Road to nowhere 

I made it home after 11pm last night. S was running late, so I was curled up with my son in his and Egg’s room hanging out with them. I was extremely emotional. A part of me wanted to spend another night to be with the kids in the morning, but another part couldn’t face a night on the floor in the office. After enjoying the house for nearly 2 weeks, going back to the status quo seemed impossible. I wasn’t ready to become ‘the guest’ again.

S arrived back and immediately set about wiping down the kitchen surfaces, opening blinds (that I assume one of the kids closed) and complaining about the carpet, the garage and the heater being on. To say I felt completely useless is an understatement. I felt not only like an overstayer but a rude, incompetent, messy one too. S had already said he wanted H to stay the night at his house, although he’d expressed his desire to come to mine. I was able to negotiate with my son to stay with S, although it pained me to do so. By this stage it was getting later and S complained about the time. Now I felt hurried to get my stuff and leave. Maybe S didn’t mean to make me feel the way I did, maybe I was reading too much into it. But I was tired, wrought with emotion and I just felt crap.

I drove away from the house in gut wrenching sobs, got down to the traffic lights and threw up, I managed to get the car door open in time. I was overcome physically and emotionally by the terse communication between S and I and the deep sorrow at leaving the kids. 

This morning I’ve returned to the house because my two older daughters are unwell. And I need to look after them. I almost didn’t want to come back. Psychologically it’s too confusing. I’d noticed last night in my hurry to leave the house some clothes were missing from my bag. Arriving this morning I noticed them strewn across the drive. S would have seen them this morning when he left. But not bothered to collect them. Discarded, not cared for, no value, left to weather in the ailments, the clothes a metaphor for his opinion of me.

The girls are still asleep. So I’m curled up on the sofa, redundant. I’m so tired, I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. The oppressive depression seemed to be pushing me down, unrelenting in its desire to overtake me.

I feel partially numb and nausea crawls around my guts threateningly.

It struck me again last night how happy and confident S is. A new career, so much promise for the future. And here I am, lost my way, throwing up in the middle of the night on road back to my place. 

Just when I think I’m making progress I take 10 steps back.

Leaving the house

So, tonight is my last night in what was the family home. I am surprised by how upset I am. I stayed longer than I anticipated and it’s been hard at times. Tiring, stressful and barely any time to myself. But it’s the chaos that I’ve missed. The house is lit up and warm, I’ve cooked meals and hung out with the kids in spaces designed around a large family. The big kitchen that I adored when we bought the place, the beautiful en suite with its own bath so I don’t need to remove a ton of bath toys before I get in. Of course, the little bits that are ‘me’ have been pretty much removed from the house. The master bedroom looks functional and plain. I’m ok with that of course, but tonight it’s plainness makes me feel sad. That I enjoyed a ‘home’ again for this period but it’s not my home anymore.

I’ve chatted via text to S while he’s been away, updates about the kids. This in itself is also weird. His first time away as we’re separated. I’m used to daily calls, expressions of missing each other, reminders that we’ll be reunited again soon. But this time, I know, come tomorrow night my car will be parked on the drive (not in the garage) and when S gets in, I’ll drive back to a cold and dark house. It feels a little bit like resetting again. I hope the emotional impact doesn’t affect my mood even more. 

It’s surprising that when I think I’ve made progress, something hits me again. I wonder how long this goes on for.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be dragging myself to circuit training. I know it will be hard again to force myself and I’ll come up with a myriad different reasons why I can pass. But it’s just an hour.

I feel so sad tonight. Tomorrow will probably feel a lot worse.

Still down

I’m still up at the house because S has extended his stay in Auckland. It’s pretty full on, but I’m managing. I’m disappointed that my energy levels aren’t really increasing. I’m faithfully turning up to circuit training twice a week, and being really careful about what I eat. But I’m still so sluggish, like I’m wading through mud. Today I was especially exhausted and HAD to take a nap. My concentration is still affected and I forget things easily. Including words and phrases.

I feel like I’m never going to change. Like I will never find true joy in anything again. I keep going and live very much on autopilot, functioning with little drama. Yet I’m not really inspired by anything. I’m not excited by things. I miss feeling alive. I miss periods of being relaxed. I miss being content. I hope this is still situational. I’m living in my ex’s house tending to the kids on a meagre budget. Although I’m really enjoying being with the kids – don’t get me wrong, I’m not doing anything that feels awe-inspiring. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. Maybe this is who I am now? Forever functioning just below baseline with a modicum of energy to get through the day?

