Update

I’m on my last week of the 8 week running program. I’ve absolutely amazed myself by running 4km. The goal is 5km on Saturday. I’m still not confident but I’m going to give it a good shot. I’ve worked hard at this.

I had a rough weekend. I signed up for self defence, which was being run by women for women. It should have been a safe space. But I was triggered so badly. The idea of shouting really pushed me over the edge. I used my voice but was ignored, why should these self defence tactics make any difference. Plus we talked about strangulation. I was fine with the theory but I wasn’t ready to do the practice. I ended up locked in a toilet stall having a panic attack. When I finally got it together I snuck out to get my bag and leave. A friend caught me on the way out, she hugged me and reassured me. It felt nice, I could have sobbed on her shoulder all afternoon, but I was scared of upsetting the women. So I took my bag and fast footed it to the car. I cried hard driving home. I had to ring Steve in the end because I couldn’t get a grip. He was very understanding- unusually so actually. He knew I’d been doing this and suspected this would happen. I took comfort in his support and made it home. I was incredibly hyper vigilant- jumping and crying at every noise. The exhaustion though was overwhelming. I napped on and off. I felt so drained mentally and physically. I’ve never known anything like it. I was really too tired to have my boy over, but I missed him so much. Playing lego all evening was pretty hard, but I didn’t want to spoil his fun. The following day I had a wicked migraine. My son watched movies while I lay in bed hoping it would go. Suffice to say I felt like a terrible mother.

I’ve had some rough nights since then. Hopefully it will taper off. In retrospect I never should have taken that on. I have enough going on, I should have realised this would trigger me.

My job still sucks. I’m tired of the politics and pettiness. My boss goes on leave from December 21st, I can’t wait. It’ll be nice not to have her breathing down my neck. My official leave isn’t until 14 January. I can’t wait. I desperately need a break from this job environment. I’m still applying for other jobs but it’s tough going. Particularly with the time of year.

I’m really hoping to enjoy this Xmas. Traditionally I’m always unwell at Xmas. I can feel the low creeping in but I’m trying hard to fight it. I want to be there for the kids. There really is nothing quite as sad as sobbing miserably on Xmas day.

As the running program finishes this weekend, some new friends I made and I are making our own running club. I think it’ll be easier to stay motivated with people. I’ve also signed up to some runs around the area, including Round the Bays, which is quite an infamous run event here.

I am worried about my financial situation. As I suppose everyone is. At least Steve and his family can spoil the kids. I’ll never be in a position to do that anymore.

Fingers crossed for Saturday!

Advertisements

Rape

I saw an English series today that was really triggering. A girl was raped and the perpetrator and his friends seemed to think they had done nothing wrong. As usual when I see things like this I wonder what the rapist thinks when he thinks about me – if indeed he does. Does he feel victimised? Does he brag about taking someone’s virginity? Does he justify his actions that night? What does he tell his daughters? How will he keep them safe? What’s his moral compass when it comes to them? Does he feel guilt? Does he think he had a lucky escape where the law was concerned?

I was reduced to tears. The white hot blade of pain stabbing at me, as usually occurs when I’m triggered to think about it.

My life will never be the same. I recall the rape suite where I told my story. I recall the sterile, cold Family Planning centre where I got the morning after pill. Faceless professionals. The AIDS test, the vaginal swab. The coldness and the emotionless processes I followed.

I will never get closure. I will never get to face him in court. The justice system is weak.

I will carry this on for the rest of my life. Sometimes it lays dormant beneath the surface. I can almost breathe without the feeling of dread and self hate. Sometimes, like now, it bubbles to the surface.

Despair. Self hate. A pain that never ends. A shame that never goes. Self disgust that wraps its tentacles around me.

I will never be fully free of what happened. I will never forgo the panic attacks, the moments of paralysing fear.

I am marked. By him. Forever. And it sickens me.

