More stuff

So, ‘best laid plans’ and all that! The night I had planned to relax and look after myself, I ended up getting a call from S in the middle of the night.  A moth had flown into his ear and he wanted to drive to hospital.  So in my drug addled, deep sleep I jumped into the car in my nightie and drove up to the house.  I barely uttered two words to him, I slipped into bed with my boy and fell asleep.

In the morning S told me he’d waited for hours and was tired.  I was still painfully sore in the morning and keen to get to my house.  He leaves the house in such disarray ,with mounds of laundry, he doesn’t air the place out, and because I’m no longer playing housekeeper, it really gets to me.  I just like the calm and tidiness of my house.

I had my appointment with my therapist first, so took a quick stop at my house to organise myself and then head to her office.  We talked mostly about the situation with the cop.  She’s absolutely convinced he was a predator and basically groomed me.  Whereas I am still struggling with accepting that and not feeling guilty and confused.  It was, as usual, an intense session, but it was good to verbalise all of my tumbling thoughts and use her as a sounding board.

I then went to see my lawyer – 2 pretty intense days back to back.

It was AGAIN a shock to see how vindictive and selfish my ex husband is.  How I keep letting myself seem surprised is beyond me.  You really see true colours in a divorce.  Had I have known now what I knew when I met him, I NEVER would have gotten involved.  He’s so selfish and self absorbed, caring only about himself and what he thinks he deserves, seeing himself as a hero.

I’m so over it!  I’m not even angry anymore.  I just feel that he will be someone else’s problem soon.  There is only disdain for him, some disappointment that he’s not the person I thought he was, and my eagerness to ensure the best for the children.

Two long appointments and I was pretty tired and fed up.  I asked S to have the kids, I really needed an evening to relax and digest everything.

Today I have my son and its a quiet day, he seems pretty tired himself.

This weekend is a special trauma weekend, where I usually go for group therapy once a month.  This long-planned and anticipated weekend is finally going ahead.  It’s only for survivors of sexual assault.  I’ve been undecided about attending, but it might prove useful to move some of these thoughts and if it isn’t –  I can always leave.

It will be a change to be more present around my peers and vocalise some of my issues.



Smear test

This morning, first thing, I had my smear test.  Early was good, less time to panic or talk my way out of it.  unfortunately, the commute is longer – in the city, but I prefer to keep my smear separate from my GP.  It feels more secure and I am less likely to be triggered by a random GP appointment.

So S took the kids and I made my way in, even earlier to ensure I got a park close enough.

I didn’t wait long, until a really friendly Dr called me.  She was so softly spoken, it was hard not to be relaxed by her melodic tone.  We spoke briefly about my lack of current sexual partners, which admittedly I think she struggled to believe – no sex for years!  I know she doubted it because she still offered a pregnancy test!!  I guess its to be expected at a family planning clinic.

Anyway, my smear test was a nightmare as usual.  Unable to relax, and my cervix (sorry for the TMI!) is very far back, so it requires some rooting around, so to speak.  She actually had to do it twice, and by the end my muscles were so tight, it felt agonising, so amount of lubrication on the tools was going to help.  She was obviously aware of it and warned me that I would probably bleed.

As I left, I actually found it hard to walk properly.  It hurt so much, more than previously I think.  I know people think it should be easy, I’ve had 4 kids!  But I’ve not been able to have a ‘normal’ sex life because of my over reactive protection barriers.  At least in pregnancy, for me, any internal examinations were about ‘the baby’ even the birth was about getting my child delivered safely.  But its hard to reconcile the intrusion and anxiety of any examinations when there’s not a little life relying on me.  That said, the only reason I am able to have the smear tests done is because I couldn’t bear to miss early warning signs and end up not being around to see my kids grow up.  I owe it to them and I also want to be the role model for my daughters when it comes to matters of women’s health.

The cramping and feeling of bruising has been really bad all day.  Made worse because I still didn’t have any diazapam and have been messed around by different health professionals trying to obtain it.