I do feel like I’ve lost my direction. I’m so anxious about university, it seems so overwhelming and frankly terrifying even though I know I can do the work, it’s still a place where I realised I was breaking down. To head into the city feels like a huge journey out of my comfort zone. In fact, daily I keep my travel to close, well known places. It’s more confronting having the kids because they need things, whereas if I was alone I probably would avoid most if not all outings.

I’m still not being social with friends, I can’t face social interaction at the moment.

The worse thing is knowing that this isn’t normal and wanting to rise above it, but I can’t. I just don’t have the reserves of energy, the motivation and trust in myself. I look in the mirror and all the tiredness, all the exhaustion seems to be coming out of every pore. My hair looks lank and dry, my skin is pale and dry, my eyes are dark and puffy. I seem to have aged significantly.

This is when (it goes against my feminist principles) I just want to curl up in the arms of someone that loves me. I want to be cared for, loved and nurtured during this time. Reminded that I’m worth it, to take strength from another, and to be understood in the silence.

But I have only myself to get that from and right now I don’t exactly like myself very much.

Sweethearts and sickness

Its my high school sweet heart’s birthday today.  We’re Facebook friends.  We don’t talk to each other, just the odd ‘like’ on comments.  Way back when, everyone thought him and I would marry.  We ‘dated’ as you do in school, often split up and then made our way back to each other.  We were odd bods, which seemed to intrinsically link us.  Where others saw him as frankly a bit crazy (a candidate for manic depression), I understood his ebbs and flows.  His moods, and his little routines.  And I think in that, he felt safe to be himself with me.  Although he often chased the girls that were known for giving a bit more in the relationship physically, so to speak, he would often seek a respite with me.  Perhaps that’s because I was pretty damn crazy myself! – And as for the all of the politically incorrect statements I’m throwing around, I’m referring to our time in school.  Back then, labels weren’t applied, just observations.  He wasn’t my first kiss, that was DL. A local boy who went to the same first school and then secondary school as me.  I did think I was in love with him at the time.  I remember him dancing with Samantha at a school disco to the Bangles and I cried like a baby in my heart-break.  DL was also a larger than life character, he dabbled in some professional acting, and I believe does some acting now.  But DL and the first love that I refer to, AB, didn’t get along.  Perhaps their ego’s were too big for each other.

DL and I kissed in a cupboard for chairs one summer afternoon in a local village hall.  I was so terrified, but so excited.  We were dared to kiss.  When the kiss happened it felt so forced, I didn’t feel all ‘floaty’ as I would have expected.  I suspect he had kissed a lot of times before me.  I was 13.  I still picture it perfectly.  The room, the chairs, the lingering dust, the warmth of a summer’s afternoon, the other kids daring us.  It makes me smile.  Of all of the boys, DL was a great person to share that moment with.  A cherished fragment in a young life.

I never gave any thought to my first time sexually.  It wasn’t something people talked about.  Even AB chasing the other girls hadn’t considered sex, just even a look or a touch! – that’s his words!

Perhaps in a different world, AB would have been my first time.  Beneath his boyish humour and manic ticks, he was sweet and gentle.  We took many walks around the fields near his house, and not once in all of those times did he try anything.  I always managed to feel safe around him.  Even when he kissed me it never felt like a promise.  Perhaps we were never meant to be more than a dance of what could have been.  Certainly I have no doubt if we had have ended up together, it wouldn’t have lasted.  We both share the same moods and egos.  Both too passionate about our stances to back down.  We would have come to hate each other.  Both of us need someone calm, consistent and patient to counter our imbalance.

But life would have been better had I have chosen the person.  If it was planned.  And not necessarily even like in the movies, with the roses, candles and bed made by the fire.

This morning I went constantly into panic attacks.  My son was sleeping soundly in the bed, so I had to go into the bathroom and try to get a grip.  Then I got back into bed, drifted off to sleep and the same thing happened.  I don’t know what triggered me.  I guess a dream I had.  But clearly a lie in this morning wasn’t going to happen.

