Fighting

The UK continues to provide a good source of friendship and family and a nurturing environment. But I miss my kids so much I’m feeling the loss like a physical illness. I Skype with them almost daily and it’s not enough. I’m consumed with thoughts of them and can’t enjoy the simplest thing without wondering what they’d think.

Unfortunately S has gotten progressively worse and nasty and I know a cold, hard fight awaits me in NZ. The blows which he’s dealt have at times rendered me breathless and unable to see a way forward. It’s like his contempt of me grows daily and he’s trying to make me stay away by increasingly throwing obstacles at me. I can’t remember feeling as despised as I have been. And this thrusts me into a horrible quandary. I want to be with my babies but I need to be strong to face S and his hard hitting blows. I wonder if I’ll be able to survive it.

My kids are gutted as time goes on. They miss me and need me back. They don’t understand why I can’t afford a flight back, they don’t understand that I’m not allowed in the house – but their father has hired a live in nanny instead. It’s confusing for them. I can’t slate their father to them. I have to bite my tongue and say it’s all going to be ok.

But it’s never going to be ok. I had no idea how capable of change someone I once loved could be. Someone that used to make me feel safe and loved. Now I’m treated like something lower than scum. 

The whole thing is a brutal mess. 

I don’t regret coming back to the UK. It’s been a place that’s felt safe and where I’ve been reassured I’m not a bad person.

But going back will take some serious strength. And as any communication I have with S usually renders me in a state of panic and unable to function – I worry if I’ll ever be strong enough.

This is looking to be my toughest fight yet.

Bed

I’ve spent the day in bed. I’m in this horrible fog of missing my children terribly, grieving my marriage and feeling uncertain about my future. It’s all so over whelming so staying in bed seems like the easiest option. But I feel guilty because I know I should be doing more. It’s a cycle where I feel constantly miserable and can’t seem to find any solace.

I think my parents are struggling to understand this part of me. They’ve never seen how bad depression is and they probably think I’m being lazy and not even trying. I feel that way!

I’m not sure what the answers are. I’m not sure how to find any sort of peace. I should really catch up with some old friends, but I’m ashamed of what I’ve become.

My children miss me (although S has told me that they enjoy having his mother there) and I resent her for being in my place. Her place is unquestionably part of the family. Unlike me.

I just continue to feel really alone and I’m not sure anyone gets it. I keep remembering when S and I were here last time, so much pressure was on us. In retrospect I should have embraced my time in the UK, rather than seeing it as a punishment. I’ve made so many mistakes. Too many to begin to unravel.

Strangely the bad memories from my past aren’t playing a part. I’m still stuck in the recent past and present. Perhaps my brain has triggered a defence mechanism. Either way I’m grateful. I don’t need any of my past haunting me now.

So I’ve come all this way and inevitably depression has caught up with me and daily life is a struggle.

I don’t know what to do anymore.

In transit

I’m in Dubai now. It’s hot, and I’m sweaty and miserable. I couldn’t get comfy on the flight (I’ve not flown since I got so fat) and the service was pretty abysmal. I’ve flown Emirates back in the 90s and didn’t like it then. But it was part of a special deal. 

Surprisingly I don’t have flu symptoms yet, long haul and flu go together for me.

I’ve just had feelings of dread and regret in the air. I had a long wait in Auckland, and just watched the new series of House of Cards, but I was still in New Zealand so the gravity didn’t really dawn on me. On the flight I knew by each minute I was going further and further from my children. The regret was just as oppressive and added to my claustrophobia. Especially as everyone else had kids on board. The reality also that there will be no more family vacations struck me pretty hard.

So perhaps my intentions were right, reality is already kicking my arse. My marriage is over and there will be no more family holidays. No more S and I managing the kids. I kept having the urge to cry but fought it off. There will be lots of tears when I land. If I ever land. 

I used to love flying. It’s just watching movies and having a waitress! But now it feels painfully long and uncomfortable. My weight is probably a big contributor to that.

You’d think in times of stress I’d lose weight, but instead I get fatter, and I’m not moving much either. The last few weeks have been spent mostly in bed, so the airport transfers alone are making me walk more than I do in a week. 

