Facebook

I have some wonderful followers on here that either come along to read, or post inspiring and heplful comments.  It makes me feel less alone, in difficult times.

As such, I’ve taken a leaf out of a fellow bloggers (epage!) and have created a Facebook page. Here you will find a (very) novice platform to contact me, create discussion or to find some agencies that may be helpful.  You are always welcome to contact me via that page or on here, and I’d be happy to locate more sources as needed.

The most important thing that this blog has created is a community in which I’ve been able to express all of my inner most thoughts, feelings, fears, symptoms and my life journey to recovery.

No one should be alone.

Thank to everyone over the last years that have held my hand and offered me words to think over, words to soothe and words to remind me that I’m heard.

The blog of course will continue as normal.

Penny Insane

(https://www.facebook.com/PennyInsane)

Penny

xx

 

 

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Trapped

The weekend was really good. We took the kids to watch some car racing which is considered a very ‘bogan’ interest here, but we all enjoyed it nonetheless!

   
 
Then on Sunday we went to watch the celebrations of the Chinese New Year in the city. And feast on some delicious Asian food! The weather was spectacular- and again it was nice to be out doing something different 

  
 
We were tired but all glad for an interesting and varied weekend. 

Sunday night a conversation started between S and I, there seemed to be an understanding. A closeness? I needed that. This week being the anniversary has been especially hard and the constant debilitating pain of migraines has made me feel isolated and lonely. I hoped that for once we might reach some sort of plateau – could there be hope? Could some compassion and understanding be reached?

My hope was short lived. It’s amazing how despite knowing it’s over, a vulnerable part of me wanted to be wanted, wanted to be listened to and supported in a way only my longest confidante can provide.

But again I was left with no doubt in my mind that the love is gone. Words are meaningless. 

This morning I had my appointment at the clinic for the depo. The drive there my head started to throb again. I parked and entered the building feel numb. Posters advertising safe sex and the importance of consent. All of these clinics look the same. I stared blankly – not wanting to read anything or see any images that might trigger me. But my 14 year old self felt very present. I felt vulnerable, anxious, lonely and afraid. But my need to stop my menstrual cycle is strong enough to endure this hardship. The nurse called my name a couple of times apparently. I was so spaced I didn’t hear or see her. As I followed her into the room with its swabs and test kits – I wondered how I presented when I was 14. My friend spoke for me, but indeed I was even more spaced, overwhelmed, confused. I wondered how I managed to go through the process of emergency contraception when I was still very much a child. I wonder if a nurse took in my unruly state and 1000 yard stare. Or if she just saw me as another person on a conveyer belt of people taking risks? 

I remember returning to the clinic years later for my smear tests and blood tests. The tears, the support of the nurses. The rustling paper of bed linen, the sterile smell, the sympathetic smiles, the invasion of my body with objects. Again, aside from the people in that room, no one knew what I was experiencing. I remember crying on the bus home.

So today the nurse tried to initiate light conversation but I was hardly able to hear her. I must have seemed rude and/or arrogant. But I couldn’t stop my mind slipping into a protective stance, as questions floated in my mind – trying to remember images from my past.

Well, eventually I received the shot. My new migraine medication and blood pressure warranted some checks.

By the time I left my head was becoming a migraine again and I wanted to cry. But I needed S to meet me to fill up my car. So I stayed detached. The tears come and go. But my head is taking over. Back to the painkillers.

  
I suppose I can never truly be free. But at least I can manage through this alone. 

One day I won’t need someone to tell me it’s going to be ok – I’ll believe it myself.

Back in Kratie

Back in Kratie. The taxi service was uneventful thank god. Just me having horrible pangs of guilt? Frustration? Upset? That I was driving away from the city. Most notably the airport. The gateway to home.

I arrived into the pouring rain, but the familiar faces of town and my little guesthouse did soothe my anxiety. 

I had dinner with my journalist friend, it was nice to catch up and feel ‘normal.’

Today I headed back to teaching. The organisation has introduced a ‘no moto’ policy, following my accident and a few before me, seems I got away lightest. This new policy means I have given up my freedom and ease of commuting to the school. 

Apparently a tuk tuk will be my way of travel to the school and back. But he couldn’t make it today, so I was given a lift by staff – get this – on the back of the moto with NO helmet. I also watched this other member of the team, that I don’t like because he’s useless and unprofessional, use a Moto, despite never have ridden a motorbike before and passing his drivers test – but never driven a car since then.

