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.

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Going down

I saw my CPN today. I was in tears by the time my appointment started. I’ve been working long hours, I’m scheduled to work tonight from 9.30pm-7am – with no breaks. And tomorrow night the same! I was up at 4am this morning because Steve was going away for business. I’ve got no money, my car is expensive to run (why oh why didn’t I factor in running costs) I’ve got no food and no money to buy food. And yet I’m working all the hours I can which is slowly killing me. I’ve been so emotional, I had to ask Steve to order pizza for me and the kids tonight. He did so, without any argument and I was so pathetically grateful I sobbed over that.

So I’m feeling kind of raw, overly tired and tiredness is a huge factor for me. Plus all this talk about sexual assault allegations is making me feel triggered and sick.

I wanted to see the CPN to check in because I’m terrified of a relapse. He told me that he felt my reaction was that caused by stress – which he considered normal, but commented that shift work can of course trigger mood disorders. I’m talking to him next week to see how I am.

I’m glad he’s there to listen and guide me as I can’t afford therapy anymore.

I haven’t been able to catch up with any of my friends because I’m either working or too tired from work, so I’m feeling quite alone and isolated. More trigger points for me.

The commute into work is killing me, parking is a hassle, and the train seems too much hard work after a long shift,plus I don’t like travelling alone at night.

In all I feel like a flake.  I’m barely making enough to pay rent and bills. My hair looks bloody awful but i can’t afford a hair cut, let alone colour. I feel miserable about my appearance, but can’t do anything about it.

I’m of course grateful that I have a house AND a car AND a job. But at the moment work is ruling my entire life, I’mmissing valuable time with my children and my financial situation is dire. Meanwhile Steve continues to live in the big house and now drives a Jaguar. 

I feel so useless.

Update

Life has been extremes as I anticipated but it’s gruelling and tiring.

I have looked at lots of rental properties (all awful). I have seen my lawyer, that tore my life apart, and I had an appointment with Work and Income which was extremely demoralising.

I’ve done everything I possibly can, keep applying for work, house hunting, got my benefits sorted, but I still feel like I’m drowning. I love weekends with the kids, they really keep me going.

New medication seems to be helping somewhat, but I’m anxious. I need them to work.

My parents are still doing the best they can, but I think they’re feeling the financial strain and will be happy for me to be sorted.

Two nights ago I got drunk (alone) on cheap plonk. I had very strong urges to self harm, I gave all of my sharp things to my parents- even my medication. It’s the first time I’ve been honest and done something preventative. I guess I’m kind of proud of myself for that. I’m sad that I got to that level. I hope it was just the wine, which is why I avoid drinking too much and why I won’t be doing that again.

Today I’ve finalised some more paperwork for work and income and am trying to rest.

Tomorrow I have therapy and more house viewings.

I’m just keen to get into a routine now. This all feels so temporary but in a scary way. I feel close to a panic attack often, as I have so little control over my future.

Today

Last night was a really bad night, both the kids ended up in bed with me and with my sore hand I found it difficult to get comfortable. My head was also pounding with an unforgiving headache that’s lingered around for ages. I kept getting up to go to the loo and wishing day time would hurry up. I felt completely miserable when the morning came. My mood had plummeted and I was almost begging S to come and collect the kids even though it probably wasn’t the safest option for me to be left alone. I definitely didn’t want to go to the monthly group today, I literally just want to lie in bed and wish my life away.

It was a stifling hot day over my way, the kids were great as usual, but I felt completely miserable and useless. I felt like a burden to S for knowing how much I’m struggling, I felt like the world’s worst mother, and I felt completely alone in my torment. The nightmares are regular, the panic attacks have become almost debilitating, and I’ve even had flashbacks that leave me confused and afraid. With no end in sight, and feeling that I will never be free of medication, I can honestly say that suicide has felt like the only option for me. At least S wouldn’t have to put up with my miserable messages and my inability to make decisions about the children. I feel like I’m grieving all over again for the break up of my marriage and as such I feel lonely and I feel bad that I’m still relying on S to help me through these difficult times. But he is the only one that knows the truth about me and how I struggle this time of year.

Eventually I decided that I would drive the kids back. I thought it might give me time to clear my head and at least keep me occupied for a while. When I arrived back at the house it was spotless and smelt really clean, and all my children were together, honestly I didn’t want to leave. S had bought lots of meat to cook and I haven’t had a good home cooked meal for so long, it was really nice to eat with the whole family and to feel more normal again. It is very confusing for me because I know that I shouldn’t allow myself to indulge in family time as though it’s normal, but at the same time it’s what I have needed at the moment. The normality of the family, and the care of another adult. Again, I chastise myself because I know that I shouldn’t rely on S like this.

Because I have decided to spend the night on my good old mattress on the floor, I will be taking the children to school and doing the school run. The very same thing I complained about last week. But I feel like I need something to keep me busy, And I suppose it is good to feel needed and not taken advantage of because at the moment it is S doing me a favour.

I know it’s all seems very confusing and messy and infuriating. But I can only take each day as it comes, and unfortunately this inevitably means daily changes, to meet my ever challenging mood swings.