Therapy

I saw my therapist which helped a lot. It felt like ages since I’ve seen her. I was able to talk about the job and witches I work with and the stress I feel. I was also able to talk about the flashback and panic attack. She takes this to be a sign that I’m healing – that my body is processing things. I got emotional at times talking to her but it felt good to finally have someone that I could pour out my heart too.

This weekend I’m supposed to be getting the company car so the expectation is that I’ll be out of the office more. This is what I was hoping for. I find being in the coven all the time really draining and stressful. It’s the constant negative energy that I can’t keep batting away and pretending it doesn’t affect me. I realise that part of it is my own paranoia, and my own self doubt, but they have definitely rail roaded my confidence with their comments. I saw a new client the other day and I full blown didn’t believe I had the capacity to conduct the meeting. I’ve had doubts about myself before, but never to this extreme. And this has come from the constant; ‘if you can’t do (whatever it is they’re talking about) you can’t do the job’ repeatedly way of training me, and knowing that everything I say or do is repeated back to the boss who then grills me over it. Or being told to do things a certain way, I do it that way, the boss tells me it’s wrong, then who ever told me in the first place agrees with the boss, giving me the feeling of being thrown under the bus. So while I can account for my own paranoia and self doubt, there’s also a lot that hasn’t helped.

Hopefully being on the road will help, although in saying that, there’s a lot of control and paranoia around the company car from the boss! so I’m not looking forward to that either!

I’ve had the kids most of the week which has been fantastic. It’s really helped give me something to look forward to and helped ease getting up in the morning. I’ll be with them all next week as Steve goes away again next week.

I’m seeing the psychiatrist next week to discuss this new medication which I think is making me quite restless. Presumably it’s helping my mood as I’m not experiencing any major mood changes and my tearfulness is in keeping with the stress of the job. Although having said I’m quite irritable as well but that might also be the job stress as well.

I’m going back to the survivors group next month and also a support group for people with mood disorders, both at the start of August. I would like to reengage with my peers and hopefully get some advice.

Hoping August will be a better month!

Flashback

I had a flashback in the week. I’m not sure why. Perhaps feelings in the job of inferiority and vulnerability are making me more open to them? It wasn’t a nasty one, and I was able to handle myself (I was at work).

Despite being a mental health organisation, the team I work with offer no empathy at all or understanding around my neurosis or anxiety. They just seem to get fed up with me. I can’t do much about it and their comments just make it worse.

On Friday, despite my financial concerns, I decided I’d have some wine and pizza and really relax. I’m a bit gutted that Steve has decided to stay all weekend so I won’t see the kids for longer. This means I’m still up at his house. Because hey, might as well use his laundry facilities and keep warm here.

Unfortunately I watched a movie with a man in that reminded of someone from my past and this gave me a panic attack. I’ve not had one for a while. It was awful and probably not helped by the wine. I had no one to call or talk too. I felt very alone. I think the panic attack from the man comes from the flashback, I’m not sure I’d have reacted as strongly otherwise. It shows how these things accumulate.

I’m just feeling really down at the moment primarily with work stress. I dread the mornings and usually leave in tears. Nothing in my private life is helping, my communication with Steve is terse and usually unfriendly, as I said I’m stressed about finances and I’m still bloody deaf in one ear! I’d like to feel a bit more grounded. Of course, being able to see my babies again will help.

?

I’m not sure why, but I seem to have dropped a couple of rungs down the ladder. After I saw my counsellor last week, I felt much lighter, I’d finally articulated all of my jumbled thoughts. But by evening I felt empty. I can’t explain it. Not so much drained as just very alone, very vulnerable.

I hoped it was just blowback from the much needed counselling session; but I haven’t been able to bounce back. Even at the gym I feel very sluggish and tired and yet usually it energises me.

It’s possible I was getting into a routine (of sorts). Irrespective of whether I dropped the kids off or not, I’d head to the gym. Do my volunteer work on Thursday, and I guess from there I planned my days.

