The email

To my counsellor

The MRI was as panic inducing as I expected. In fact I anticipated a seizure as a result of the huge stress on my body. Had it not been for  a friend holding my hand – I couldn’t have done it. The hole was so small and the noise just terrifying. But I am relieved it’s done. I’m also relieved that I didn’t have a seizure – this is surely a positive sign?

I heard on Friday night that the cop in England was found guilty. He will have a record and be unable to work for any police force, corrections, security type roles.

I’m still struggling with it. The guilty thing was decided which indicates he was in the wrong and I feel vindicated. Yet another part of me thinks that he is so less worse then the rapist. He was only ever nice to me – even when he was commanding. He manipulated me in such a way that he made me feel safe, even when he made me feel ashamed and dirty. How can that be? I hoped that Steve might see the ‘affair’ in a different light, that is, there was no black and white. But he has moved on/no longer cares. This outcome is something you and I need to discuss in more detail. Also, the investigating officer is calling me on Tuesday night to explain in detail what it all means and in her words ‘to ensure I have good support in place.’

It’s certainly been a roller coaster of emotions. The betrayal of good friends, the stress of the MRI, the results of the investigation and also learning that Steve is not and cannot be my ‘go to person’

Yet I still learn nothing. Today (Saturday) I longed for my family, for my role as mother and yes I admit I longed for a partner to bear part of my burden. I didn’t consider my fragile emotional/mental state. Instead ploughing on with my expectations.

My eldest C had horse riding and my other children wanted to go roller skating. I was happy to take C and then meet Steve and the kids at roller skating. I longed for the ‘normal’ family outing. Instead the complete opposite happened – as I’m sure you could have predicted. C fell off her horse, once I knew she wasn’t hurt I began a tirade of vitriol towards the horse she was on. My daughter was upset by my comments. She told me I ruined good things for her and that’s why she didn’t like me taking her horse riding. What could I say to that? I have let my own daughter down with my anger.

I was angry because I was scared for her. I couldn’t catch her, I couldn’t save her, so instead I placed all of my powerlessness at the horse. Plus the fact the damn horse did cause my daughter to fall!

So we drove on to roller skating. Her, refusing to talk to me. When we arrived H wanted to skate but my fears clawed at me straight away, the roller skates weren’t made especially for young children, there was no helmet, no pads! My little boy would be vulnerable. I think by this stage Steve saw me as a total nuisance.

I wasn’t needed. I was just a taxi, this was Steve’s show and I was encroaching. I didn’t belong.

Why did I have these ridiculous expectations? Why can’t I learn? This is not my family anymore. We’re not a unit. I am mother on my time, nothing more.

My friend S has continually been by my side, trying to keep me focussed on reality – I cannot appreciate her enough.

I left the skating ring. I didn’t want to physically turn away from my children, but I realised that this wasn’t my place. They had Steve and he was more than enough.

I got some wine and lie miserably on my couch. Images of England and what happened barking at my heels, my hidden fears about my health, the sense of loneliness and the pain. Reality fucking hurts.

The positive things to come out of this is that as we discussed I have taken some control over my death (if that was happen). I sat and wrote everything out. My wishes, the practical aspects, access codes. I saved it as a draft email. I won’t send until I’ve completed my letters to the children. But I know I have at least made things easier and there is less to worry about. In doing this I realised all of my outgoings, so I’ve had to face up to this and make some serious changes.

The week about starts next week as Steve isn’t travelling. I’m deeply saddened that it’s come to this. I grieve again for the home I’ve lost and the sense of partnership I imagined for myself. But I realise I can’t emotionally sever ties until I start removing myself from ties.

Tonight I feel a sense of relief that the week is all but over. I’m so grateful to the friends I’ve come to realise are true and can reach out too. But I’m so sad, so lonely and so fed up with myself (more than Steve is – which is saying something!).

I felt so much lighter after our last session and wanted to get down everything that’s happened to make some sense of it. To fill you in and get your much appreciated feedback.

If I don’t hear from you tonight (and that’s ok!) I’ll see you tomorrow,

Much love

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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.

Traction

I. Am. So. Tired! Brain and heart drained today. But I think it’s a good thing.

Firstly I saw Ian, my friendly CPN, he checked to make sure I have plans for tomorrow (I do) and had printed off a bunch of information on anniversaries and people with PTSD. Very nice of him indeed.

Then I stopped at a bakery (I never do) and had a strawberry milkshake and a cream doughnut! Naughty but delicious.