I had to collect the kids from school because S was going to be later.  All I could do was curl up the bed.  Moving hurts, and I don’t want to walk around and feel that horrible sore, bruised feeling.  My poor boy kept wanting to climb over me, but it was excruciating.  I just wanted S to relieve me ASAP .  And I never get like that with my children.

He got back after 6.30 and biting back the tears I left the house straight away.

I’ve just showered, listened to some music and curled up on my bed – I put fresh sheets on it earlier, before the examination, as I love clean sheets.

My anxiety is so bad, I am exhausted but scared to sleep.  I feel alone, I would like to be cared for and held about now.  Although at the same time, peace and not having to answer to anyone is quite relaxing.

I’m having an early night now.  With sleeping tablets.  I can only hope I am not plagued by nightmares.

Tomorrow is therapy, which could be a bad or a good thing.

No one really understands how hard this is for me.  Again, I feel unable to talk to anyone.  The pain, shame, feeling of being dirty, old memories of trauma have no choice but to furrow deep into my heart.

I feel so miserable.

Therapy, issues, interview

Today was very long and called for all of my strength and ability to compartmentalize.

After S dropped off the kids last night (at 10.30pm with McDonald’s?!!), and getting them settled, the neighbours kicked off with their all too frequent noise.  Despite reporting them to the council, they persist in music going from 8am- 3/4am (yep, all day and night!).  Its loud and really inconsiderate.  Especially when they have friends over all night.  The morning came all too quickly and after school drop off, I had some time to get ready and then head to my first therapy session in months.

I decided to tell my therapist about the case in the UK and let her read all of the emails and my statement.  She had a very strong take on the situation, referring to the cop as being a predator and pointing out my vulnerability state at the time.  I don’t feel that way, but I am conflicted about the whole thing and I feel a lot of shame.  My mind likes to remind me of certain conversations or things, that feels wrong and did do at the time, but I am also keen to believe that we had a connection and I wasn’t one of his many ‘types,’ that he pursued for his own desires or need for control.

Knowing I was driving on to a job interview, it was really important that I didn’t give in to my feelings.  Only last night I was liaising with the police in the UK AGAIN because they keep asking the SAME things and it’s really traumatic.  Last night is the first time in a long time that I felt like self harming.  The urge to cut was overwhelming, I thought about the knife I would use, I pictured myself doing it, not only the release, but the punishment for myself.  To take away some of the shame and feeling of being dirty.  I struggled with the desperate urge, but focussed on my sleeping son and how special he is and how much I love my children and need to be strong for them.  It was the perfect distraction I needed.

Therapy was much-needed, to discuss to my thoughts, to confide in someone, to go over the communications – because I don’t feel safe talking to anyone else.  It would have been good to cry, to shout, to express the deep-rooted shame, confusion and fear.  But as I say, I was keen to focus on the long drive ahead on roads affected by earthquakes, floods and even a tornado!

Amazingly I kept my calm, and the drive was uneventful.

The interview was good, but I’m not overly confident.

Its surreal.  In the morning I’m talking about the rape, I’m being told the cop I thought liked me was nothing but a predator and it was abuse, and then in the afternoon I am chatting in an office about my professional experience, without any indication that the night before I was struggling with issues of self harm.

Am I even normal??

This evening I am absolutely exhausted, I’m short of breath, I have this terrible feeling of doom and I’m uncomfortably restless.  I recognise that I am in the grips of anxiety.  I don’t have any diazepam, I don’t really want to drink, and I feel more lonely than normal.

Its evenings like this where I would truly love to feel cherished, to be cuddled, and to be reminded that I am not alone, that its OK to be damaged, and I am not some sort of heinous slut.  I guess I need to remind myself of that.

I’m feeling pretty confused about everything.  I would like to enjoy a good night’s sleep, but I suspect the neighbours won’t grant me that.  I feel the urge to go away for a few nights.  I really need to process things.

Furious – the ugly truth of rape culture 

I was so scared to share my last blog. Fear of shame, humiliation, being judged. I have spent the last few hours considering pulling it. I love to be honest and write my experiences and insight. It’s important to me, to document, to heal. To share.

I anticipated some backlash. But I didn’t anticipate this particular backlash, especially from someone I know.