Already triggered, I decided to unblock HIM [the rapist] on Facebook and look at his profile.  See if anything significant in his life had happened, make sure we didn’t have any friends linked.  I wouldn’t usually do this, S has always done periodic checks for me, but it’s not his place anymore.  I need to bite the bullet.  Of course with Facebook settings as they are, I couldn’t see much.  Seeing his photos and I felt an odd shut down.  In my mind his image is set to back then.  His mouth, eyes, his demeanour is still clear in my head.  So the photos are hard to place.  I didn’t look for long, I didn’t want the revised image burned into my retinas.  I didn’t want any image to cause me distress.  So I didn’t find anything of interest.  Unfortunately now with Facebook I have to wait 48 hours to block him again.  So I live in fear of him seeking me out, I’m counting down those hours.

Seeing AB’s birthday was a reminder though of some of the better times in my young life.  Some of the possibilities that could have been.  But of course I feel sad, painfully sad for the loss of having a special memory for my first time.

S has decided to extend his stay in Auckland for another week.  So I’m up at the house.  I don’t have time to process any thoughts or feelings, and fighting this mood is difficult as I’m on call all the time.  S has also not left much in the way of funds, which is really stressful for me.  I had arranged for a babysitter to come on Sunday for a couple of hours so I could enjoy the women’s only swim, but I’ve had to cancel that, I can’t afford the babysitter.  I’m a bit annoyed that the one thing I enjoy I can’t do.

 

 

Still working it out!

My work out today sucked. I had been feeling so inspired, so motivated that I was taking steps to improve my fitness. Although hard some days to get motivated, I have quickly enjoyed feeling the activity and I especially enjoy the endorphins. The sense of purpose for that hour I’m training. But today I struggled to get up, dropping off the kids at school felt like a huge hurdle. So I knew my training session was probably going to be hard. Facing people, talking, the physical stress. I could have just not gone, so easily I could have slipped home to bed. I made up excuses in my head, reasons to justify missing the morning. But I went. I never got the feeling of being in ‘the zone,’ nothing felt right. My body felt like it was made of lead, uncompromising, heavy, clumsy. I felt constantly tired. Talking to my trainer was hard, I didn’t even want to face her. 

But I did my hour and I’m glad I did. Although it wasn’t very good and my body worked against me, I hope the next session won’t be as hard.

I had an appointment with my psychiatrist afterwards. I told her I was fighting the low and I was getting better on the whole but some days just really tested me. Plus I felt tired and nausea, I wasn’t sure what was causing what. She thought the tiredness was mood and meds, same with nausea. Both should improve.

After that I bought a Subway salad and came home to rest. 

It’s a beautiful Spring day today. But I’m not in the mood to enjoy it. I really do just want to sleep now.

The kids are being awesome, I’m enjoying being up here in the peace and running things while S is away.

I know there’ll be good and bad days, but when the bad days come, they’re really tough.

Really struggling with concentration. I think I’ll go and sleep now.

Reflections on a broken marriage

It is one year ago that S and I officially separated. In NZ, you have to be separated for 2 years before you can divorce, irrespective of circumstances. And the only reason for divorce is citing irreconcilable differences. I think in the US you can divorce straight away, I don’t know about the UK, but Australia is one year. So two years seems a long time.

I’ve been through all the stages of grief, denial, anger, sadness, and over and over them for different periods.

I can still remember S telling me he didn’t love me when I got to Cambodia. My desperation to fly home and sort out the situation and him telling me he’d leave, he didn’t want me to go back. The shock of a marriage gone bad. Although we’d been drifting for some time, I never envisioned divorce in my life. That was something other people did. Surely we’d find our way back?

On my return, S seemed to think we could live together as flat mates. Which might have been possible if not for the fact he couldn’t hide his disgust with me. If I stepped close to him, his barrier was almost tangible. He looked at me with disdain. For me, I couldn’t live like that. I couldn’t pretend. My parents have a fake marriage built on familiarity and fear of the Unknown. I wasn’t going to have this half in marriage. Either we made it work, or we didn’t. In which case, we moved on. Which in theory seemed easy, but then there’s the emotional baggage. S made it clear, he was out. He was over this marriage. No tearful talks from me were going to change anything. So I engaged a lawyer. And why not? I don’t know my rights, I wasn’t going to be left without anything. S seemed to take the lawyer as a personal blow to his integrity. But I don’t regret it. She helped me organise my finances and his financial obligations and explained the house situation. Although S initially agreed to move out within a set time frame, he reneged. And I didn’t want the cost or pressure of going to court for an order. So I decided to move out. S can’t afford to buy me out of the house, and we want to sell later when prices have gone up, so it works for me.

