Speed wobble (again)

Today has been tough. You know when I think I have my shit together, I’m always proved wrong.

The weekend was lovely. I’d had the kids, it was awesome. Then they went to Napier and I went to dinner with a couple of friends on Sunday night and it was a really good laugh. I’m very lucky. Great family, great friends.

Then today, the job.

The morning I spent in the notorious ‘Ward 27’ think ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest’ with slightly better decor. I’d been dreading it because frankly I was scared. I didn’t want to get shanked with a plastic spoon, or have fecal matter thrown at me – stereotyping much? Er, yeah! But I’m nuts myself so I’m allowed. And frankly this place is notorious for a reason. But instead of being scared I was confronted with a very real reality. I was facing myself. I have been that ill. When I lived in that area I was threatened with Ward 27 often. There’s no private facility and no alternative and at times I was regarded too ill for respite. It was Steve that advocated for me to stay out of there. Had it not been for him, I’d have been in there myself. I was facing a very real reality for myself. And not only that, a future possibility, although admittedly not in that hospital as I don’t live in the area anymore, I could become unwell like these people. It’s never too far away. My instinct was to want to run away. I felt panic. I wanted to hide from it if I’m honest. But the Ward is locked down. I was effectively trapped. So I had to rely on my colleague to manage the meeting to guide me through the processes.

Afterwards I wanted to sob. I wanted to express my fears, I wanted to cry for the old me, and again I wanted to phone Steve immediately and thank him for what he’d done for me. None of those were options. I chatted a little bit about my experience but kept emotionally void.

Returning to the office I felt drained. I’m still deaf in one ear, I still have a cold, I miss my kids, I felt emotionally raw and sure enough the three women skipped off to collude together in their coven. I felt left out, fed up, miserable, alone, etc. When they returned the giggling started up and I just simply wasn’t in that mood. When they started talking about going home I said fine, I’m going then, and left. As I reversed, I nearly ran my boss over who came flailing out behind me. Not to check if I was ok, but to have a go at me for leaving abruptly and making everyone feel uncomfortable. I can’t win. I apologised. She went on a bit and I felt my defences drop. I was just too cold and too tired. In the end I admitted how I’d found the day confronting. She told me I should I have talked to her about it. I explained it was pretty hard when the three of them were hanging out. She got a bit defensive. I think we both paid lip service at this point. I left – on I think, good(ish) terms.

As Steve is away I’ve come up to the house. It’s warm, I’ve snuggled under a blanket, had the heat pump on, watched his big tv, had a bath, now I’m in his big bed. It’s a hotel. It’s sad that what was my house has become a ‘treat’ but at least I don’t view it as ‘home’ anymore. Steve has really killed that off for me. I had hoped he’d offer some sort of support today, yes I stupidly and naively text him and no of course he didn’t reply. He’s not even with the kids apparently, he’s probably shagging some high earning suit in some posh hotel somewhere laughing about his crazy ex wife. Why should I even care? But sadly I do, even as he loves to point out, it’s been three years! Get over it!

Anyway, I’m just sore because it’s been a long, emotionally draining day and it would be really nice to share it with someone. Still, I had a good cry in the bath, so at least I’m not bottling it up. Hopefully I can see my CPN soon and rearrange counselling to a time outside of work hours. I need all the support I can get at the moment.

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Kids are gone

Steve took the children and predictably I broke down and wailed like they were lost at sea. I hate that my babies are being taken away from me, and although I know they will have fun, a part of me resents Steve for taking them away from me during the holidays. Especially choosing to leave earlier, so Boxing Day became miserable for me. He predictably left the house in a state. I did some tidying but my heart wasn’t in it. The house felt so cold (emotionally) and so dead without the children and I could easily imagine them all coming back in. I needed to get out of there. So Ava and I are back at mine. I’ve been cleaning my house non stop for hours to keep my mind busy. Ava is curled up on J’s bed, loyally waiting for her.

I’m anxious about a myriad of different things. I need to phone the benefits office to get that sorted – that’s my main source of stress, and I need to go back to Steve’s to finish off laundry, reload the dishwasher and empty the dehumidifier- Harry ran a bath and forgot about it, so the ensuite was flooded and it came out into the bedroom so the carpet is soaked.

I feel this looming sense of dread that the time is ticking away to a new year and it’ll be another year of shit for me. I literally have nothing to look forward to. I know it’s merely a ticking over of one year to the next and I’ve long since stopped celebrating it, but I can’t help but feel the enormity of starting a new year with nothing to look forward to. I can only hope it’ll be better – it can’t be worse surely?!

