I’m mindful that it’s not even 10pm yet, so I don’t want to get too complacent about the day. But I’m tired and want to document this day.

I’d planned to catch up with my good friend J today. And it was the best planning/decision I could ever have made. I put on a dress I quite like, I dropped some more dreaded forms off at the benefits office, but it was less of a chore because they’re situated next to my favourite bakery, and I headed in there for some morning tea to take to J’s. and off i went! It was a sunny day, J lives over a big hill and in a small town quite isolated from anywhere else, so it always feels really nice to crest the hill and feel like I’m heading into a different world.

J and I drank coffee and chatted about this and that. I felt extremely relaxed, and I also felt very in control. I knew J was completely flexible about the day and that really helped because I didn’t feel any pressure. And she offered to make eggs! Yay! Fresh eggs again! If I still owned my own house, I’d consider chickens.

And as her sons came home I felt part of their warm family and really privileged to be party to it all. Her sons are awesome, and I think/hope my boy is going to be like them at the different ages.

I think I felt empowered by the day. I’d taken charge, I was going to rule this day. I’d taken the very rare step of reaching out, and I’m really glad I did.

We parted company at 5.30, but I didn’t feel ready to face an evening at my house. I called Steve and asked if I could come over, he grunted, why? I explained I wanted to see the kids. As I drove there I considered his response, it was cold and unattached. Having been together for so long, I expected compassionate, regard, respect. No, I wasn’t expecting him to fall at the floor and cry for me, but just an acknowledgement would have been nice. I got to the house and the kids were post dinner playing together (not my eldest of course!). I sat in their room and tried to understand their computer world. We were all together for a few hours, laughing and playing. It was balm to my soul. Then I corrected something I thought Egg was saying wrong, we checked with Steve and it turned out I was wrong! But this lead Steve to tell me how he ‘hates’ how I get then/than wrong and how it couldn’t be more simple. I was firmly chastised. Not that’ll it’ll make much difference!

As the evening drew to a close (the kids going to bed) Steve started on at me for leaving the garage door open. I only have a garage remote to access the house, he hasn’t and I expect won’t get a key cut.

He didn’t ask how I was, he didn’t offer for me to stay, he wasn’t gentle with me, he didn’t consider that we were parting on him having a go at me. And for the first time in a long time I thought, fuck you then! I don’t deserve to be treated as an inconvenience. We may not be together but I’m still the mother of his children. We still have a history in which he knows how painful this stuff is for me. He’s tended to the nightmares, the panic attacks, the tears. But he couldn’t be bothered to simply enquire as to how my day has been.

I think because my day has been good, I am doing this course, I am doing far more for myself then I ever imagined, I didn’t feel angry or let down. It just served to show me on how different territory we’re on.

I’m looking forward to hanging out with my kids tomorrow afternoon as Steve is going out for drinks (despite him making it abundantly obvious he had man flu).

From history I know it’s not a home run. I feel the effects of these memories for days/weeks after. Like the 16th I spent at a clinic, so that day is raw for me. And I’ll have flashbacks about the event and how different my life had become. At least I’m prepared. I don’t know how I’ll handle it, but I know I won’t go knocking on Steve’s door expecting any understanding.

I do know I have friends I can turn too. And this is the greatest lesson of them all.



So I’ve been feeling the mounting pressure, the increase in panic and anxiety, the lack of sleep and just general malaise as the date gets closer. I reached out to a friend of mine and ended up going to her place. Her place is the very definition of a home. She has three boys which kind of adds to endearing chaos. They are great boys. She has pet birds, a cat, a dog and chickens (heavenly fresh eggs). A beautiful garden filled with fruits of different kinds, privacy all around, oh and a spa. The only thing is it made me ache for a ‘home.’ The house still feels like my safe place, but Steve always removes anything of mine, he likes to make it clear it’s his house. My house is old, it’s on a busy street, the rooms are small so it’s hard accommodate the 4 children. It doesn’t have that ‘cosy’ feel. It just feels like a house I sleep in.

Anyway to be invited to her house was great. She dyed my hair for me, made me delicious poached eggs (from her chickens), and copious amounts of coffee! We chatted, sometimes about the serious things, sometimes about random things. It never felt forced or awkward. And I felt it was something I really needed. Time to connect with another soul. I felt so nurtured from our time, I asked her if we could spend Thursday together. I’ve never done that before, but I felt my friend would understand and be supportive. So as my CPN suggested, I made a plan in advance rather than trying to wing it on the day.

I tried talking to Steve about Thursday again and his response was that he didn’t understand why I couldn’t just treat it like any other day. I’ve tried forgetting it in the past, but my body knows.

Anyway, I’m really grateful to my friend. Kindness can make such a huge difference.