And I quote (without getting permission)

Anyone in exposed situations is at risk. Doctors have to have someone with them if they are examining a woman. The odd woman will claim assault and there are big payouts if he does not have backup. It is being used by children against teachers etc. Yes there are bad public servants but a lot of innocent people have their lives ruined.

I mean, WTF???

You asked a question and I gave you an answer. There is now a bandwagon of money seekers. That is nothing to do with you or women like you but it is almost becoming a business now.

A business??

If you are an MP it is almost certain that you have carried out an assault at some point. In correcting one area the pendulum swings too far the other way.

Nothing to do with me or women like me??

Rape culture is defined as 

Rape culture is a term that was coined by feminists in the United States in the 1970’s. It was designed to show the ways in which society blamed victims of sexual assault and normalized male sexual violence.

Men and women have a subconscious or conscious part of this culture – that can be anything from the long held belief that rape is the attack of a young, fully clothed  (no flesh showing), woman being threatened by a knife with mask wielding maniac in an alleyway. It can be the long held belief that as long as a woman doesn’t get drunk, dress a certain way, have too many sexual partners, flirt with a man, walk around at night, to name a few, are somehow part to blame for their attack. It can be people judging the accused, assuming a natural bias towards the accused because they’re white/wealthy/popular/famous/could have any woman they wanted/was known to the woman/volunteered at a homeless shelter/adopted a cat – the list goes on.

Rape culture isn’t bias towards men, women, sexuality, race, age. Anyone can participate in perpetuating the myths that ultimately harm the victim, prevent justice and divide a community.

By someone I know declaring victims out to make money, buying into false allegations propaganda, empathising with the accused’s family, they are indirectly insulting me, my friends and other victims out there.

Let me tell you, I cannot imagine a woman alive going through the harrowing pain, humiliation, degradation of talking about an assault for the sole purpose of making some money. I don’t deny that there *might* be, but I’d think that number is so comparatively small that’s almost obsolete. The onus HAS to be on making women feel safe enough to speak out. To not be condemned, threatened, humiliated and destroyed by a trauma that she didn’t ask for.

Frankly, I haven’t been so disgusted for a long time. Not because someone spoke the words that so many already think, but because it came from someone that knows me and knows the heartache that I’ve been through. Someone that I believed would stand up to rape culture, stand up for women and not buy into this nasty, vicious secondary assault on victims.

Turns out, you really can’t know people. And people can’t really know you.

People may feel comfortable in their ignorant beliefs, content not to face the real fear that women have known for too long. But ignorance provides a blanket for predators to roam freely amongst them.  To go without punishment, to go without fear of consequences. It leaves a victim more afraid, more isolated, silenced and perpeptually ashamed.

I remain appalled at these messages.  I print them here so I can assign blame where it belongs. With the culture that CHOOSES to be blind, CHOOSES the predator over the victim.

I want no part of anyone that is willing to throw myself or other survivors under the bus to make themselves feel better about the world we live in.

Shame. On. You.

The thing (the truth)

You know what, I am just going to write about what’s been happening that has caused me so much stress.  No one has said that I can’t discuss it and I’m sick of carrying it around and being careful not to mention anything.  And again, I cannot be silenced.

So, I started by blog when I was back in NZ after my brief time in the UK (18 Months) because S got ‘the job’ that was going to ‘make’ him.  Yep, heard that before.  I was pregnant with our son and I really didn’t need that upheaval, when I had a good circle of friends and a good OB here.  But he was adamant, we were all going.  It was going to be good for us.

We were given two weeks to pack our lives and move out of the house, the house I’d loved overlooking the ocean.  Where friends had congregated for BBQs, and where the children went to school just down the road.  We had, like most accumulated so much stuff, alas, most of it became charity or tip fodder.  The whole thing felt like a nightmare.  I anticipated any second that S would change his mind.  Why would I want to return to the UK??