At the moment I’m feeling so down because I miss my kids. It’s hard to be positive about anything. But I suppose I should get used to these broken holidays – being as I’m not part of a family anymore.

I’m definitely not going to drink tonight because I know that will end badly. Soon the festivities will be over and hopefully I can resume some stability.

If anyone reading this is struggling with mental health issues, please know you’re not alone. It’s bloody tough but we can get through this.

Update 

I don’t want to go back to New Zealand! But of course I miss my kids terribly and I couldn’t live on the other side of the world to them.

It’s frustrating not being able to use a car and relying on my parents, but my friends have been awesome and I feel much less alone here.

The whole prospect of dealing with housing and the divorce seems so overwhelming. I’m sure if I stayed in the UK for longer I’d be stronger. But I can’t afford to stay, I can’t get a job because I need to go back.

S has done me a favour by acting like a prize twerp and being pretty bloody awful. I no longer miss him or hold onto a future with him. I’m concerned about how difficult it will be going back and him not being as least amicable. But that’s to do with making things easier, not a need to feel anything from him. If I had the kids here, I wouldn’t give him a second thought. I have family and friends here that care about me. I could easily start my life over back here.

But alas, the kids belong in NZ and I belong with them. They ask me everyday when am I going to go back. They get tearful and I know my lack of presence is affecting them. Although S would tell me they’re doing well without me! – anything to hurt me. But I care only about their welfare.

I’m applying for jobs over there while I’m here – and getting plenty of rejections too! No, my transition back won’t be an easy one.

Am I strong enough to cope? Thats the question. I wanted to come here and try to recuperate. And I am gradually getting my head together – but that’s through the love and support of people around me. I’m not sure how I’ll fare once I’m on my own again. Old habits die hard. And I’m always on the edge of a dark depression.

Tomorrow my best friend gives birth, so I’ll focus on her and the baby for now. I have a few weeks left to try and prepare myself.

The thing (the truth)

You know what, I am just going to write about what’s been happening that has caused me so much stress.  No one has said that I can’t discuss it and I’m sick of carrying it around and being careful not to mention anything.  And again, I cannot be silenced.

So, I started by blog when I was back in NZ after my brief time in the UK (18 Months) because S got ‘the job’ that was going to ‘make’ him.  Yep, heard that before.  I was pregnant with our son and I really didn’t need that upheaval, when I had a good circle of friends and a good OB here.  But he was adamant, we were all going.  It was going to be good for us.

We were given two weeks to pack our lives and move out of the house, the house I’d loved overlooking the ocean.  Where friends had congregated for BBQs, and where the children went to school just down the road.  We had, like most accumulated so much stuff, alas, most of it became charity or tip fodder.  The whole thing felt like a nightmare.  I anticipated any second that S would change his mind.  Why would I want to return to the UK??

Back in the UK, we’d miss a Kiwi summer, and were in an English winter.  I can’t tell you how depressing, back to back winters are.  S was in the job straight away, so pregnant and leaving my kids with my parents, I trawled rental properties with an agent.  I was pregnant, tired and sick and eager to build a nest for my children.  I had no help, my parents bordered useless.  They were never good with the kids and as a wife/mother, it was obvious that I could juggle all the balls in the air, still look good and not complain.  We were temporarily in an apartment, a 2 bedroom apartment which was hellish with three small children, so S arranged for us to move into a four bedroom apartment near St Paul’s Cathedral.  The area was lovely, and perhaps in holiday mode, I could have enjoyed the history and architecture and atmosphere and I have done previously in London.

But not just a house, I needed to find an OB and hospital too.  This meant many taxi trips and appointments, squeezing the odd scan in where I could to make sure my baby was OK with all this stress.

I found a house, a lovely big home a short walk from shops, off the M25 so easy drive into London city (not incl traffic!) and a fast train into London.

Our furniture was continuously delayed, so we had small pieces of rental furniture.  That were neither homely nor barely functional.  But we got through it.  Despite morning sickness and tiredness and swollen ankles, I organised a school for the kids and started to make this town our home.

I could never shake my regret at not filing charges against the man who had attacked me all those years ago.  And I felt more vulnerable than ever.

I hired a PI initially, I had to KNOW my enemy, and then I decided to press charges.

S worked long hours in the bank.  I felt I barely had any support.  My parents of course delighting that I should be a bankers wife and concentrate on being a Stepford wife.

The whole thing was a horrible, long never-ending nightmare.  But that is a different story.

