Ebbing and flowing

I’m feeling in a stronger space then I was when I wrote my last blog entry. I’m beginning to understand that my healing ebbs and flows like a river. Even my grief over the marriage seems to cycle. I take these as a good sign that instead of being permanently down, I’m just experiencing a cacophony of emotions/feelings; none of which lasts very long.

I’ve also reconnected with friends and the things my counsellor is teaching me, is providing me with a better sense of perspective.

Last night in fact, I was out at a comedy festival. I was extremely anxious about heading for a night out in the city. We had dinner first and I found the thought was more scary then the actual event. I relaxed and had a really good night. Seeing my friends has reminded me that a, I’m not alone and b, I’m an individual – not just a mother and ex wife. It gives me further opportunity to expand on what I’m learning about myself and receive encouraging feedback from friends.

I continue with the gym – although my physical appearance doesn’t seem to be changing as I’d like. I’ve arranged to catch up with my personal trainer on Friday to make sure I’m doing things right and to improve on my circuit.

I’m also applying for work again! I’ve really appreciated this time to heal and reflect and take things at my own pace. But I hate struggling financially all the time, and I feel I need more of a sense of purpose. With the right job for the right company I feel I can further develop myself and learn and integrate with other people. Sure I’m anxious about it and I doubt myself and my capabilities but I can’t let anxiety rule my life. I am a capable person – I just need some practice!

There was another show I wanted to see in the city but quickly dismissed it assuming no one would be interested or come with me. I finally got the guts to reach out and see if there was any interest. Two friends readily agreed and the tickets are booked and paid for! I think this is the first thing I’ve instigated for a long time. I tend to wait for people to come to me. And that’s not really fair on a friendship.

Steve’s parents coming down kind of forced me to spend some time home alone (aside from gym visits), and as opposed to feeling depressed or ruminating over any perceived trouble, I actually relaxed and appreciated the time. I got some wine, rented some dvds and rediscovered my sense of being alone as opposed to being lonely.

Im attending group therapy on Sunday and this is a reminder that I still have a road to travel and historic issues to confront. But for the most part, I’m ok with that. It’s just another opportunity to reflect on where I’m at and connect with other people.

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I’m not sure why, but I seem to have dropped a couple of rungs down the ladder. After I saw my counsellor last week, I felt much lighter, I’d finally articulated all of my jumbled thoughts. But by evening I felt empty. I can’t explain it. Not so much drained as just very alone, very vulnerable.

I hoped it was just blowback from the much needed counselling session; but I haven’t been able to bounce back. Even at the gym I feel very sluggish and tired and yet usually it energises me.

It’s possible I was getting into a routine (of sorts). Irrespective of whether I dropped the kids off or not, I’d head to the gym. Do my volunteer work on Thursday, and I guess from there I planned my days.

It’s now the school holidays – and don’t get me wrong, I’m loving spending time with my kids. Steve is completely off the radar and I don’t mind being available at all hours. But I can’t get to the gym daily, I can’t do my volunteer work, my WSD course has finished, it’s hard to see friends because I have the kids and I don’t really have evenings to myself. I have counselling tomorrow and I need to take the kids with me, and I’m seeing my CPN on Friday, I’ll have to take the kids along to that too. Not much fun for them. But I feel I really need my counselling session to work through this and I need to see my CPN to talk about my mood.

I also had a scary experience at the gym last week. I was on the treadmill listening to my music but glancing at the tv screens and for some reason I completely disassociated. A lot of time passed, my legs were working but my mind went off. I KNOW I was thinking about something (flashback?), but I really can’t remember at all. I suddenly sort of came around and panicked. I didn’t know where I was, what I was doing and why it happened. I’m thankful I didn’t fall off the treadmill. But it’s really affected me. The gym is my safe place where I can think through concerns and then distract myself with weights that usually leads to me feeling good. But for quite an extended period, I’d left my body and lost control of my mind. I feel like a memory of what I was thinking is just on the periphery but I can’t quite touch it. It’s such an awful, scary feeling. I haven’t spoken to anyone about it. I guess if it’s not said out loud I don’t need to own it. Plus I can’t imagine anyone understanding that. For 2 days afterwards I had a terrible migraine. Not sure if it’s related or not.

My sleep is also off. I’m not taking zopiclone because I’m mindful that I need to be alert for the kids. But what’s happening is we’re all going to bed later and then sleeping in.

I guess I also have to factor in that Steve had some friends down from Auckland. They’ve been with their wives since Steve and I have been together, and although Steve has been up to Auckland previously, it seemed to affect me more with them being here. All 4 of the kids were at my house and we weren’t allowed into the house. Which sent my brain into overdrive a bit. Were his friends really here? Or was he planning a rendezvous with a new lover? And why should I mind?

