Speed wobble (again)

Today has been tough. You know when I think I have my shit together, I’m always proved wrong.

The weekend was lovely. I’d had the kids, it was awesome. Then they went to Napier and I went to dinner with a couple of friends on Sunday night and it was a really good laugh. I’m very lucky. Great family, great friends.

Then today, the job.

The morning I spent in the notorious ‘Ward 27’ think ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest’ with slightly better decor. I’d been dreading it because frankly I was scared. I didn’t want to get shanked with a plastic spoon, or have fecal matter thrown at me – stereotyping much? Er, yeah! But I’m nuts myself so I’m allowed. And frankly this place is notorious for a reason. But instead of being scared I was confronted with a very real reality. I was facing myself. I have been that ill. When I lived in that area I was threatened with Ward 27 often. There’s no private facility and no alternative and at times I was regarded too ill for respite. It was Steve that advocated for me to stay out of there. Had it not been for him, I’d have been in there myself. I was facing a very real reality for myself. And not only that, a future possibility, although admittedly not in that hospital as I don’t live in the area anymore, I could become unwell like these people. It’s never too far away. My instinct was to want to run away. I felt panic. I wanted to hide from it if I’m honest. But the Ward is locked down. I was effectively trapped. So I had to rely on my colleague to manage the meeting to guide me through the processes.

Afterwards I wanted to sob. I wanted to express my fears, I wanted to cry for the old me, and again I wanted to phone Steve immediately and thank him for what he’d done for me. None of those were options. I chatted a little bit about my experience but kept emotionally void.

Returning to the office I felt drained. I’m still deaf in one ear, I still have a cold, I miss my kids, I felt emotionally raw and sure enough the three women skipped off to collude together in their coven. I felt left out, fed up, miserable, alone, etc. When they returned the giggling started up and I just simply wasn’t in that mood. When they started talking about going home I said fine, I’m going then, and left. As I reversed, I nearly ran my boss over who came flailing out behind me. Not to check if I was ok, but to have a go at me for leaving abruptly and making everyone feel uncomfortable. I can’t win. I apologised. She went on a bit and I felt my defences drop. I was just too cold and too tired. In the end I admitted how I’d found the day confronting. She told me I should I have talked to her about it. I explained it was pretty hard when the three of them were hanging out. She got a bit defensive. I think we both paid lip service at this point. I left – on I think, good(ish) terms.

As Steve is away I’ve come up to the house. It’s warm, I’ve snuggled under a blanket, had the heat pump on, watched his big tv, had a bath, now I’m in his big bed. It’s a hotel. It’s sad that what was my house has become a ‘treat’ but at least I don’t view it as ‘home’ anymore. Steve has really killed that off for me. I had hoped he’d offer some sort of support today, yes I stupidly and naively text him and no of course he didn’t reply. He’s not even with the kids apparently, he’s probably shagging some high earning suit in some posh hotel somewhere laughing about his crazy ex wife. Why should I even care? But sadly I do, even as he loves to point out, it’s been three years! Get over it!

Anyway, I’m just sore because it’s been a long, emotionally draining day and it would be really nice to share it with someone. Still, I had a good cry in the bath, so at least I’m not bottling it up. Hopefully I can see my CPN soon and rearrange counselling to a time outside of work hours. I need all the support I can get at the moment.

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Job and stuff

I think it’s really interesting that Steve mentioned I used to say all the time, I never really enjoyed that, after everything I ever did. I had lost all pleasure in everything in my every day life. I hardly remember that period at all but it seems familiar.

It’s interesting to me because I have spent the last few years being extremely sad. I have struggled with the marriage break up and all the subsequent difficulties I’ve faced alone. My mental health has been unstable and I’ve probably spent more time crying than I have at any other time in my life. But I have to say that I’ve really learnt to embrace the crying. I don’t see it as a weakness or question my sanity. I see it as a release and I just let go. It’s actually very freeing. In amongst all the grief and sadness there are many things I have learnt to appreciate and therefore enjoy. Simple things. It can be anything from a good cup of a coffee, to something one of the kids say, to driving my really cute car to something one of my good friends say. I guess when I think I’m going backwards it takes a simple comment like that to realise that’s not the case at all.