Back in the UK, we’d miss a Kiwi summer, and were in an English winter.  I can’t tell you how depressing, back to back winters are.  S was in the job straight away, so pregnant and leaving my kids with my parents, I trawled rental properties with an agent.  I was pregnant, tired and sick and eager to build a nest for my children.  I had no help, my parents bordered useless.  They were never good with the kids and as a wife/mother, it was obvious that I could juggle all the balls in the air, still look good and not complain.  We were temporarily in an apartment, a 2 bedroom apartment which was hellish with three small children, so S arranged for us to move into a four bedroom apartment near St Paul’s Cathedral.  The area was lovely, and perhaps in holiday mode, I could have enjoyed the history and architecture and atmosphere and I have done previously in London.

But not just a house, I needed to find an OB and hospital too.  This meant many taxi trips and appointments, squeezing the odd scan in where I could to make sure my baby was OK with all this stress.

I found a house, a lovely big home a short walk from shops, off the M25 so easy drive into London city (not incl traffic!) and a fast train into London.

Our furniture was continuously delayed, so we had small pieces of rental furniture.  That were neither homely nor barely functional.  But we got through it.  Despite morning sickness and tiredness and swollen ankles, I organised a school for the kids and started to make this town our home.

I could never shake my regret at not filing charges against the man who had attacked me all those years ago.  And I felt more vulnerable than ever.

I hired a PI initially, I had to KNOW my enemy, and then I decided to press charges.

S worked long hours in the bank.  I felt I barely had any support.  My parents of course delighting that I should be a bankers wife and concentrate on being a Stepford wife.

The whole thing was a horrible, long never-ending nightmare.  But that is a different story.

As I lived in a county away from where it happened, I pressed charges through the local constabulary and then they in turn communicated with the constabulary of the area where the attack occurred.

communication breakdowns, different people on shift, new people, disorganisation and the general disregard you’d expect for a hisotric case were all part of a journey that lead to multiple psychiatric treatments, in-house care, medications, etc. I also managed to parent three kids, give birth to my fourth, and manage my life back in Blighty.  Of what life I had.  The resentment that I had towards S slowly bubbled unde the surface.  Maybe this signalled the start of our breakdown.

Anyway, there was a ‘Specially Trained Officer’ in the local police office that always treated me with such compassion and kindness.  We had a lot in common, and he was great company, funny and attractive.  He always had time for me, he never saw me as victim, he always helped by giving me legal advice and I feel supported me through the whole process.  Even in times of panic and upset, I could get hold of him.  We text each other often and after a while, people started to think our communication was probably too much.  But I didn’t care, here was a man who understood my pain, but could make me laugh and be there to mop up the tears.  I’m not sure how the line was crossed, there is no clear moment, no recollection of comment misread, or a ‘moment’ but somehow we became flirtatious.  There was an attraction between us.  He was married as well, but he told me unhappily and keen to leave.  We bonded over so many commonalities, and he made me feel like a desirable woman.  Not a mother, nor wife, nor struggling mental health patient.  A woman with desires, smart, funny and tender too.

In essence he represented to me everything my husband was not.  He listened, he advised, he held me, he spoke to me for hours.  He was there.

Anyway, he knew ultimately I would return to NZ and he knew that I loved my husband.  But I genuinely believed that there was something special, a connection.

I’m not going to justify this, it was wrong.

Fast forward, maybe three or so years later.  I’m in NZ.  He texts occasionally.  Chatty, upbeat messages, but I keep my tone civil but wary.  I am focused on my family and my marriage and I’m home.  Then he tells me that there was some sort of protest and he and some other cops got involved, things got a bit gnarly and there’s been a complaint about him.  He wonders, if asked, if I  might be a reference for him.

I don’t think that a good idea at all, and say as much.  I asked some friends in the UK and they tell me about a protest that occurred, so I know that much to be true.

He asks a few more times, implies things are heating up.  I answer the same.  I haven’t been in the UK for ages, it would be strange and frankly I don’t know the charges or what happened.

Then I receive a letter, from his office, an official letter, asking for information about an investigation into an officer during years that women made were pressing charges for sexual assault related crimes.  Of course, it was during the year that I had made my complaint (about the offender).

I thought it an odd request.  I ignored it.  I wanted no part of it.  I did query though, with him, why this letter?  He claims that someone is suggesting he was inappropriate, but its all lies and it’s a witch hunt.  Of course, I believe this because initially it seemed to be about a protest.