Then I met my new counsellor, and I had no initial warning instincts about her. She seemed very genuine and I liked her honesty. But she was compassionate as well, unlike Clipboard. Apparently she teaches in part from a Buddhist philosophy, which works for me. She was also into primates and our primal instincts. She also carried a satchel, so that’s my name for her. Satchel.

Satchel and I chatted only briefly about my past (I’ve learnt my lesson there!), but she helped me identify my monkey brain…ok this all gets a bit weird so I’ll leave it there, but it made sense to me anyway. I certainly felt calmer when I left.

Then I had a brief reprieve before picking up my kids at all their different schools. They were all hot and tired and about ready for the weekend – they must be working really hard at school!

Next Steve came over and like a tag team, he took over as I took off. I saw my GP for the FORTH time to get this bloody medical certificate for the benefits office. I’ll be dropping that off tomorrow.

Then on I went to the ‘widowed, divorced, separated’ group that I started last week. I was already a bit raw from therapy so I was surprised when I spoke up (last time I avoided it) and even let go of some emotion. I hope I’m on the right path to grieving and healing. I literally can’t do anything else.

Now I’m back at my dark and lonely house, missing the kids, missing the big house and it’s peace and serenity. It’s Valentine’s Day and I haven’t had anything. Nada. So it’s tempting to just throw in the towel. But I really felt I gained some traction today, and I haven’t felt like that in a long time.

Tomorrow I’m spending the day with my beautiful, warm mate that’s been an absolute god send through these really rough times. I know I’ll feel safe and respected with her. I’m very lucky.

Feeling bullied

So I’m feeling pretty raw. Whenever Steve and I seem to be getting along, something happens and he loses his temper and I’m left feeling like shit. I know I shouldn’t let him have that power over me, but on the whole I am feeling quite fragile. I feel like my mood is generally more stable, but then I have bouts or periods of feeling extremely low. They only tend to last for a day or so. I really don’t like it at all as I’m constantly worried that I’ll drop and not make it back up again.

My car lies dead at Steve’s house. And Steve did let me use his car for work. He does these odd helpful things, but then throws it back in my face, or does just enough from stopping me thinking he’s actually quite abusive. Certainly emotionally. And what’s worse is that he knows he can upset me very easily and can jump on my mental health or emotional state as though it’s a weakness on my part. He loves throwing at my face that he ‘helped me move’ that’s his nugget that he brings out when he wants to dominate me, but I can only weakly reply that he stopped the spousal maintenance, that he could have helped me because he’s left me with nothing. But even in my ears I sound pathetic. The fact that I’ve secured a house, got a job and manage my mental health, and previously dealt with the car issues, proves that I have the capability, but he doesn’t see any of that. In fact when I’m with him, it’s easier just to agree with everything he says.

I’m sad that it’s like this. It’s not that I’m in love with him anymore, but I just wish he wasn’t so nasty and mean all the time. He’s out to punish me and it’s never ending. I wish he’d just see me as a person and certainly respect me as the mother of his children, but he’s holding onto so much resentment towards me. He can’t seem to move forward. I’d like to say I wish I could have less to do with him, but we have the children. He continues to make me feel bad and I feel completely powerless. He’s such a narcissist that he sees nothing wrong with his treatment of me. In fact, he’d say it was all my fault that he treats me like shit.

I’m working full on as much as I can. I desperately need the money and it’s the only way I’m ever going to get on top of my bills and have money for Xmas. The stress is unreal, but at least working keeps my mind busy and not able to linger over the trouble I have with Steve and not having any money.

I’m dreading Xmas, there’s already a lot of talk about it here and stuff is popping up all over town. Luckily I don’t watch live television or else I’m be inundated with Xmas ads. As it is, I only have time for occasional pre recorded programmes.

It would be really good to get into therapy again, if I could afford it. I feel I need an outlet for my anxieties and concerns.

Well hopefully my car will be taken away to get fixed, that’ll be one less thing to worry about and using public transport when I’m working long hours isn’t ideal.

Seeing my psychiatrist on Friday, so will get the ball rolling for lithium.

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.

No way back

My time in the UK has been fantastic. I’ve seen my best mate’s baby born, I’ve caught up with old friends and grown closer to my family. I rented a car so I’ve been independent and able to move around the country, spending nearly a week up North with a good friend who has relocated from NZ after her marriage broke down. She’s come an incredibly long way and looks and acts remarkable. She was quite inspiring.

I’ve overcome my anxieties to force myself out and engage with people. This is a huge turnaround from when I was in NZ staying in bed all the time. 

I actually started to think I could start over here with the kids. I have friends and family and it feels like a good base to start from scratch. Unfortunately when I mentioned this to S he not only ripped apart the idea but even had the audacity to throw my mental health at me as a reason for not having the kids. It was a low blow even for him. In retrospect I should have waited to discuss it until I got back. 