My anxiety has been really bad. I’ve been shaking and bordering panic attacks. I was a seasoned traveller. I’ve been all over the globe and I used to storm through airports. Now I’m shaking, sweating, my chest is tight from panic. I feel more alone than I ever have. Everything has fallen apart. I don’t know who I am anymore. I’m ashamed of what I’ve become. I see more clearly what S sees when he looks at me and I can understand his disgust. I’m nothing like the girl he married. I’m pretty revolting as it goes, and my passion for life is dead.

I owe my children more than this. When did I become so selfish? When did I let myself go so much? When did I stop living? 

I hate myself, I hate what I’ve become. My children deserve so much more.

I hope that I can find my way back to myself. If nothing changes after this UK trip, after all of this discomfort and hellish travel, I don’t know what I’ll do.

I miss my children and the unconditional love they give me. But I need to be better for them.

More low?

So I wasn’t entirely forthcoming about something else on my blog, something I kept to myself. I saw my GP about reoccurring eczema on my breast and she referred me to a mammogram. I had that today and got the all clear. I didn’t want to write about it because I didn’t want anyone to know. Last night I hardly slept at all thinking about it. Not just the outcome but the test itself. Turns out the test wasn’t painful, it was quick and the woman was really friendly.

To be honest, I couldn’t have fought anything else. I’m on a losing streak with this depression. I can’t face the days, everything overwhelms me, everything is grey. 

Yesterday I had to pick the kids up early again because I had an appointment, this time with the benefits office. They won’t help with the ‘scungey’ flat, so I’m back to square one. I’m now officially homeless. Squatting at my ex husband’s. I honestly don’t think life can get much worse.

All of my crap is in storage, even clothes so I barely change. Goes with my barely showering. I’m a complete shambles.

I just don’t know what to do anymore. I keep being rejected, smacked by the face and pushed down. 

Misery and pain

After a long night last night spent in the emergency department I finally learned that my arm was indeed broken so I have a plaster on and tomorrow I have to go for a CT scan. While I sat waiting for the doctor I felt like a huge burden to the hospital and started crying and almost in a panic attack I’m not sure why I felt so unsure of myself and the emergency department but I just felt like I shouldn’t of gone and I was just a burden.  I suppose yet again that’s the depression rearing its ugly head making me believe that I’m not worthy of the care and  attention of the hospital staff.

I didn’t get home until well after midnight last night I was absolutely shattered and then this morning I have to get up to get the children to take them to school for the first day back after the school holidays.  Driving is really difficult with one arm in plaster but I was able to get the kids to school and sat in their assembly for awhile but it was so busy in there so crowded that I felt claustrophobic are seeping in.  Harry kept trying to fall asleep on my bad arm which added to my pain and sense of claustrophobia I was started to become desperate to get out of there plus my phone was ringing constantly adding to my distraction.
I took a brief interlude to check one of my phone messages and it was a rejection of the job interview that I went to which just seemed to be more cutting then it would normally and I knew I had to get out of the school before I started to cry.

Unwilling to leave Harry in the shambolic set up and knowing that I was upset I took him with me and we started on a voyage to pick up various prescriptions and do various chores throughout the day.

By midday both of us fell fast sleep in bed it felt like a huge day and my arm was so painful sleep was the only thing I wanted to today.

Fortunately S has finally decided to take the morning off of work to take Harry to his new school and spend some time with them there which I’m really grateful for because S is in a far better place mentally than I am.

I spoke to the psychiatric nurse today and after consulting with my psychiatrist they have decided to increase some other medication plus at a low dose add another antidepressants to help with the pain of my arm.

I don’t like taking all of these pills, I have so many pills to take on a daily basis but at the moment I would take anything to make me feel better than I do at the moment.

I still felt like my whole world is falling apart and I can’t see a positive future for me I can’t find a house I can’t get a job and I just feel useless and a burden to everyone around me.

Tomorrow I have the CT scan which I’m very anxious about but if it helps to ultimately diagnose and heal my arm of course that will be my motivation.