Gradually as time wears on, his communication comes in spurts.  Mostly asking for a references, sometimes just random, vague messages.  Once telling me he was quitting the force, felt suicidal.  It all seemed surreal.  I didn’t reply because I didn’t understand.

Gradually I started to wonder if maybe he had done something.  Overstepped a mark with someone, and if so, I had effectively set the benchmark.  As my affection was mutual, could he have interpreted that to mean that it was OK to make moves on victims?  I felt horrendously guilty.  Had I started a behaviour?  A year went by, and I carried the weight of my guilt.  What had I done?  What had he done?

So I called and obtained the name of the investigating officer.  I spoke to her.  I had to know what was going on, and why.  Hoping it was something minor, something casual, a witch hunt.  The investigation was still on going.  And I learnt that he had been inappropriate with 10 women in total (that they knew of).  All survivors of sexual assault, all with some sort of mental health issues.  I felt my heart go to stone.  Immediately I explained it WAS MY FAULT, I had been equally attracted and so he must have thought that paved the way to be with other people.  I also asked why this started off the back of a protest.  It had nothing to do with a protest.  It was a woman, making a complaint about his conduct.  I was noted in the communication through emails.  They expected I had become involved but without talking to me, they didn’t know the extent of the communication.  I had to know – was it my fault?  What had I done?

I thought back to when I saw him, always on duty, always in a police car (unmarked), it added to the appearance of a professional meeting.  Yes, somethings had seemed or said that seemed inappropriate, but he was a man and we were friends now, so it didn’t matter did it?

Frankly the whole thing is confusing.  He’s apparently claiming to be very unwell (mentally) but the argument is whether that caused his behaviour or whether he’s simply using it as an excuse.  I guess that’s internal politics because I don’t know why a resignation wouldn’t be accepted.

I mentioned that his marriage was broken and it had been a difficult year for him – yeah well, apparently that’s not true either.

In fact, I am not really the wiser as to what is true and what isn’t anymore.  Maybe I wasn’t so special?  Was he attracted to damaged goods?  Did I really know him at all?  Could these women be wrong?  Was it wrong that he spent so much time with me?  I thought he genuinely liked me.  Or was I a challenge?  Was this a game?

I mentioned to the woman who I kept my phones, I always keep my cell phones, unless I upgrade.  I have a phone and handbag addiction.  I’m not even sure why it tumbled so forthcoming from my mouth.  Even at the time, she didn’t seem interested.  I guess I pictured that Blackberry in my draw, that had been my lifeline.  So many messages communicated.  Such an integral time in my life.  Later she asked for me to send it back.  But the thing has been long since reset.  I might keep my phones, but I don’t keep my data.  She wanted things I’d told her to be written down and for me to sign. A formality with record keeping.  That made sense.

Little did I know, its been a few weeks of complete hassle.  Emails come with statements – formal looking, I’ve had to go to the library and sign and scan.  NZ Police got involved to get the phone.  I have felt scared.  I have felt further violated.  And frankly I would like to speak to the person in question and ask all these questions, did I mean anything to you?  Whats a lie?  Whats the truth?  Is this all one big mistake?

I’m reminded of the reason we met in the first place, and that adds to the seediness of it all.  I feel dirty and crappy all over again.  I’m scared.  I feel used, but I feel so stupid.

I want to believe he’s the nicest cop I’ve met, that helped me through a traumatic time.  The alternative cannot be right.

So, this is why my life has taken an unusual and upsetting turn.  I probably shouldnt have called the UK police, but I had to know the truth.  Although I don’t feel much closer to it.

Again, I’m shouldering this alone.  But I have made an appointment with my therapist to discuss this.  I need to talk, and to think about it.  I need to find where to allocate my blame.  I need to consider what this means and what I’ve done wrong here.

My self entitled rant

No one fully appreciates the trauma of a sexual assault unless they too have experienced it.

