not going to change his demeanour. It means nothing to him.

I guess the reality check was another ouchie. But I might have survived it if he didn’t then go on to oversell a hair product to me. It sounds random! But stick with me, you’ll get it! I had my hair cut into a pixie style, within an inch of its life! So I use hair product to slick it down or spike it. Naturally I’d gone for S’s products as men’s stuff is usually better for that. One big brand hair gel was used by a relative that I don’t like to see, smell or be around because there’s somethings I don’t want to remember (it’s a trigger). Especially right now when I’m getting on track. S KNOWS this. And yet, despite owning other products – he still tries to sell this product to me. I mean WTF??? Really??? I’m not going to keep saying it’s upsetting me because – well, he won’t give a shit. I mean, clearly he doesn’t already or else he wouldn’t  keep doing it. So I was saying that this other hair gel that is otherwise good leaves my hair feeling hard, BOOM, there he goes again. Talking about this sodding gel. I’m sick of it. Ok, you don’t care about my job, but must you keep trying to force me into an emotional wreck too??

I had the urge to just head back to my flat, clearly yet again I’ve over stayed. But I was enjoying being around the kids so much. And I’d finally announced my new job on Facebook and had a wonderful response of support and encouragement. I felt loved, respected, people believing in me, people joining in my success, knowing how hard it’s been and how long and how hard I’ve been trying to find work. How my confidence has wavered and how many nights I’ve spent crying. Things are falling into place for me. My friends have been amazing, both here and overseas. I’m so lucky. So I have to think to myself – believe my friends, feel their love and support and forget the detrimental comments of my ex husband. I just wish it didn’t hurt so much. But I have my wonderful kids too that have been so interested in this job and have been really supportive of my interviews. 

So it’s my children and the support of friends that are keeping me focussed. I’m here another night because I want to be with my kids. Although I’m shut away again in the bedroom now they’re in bed, but I refuse to let S bring me down.

Tomorrow I’m heading back to mine. Friday I’m in a lecture and Friday night through the weekend I’m doing a personal development course. Entitled ‘Burn out vs self care’ it’s facilitated by the woman that does the monthly groups. Frankly I think the timing couldn’t be better, especially as I juggle professional life, study, my children and my ever complicated private life. It’s long days, but I hope to learn a lot and gain tools for good self care. Something I have put so very little into.

I’m truly so happy about this job, and I’m finally studying something that challenges me and interests me. It does feel that things are falling into place. I just wish S wasn’t able to get to me so easily. I guess it’s inevitable that I still care what he thinks and I’m still left reeling when he consciously disrespects me and my past. I just can’t get my head around his constant need to get at me. 

Time maybe. 

Grow stronger maybe.

I’m certainly on the right path, I just know I’m getting where I need to be. I just need to believe in myself. 

Dear us: Depression isn’t a Choice

I really enjoyed reading this blog entry by a fellow blogger that I follow. The description of depression, the full out from triggers, the bouts of difficult periods, the physical fall out, epitomises depression perfectly. I hope that other people who are able to indentify with this are reassured that there’s hope and you’re not alone.

…………

I say “I don’t want to be sad anymore” knowing full well that I haven’t a choice in the matter.

http://adjustremembered.com/2016/04/04/dear-us-depression-isnt-a-choice/

Group and being deep

Yesterday I attended the monthly group. I’ve been feeling fragile so I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet with ‘my people’ where I could express my feelings.

On the Thursday  I had argued with S via text about a payment. I ended up in tears. Not because he was especially mean, but because the communication between us is not even like friends. It’s business like with money, amicable about the kids, sort of. He doesn’t appreciate that I’m still coming to terms with the end of our marriage and I’m emotional. He’s so shut down, so he couldn’t care less about my emotions. I find that a bitter pill to swallow. I miss him caring and I miss him – generally. Those feelings aren’t reciprocated and it’s testing for me. I spent Thursday night crying alone. I finally exhausted myself and fell asleep.

Friday morning puffy eyed I attended a lecture that I really wasn’t in the mood for. Discussing the reflection of other people’s feelings, it felt too close, to raw. My concentration was shot to pieces, I felt tired and the emotion sat the on surface for me. It was clear to my lecturer that I wasn’t in the mood. I wasn’t able to participate in the group work with my usual gusto and patience. At one point I was quite short with her and I felt bad because she’s a very good lecturer and I respect her. I sent an email apology later on. I ended up ducking out early. Not in the mood to engage with my peers, and I was sick of pretending to friends that I was ok. I had reached my limit.

I tried to get an early night, my flat mate goes home every Friday for the weekend. But Friday he was in and out, and this went on until midnight. When finally he left. I was so on edge, sleeping was hard.

On Saturday I drove back to the house, eager to spend time with the kids. It was a nice relaxed day. 

On Sunday I said a friend could borrow my car. So I drove the 40 mins into the city, dropped it off and got the train back, which S agreed to pick me up from. Another friend was keen to catch up because she’d decided to split with her partner. So I borrowed S’s car and drove to her. I offered my support and didn’t want to wax lyrical about my own situation. It was her time and she needed me. We went straight onto the monthly group.

I listened to everyone, feeling painfully short of breath. I thought it was because I was hot/tired. But I realised it was anxiety. It’s not typical of me to be so emotional. When I spoke the tears came. Heavy and sad. I talked about how I’d moved out, and subsequently lost my best friend and confidante. I talked about the nightmares and how I had to manage them. I talked about my mental health and managing that. But mostly I cried out of grief for S. The looming sense of loneliness and how he had no respect for me. The group were as usual encouraging. But I didn’t need platitudes or advice. I was sitting with a ball of emotions and I found the crying was really hard to stop. I think the facilitator picked up on that.

The next woman that spoke was extremely graphic. It was too much for me so I excused myself for a break. Soon after another friend ran out in a panic attack so I consoled her. My own feelings sunk away. I was grateful for the emotionally reprieve but I knew it was short lived. I’m hurting very deeply.

After the group I had to drive to the house, get S and the kids so they could drop me at the train station. While I was there waiting I kept getting a group of boys coming up to me. I felt intimidated and vulnerable. Not typical but the group always leaves me more wary and jumpy. I jumped in the next train relieved.

Then the tears started again. It took everything I had not to break down into gut wrenching sobs. But I sniffled away and felt so sad. Usually I’d text S and ask for support. But I text about staying another night and he didn’t sound overly keen. As the nights draw in unfortunately I couldn’t hide behind my sunglasses so by the time I met my friend at the car, my tear stained face couldn’t be hidden. He looked shocked and asked if I was ok. At that, the tears started again and it was such a struggle to retain control. I wanted to get away as quickly as possible and explained with embarrassment that I was just over tired and being silly. I figured if I drove straight to my place I could cry alone in bed but the reality is that I wanted people around and I didn’t think isolating would be healthy. S was still disinterested so I focussed on my loving son and how he would cuddle into me and make me laugh. He failed to disappoint of course, I’m very lucky to have him.

I fell asleep very quickly exhausted from the days events. 

Today I’m left feeling raw. 

My hand infection has flared up again and my skin hurts tremendously even driving is painful. The dr I was able to see this morning prescribed my third round of antibiotics I have cotton gloves for driving I have been referred to a skin specialist. I’m at my wits end with this.
I’m heading back to my flat where I can just be, and no doubt let some more tears fall. I feel so useless and alone.

I know it’s situational and grief is to be expected. Again I can only hope I emerge stronger for it, but it’s literally one day at a time.