It’s now the school holidays – and don’t get me wrong, I’m loving spending time with my kids. Steve is completely off the radar and I don’t mind being available at all hours. But I can’t get to the gym daily, I can’t do my volunteer work, my WSD course has finished, it’s hard to see friends because I have the kids and I don’t really have evenings to myself. I have counselling tomorrow and I need to take the kids with me, and I’m seeing my CPN on Friday, I’ll have to take the kids along to that too. Not much fun for them. But I feel I really need my counselling session to work through this and I need to see my CPN to talk about my mood.

I also had a scary experience at the gym last week. I was on the treadmill listening to my music but glancing at the tv screens and for some reason I completely disassociated. A lot of time passed, my legs were working but my mind went off. I KNOW I was thinking about something (flashback?), but I really can’t remember at all. I suddenly sort of came around and panicked. I didn’t know where I was, what I was doing and why it happened. I’m thankful I didn’t fall off the treadmill. But it’s really affected me. The gym is my safe place where I can think through concerns and then distract myself with weights that usually leads to me feeling good. But for quite an extended period, I’d left my body and lost control of my mind. I feel like a memory of what I was thinking is just on the periphery but I can’t quite touch it. It’s such an awful, scary feeling. I haven’t spoken to anyone about it. I guess if it’s not said out loud I don’t need to own it. Plus I can’t imagine anyone understanding that. For 2 days afterwards I had a terrible migraine. Not sure if it’s related or not.

My sleep is also off. I’m not taking zopiclone because I’m mindful that I need to be alert for the kids. But what’s happening is we’re all going to bed later and then sleeping in.

I guess I also have to factor in that Steve had some friends down from Auckland. They’ve been with their wives since Steve and I have been together, and although Steve has been up to Auckland previously, it seemed to affect me more with them being here. All 4 of the kids were at my house and we weren’t allowed into the house. Which sent my brain into overdrive a bit. Were his friends really here? Or was he planning a rendezvous with a new lover? And why should I mind?

After the weekend, Monday to be exact, I was planning a ‘slob’ day at the the house. I knew I’d have a load of washing to do (I don’t have a tumblr dryer at my place), and I knew the kids would relish the space and privacy. Turns out Steve had decided to work from home. As usual he could hardly look at me, and contempt seemed to be radiating off of him. I politely enquired about his weekend (not question him ruthlessly of course) but see if he had a good time and his friends were well. (obviously I know them). He couldn’t have made it any clearer that it clearly wasn’t my business and I had no place to ask.

I miss catching up together. I’d liked to have told him about my gym experience and get his feedback. I’d like to have shared my vulnerability and get some reassurance. I would have loved one of our evenings where we used to watch a movie, have a bottle of wine, some take out. Just have that connection. But of course I realise that’s totally inappropriate.

So like two pieces of broken jagged glass we tried to sludge through the day. In retrospect I should have left the kids with him (he could have worked and looked after them) and I wouldn’t have been in this situation. But of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I miss his warmth and I miss him caring. I miss just chatting and hanging out.

So I think it’s probably a combination of ALL of these things. And now my internal monologue is beating myself up for not giving the kids a better holiday, for wishing for the old times, for losing at my life.

Last night I had a really vivid dream that Steve was telling me about his new girlfriend- I don’t know if he has one or not. But he spoke with such fondness for her and continued his hateful attitude toward me. I could have cried this morning.

Steve has been my best friend for years. But now he can’t even tell me how his weekend was. His hatred of me is almost palpable.

Despite being around my beautiful children, I can’t shake the feeling of loneliness. And Steve’s parents have announced they’re coming down next week, so I’ll be dismissed from mothering duty.

Is it loss of control? Is it a sense of not belonging? Is it just part of the cycle of grief and healing? I don’t know and I feel I’ve lost my way a bit. Please just let this be a temporary phase.

Today

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.

Kindness

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.