Feels a bit hypocritical. 

I arrived into the staff room and the temperature must have dropped to sub zero, the Australian teacher – who previously couldn’t stand the guy on the Moto have become strong alliances. As such, I wasn’t acknowledged at all. Exaggerated attempts to ignore me. I’ve never seen such childish behaviour before. I took it in my stride, caring only about my students. They greeted me with enthusiastic hugs and genuine concern.

I began teaching again finding my flow. Impressed by how much my students had remembered from my teaching.

After two lessons I returned to the woman taking me back – no helmet again.

I have brief respite in my guesthouse until this evening’s class. The dreaded one because one guy in particular likes to talk over everyone and in turn makes them feel bad.

Then I’m being taken home in the dark via Moto – you guessed it, no helmet.

I was fortunate to be able to FaceTime with my family today. The kids looked so happy and well and I’m sure my dog recognised me! They as usual questioned when I was coming home and talked about missing me. They also asked me if I would do anything like this again. I told them quite honestly, no. Being away from my children this long has been unbearable. I thought I would manage it, I thought I’d enjoy the chance to be independent and have space. I was wrong. I’m so happy to have experienced Cambodia and I wouldn’t change that, but I should never have planned to be away this long – and knowing there’s no flights is enough to make me feel useless, trapped and desperate to become a proper mother again.

I miss the chaos, the noise and the unconditional love of my family. 

I will also miss my daughter’s birthday on Oct 13, which makes me feel terribly guilty.

After this week there is a holiday in Cambodia. 

Pchum Ben
That means most of the places will shut down for the week, including my accomodation. 

I’d like to see Siem Reap and visit Ankor Wat, before returning to Phonm Penh. But apparently the transport and accomodation may be hard at this time. I have this week to look into it.

If I can just hold on – I’ll be reunited with my family soon enough.

I have learnt so much from this trip. Made some great friends, had some experiences. But I’ve also learnt the importance of having my family. That memories are best shared with the people you love.

Full circle

I’ve gone full circle. I’m back the hotel where I started in Phonm Penh.

The taxi here was a disaster. After we refuelled (which he asked me to pay because he didn’t have any money) and my 50USD fare, his car mysteriously stopped working properly. Another taxi was arranged. 

And this taxi picked people up, dropped them off. I was God knows where, wondering if I’d ever get to PP. 

Eventually, after a journey that took the same as the bus – I arrived nearly six hours later, as opposed to the customary four in a private taxi. My driver also got lost, and although I don’t know Khmer, I could tell he was angry about it.

The volunteer coordinator met me, I unwrapped my painful arm and the blood gushed everywhere. I cleaned it with bottled water, wrapped a flannel and a dressing gown belt around it and we went straight the hospital. The ‘usual’ dr wasn’t there. So a guy that looked about 12, drowning in his doctor coat, cleaned the wound wordlessly and wrapped it using a ‘fake’ skin. I was expected to come the next day and see the other dr. 

In that time I copped abuse from the Australian teacher for leaving a day earlier than anticipated. I have no idea why. I only had enough time to pay my bill, pack and the taxi was there. And I was keen to get close to the city.

Since then it seems the Kratie project has used my accident as a catalyst for all the problems and issues there. A Skype chat that had been planned for weeks was fucked around and the tidbits of information I received sounded like I was the social pariah. I know that’s not actually true, there have been miscommunications and break downs since the project started. But head office hasn’t listened or done anything. Everyone is blaming everyone else. I was just happy to teach and live in my little guesthouse. If problems arose I spoke directly and assertively but all the political bullshit is draining and frankly boring. 

Being in PP, I’m close to the airport, today I realised just how easy it would be to jump on a plane, get home. Be with my children, be in my own country.

But my husband is less keen. To compromise I thought if I stayed a bit longer touring around he might feel differently. Although my heart wants to go home, my head is asking can I stand the look of disdain and misery from my husband? 

I saw the consultant at 2pm. She’s told me its best to stay here for the week. My arm is hot to the touch, it’s weak and vulnerable to infection. And carrying things is too hard. She is considering further tests, but first she wants to see my arm heeling. I was on the wrong antibiotics as I tried to express to my counterparts in Kratie, but they just wanted me to take the pills – but not pain relief. I’m sure if their nerve endings were at the surface, they would want painkillers too.