After the weekend, Monday to be exact, I was planning a ‘slob’ day at the the house. I knew I’d have a load of washing to do (I don’t have a tumblr dryer at my place), and I knew the kids would relish the space and privacy. Turns out Steve had decided to work from home. As usual he could hardly look at me, and contempt seemed to be radiating off of him. I politely enquired about his weekend (not question him ruthlessly of course) but see if he had a good time and his friends were well. (obviously I know them). He couldn’t have made it any clearer that it clearly wasn’t my business and I had no place to ask.

I miss catching up together. I’d liked to have told him about my gym experience and get his feedback. I’d like to have shared my vulnerability and get some reassurance. I would have loved one of our evenings where we used to watch a movie, have a bottle of wine, some take out. Just have that connection. But of course I realise that’s totally inappropriate.

So like two pieces of broken jagged glass we tried to sludge through the day. In retrospect I should have left the kids with him (he could have worked and looked after them) and I wouldn’t have been in this situation. But of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I miss his warmth and I miss him caring. I miss just chatting and hanging out.

So I think it’s probably a combination of ALL of these things. And now my internal monologue is beating myself up for not giving the kids a better holiday, for wishing for the old times, for losing at my life.

Last night I had a really vivid dream that Steve was telling me about his new girlfriend- I don’t know if he has one or not. But he spoke with such fondness for her and continued his hateful attitude toward me. I could have cried this morning.

Steve has been my best friend for years. But now he can’t even tell me how his weekend was. His hatred of me is almost palpable.

Despite being around my beautiful children, I can’t shake the feeling of loneliness. And Steve’s parents have announced they’re coming down next week, so I’ll be dismissed from mothering duty.

Is it loss of control? Is it a sense of not belonging? Is it just part of the cycle of grief and healing? I don’t know and I feel I’ve lost my way a bit. Please just let this be a temporary phase.

Progress

Progress is slow – but there is progress. The other day I didn’t have to take the kids to school, and I found myself lying in bed, not wanting to get up. Lunchtime came and went and still I remained, dozing on and off in bed. Everything felt too hard, pointless or required too much energy. But I told myself, I must at least go to the gym. I always feel better afterwards, not once have I finished a work out and gone, naaa, that was a waste of time. So I went and I did my hour and felt pretty chuffed with myself.

There’s still telltale signs that I’m not functioning properly. Housework has taken a back seat, I’m more emotional, my anxiety is always running high. I’m usually very house proud, so it’s unlike me to let the house get so messy. And every Wednesday when I go to volunteer I go through a myriad of excuses as to why I can’t go. But I go, even though my entire being is resisting.

But I see progress and I think others are noticing it too. I maintain my gym routine, I try to maintain communication with people and I put a lot of effort into my time with the kids. I’ve kept up with the Wednesday evening group for the ‘married, separated or divorced’ even though it’s a fair drive and the nights are drawing in so it’s dark, but I’m taking part more. And it’s reminder that I’m not alone.

Last Sunday was the survivors monthly meeting and it was a total flop. There wasn’t the usual energy and interesting pieces of information. It basically revolved around two women that I don’t like very much – and nor does anyone else for that matter! I was sneaking out and two of my friends caught me, they felt the same so we left and went to one of their houses and enjoyed a cold beer. It saved my Sunday from being a complete waste of time. I had to leave early though because Sunday night is my swimming time with the girls. They look forward to it every week and I’m really pleased we can do something together.

I have no routine, Steve’s hours are completely off the wall. Working very late, leaving early, sometimes travel sometimes not. So it’s a bit hard for me to commit to much else because I never know when I’m going to be needed. But it kind of works. I get more time with the kids and they’ve stayed at my house more often. I’m not sure if Steve realises how fortunate he is to have me always waiting in the background, ready at the drop of a hat, even though I’m still fighting my own mental illness. But I think I owe him. After all he went through because of my illness and having to be there for me constantly. At least I get time with my children, as opposed to him dealing with a sick wife.

Things remain amicable between us. But I feel a little like I have to walk on eggshells, if I say the wrong thing he accuses me of trying to start an argument or makes comments like ‘it’s always about you.’ I have to be careful what I say and how I say things. But I appreciate he’s busy and stressed with work. I just wish he didn’t think so little of me to always assume the worst.

The positive thing to come out of all of this is that I’m rediscovering myself. I wasn’t very self reflective when I was married. We were a unit and everything was just assumed as we’d grown together as opposed to growing as individuals. But I’m realising I’m quite a different person to who I thought I was and my likes/dislikes have changed a lot. It’s scary to realise everything I thought I knew is in question, but at least I’m being honest with myself.

So, the journey continues, one day at a time.