In terms of the job, I’m sticking at it. Some days are better than others. There’s been some really interesting cases, so if I focus on the clients it ignites real passion in me, I just want the freedom to get stuck in. The team seem a little bit warmer to me. Maybe it’s a time thing? I guess because I’m so open and tend to accept people, I expect everyone to do the same, so I’m bitterly disappointed when they don’t. That’s my problem really and not anyone else’s fault.

I’ve interviewed a nanny to take Harry to his tutoring on Tuesday and Thursday as I’m not going to be available. It really was a bittersweet experience. She’s lovely and I am glad to be working, but I’ve really enjoyed being such a big part of my son’s routine. I’m going to miss that a lot. I do love my boy so much.

I’ve had the kids the last few days, but now they’re off to Napier with the grandparents for the week – it’s school holidays. I’ll miss them so much. I’ll make the most of Steve’s empty house though by doing my washing and using the spa pool 😄

I’ve got this horrible ear infection which I’m starting to think will never go away. I’m completely deaf in my left ear. I’ve been on two different antibiotics. Now I’m on ear drops. It’s really frustrating. When there’s background noise I can hardly hear and I’m constantly shouting which I know is annoying everyone.

My mood is a little unstable, slightly more than usual – it’s the antibiotics. It interacts with my medication. I swing a little between my usual (crying) and then feeling extremely irritable and confrontational. I’m aware of it, fortunately it should only be temporary. I see my psychiatrist every 2 weeks at the moment and I’ve been seeing my CPN pretty much every week but he’s been on leave. I realise starting a new job is also a huge stressor, and I’m really keen to stay on top of mental health. I want to keep communication open and try to stop anything before it spirals out of control, which is easier said than done. I’m extremely stressed about my finances. My job pays pretty much the same as being on welfare, and of course by not being on welfare there’s a lot of things I don’t get discounted anymore so I’m very concerned. You can sort of see why some people can’t see the point of working. Especially when you consider tax deductions and student loan debts and child support, etc. But I’ve talked to Steve about that. I’ve gotten really good at budgeting, but I’m still lousy at understand taxes and what my entitlements are, whereas that’s his strength so I’m hoping he’ll be able to support me in terms of his knowledge.

I have a lot going on, but I’m managing. I’m taking each day as it comes. I’m finding it better to acknowledge each anxiety as it rears up as opposed to try and push it away. I’ve even kept lists of things that really trouble me and it’s amazing to be able to look at those lists a few months later and see most, if not all of the things cleared.

Kids are gone

Steve took the children and predictably I broke down and wailed like they were lost at sea. I hate that my babies are being taken away from me, and although I know they will have fun, a part of me resents Steve for taking them away from me during the holidays. Especially choosing to leave earlier, so Boxing Day became miserable for me. He predictably left the house in a state. I did some tidying but my heart wasn’t in it. The house felt so cold (emotionally) and so dead without the children and I could easily imagine them all coming back in. I needed to get out of there. So Ava and I are back at mine. I’ve been cleaning my house non stop for hours to keep my mind busy. Ava is curled up on J’s bed, loyally waiting for her.

I’m anxious about a myriad of different things. I need to phone the benefits office to get that sorted – that’s my main source of stress, and I need to go back to Steve’s to finish off laundry, reload the dishwasher and empty the dehumidifier- Harry ran a bath and forgot about it, so the ensuite was flooded and it came out into the bedroom so the carpet is soaked.

I feel this looming sense of dread that the time is ticking away to a new year and it’ll be another year of shit for me. I literally have nothing to look forward to. I know it’s merely a ticking over of one year to the next and I’ve long since stopped celebrating it, but I can’t help but feel the enormity of starting a new year with nothing to look forward to. I can only hope it’ll be better – it can’t be worse surely?!

At the moment I’m feeling so down because I miss my kids. It’s hard to be positive about anything. But I suppose I should get used to these broken holidays – being as I’m not part of a family anymore.

I’m definitely not going to drink tonight because I know that will end badly. Soon the festivities will be over and hopefully I can resume some stability.