At this exact moment, I feel well fed, I don’t feel alone, and I’m grateful to be surrounded by my children. Obviously I miss the peace and serenity of my home, but I literally don’t feel that I can be alone at the moment.

My brain is constantly throwing anxiety my way, and I know that I’m not thinking straight. I thought I was better, I was wrong. I am at the mercy of this mental illness. And it feels like everyone is victim to my depression, especially my family, which I hate myself for.

My birthday is next week so I really hope that once that passes things will start to die down again, and I have a bit more control.

Everything seems so overwhelming so out of my control, it’s hard to imagine feeling on top of this again. Like maybe I am bound to feel tortured forever.

One day at a time, that is all I can do.

The night before xmas

Thursday was pretty eventful as day’s go.  For me anyway.

I’ve had this, well, I’ll save you the details but lets say ‘lady problems.’  I had been putting off seeing a dr because I had not long had my smear and that hurt like hell and was generally just awful.  Just because I’ve had 4 children, doesn’t mean anything in that department is easy.  But it really was adding to my symptoms of PTSD, the feeling of being dirty.  I seemed to be showering constantly, scrubbing myself raw, and within minutes feeling the urge to do it all over again.

I made an urgent appointment with a female gp and unfortunately had to be examined.  Painful doesn’t really cut it.  It was BAD.  But at least I have a better idea of whats going on.  And to be honest, I’m glad I went.  But the bleeding has been pretty intense.

I went on to see my counsellor, it was a coincidence that my day panned out like that.  But a good one!  Although I started off very distanced and chatted about inane things, it finally came out about the problems I’d been having and the subsequent examination.  The night before the appointment I had a terrible nightmare.  Not abstract like usual, a graphic replay of events of the rape.  I talked about that with my counsellor, I’ve never talked in details before with her.  I also talked about the sense of being unclean.  How I used to scrub myself with household cleaning products to try to rid myself of this film of grime I felt.  Its one of those things that seems to flare up occasionally, although I’ve not suffered such an intense bout for a long time.

I found things coming up and talking about them without realising the enormity of what I was sharing.  I haven’t discussed issues of such a private nature before.  At times I felt emotional, at times my mind wandered back to exact moments in time, with the clarity of a movie, and I felt periods of frustration and anger.  I hadn’t wanted to get as deep particularly with xmas looming and knowing there would be a break between sessions, but I guess my mind felt it was time.  The hour passed quickly.  So many vulnerabilities and fears shared.  I felt scraped out but yet lighter for it.

My next journey was on to the city to see a friend of mine in hospital.  The driving allowed me down time to defrag and put my mind on the task ahead.  It was great to see her and catch up.

I am feeling surprised at my ability to share so openly with the therapist.  I prefer to keep a little piece of me removed, save myself from emotional fall out.

Today is xmas eve, the time of year I am usually depressed and struggling through. But this time, expectations are low.  I am staying at my house tonight, then heading up to the house tomorrow.  I will be there for my children, but equally distanced enough to save that crushing blow that happens every year.  And of course this year is our first year as a separated family, but luckily S and I have found more civil ground to dance around on.

Just got to get through it!

Therapy

I saw my therapist today. I’d been anticipating the appointment for ages, eager to relinquish a lot of deep seated grief and confusion compounded by an unrelenting trigger. One that I’ve never articulated before. As my car was under going work for its WOF, I had use of S’s car – as long as I dropped him at work. The drive from the city was good because it allowed me to focus on driving only and not my anxiety that had been gradually building in the lead up to today. 

I arrived nearly an hour early, but fortunately her office is within the Womens Centre, so I was able to relax on a sofa with a cup of tea. The waiting time didn’t help with my anxiety and I was self conscious that I was breathing like Darth Vader while I waited. In fact I started to reconsider bringing up anything that might make me uncomfortable.

As luck would have it, her previous client had to leave early, so she invited me in to start early. I felt myself go off on a tangent about irrelevant things – anything to detract from the fears inside.

But I intend to use therapy to benefit me and I need to work on my issues – although it feels easier to shun anything that’s painful or uncomfortable, ultimately I end up feeling better when I’ve been honest.

So I described in vivid detail the trigger. The aspects that frighten me most, the lingering feeling of fear and sadness so intense it’s breath taking.

I’m confused about how this particular trigger has come about. I’m also unsure why it’s bothering me so much now. I can’t think of anything that’s happened recently that would effectively trigger the trigger!

During our analysis of the trigger, I moved through a raft of feelings. The predominant one was sadness, but I also felt at times angry, confused and very small. Child like, fragile, exposing a great vulnerability to my therapist. The tendency to disassociate lingered ever stronger, and the urge to babble about less relevant things sometimes took over. I felt my insides creep and crawl. I wanted answers from my therapist – I wanted to see the horrific car crash – but what if I saw something so disturbing- I’d never be able to forget it?

My therapist told me some insightful experiences she’d had and tried to find a thread on which I could gently pull and unravel the darkest places in my heart.