As I lived in a county away from where it happened, I pressed charges through the local constabulary and then they in turn communicated with the constabulary of the area where the attack occurred.

communication breakdowns, different people on shift, new people, disorganisation and the general disregard you’d expect for a hisotric case were all part of a journey that lead to multiple psychiatric treatments, in-house care, medications, etc. I also managed to parent three kids, give birth to my fourth, and manage my life back in Blighty.  Of what life I had.  The resentment that I had towards S slowly bubbled unde the surface.  Maybe this signalled the start of our breakdown.

Anyway, there was a ‘Specially Trained Officer’ in the local police office that always treated me with such compassion and kindness.  We had a lot in common, and he was great company, funny and attractive.  He always had time for me, he never saw me as victim, he always helped by giving me legal advice and I feel supported me through the whole process.  Even in times of panic and upset, I could get hold of him.  We text each other often and after a while, people started to think our communication was probably too much.  But I didn’t care, here was a man who understood my pain, but could make me laugh and be there to mop up the tears.  I’m not sure how the line was crossed, there is no clear moment, no recollection of comment misread, or a ‘moment’ but somehow we became flirtatious.  There was an attraction between us.  He was married as well, but he told me unhappily and keen to leave.  We bonded over so many commonalities, and he made me feel like a desirable woman.  Not a mother, nor wife, nor struggling mental health patient.  A woman with desires, smart, funny and tender too.

In essence he represented to me everything my husband was not.  He listened, he advised, he held me, he spoke to me for hours.  He was there.

Anyway, he knew ultimately I would return to NZ and he knew that I loved my husband.  But I genuinely believed that there was something special, a connection.

I’m not going to justify this, it was wrong.

Fast forward, maybe three or so years later.  I’m in NZ.  He texts occasionally.  Chatty, upbeat messages, but I keep my tone civil but wary.  I am focused on my family and my marriage and I’m home.  Then he tells me that there was some sort of protest and he and some other cops got involved, things got a bit gnarly and there’s been a complaint about him.  He wonders, if asked, if I  might be a reference for him.

I don’t think that a good idea at all, and say as much.  I asked some friends in the UK and they tell me about a protest that occurred, so I know that much to be true.

He asks a few more times, implies things are heating up.  I answer the same.  I haven’t been in the UK for ages, it would be strange and frankly I don’t know the charges or what happened.

Then I receive a letter, from his office, an official letter, asking for information about an investigation into an officer during years that women made were pressing charges for sexual assault related crimes.  Of course, it was during the year that I had made my complaint (about the offender).

I thought it an odd request.  I ignored it.  I wanted no part of it.  I did query though, with him, why this letter?  He claims that someone is suggesting he was inappropriate, but its all lies and it’s a witch hunt.  Of course, I believe this because initially it seemed to be about a protest.

Gradually as time wears on, his communication comes in spurts.  Mostly asking for a references, sometimes just random, vague messages.  Once telling me he was quitting the force, felt suicidal.  It all seemed surreal.  I didn’t reply because I didn’t understand.

Gradually I started to wonder if maybe he had done something.  Overstepped a mark with someone, and if so, I had effectively set the benchmark.  As my affection was mutual, could he have interpreted that to mean that it was OK to make moves on victims?  I felt horrendously guilty.  Had I started a behaviour?  A year went by, and I carried the weight of my guilt.  What had I done?  What had he done?

So I called and obtained the name of the investigating officer.  I spoke to her.  I had to know what was going on, and why.  Hoping it was something minor, something casual, a witch hunt.  The investigation was still on going.  And I learnt that he had been inappropriate with 10 women in total (that they knew of).  All survivors of sexual assault, all with some sort of mental health issues.  I felt my heart go to stone.  Immediately I explained it WAS MY FAULT, I had been equally attracted and so he must have thought that paved the way to be with other people.  I also asked why this started off the back of a protest.  It had nothing to do with a protest.  It was a woman, making a complaint about his conduct.  I was noted in the communication through emails.  They expected I had become involved but without talking to me, they didn’t know the extent of the communication.  I had to know – was it my fault?  What had I done?

I thought back to when I saw him, always on duty, always in a police car (unmarked), it added to the appearance of a professional meeting.  Yes, somethings had seemed or said that seemed inappropriate, but he was a man and we were friends now, so it didn’t matter did it?

Frankly the whole thing is confusing.  He’s apparently claiming to be very unwell (mentally) but the argument is whether that caused his behaviour or whether he’s simply using it as an excuse.  I guess that’s internal politics because I don’t know why a resignation wouldn’t be accepted.

I mentioned that his marriage was broken and it had been a difficult year for him – yeah well, apparently that’s not true either.