So I’m kind of fed up with the politics and now taking the shit.

I’m very sore, I’m sweating, sat next to a pool that looks even more beautiful and I can’t go in.

I’ll miss more valuable teaching time as well as entering a particularly hostile and awkward working environment. I ask myself, as a volunteer do I really need this?

I’ve come to Cambodia and enjoyed its offerings. The culture and history. Even my stint at teaching showed me a confidence and knowledge I long thought dead.

But I feel old, tired, grubby all the time. I’m restless at being told to wait a week. My insurance reimburses me so my outgoings are more than I budgeted for. Which in turn will further agitate my husband.

If I hadn’t have been wearing a helmet, I would have died or be pretty much dead. My helmet was destroyed on impact. Considering this I feel further committed to my family. But even a near fatal accident didn’t change my husband’s disposition. That speaks volumes really.

So full circle and still very much alone. 

Death of a marriage 

Just before my lessons began I received a message from my husband that my daughter was in hospital, she had sprained her ankle previously but now the pain was unbearable and the school phoned him to take her to get examined.

The communication was made slow going, probably heightened by the fact I was due to teach and overwhelmingly anxious, feeling useless and miles away. My husband also informed me that his parents would come and look after her while he was at work.

I’ve decided I’m not even going to battle on that one. I’m fed up of being spoken to like shit, I’m fed up as being seen as the bad one. There is no consideration for my need for information and no sense of us being united. Perhaps I have naively anticipated that something like this would spark our connection, or at the very least he would consider the impact on me.

He doesn’t care. He’s right, he’s long done caring.

It’s not a phase, it’s not something that will change. I’m an inconvenience.

I felt like I was nagging for information. About my own daughter. 

When I spoke to her via the Internet and saw her brave smiling face, I was relieved. She’s in less pain than I had anticipated and the other kids are happy.

My husband – he couldn’t care less.

I rode my motorbike through horrendous monsoon conditions, soaked to the bone, pelted by rain, desperate to speak to my family. Desperate to hear their voices and see their faces.

I’m not just physically removed, I can feel things are changing. And with the introduction of his family, they will all move further out of my reach.

I cried buckets of pain when my husband told me he didn’t love me, that he hadn’t been happy for years. That if I returned home earlier he would move out. I thought that pain was insurmountable. I didn’t think I’d ever recover. My heart felt smashed, everything felt unreal. I wanted to go back and fight for him, for us. 

How could my wonderful, warm, tender, gentle protective husband no longer be there for me? How could I go on? How would I survive?

But my continued attempts to talk are rebuffed. And conversation is kept within strict boundaries – he has initiated that. Hurtful. Painful. A tender love that was home for me, gone.

But I guess I’m beginning to see now that he too has changed. He no longer cares, he offers no tenderness, no warmth. The man I once knew has gone and is too far out of reach.

I am nothing to him. And I feel I have worth. I feel I deserve more than to be spoken to like an arsehole.

I feel I deserve the modicum of respect and regard because I’m the mother of his children. Because we once shared a life together, our fears, our dreams. But if someone can turn so cold and withheld – what is the point? Why should I undignify myself even more?

I have been clawing my way through these last few months. Trying to deal with the court stuff, trying to manage my marriage, trying to maintain a routine that bored me, but giving my love and adoration to my children. Trying to offer my love and support to my husband. 

And now, here I am, living and being on my own and realising I’m not as weak as I thought I was. Not as incompetent.

I wish my husband was the same as he used to be, as I’m sure he wishes I was the same.

But at least now I accept, I will never have worth to him. 

Lost

I’m tired. My key catchphrase. The mantra that I live by. The sentance that sums up my daily being. My response to the day, to my life, to everything.

It’s after 1pm. I’m in pjs, in bed. I’ve spent the morning closing my Facebook account, opening a new one and trying not to lose yet more friends as I inconvinience everyone moving over. Someone told someone. In malice – probably not. In a bid to clear themselves of carrying around a ‘secret’ and pass it off as the ‘right thing’ a misguided or selfish approach to a situation that they didn’t ask to be in. Frankly, one can only speculate, and as we know, it’s every man for himself in this world. Literally, every MAN for himself.