I feel like I’m being sucked down into this dark pit and absolutely nothing I do or say will help.  The sadness is so I overwhelming that I’m constantly in tears or fighting back tears.

Panic attacks are always on the forefront of my mind and I easily find myself gasping for breath if I feel a situation is out of my control or if I just have a worst case scenario playing out in my head.  I feel like I’m failing everyone and I feel like I’m not really living and I have no idea how to make any of this go away.

Trigger. Unhappy.

Of course I should have known how this evening would end.  I should have known it the minute I identified my mood was dropping after getting so tired and knowing there wouldn’t be any rest time.

We were up at the house, the kids were being great.  It was a lovely evening with them. They went to bed really well, and I felt nicely relaxed.  However, my mistake was not taking the opportunity and going to bed when I could.  Instead I stayed up watching tv, waiting for S to get back.  Old habits die-hard.

I watched one programme and there was a sexual assault.  Nothing, NOTHING was shown, it was just implied.  I wasn’t triggered by that.  However, the way the perpetrator looked at his victim with such disgust, anger and hatred afterwards me  – shook me to the very core. He looked at her with such repulsion, as though she was shit on his shoe.  I have seen that very look after the brutal intimacy forced on me.  I guess that was very much a piece I hadn’t really processed or considered in any depth.  The way I was made to feel afterwards.  Like it was my fault, any shame I didn’t already feel was imprinted on me forever more.  i felt that shame in that moment, revisited.  My blood felt icy cold in my veins, my heart seemed to struggle to beat to an increased tempo.  I was both lying on the couch in the living room and back then.  I was both in the moment receiving the look, and watching myself.  I felt such a deep despair that even the tears couldn’t release.  I had the incredible urge to hide behind a pillow, curl up in the foetal position, anything, ANYTHING to stop the hurt and the replay searing into my soul.  Should I shower?  Should I scream?  How could I possibly placate this painful mourning.  I flicked the tv to something else, I busied myself with mundane tasks, laundry, trying to find an old necklace, messing around with a make up case.

I suppose I did manage to ride this wave, but clearly the damage was done.  Emotions lay on the surface and the inability to think objectively was hindered.  S got back an hour later.  Fairly drunk, looking dishevelled.  He said he had a good night.  We talked about the kids.  I talked about the plans for the week, who was staying where.  So far, so good right?  Until I asked him to look after the kids one evening because there was something I wanted to check out and he commented, ‘speed dating,’ I asked him why on earth he thought I would do that??  He said I always wanted to date??  I don’t know where that’s from, I don’t know what he thinks of me, but I can’t think of anyone worse right now.  Furthermore, is this the rapport now?  Swapping dating stories??  No, I am still hurt from this separation.  This is the man I’ve spent over a decade with, had children with, why on earth would I want to flippantly discuss dating?  Maybe he feels cavalier about that subject.  Maybe he is dating.  But I wouldn’t want to know.  I didn’t understand why he was trying to hurt me.  Or maybe I was already too upset from earlier.  I lost all impartiality.  I tried to ask why, why would you say that?  Is that really what you think?  He clearly wasn’t in the mood to talk and proceeded to turn off all the lights.  I went into the room with the mattress and tearfully went about taking my nightly meds.  My son was up, and wanted to sleep with his Dad.  But he sent him into me.  A single mattress on the floor just isn’t ideal.  I’ve told S that before, but still he sent him in and I asked my boy to leave.  He got upset, rejected, and perhaps because he knew I was emotional and he was tired and he started to cry, big fat drops of tears, and I felt like a bitch.  And S just shut his bedroom door, no doubt to fall fast asleep in a drunken stupor.  And I felt like my duty was done.  Kids were cared for, laundry is done.  And with no rest for myself I looked at my son and the mattress and said, no.  We’re going to MY house.

My home is becoming my safe space.  I have it looking really bright and cheerful and homely.  My only issue is the bloody neighbours.  Here I sleep in my comfy big bed, in a spacious room with all of my things around.  And here my son can sleep quite happily next to me.