In fact, I am not really the wiser as to what is true and what isn’t anymore.  Maybe I wasn’t so special?  Was he attracted to damaged goods?  Did I really know him at all?  Could these women be wrong?  Was it wrong that he spent so much time with me?  I thought he genuinely liked me.  Or was I a challenge?  Was this a game?

I mentioned to the woman who I kept my phones, I always keep my cell phones, unless I upgrade.  I have a phone and handbag addiction.  I’m not even sure why it tumbled so forthcoming from my mouth.  Even at the time, she didn’t seem interested.  I guess I pictured that Blackberry in my draw, that had been my lifeline.  So many messages communicated.  Such an integral time in my life.  Later she asked for me to send it back.  But the thing has been long since reset.  I might keep my phones, but I don’t keep my data.  She wanted things I’d told her to be written down and for me to sign. A formality with record keeping.  That made sense.

Little did I know, its been a few weeks of complete hassle.  Emails come with statements – formal looking, I’ve had to go to the library and sign and scan.  NZ Police got involved to get the phone.  I have felt scared.  I have felt further violated.  And frankly I would like to speak to the person in question and ask all these questions, did I mean anything to you?  Whats a lie?  Whats the truth?  Is this all one big mistake?

I’m reminded of the reason we met in the first place, and that adds to the seediness of it all.  I feel dirty and crappy all over again.  I’m scared.  I feel used, but I feel so stupid.

I want to believe he’s the nicest cop I’ve met, that helped me through a traumatic time.  The alternative cannot be right.

So, this is why my life has taken an unusual and upsetting turn.  I probably shouldnt have called the UK police, but I had to know the truth.  Although I don’t feel much closer to it.

Again, I’m shouldering this alone.  But I have made an appointment with my therapist to discuss this.  I need to talk, and to think about it.  I need to find where to allocate my blame.  I need to consider what this means and what I’ve done wrong here.

Law and order

I haven’t written down my feelings over the last week or so. Frankly because it’s so unstructured  and so unpredictable, it would change every hour.

Firstly, I sought legal advice over the separation. I came away feeling more empowered. The lawyer said a couple of times, quite bluntly, your husband has already seperated from you. I needed to hear that. He feels he’s ‘shut down’ and at the moment not prepared to talk/work at/face everything. But in essence he has left me, although not physically. I thought a separation required the actual relocation of a person – but it doesn’t. 

There are so many things I miss. Putting a hand on his back in the night, the affection, the hugs, the stolen kisses, the private jokes and of course the intimacy. Ironically I’ve not been fussed about affection before, but now I crave the feeling of being held, being kissed, being loved. Frankly, I can’t remember him and I actually having that spontaneously. Of course in retrospect I should have seen the signs and done something – worked harder. But I can’t go back in time, and I can’t force him to hold me or even love me like he used to.

I feel like I’ve lost a best friend, lover and husband. He’s not my first call anymore, or my person to share anecdotes with. I have wrestled with feelings of loss, grief, regret, denial. I have sobbed at night, during the day, driving the car. But gradually I realise that my final stage is acceptance.

We argue a lot now. Over petty things, it’s amazing how we can both be so adamant it’s the others fault. There is an unwillingness to compromise, to relent. It’s very combative. But I guess I’ve felt so unsure around him, so keen to say and do the right thing, but his constant reluctance to sort things out, to deal with it, to formulate a way forward has ground me down. I’m actually pissed off! And this, I can work with! I’m not going to play submissive and desperate anymore. Frankly, the whole thing annoys me.

I’m still working tirelessly to find work, even friends are helping. But it’s already against me that I have children, that I haven’t worked for so long, that I’m not a born kiwi. It’s very demoralising receiving rejection after rejection. He doesn’t want me, companies don’t want me.

Luckily friends keep me going. Their support and encouragement.

The kids, well, they know we argue. More than usual. And they’ve always seen us being close and affectionate with each other. They know things are changing. All I can do is keep reminding them that we love them and will always be there for them. I feel I can trust him where the kids are concerned. To be united and not use them as pawns. I really don’t want them too affected by this. Although I know it’s inevitable to an extent. I would gladly do family counselling.

I’m not ashamed or uncomfortable about leaving a marriage where there is no love or mutual respect. It’s not the 1950s anymore! People do end marriages.

So I’m hoping for a peaceful, amicable Xmas. That the kids get to enjoy being kids with two parents that are united. 

My shoulder is still painful. The X-rays showed no fractures or torn ligaments. So they’ve diagnosed frozen shoulder. I’ve been referred to an osteopath, and have painkillers. Hopefully the osteopath can help with my migraines as well. The injury where I had stitches has become a cyst. But the dr knows my shoulder is too painful to do anything about that right now. 