I’ve done with the tears and the trying to make sense of it. I just need to adjust and move on. The truth was bound to trickle out anyway. Closing down other media accounts, no great loss. Contacts come and go, if they’re meant to be in my life, I will find them again.

The more pressing issue, the greatest of my energy occurred last night. 

My husband and I had a babysitter come over and we went out. Although the first couple of hours was spent behind the bedroom door in discussion. The idea of a romantic dinner was not in either of our minds. Picking over pieces of our stale marriage, the cold parts, the neglected parts, the raw and tasteless parts was instead on our menu.

We then drove to the cinema. In the bar area, my facade of listening diligently and calmly slipped, I felt some anger rising, my tone rose. The loop of conversation that is never going to end. He is a good man, I’m a bad person. It’s true. He could have been a successful multi millionaire by now. Driving fast cars living the fast life. And here he is with this miserable woman full of issues and misery. I genuinely feel remorseful for him. He deserves so much better.

We entered the movie theatre. A rather bizarre thing to do following a clear conversation stating the end of our marriage. 

To absorb into a horror movie was nice. The jumps and the scares. The escapism into another story. Another realm. 

The drive home in silence.

My world has slanted and twisted at sickening angles and degrees. My vision has blurred and gravity feels like it’s ever shifting. 

What I’ve come to know, expect, take for granted is not there anymore. But in truth it never was. We became strangers long ago. We just chose to ignore it. The inconvenient truth of it all. 

And now I’m awaiting my passport, I feel like a guest in my home. The conversations now start with, ‘when you get back…’ 

At this point I regret proceeding to trial. I wanted justice, but I doubted my strength and I was right to do that. It takes everything you’ve got and I hardly had anything to start with. You need so much support, but our marriage was already strained.

All I can do is wait to leave. It tears me up to leave my children. But somewhere I stopped living. I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do anymore. 

I’m completely lost. 

Post therapy

So therapy was yesterday but I’ve been wandering around not really part of this world. I had booked to get a manicure done not really intentionally after my appointment but it was the only slot my regular salon had and my nails were driving me bonkers so I decided to take the appointment. The obscurity of the situation wasn’t lost on me. It was like a large crane from one of the those games where you can (supposedly) win a teddy if you direct it well over a toy and it comes down, the claw thing clamps onto the teddy and brings it to the hole. Only we all know the bloody thing is rigged because the teddy ALWAYS slips out. Well, in my case, I was in therapy, it’s raw, blah, blah, then comes the claw, plucks me up, this time it does work (guess the analogy wasn’t that good!) and drops me in a salon! And there’s all these pretty, vibrant, bubbly young women talking about nail polish and gossiping about local things. I’m not an idiot – I realise THEY probably have work masks on, but here we are acting like the decision between ‘midnight swim’ and ‘pea green soup’ is the biggest, life changing decision we’ve faced for a while.

There’s the obligatory wide smile, big eyed, ‘hey! How’s your day been? What have you been up to?’ And for a fleeting second I consider saying the truth. A trauma counsellor. And a brief synopsis of my background. Not for any purpose other than they asked and it would be the honest answer. But I like this salon! And it’s my private business. So I just smile tiredly and say I’ve just been in town doing errands.

So I’d dreaded therapy the night before and the morning before, all the way on the drive there in fact. I actually surprised myself by turning up.

The first thing I shared was the information about the group therapy. I hoped it might go some way to explaining why I looked tired and why I might seem a bit stand offish. I found myself grasping at conversation, anything, to keep the heat off the serious stuff. The weather, her phone, she made one comment and I was able to turn into a philosophical conversation! In the end I bored myself and I felt, perhaps more importantly I wasn’t being honest to myself. I told her how much I’d dreaded the session. I told her I was extremely anxious. She asked what that was rooted in, I could identify that it was fear of what we would talk about today.

We agreed that last session had been quite heavy, then the group on Sunday would have been intense, so it was natural that I’d be feeling way out of my comfort zone today.

I talked about some of the feelings I was able to relate to in the group therapy session. And how I would have liked to have been more emotive. I talked about my nightmare which she interpreted as my need to start facing things. I talked about my upbringing and how I’ve never had that important emotional, physical support. Generally I skirted around the trauma. I think we both acknowledged that there’s been a lot of intense work and it’s tiring, draining. I’m feeling it now more than ever.

When does it end?

My nails look nice though 😉