Now I don’t know how I’m going to get back – S isn’t going to use his air miles as previously promised. To make matters even worse, he’s been suggesting I’m not welcome to stay at the house. It seems in my absence he’s turned me into a monster and seems hell bent on punishing me. He even arranged a nanny to live in – knowing full well id be coming back. He’s been even colder and more nasty than I could ever have imagined. I’ve no doubt he’s had his family in his ear. He accused me of playing games, which makes no sense as I came here for respite, to gather my strength and always planned to go back. So I’m not even sure what ‘games’ he’s referring to.

I had no idea that he would take the house and flight away from me. It’s left me feeling really down and powerless. I don’t know how he expects to ban the mother of his children from her own house? He asked me to organise accommodation- but how can I do that from the UK? I need to be in NZ first and a hotel is out of the question because I could never afford it. Just when I think I’ve come to terms with everything, he throws something else at me. I literally can’t believe how much he hates me. How cold and heartless he’s being.

So I face a gloomy and unknown future. Obviously if I didn’t have the kids, I’d just stay here. But I miss them terribly. And time away from them is becoming increasingly more painful. I Skype with them regularly but it’s just not the same.

Being reunited with my kids should never have been this hard. I feel terribly anxious and overwhelmed at the new hurdles I face.

It’s such a horrible end to what has been a really productive and beneficial time here. I need to be careful that my mental health doesn’t plummet. I could already feel that sense of dread creeping in and the desire to give up and stay in bed. I don’t want S to have that power over me. Obviously as soon as I get back to NZ I intend to find a rental house and move as quickly as possible. I already know it’s not healthy to remain living in the same house as S. But as an interim, it’s all I have. I feel sick that he’s effectively trying to stop me from being with the kids.

I’m so glad I never signed the house over. I would definitely be left without a leg to stand on. I came so close to caving under the pressure. But now by hanging on by my fingernails at least I have some security.

I need to get back to my babies. I need to retain all the strength I’ve built and remember I have some awesome people in my life rooting for me.

Novelty wears thin

Staying with my parents;

Pros – I get treated like a kid

Cons – I get treated like a kid

As the novelty of their distant first born returning wears off and the frustration builds (we’ve had her hair done, bought her clothes and she’s still miserable) things are getting more strained. My dad feels it necessary to comment on anything I eat, and when I eat (which isn’t often but apparently I still get it wrong) and also there’s the whole, ‘get some fresh air, it’ll help you’ as I remain hidden away like a vampire reading my books. Of course, if they’d put me on the bloody insurance I could go out and yes, even walk! But no, they’re playing taxi which makes me feel awkward, and it’s slightly embarrassing ending a day with a friend, ‘I just have to call my mum.’

I did have lunch with my pregnant best mate the other day. It was an anxiety provoking start but I ended up relaxed and really happy to see her. And she’s asked me to be her birth partner – very exciting! Of course if she goes into labour before her induction, I’ll have to get my mum to drive me (insert eye roll here).

So I haven’t been out as much as I’d planned in my mind, but then England was never going to be a cure. 

And now I find my nights lying awake tossing and turning and dreading going back to NZ but not feeling I belong here either.

Of course I miss the kids dreadfully and we Skype a couple of times a day. S hasn’t bothered messaging at all to see how I am. I had to chase him down to discuss the kids and a parents evening, and even then I could tell I was a major inconvenience to him. That my opinions didn’t count and basically- who the hell was I again? And if it’s at all possible, he’s even colder with me than normal.

Mind you, despite my planned trip to Cambodia he later accused me of leaving our marriage, which was completely inaccurate. So I suppose with his family firmly inserted into my family, there’ll be whispers that I deserted them and I’ve no doubt it’ll be held against me for all eternity, like with Cambodia.

So in essence, I need to get myself sorted pronto. But as I can’t see a psychiatrist, I can’t see anyway to lift this perpetual dark fog. I’m chugging on with fluoxetine, but it’s not making a difference. And I can’t find myself facing the imminent task of house hunting and moving again with any energy or determination. To be honest, I’m not even sure how I’ll manage the flight at the moment. I’m conscious that September is divorce month and S will slap me with the paperwork before the ink from the printer is dry. Perhaps there’s some avoidance on my part. Although I don’t why. He’s as cold as the ocean, and has made it abundantly clear that he stopped feeling anything for me years ago. Why I continue to pine something that ultimately makes me feel like pond scum is anyone’s guess.

So here I am in limbo. Not getting the miracle fresh air that will cure me, and feeling completely isolated and deeply uncertain about my future.