Yesterday was the group. I tend not to say much about myself and listen to others instead. But the need to talk about February was too great. I explained that it was an anniversary of sorts – didn’t give much detail, but went on to say I was easily triggered, that I didn’t know how to handle the month, let alone the specific day. Most if not all the women in the group said they were guilty of triggering themselves. The reasons a, creating a situation they had control over and b, an element of self harm/punishment. I was so relieved to find out I wasn’t alone. I also talked about some of the preventative measures I’ve put in place such as deactivating Facebook and avoiding the news. The facilitator talked about avoiding confrontation and taking extra care. I felt really supported in the group and less alone. I’m so glad I went.

After group I went back to my friend’s house (someone from group) and we had a really in depth conversation. I explained it was shame that was stopping me from talking about any details and she felt talking was the only way to get rid of the shame. She talked about her own experiences, her own shame and facing it head on. I was able to open up a bit more to her, whereas previously I’d dodge it. It was incredibly painful and i bordered on a panic attack, but it felt good to talk a bit more. To trust her and to open up to her. She had some ideas for the actual day, watching movies or going for a walk. Just doing something different but not lying in bed all day.

I talked about how I wanted answers. The ‘whys’ primarily and she rightly said that no answer would help me. That the pain would still be mine to bear. She’s right of course.

I didn’t leave her house until 11.30, so after group and an intense conversation I felt drained to the very core. Of course sleep didn’t come easy. My brain was in turmoil. I’d wake up and then drift into a troubled sleep. My friend had told me to expect that.

I have therapy later today, so I feel I have a lot to go over.

I definitely feel I’m putting the work in this month.


I deactivated Facebook. I didn’t realise just how much I scrolled through my newsfeed, I find myself grabbing my phone and then realising. I’m probably getting more upset having Facebook though, so I think my brain and my emotions will appreciate the break. And I have messenger active, so I can still communicate with friends.

Last night I had a powerful flashback which nearly sent me into a panic attack, but I had the children at mine, so I had to stay calm and distract myself.

The flashback was of my ex forcing me to receive a sex act that the rapist forced on me. So a double whammy. I feel so out of control of these images and memories. I hate it. I hate living like this. I hate that I feel so vulnerable and everywhere feels dangerous and every man that comes near me feels like a threat. That said, I also act over aggressive. A bus driver asked me to move my car, and I told him it wasn’t my fault he couldn’t park his bus (he had loads of room). I got in my car and he opened up the passenger door and swore at me. I just saw red, I felt cornered and I told him if he didn’t shut my passenger door I would ‘cut his head off.’ – a slight exaggeration I think! But it was fear fuelling my anger and on principle I wasn’t going to be bullied by the man.

I’m feeling tired and irritable. My concentration is shot because my brain keeps reliving in the past, so often I miss conversations with my children, and I can’t stay focussed on reading or tv.

When I went for an appointment with my CPN yesterday and he was off sick, but he’s made contact via email and it’s reassuring to have that check on my mental health. In terms of my mood I know I’m stable, that I’m not entering a low. This is purely circumstantial. I hope it stays that way too.

The kids are back at school now (new term started here), so I’m back to chauffeur mode. I need to learn how to use that time so I’m not isolating myself again – which is tempting. The kids on holiday gave me a purpose and I was desperate for them to have the best summer holiday and form lots of memories. Now I need to learn to do things for me.


Every year I do the same. I unblock ‘him’ on Facebook and look through his profile. Even though it affects me terribly and makes me feel sick to my core, I feel this need to see what’s happening in his life. I realise Facebook tends to only show the good and not the bad, but looking at the pictures it seems life is treating him well. I am so gut wrenchingly sad to see this. I’m not sure what I hope for, but in reality I doubt anything would soothe me. It’s all smiles in the pictures but I remember his anger, I remember his not stopping and I remember the pain.

It’s not too dissimilar from these celebrities that act like they’re gods and people adore them, but some women have experienced the other side. The dark side. Unbelievable to so many, it makes it worse, makes it some how scarier, that these people can swim through life, never having any accountability.

And the same thing happens every year, Facebook makes you wait something like 3 days to block someone you’ve just unblocked. So I wait this time down, fearful of my own online safety.

The other issue I’m having with Facebook is triggering articles being published. They pop up on my newsfeed and I am saddened by the stories but made angry by some of the comments.

Steve knows all of this. He tells me to shut Facebook down for a few weeks this time of year. I like to see my friends and families posts, but the price is becoming absorbed in this online world and forgetting to process what I’m actually seeing. Instead over loading and feeling it all when it’s too late.

I fear every year being like this. Never being free of the memories, never being able to breeze through this time without any emotional turmoil.

The thing that gets me most is my sense of powerlessness. I tried reporting him, I even tried confronting him in a letter. But he got a lawyer, and there wasn’t enough evidence because it was historical. Despite a witness finally being more forthcoming. Although I feel for her because I think she was victim too (one of his friends). I don’t think I’ll ever have closure. I only would have closure if he admitted to what he’d done.

So I’ve done my Facebook thing, painful as usual.

I’m considering shutting down Facebook for a few weeks. Apparently messenger is still accessible so at least I’m contactable to friends and family.