I didn’t anticipate the emotional connection to the house though. Spending too much time up there blurred boundaries and made the separation process harder to accept. But then avoiding the house totally had the other effect of extreme emotional torture.

I’ve flipped and flopped with my emotions and there’s been no easy route.

I can finally say, one year on, I no longer have an emotional connection to the house. It’s S’s house. I sometimes go up there to look after the kids when he’s working late, but I treat it like a friends house.

There was no need for a custody agreement, S and I work well where the kids are concerned, as there’s 4, it’s hard to have them all here at once – my place is quite small. But I usually have 2/3 at any given time, weekends and during the week. My relationship with the kids hasn’t suffered.

S and I are moving into a new stage of our post separation relationship. The hurt has finally disappated. I never thought it would get  to that. But hanging onto the hurt was only serving to damage me.Bearing in mind he’s had longer to deal with his decision and feelings so I’ve found his coolness hard to bare. One result from this is there is no going back. I could never trust him again after all this hurt.  Not that going back is an option. He seems happy and relaxed. Probably much better than his good days with me.

I’m sad, very sad that we had so much history, so many stories accumulated over the years. He was my best friend and I’ve lost that. 

For the first time I find myself missing affection (we didn’t have that for a long time in our marriage, and as for intimacy, God knows). I miss the closeness of a relationship. It’s strange to think of dating again. 

Right now I’m focussing on my mental health, and my fitness. It’s time I took better care of myself as I fight this low. I’d also like to get back into my study again.

I’m enjoying my kids, and I’m more set in my ways now in my house. I didn’t think I’d ever feel like this. I know there will still be hard periods, and my body will crave the familiarity of a man I’ve loved for over a decade, but I know I won’t find my true happiness there anymore. 

Bad day

Today is a bad day. I don’t understand it. I knew yesterday afternoon I was slipping but after a good night’s sleep last night I thought my mood was finally looking stable, or rather progressing.

This morning I woke up with a bad headache. Bordering on a migraine. I rifled around to find some paracetamol. I felt sluggish, and frankly miserable. The storm is still here so it pelted hail stones and it’s cold outside, winter like cold. I’m fed up of it now. I am ready for the nice weather. But I’m not usually affected mood wise by the weather. I’ve had depressive moods before in winter and summer. Believe me, it doesn’t discriminate. So, although I wanted to sleep I pushed myself to the pool. Excercise = endorphins = feeling good? I swam for about an hour. The time went quickly surprisingly. My brain kept switching off – which is probably a good thing. After pushing myself, I got in the bubbling spa as my reward. But there wasn’t the inner sense of calm or pride. I felt, nothing. When I got out of the spa the aching set in, usually I enjoy that feeling. Not today. Today I felt groggy and even more cumbersome. I got ready and forced a smile at the receptionist as I left. I needed some dinner stuff for the kids and I’m stone cold broke, so I decided to drive up to the house and see what S had, it’s not a big deal, it’s for the kids, not me, he’s usually pretty good about it. And I wanted to drop off J’s bike (there’s nowhere secure here) and finally I wanted to grab a towel, instead of using my nice ones for the pool again. When I got there I saw his brother’s car in the driveway. I was livid. His brother is 40 odd, he’s NEVER worked, he lives with his Mummy as he’s completely unable to forge a life without her. It’s the weirdest mother and son relationship. He is bloody weird, I don’t like him alone with the girls. He once told me he’d only date young girls 16-18 although he’s never had a girlfriend. He’s just this social awkward, freaky Norman Bates. He came down with his mummy and daddy, but it seems he’s not even capable of being without them for the day, so decided to spend it in what is still MY house with his brother (my ex). I was just so bloody furious. I called S, screamed some unintelligible nonsense, threw my phone across the car and drove back off. I know, I was like a petulant child. But his whole family irk me. And I just felt tired and pissed off. I just drove to my house, where I have dozed on and off.

I feel miserable to the core. I don’t understand it. I feel alone but that’s nothing new. I’m irritable and hopeless. I feel like I am drowning in overwhelming feelings. I hate it. I hate this illness, I hate this depression. I’m sick of feeling this oppressive misery, it’s squeezing me so tight I can’t breathe. I need to shower after the pool, but I can’t be bothered. I need to tidy up, can’t be bothered. I just attacked my dishwasher because I don’t have any patience and a draw got stuck. I’ve broken it now. I ran out of washing up liquid, that’s the only reason I’m using the dishwasher. What a bloody state.

I hope this day ends soon. I just want to sleep it all away.