I remember when I trained with Victim Support and I heard people who were the victims of house burgleries feel violated, stating that they felt almost like they’d been raped.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not getting into a ‘who has it worse’ scenario.  I’m not going to trivialize a home invasion, and I completely understand, although not having experienced it, that it would be extremely frightening and traumatic.  In America, you can shoot someone while trying to defend your property.  And of course, people have worked very hard to accumulate these items.  So I’m not putting that trauma down AT ALL.  BUT, yes, the inevitable but, items, aside from sentimental items can be replaced.  They can be insured, they can be, well, effectively lived without.  No, I wouldn’t like it if someone stole my phone, my TV, my laptop, my jewellery, or waded through my personal effects.  No I wouldn’t feel safe for a long time after.

But how can that compare to someone forcing themselves onto your most intimate, private and irreplaceable body?  I couldn’t fight the man off of me, he didn’t care what I said or did, he didn’t even care that people heard, he was taking my body and using it for his own gratification irrespective of anything else.  I can’t replace the virginity that I lost, I can’t forget what he did.  I can never feel entirely clean of him either. My body still reacts to flashbacks, triggers, even medical exams.  I lost a piece of myself that I will never get back.  And in that, I will never be able to feel fully safe in my own body again.  For the rest of my life, I will always know that someone is fully capable of forcing themselves onto me, despite my protests – physical and/or verbal, despite the chance someone could catch him, despite my best efforts to avoid certain situations – as victim blamers and rape culture tends to denote that there is.  I will always know that this CAN happen because IT did happen.  It’s not the stuff I read on the news and thank god it wasn’t me.  Its not the stuff people can joke about and I can impishly smile and ignore it because they’re talking about me.  They’re joking about me.  I can’t live in a world where bad stuff happens when you’re in the wrong place, wearing the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, etc.  I know that it can happen when you’re barely a teenager, when you think you’re in a safe place, when the world is a big and beautiful place and bogeyman live only in the darkest corner of nightmares.

So when a trauma, as physically and as intrusive as rape occurs, there is no fix.  No cure, no healing balm.  No number of therapy sessions, no special words, no magic pills.

You learn to live with this horrible awareness, this painful notion that the world goes on, even though part of you died that night. Even though your brain can’t fully appreciate the depth of the horror, the pain of the horror and permanent reminders of the horror.

My subsequent relationship was an unhealthy one.  I trusted this person with my past experience, and he used it to gain power over me.  The person I trusted, physically held this power over me.  Knowing he could break me, mould me, control me, scare me, own me.  But to me he wasn’t the rapist.  I didn’t know the rapist, but I knew this guy.  I shared his bed.  I had sexual relations with him, I ate dinner with him, I knew his family and friends.  He was my protector, my provider and my partner.  I showered and bathed with him. Celebrated with him.  And yet he was able to push me down and take what he wanted, until the pain was so unbearable that it was hard to walk.  To squeeze my throat, to threaten to end me, to demean me and degrade me.  To ‘permit’ toilet breaks, to take my clothes, to hide me from the world.  But he was my partner.  I loved him and I thought I needed him.  I was young, he was my saviour.

Only leaving when a knife nearly took my choices away.

Only YEARS later did I begin to question the relationship.  Its validity, its impact, its power and control cycle. For so long, he had been ‘just a boyfriend.’

I have since been married (to a different man), had my beautiful kids and now I am separated.  And I take stock of my life, I consider the impact of all of my years on this earth.  The pain and suffering.  The lack of support.  How the only way I knew how to survive was to travel.  Alone.  To avoid people, to avoid relationships.  To avoid hurt.

I could play a role of wife to my ex husband, not really encompassing all that is involved in that duty.  Not fully ready to commit, or trust.  But to engage in an otherwise healthy marriage, or what I deem to be considered healthy and raise my children in a family full of love and compassion.  No fear, open communication and honesty.

In my separation I am left wondering who I really am.  Not able to trust, thrust often into the past.  No one to discuss these fears or concerns with – my choice – I get that.

But essentially after leaning on another man for so many years, I feel like I am left to grow all over again, dissect things, consider things, feel things, grieve for things.

My body doesn’t feel safe.  I don’t feel safe.  No home, no car, no person can change any of that.