My kids love it here, despite the neighbours.  And if I end up moving when the lease is over, I know I’ll make the next place my home.  Because I put time and effort and care into my home.  And its welcoming, and the kids know that.

But how can the house be my home?  When S seems to think we’re frat brothers!

If he wants to go out drinking and dating, then good on him.  For me, I care about my children first, my wellbeing and trying to meet my personal objectives – study and getting fit and healthy again.

As for this trigger this evening, I intend to think about it some more – when my son is at school and grieve for the child turned into a woman before she was ready.  Because GOD DAMN IT, I deserve to acknowledge that.

The lowdown

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The thing with depressing lows, there are ‘better’ days, sometimes I’m lulled into a false of security, I’m well again!  Other times, the lows can be worse than other days and I only realise that retrospectively.  So yesterday I had cleaned my house, briefly attended my daughter’s birthday and then come to the house and relaxed in front of the TV with the company of my children.  I didn’t know it then, but that day was better.  Although I was tired I faced my fears of attending the party, I didn’t speak to anyone, but I was present.  And I got things done.  Then in the evening, I really enjoyed a calming evening and appreciated the quietness away from my noisy neighbours.

Late at night, with everyone in bed, I became CONVINCED that my house was going to be burgled.  I knew I’d left some windows open, and in windy weather they can come off the security latches and become huge, gaping holes – an easy entry to a passing opportunist.  It was a particularly windy night.  We are in windy season, something Wellington is notorious for.  And just to give that some context, people from Chicago have come here and observed its worse than what they’re used to!  Wind makes me anxious as I’ve mentioned before.  It distorts noises, blocks my senses, shadows become aggressive dancers, and I become hypervigilent.  So last night as I lay on the good old mattress on the floor in the office, I considered the windows. I thought about anything I might have of value.  I thought about what they might do, and then I thought about how statistically burglars tend to return.  What if I was in??  I considered that things would be covered in insurance and material goods are nothing compared to my family.  But how would I feel that people had been in the my house?  Would they be tidy or would they mess things up on purpose?

I really convinced myself that was what was going to happen.  I would have gotten in my car and driven down, but I had taken my meds, so though I felt ‘awake’ my reaction time would have been slower.  Plus, going out in the dark, in the wind, alone to a house where there might be unwelcome visitors – not the most appealing adventure.

It’s incredible how things go from worries to full-blown certainty in the night.  I lay awake troubled by images.  Always listening out for the tell-tale signs of someone outside this house (obviously after being my house, I’d be unlucky enough for them to come to this house!).

This morning I was almost bouncing off the walls in anxiety and desperation to get to my house.  Hurrying the kids to get ready and then leaving really early to ‘assess the damage.’  Although the windows gaped open and even the curtains flapped around in the wind, my house remained untouched and tidy from yesterday.  Phew!

For the rest of the day I’ve been up at the house.  I’m still soaking up the peace, even in the brief time I returned to my house at 8am, the neighbours were revving engines.  A brief glance over and I could see outside lights left on (must have been a late one last night) and a welding mask, so either one of the is a serial killer, or more work is going on there.

Today, I can barely move.  I’m absolutely shattered, I feel miserable, and I have achy flu-like symptoms – a medication side effect.  I also keep feeling on the border of a panic attack.  My chest feels tight and painful with anxiety and it doesn’t take much to struggle for air.  Even as I write this I know I probably sound like Darth Vader hyperventilating.

I emailed my lecturer out of courtesy to advise that I was seeing disability services regarding his tests and tutorials.  He reply was curt, probably just succinct but I sensed annoyance.  Or am I transferring?  I can’t tell.

The trouble with lows, the inconsistency, the tiredness, the physiological effects, the inability to know an acknowledgement from a negative connotation and the ability to become convinced of an outcome – such as the burglary.  At least I’m in a position to know I’m not thinking normally.  As opposed to determined to ignore the signs.

I just hate this struggle.  I hate feeling like this.   I hate the feeling of despair.  I want to feel normal but I don’t even have the energy to smile.  Everyone and everything is a threat.