Still down a washing machine! So on my regular trips to the laundromat, which keeps me occupied, aside from the usual house chores. Managed to source a second hand dryer in the interim.

Next Sunday is the last group meeting of the year. Apparently everyone is supposed to take some Xmas food. It’ll be nice to see everybody again. 

He’s away next week, Thursday – Saturday, so I’ll likely have some friends around. Relax and enjoy the evenings without tension.

Today I was very busy and then caught up with friends. It was a lovely hot afternoon. And to be able to unwind in good company was a welcome treat. 

Next week, osteopath and psychiatrist! Keeping body and mind in check 😊

Considering the circumstances, I’m feeling quite strong. I guess we never know how much we can take until we’re really pushed.

Hope for myself

  

This morning I had arranged to meet a friend for coffee. Prior to doing that I collected my medical certificate from my GP to send to the travel insurance (for my motorbike accident claim) and with little thought drove to WINZ (work and income New Zealand). I’m in dire need to find work and establish some financial security. With my husband so distant and uncaring, I feel vulnerable that he could pull the rug from me any time. We’re entering this stage where I realise I don’t know him at all anymore. 

I asked about help to find work, and they mentioned some sort of job seeking benefit in the interim but I realise it would be means tested and thus I wouldn’t qualify. Although I freely admitted our marriage was one of legality now, with no substance, and queried if that would make any difference.

It’s unlikely but I have an appointment to discuss my prospects. 

And that is the very core of my realisation. How can I chase a man that has left emotionally? How can I expect love, affection, guidance, support, when the very thing that powers that (love, respect, desire, regard) is gone?

My heart is closed down. Tired of the rejection and accepting the fate. There is no more I can do.

  
Before I’d take any sign of affection or sign of caring as a ray of hope. It’s time to stop that now.

  
The thing is. Cambodia taught me so much about myself and about my worth. And as I gradually lost my self belief when I got back to NZ, friends stepped in to remind me. 

I always thought I’d have my best mate and soul mate. I thought his love would never die. It has and I’m sure he’d blame me for that for all manner of reasons.

But i don’t need to be treated like a second rate nuisance. And I don’t need to tolerate the fact he has no regard for my confusion and need for communication.

So, while he’s busy living his life – which is clear I’m not part of, I intend to get busy living mine. I need to secure work, I want the best for myself. I deserve to be happy. I intend to focus on my friendships because ultimately they will be there for me.

And I need to take this journey of healing alone. 

How long our truce of being amicable will last I don’t know. At least we set Xmas as an objective.

But I know I’m missing so much, to be loved, to be cared for, to be held, to be comforted, to be touched, kissed, made love to. I’m being treated like a flat mate. But I’m a woman and I have needs. 

And frankly, this isn’t going to suit me for long. It’s not healthy or worth the pain. 

I don’t know what he thinks or feels. He refuses to discuss it. 

  
But for the first time, I find myself not terrified by this. 

I realise it’s just another chapter of my life. I can choose to let this destroy my very soul. Or I can manage the situation as tactfully as I can and seek a resolution that creates a compromise for us all.

It was a beautiful sunny day and after holing myself away yesterday, after seeing my friend for a few hours, I walked my dog to the river so he could get a nice refreshing swim

  
I felt calm and peaceful. And the sun warmed my shoulders, heat on the sore shoulder. I felt more determined.

I think I have begun to realise that I am not responsible for other people’s feelings and actions. I think I took so much blame for this state, I wanted to prove my worth, prove my regret, change his mind, reassure him, give everything I could. But I just end up hurt and dejected. Confused and more lonely.

I need to focus on my wellbeing.

Broken (poem)

Is this what my life has become?

Tired, fed up and numb.

My husband barely tolerates me around,

He’s cutting, patronising and a bitterness in him I’ve found.

I’m more alone than I’ve ever been,

Failure is what my husband has seen.

My past like a weight on a back,

It’s courage and strength that I lack.

I would love to feel safe and respected,

Attractive, appreciated and affection received and expected.

I don’t like the person I’ve become,

Weak, ashamed, pitiful and dumb.

Unchartered territory I wander,

With the rain, the wind and the thunder.

I need a sign of what I should do

A suggestion, advice or a clue.

My husband has always been my soul mate,

But now all he has is hate.

Everyday is an ongoing battle from morning and through to the night,

The digs, the put downs and the outright fight.

My depression feels intense, a big scary hole,

Memories repeating in my brain, sadness and fear in my soul.

My life feels stuck on repeat 

This wallowing in self pity I must beat.

I hope I can find strength to continue through this

My old, passionate self I miss.