If anyone reading this is struggling with mental health issues, please know you’re not alone. It’s bloody tough but we can get through this.

Suicide and Xmas

So Xmas eve night I cried for hours. As I often do on Xmas, and no alcohol was involved. It got so bad I started to consider driving off and then driving off a cliff. The idea seemed incredibly alluring but I considered that Xmas day would be forever remembered as the day that mummy killed herself. It was really hard to try and stay rational. Popping a few Valium helped.

Xmas day has been fantastic though. The kids loved their presents (even the meagre few from me) and Steve cooked a beautiful roast. It was nice to be a united family and I think the kids really benefited from it.

We took the kids to the park to try out their new bikes

And of course Ava came along. Although wasn’t impressed about being kept on a lead! But their were loads of families out, despite the drizzle. It was lovely to see.

I did have fleeting moments of panic, I’m not sure why. So found myself easily exhausted. And I’ve been getting constant headaches from clenching my jaw at night, so I need to sort out some sort of bite plate at night.

Xmas with a mental illness is never easy and I felt the struggle all too much as usual. But I tried to get into the festive spirit and relax.

Tomorrow is Boxing Day and Steve is taking the kids to their grandparents in Napier, I’m dreading being alone. I’ve really loved having so much time with the kids. I won’t drink and I guess I’ll communicate as best I can with friends to ensure I stay on top of my feelings. I really hate feeling this way. It’s like no medication is strong enough to get me through Xmas. And I’m clearly not strong enough. It’s a terrible weakness I have.

So today I will treasure, I’m grateful to Steve and I’m truly blessed to have such awesome, beautiful children. I’m sure the kids will have a great time in Napier and they deserve to be spoilt. I just wish it didn’t have hurt as much to let them go.

Drinking and work

It’s not long until Xmas and I did a really stupid thing last night. I was up at Steve’s as he’s away and I got drunk in the bath. This caused a major meltdown, me wallowing in the bath thinking about how awful 2017 has been and how much I’ve failed. How I must be a great source of disappointment to my family and friends. I sobbed my heart out, having to dive under the water when I heard the kids to wash away the tears.

This is why I avoid drinking. I’m not a good drunk. I either think I’m god reincarnated or scum of the earth. There’s no middle ground. It’s also not good with my meds, I ended up with my head down the toilet most of the night and this morning and a thunderous headache to boot.

Mentally I’ve been stable (ok, aside from that slip!). I’ve been quite content looking after the kids, taking them to the pools, enjoying their company, and enjoying the sunny weather.

And I have a new addition to the family..,

I hadn’t wanted to get a puppy, but in the end decided at least I’d know it’s background and it would be safer with the kids. I met the woman selling them and she was really lovely, this puppy, Ava kind of chose me! She came straight over to me and I adored her instantly. The kids have been great with her and she’s really laid back. In the chewing stage which is annoying, but I’ve bought plenty of toys. It’s nice to have company at mine when the kids aren’t there.

I’ve been in weekly contact with my CPN just to ensure everything is going all right.

The job is really too much for me. The night shifts are really messing me up. Working from 9pm – 7am ruins 2-3 days for me. Quality time I could be with my children. And it throws my medication regime off. I’m also aware that a good sleep routine is paramount to good mental health, and I’m working nights every week, with only a couple of evening shifts. If I’d known the time of the night shifts, I’d never have taken the job. But I’ve tried to find a rhythm and not give up at the first hurdle, but it’s simply not working. I’m looking for something else now. Still only part time, but with consistent hours so I can plan my weeks with the children and no more nights.

I’m really trying to be less of a grinch this year. Just because I hate Xmas doesn’t mean everyone should suffer my wrath!

Not long now until the big day! I’ll be up at Steve’s and we’re having a bbq – traditional Xmas day in NZ.

Lithium and PTSD

So I’m officially back on lithium now. It’s too early to feel the awful side effects, but my psychiatrist reassured me that my mood would stop dipping. So we’ll see how it goes. I’m starting on 1000mg increasing after a week. I’m still keeping my other medication which I’m hoping to reduce over time because I’m now on so many pills.