Although I’ve been unable to attach the trigger to anything, I certainly feel like my insides were scraped out. I feel like I may have been on the precipice of something both profound and heartbreaking. 

When I left the session and drove home, I felt sick. Completely nauseous to my stomach, uncomfortable, awkward. A surface had been scratched and the feeling of deep sadness and shame has long since lingered with me.

I’m tired, more than usual after a session. A dull headache throbs. I want to sleep, really to avoid the feelings. Yet I also want to sleep to remember.

There is nothing as frightening and frustrating as wanting memories so badly – but fearing them with great velocity. An inner turmoil so great, I can quite empathise with the drinkers and the drug takers.

I need to be ready to pick up the kids soon. I need to be able to put this session aside and be present.

I feel raw and alone with this. 

Sweethearts and sickness

Its my high school sweet heart’s birthday today.  We’re Facebook friends.  We don’t talk to each other, just the odd ‘like’ on comments.  Way back when, everyone thought him and I would marry.  We ‘dated’ as you do in school, often split up and then made our way back to each other.  We were odd bods, which seemed to intrinsically link us.  Where others saw him as frankly a bit crazy (a candidate for manic depression), I understood his ebbs and flows.  His moods, and his little routines.  And I think in that, he felt safe to be himself with me.  Although he often chased the girls that were known for giving a bit more in the relationship physically, so to speak, he would often seek a respite with me.  Perhaps that’s because I was pretty damn crazy myself! – And as for the all of the politically incorrect statements I’m throwing around, I’m referring to our time in school.  Back then, labels weren’t applied, just observations.  He wasn’t my first kiss, that was DL. A local boy who went to the same first school and then secondary school as me.  I did think I was in love with him at the time.  I remember him dancing with Samantha at a school disco to the Bangles and I cried like a baby in my heart-break.  DL was also a larger than life character, he dabbled in some professional acting, and I believe does some acting now.  But DL and the first love that I refer to, AB, didn’t get along.  Perhaps their ego’s were too big for each other.

DL and I kissed in a cupboard for chairs one summer afternoon in a local village hall.  I was so terrified, but so excited.  We were dared to kiss.  When the kiss happened it felt so forced, I didn’t feel all ‘floaty’ as I would have expected.  I suspect he had kissed a lot of times before me.  I was 13.  I still picture it perfectly.  The room, the chairs, the lingering dust, the warmth of a summer’s afternoon, the other kids daring us.  It makes me smile.  Of all of the boys, DL was a great person to share that moment with.  A cherished fragment in a young life.

I never gave any thought to my first time sexually.  It wasn’t something people talked about.  Even AB chasing the other girls hadn’t considered sex, just even a look or a touch! – that’s his words!

Perhaps in a different world, AB would have been my first time.  Beneath his boyish humour and manic ticks, he was sweet and gentle.  We took many walks around the fields near his house, and not once in all of those times did he try anything.  I always managed to feel safe around him.  Even when he kissed me it never felt like a promise.  Perhaps we were never meant to be more than a dance of what could have been.  Certainly I have no doubt if we had have ended up together, it wouldn’t have lasted.  We both share the same moods and egos.  Both too passionate about our stances to back down.  We would have come to hate each other.  Both of us need someone calm, consistent and patient to counter our imbalance.

But life would have been better had I have chosen the person.  If it was planned.  And not necessarily even like in the movies, with the roses, candles and bed made by the fire.

This morning I went constantly into panic attacks.  My son was sleeping soundly in the bed, so I had to go into the bathroom and try to get a grip.  Then I got back into bed, drifted off to sleep and the same thing happened.  I don’t know what triggered me.  I guess a dream I had.  But clearly a lie in this morning wasn’t going to happen.

Already triggered, I decided to unblock HIM [the rapist] on Facebook and look at his profile.  See if anything significant in his life had happened, make sure we didn’t have any friends linked.  I wouldn’t usually do this, S has always done periodic checks for me, but it’s not his place anymore.  I need to bite the bullet.  Of course with Facebook settings as they are, I couldn’t see much.  Seeing his photos and I felt an odd shut down.  In my mind his image is set to back then.  His mouth, eyes, his demeanour is still clear in my head.  So the photos are hard to place.  I didn’t look for long, I didn’t want the revised image burned into my retinas.  I didn’t want any image to cause me distress.  So I didn’t find anything of interest.  Unfortunately now with Facebook I have to wait 48 hours to block him again.  So I live in fear of him seeking me out, I’m counting down those hours.

Seeing AB’s birthday was a reminder though of some of the better times in my young life.  Some of the possibilities that could have been.  But of course I feel sad, painfully sad for the loss of having a special memory for my first time.

S has decided to extend his stay in Auckland for another week.  So I’m up at the house.  I don’t have time to process any thoughts or feelings, and fighting this mood is difficult as I’m on call all the time.  S has also not left much in the way of funds, which is really stressful for me.  I had arranged for a babysitter to come on Sunday for a couple of hours so I could enjoy the women’s only swim, but I’ve had to cancel that, I can’t afford the babysitter.  I’m a bit annoyed that the one thing I enjoy I can’t do.