So I don’t think anyone can place a time frame on trauma.  I don’t think anyone can have expectations or work along a linear healing process.

I am blind in my healing.  I always have been.  Wanting to move away, move on, not talk, not discuss the pain, the memories, the trauma.  Not acknowledging the nightmares, the triggers, my own limitations.

Who I am today is part moulded on the traumas of what I have experienced.  The fears, lack of trust, negative self talk, inability to talk out loud about my struggles, the fact that it has taken SO LONG to come to terms with any of it.  To process it, to accept it.

I make no excuses for my anxiety, I make no excuses for my mental health and I make no excuses for the way I am wired.

I will manage my mental health – that is, not ignore the advice of mental health professionals, and I will try not to blame the entire world for my pain.

But make no mistake, I have been wounded so deeply that I deserve my good days and my bad days.  My scared days, my down days, and my anxiety.

I am not entitled to anything from my marriage, but I will always have my voice.


Feelings and focus

I went to the monthly survivors group on Sunday. A self proclaimed tortoise taking a peek at the outside world of peers. There was so much I could have shared, especially in light of recent months, the triggers, the pain, the shame and the battles. But I didn’t feel able to. I didn’t feel able to connect at all. I felt overwhelmingly tired and I couldn’t shake a threatening migraine. I didn’t feel claustrophobic though, which is good. Just too far removed emotionally to get anything from the group. It was good to see my therapist again though before I see her in her therapist capacity in a week or so.

I’ve heard nothing more regarding this overseas thing. I’m conscious that an email could arrive any time during the night here, but I’ll deal with that as it happens. I can’t keep worrying myself sick about something that I can’t control.

On the Monday my migraine was fully blown and the neighbours started their music at 8.30 in the morning! By midday the thumping was too much, I couldn’t sleep and I could have cried in pain. I called the council and reported the noise. I would feel bad, but frankly I’m sick of the constant noise and they’re so inconsiderate. It’s time they knew that it wasn’t fair. As me personally telling them obviously didn’t change anything.

To date they haven’t been loud again – but I won’t be lulled into a false sense of security. They still do their wheel spins/doughnuts outside the house at all hours.

I haven’t really seen S and we haven’t spoken since I gave in to his demands. Feels very much like he got what he wanted and now he’s gone out of my life. Mostly I’m ok with this, but I feel twinges of sadness. It’s not nice to be used and discarded by anyone let alone someone that was supposed to care. At least the kids aren’t suffering, I’ve had them over regularly and it certainly helps now I’m no longer attached to the family home. It just feels like a weird dream that we once bought our dream home. Now it’s worthless to me and I won’t make anymore memories there with my family.

I’m considering my future and looking at returning to work full time. Ideally it would be out of Wellington and I’d take the two youngest with me, organising shared custody with my ex for all of them. I no longer feel Wellington is my home, I don’t want to leave NZ and leave the kids and be far away, and it’s not working in this rental. And I have nothing really here for me anymore, aside from a lot of sad memories. We’ll see what happens, but currently the job market and rental market is better away from the main cities and I would really like a fresh start.

I feel a bit stuck, like I’m ready to move on but not really sure how to. I need to find myself again and being so close to my ‘old’ house doesn’t really help. Especially as I’m sure my ex and his family will be hanging out more and more. And I really don’t need their shit. It’s clear S and I won’t be friends. And again, I’m sad about this, but not devastated like before. I only see who he is now. And that’s not very much.

I’m due to see my psychiatrist tomorrow where I’ll admit that I’m taking considerably less anti depressants and no other medications. On the whole I’m not sure anything really helped. I wouldn’t like to go without everything – just in case. But I needed to grieve this separation and everything just seemed to stall the inevitable.

I still have the occasional nightmares and panic. But I think being forced to attend appointments alone, deal with my trauma alone has taught me that I’m more than capable of dealing with it. There is no one I’m close to to discuss anything – and that’s fine.

I’m still not ready to date. 

My only focus is my children. Giving them all of my unconditional love and energy has been my greatest source of healing.

It’s very tiring at times but better to be tired from looking after the kids than tired from the agony of life.