My PTSD reared up spectacularly recently. My car was making a hideous noise to the point I was panicking while I drove it. I made it to Steve’s house and asked to borrow his car. I begged him to call the dealership because I’m so anxious about confrontation. I’ve dealt with them three times already and my anxiety was too high. I was prepared to abandon the car altogether. He made the initial call but I followed it up after he kept on having a go at me for dumping the car outside his house. They agreed to come and collect it.

So turns out, someone took my wheel nuts off, no doubt desperate to steal my alloys to make some money for Xmas. Fortunately one is safety locked on, so I was driving a car with no wheel nuts. I was very fortunate that I didn’t have an accident. The car is either parked outside my house or the police station where I work. Naturally it’s unlikely to be the latter where this occurred, so it means the offender came onto my driveway. I reported it to the police who classified it as a burglary and they asked me to check for signs of entry into the house. I couldn’t see anything, but that didn’t stop me from panicking. That night I barely slept, every noise sounded like an intruder, I was absolutely terrified. The first time I have felt so vulnerable in my home.

I told my elderly neighbour what had happened as she parks outside her house and she told me that her neighbor (on the other side) had had his car trashed. A garbage can thrown over it, windscreen wipers bent. I was shocked and I guess grateful that nothing worse had happened to mine.

I borrowed one of Steve’s golf club’s in an attempt to feel safer at night. But it’s been hard. I’ve been especially jumpy and been suffering with horrible nightmares. I have had an unrelenting migraine for three days, which is costing me a fortune in medication as the prescribed codeine isn’t working.

The deduction from my pay for my student loan was so huge, it’s meant I can’t make the rent. I don’t understand it at all, I thought I had to meet a certain income threshold. I really don’t need this. I’m literally going to be one of these people that is better just living off benefits. Which is awful because work, despite the long hours, has been really good for my confidence and sense of independence.

I’m really feeling the stress and with Xmas fast approaching, it’s only going to get worse. I hate Xmas as it is, so I’m making steps to avoid it, although I’m supposed to be attending this bloody work function on the 13th. I can’t think of anything worse. The people I work with are nice, but so bitchy and in these cliches it’s pretty pathetic. They’re definitely not the sort of people I’d want to liaise with outside of work. I’ve offered to cover the night shift in an attempt to get out of it, but they’ve worked it so that I can still attend and work later!

I’m not seeing the kids from now and through the weekend, I’m working and Steve’s away so his parents are down and looking after them. Of course I’m grateful to them for stepping up, but I miss the kids terribly. I wonder what this is all for sometimes.

Not sleeping

I saw Ian again today and the topic of lithium came up again. I’m now seriously considering it, especially with Xmas coming up.

I’m struggling with these shift hours and the resulting lack of sleep is making me irritable and restless. I’m still under a lot of pressure financially, and my bloody car is falling apart at the seems. First it was the battery, then the electrics, now it’s making a knocking noise. I regret getting that car more than anything right now, it’s causing me a lot of stress. I finally asked Steve to help me this weekend because I’m working and he acted like I was asking for a pot of gold. I just figured he’d have more sway rather than a nearly hysterical woman seen to be moaning all the time. I feel completely on my own and with no support.

Last night I couldn’t sleep for hours. My anxiety is so bad, it’s taking over my life at the moment. I worry about everything and anything. It’s 2am now and it’s going to be another late night, as I can’t seem to sleep, despite taking a sleeping tablet.

Sleep is such a major trigger for me, so is Xmas, so I’m worried about my mood dipping again.

On the whole, work is going well, and I use my days off to tidy/clean the house, so I’m being productive. And I’m still showering daily. But I find my irritability is always lurking in the background. I find noises annoying, like a ticking clock today, or my child sniffing. It’s all loud and irritating. And I keep feeling that creeping sensation of restlessness which ruins my capacity to concentrate. Finally I’m experiencing the crushing symptoms of anxiety. The racing heart, the breathlessness, the cold sweat. It’s affecting my every day life now.

I see my psychiatrist next Friday, so I’ll use the week to consider my symptoms and have a discussion then.

Lithium has previously worked for me, I just don’t like the foggy feeling. Or the complete plateau of feelings. But maybe that’s what I need at the moment.