I feel so alone with this. I wish someone would reach in and take all the hurt away.

The present and the past

This week has been full on with activities and seeing friends. I’ve really enjoyed physically pushing myself and hope it’ll kick start me into regular exercise, aside from walking the dog around the block.

Today I met with the woman that I got my dog from a second time and we went on a long hike. It was a beautiful day, and our dogs loved it. Then when we went our own way, despite it being late in the afternoon, I decided to drop my dog home, grab my togs and go for a swim. It felt so nice to be out in the ocean, and I picked a spot away from everyone, so it was wonderfully peaceful.

Last night I had dinner with a good friend of mine, and we headed back to my place as we always do and had a few drinks. We talked about a lot of different things, but my past came up. She was quite direct and asked questions which I didn’t mind and would have been comfortable saying if I didn’t want to talk about it. But it felt quite helpful to reference things that really stick in my mind. Memories that are fuzzy, memories that feel like yesterday, thoughts, fears, struggles. I surprised myself by how open I was, but the panic bubbled terribly under the surface. I could feel a panic attack building, but I was conscious of upsetting her, so I had to employ all the techniques I could to avoid one. Like for example listening to the outside noises, looking around the room and identifying things in my mind, and sometimes just straight up changing the subject. It felt strange to hear myself verbalise things that go around in my mind all the time. In retrospect it was quite freeing. And I know my friend well enough to know she’s not uncomfortable with anything I talk about.

I think it’s going to get more difficult as the date approaches. I’m starting to feel uncomfortable with the darkness. And I’m paranoid about him finding me online or just general people outside (men), in case they follow me and see I live alone. I always suffer with these things on and off as a normal course of events, but this time of year it’s more consuming and I feel more emotional. No where feels safe. This is a time when I really miss Steve, he knew exactly what I was going through and knew how to help me. He’d listen to me all night if I needed it. But now he simply doesn’t care and I guess feels it’s not his problem. Which is understandable, but sad for me. No one knows the extent of the trauma or how it impacts me. And although it was good to discuss some things with my friend, she or no one else really gets ‘it’ or me. It’s always been such a deeply private thing for me, I’ve always struggled to reach out. That’s why it was good with Steve because he knew, without me having to spell it out. I can’t imagine having that depth of relationship with anyone else. That’s something that’s built over years and experience.

So, next week I’m taking the kids camping. I’ve been to Kmart to get more camping supplies, my boot is full, ready to be unloaded. The kids are actually excited which is nice after Steve took them on such a lavish holiday. I’ve chosen a spot, not too far so if it all goes wrong we can easily head home, and it’s got a river for swimming and BBQs for us to use. And I spoke to the dog woman from today and she’s happy to babysit my dog. So everything is in place, I just need the food shopping!

Obviously it’s occurred to me that I might feel more jumpy or the darkness might bother me more than usual, but I have to be strong for my children, they take priority and I don’t want them to feel scared.

I’m really looking forward to introducing my kids to camping, and getting them away from their devices!

Bad night

Last night was horrific and it’s been a while since I had a night as bad. I watched a couple of movies (nothing scary) and felt relaxed. I’d spent most of the day up at Steve’s cleaning out my eldest daughter’s bedroom (it was really bad). I aired out the house and did some laundry. So being back at mine felt good, plus I took Ava for a walk during a break from the constant rain. As far as I knew, I wasn’t feeling triggered or unsafe. But I guess that’s part of having PTSD. It can just happen for no reason.

I took a sleeping tablet as my sleep hasn’t been great, but all that did was keep me stuck in nightmares and when I managed to force myself awake – it wasn’t for long. I felt terrified. I was absolutely convinced that my attacker had found me. Every noise became him. I was in and out of panic attacks, I felt completely frozen in fear. Even having one of Steve’s golf clubs by the bed didn’t reassure me. I felt completely vulnerable.

The fear was unrelenting, the nightmares continued, graphic and upsetting. There was no rationalising last night. As far as I was concerned I was under attack and I was powerless to stop it.

By morning I was absolutely exhausted. Relieved to see the daylight, I decided to sleep longer in the relative safety of a more rational brain. My stomach ached violently all day and I struggled with nausea. When I made it to Steve’s house, I started on my second daughter’s room, but it felt really hard and my body felt sluggish. In the back of my mind, I worried that while I was at Steve’s, my house would be broken into. I worried that someone could be following me and see me alone between two houses. I worried that I’d get a call with bad news. The anxiety was overwhelming and I felt constantly hyper vigilant. I couldn’t let my guard down, despite feeling so tired.

It’s certainly been a while that I have felt so strongly. I know I experienced periodic panic over the Xmas period, but this was something else. This I used to suffer weekly, then monthly and then I guess every few months. It’s a debilitating completely suffocating blanket of fear and anxiety.

Tonight, back at mine, I watched a movie and now I’m in bed with flutterings of fear. Just as I was locking up, my security light came on and my mind jumped immediately to it being an intruder.

I hate feeling so powerless.