Packing

The day before I fly out. It seems unreal that this time next week I’ll have been in the UK for a week. It’s a beautiful sunny, warm autumnal day here in NZ and I keep wondering if I’m doing the right thing. But the feeling of ‘starting over’ AGAIN, house hunting and moving seems impossible. So it’s not that I’m happy and settled here. I’m just enjoying being around the children. But living in this house isn’t a possibility. 

Last night was lovely. S was away, the kids tidied their rooms and we all sat and watched a couple of movies. It was really amazing and evenings like that make me wonder why the days are so painfully hard. 

There’s a long gap between my arrival to Auckland and my departing flight. Im really anxious about it. I have hardly spent much time out of bed, so being in the loud and busy airport for hours it’s really anxiety provoking. Plus I’ll be devastated from leaving my children, so lots of time for regrets to settle in.

The only aspect of the flight I’m looking forward to is that at least in the air, nothing can be done. That is, no phone calls, no depressing mail, nothing I have to face and handle like I do on a daily basis here.

S has already arranged for his Mother to come here while I’m away. I feel like he blames me for the rift between them (she never approved of me), and he’s forgotten how difficult she was. It’s like every negative thing in his life, every bad thing was because of me. He blames me for the separation, even though he told me he didn’t love me and told me repeatedly that our marriage was over. I just don’t understand him at all. But as I’ve said before, he is happy, so I guess in some way I was making him miserable. It’s just amazing how he was able to stop loving me so quickly and start resenting me so passionately.

I know I drone on about it and I shouldn’t. It’s one of the reasons, well, the main reason I need to get away. I need to clear my head of this stuff. It’s so confronting dealing with it every day. 

I don’t know how compassionate my family are going to be. Considering they think ‘mental illness’ is really something easily controlled and more a state of mind. Their response to my feeling anxious (about other stuff) already has been ‘well don’t be’ as if anxiety can be stopped. And I know they’ll struggle to understand my unwillingness to get up and function. I’ll be considered ‘lazy.’ But it’s a risk I have to take, because I’m not getting anywhere alone. And I’m hoping in amongst all the negative stuff, they’ll show some caring.

I’m looking forward to seeing my best friend. She’s heavily pregnant, so I’ll be excited to be there for her. She swore she’d never have children, so this was quite a shock! And she gets me, so at least I won’t feel totally isolated. 

I’ll just be glad to be on that departing flight so I can close my eyes and take my head off. Although I know it’ll start a fresh lot of tears.

Imminent move

So today I visited my psychiatrist. I explained that although I was now functioning I still didn’t have any real joy or real happiness. The medication was certainly helping but I still don’t feel like myself. We decided to add amitriptyline to the mix in the hope that this will help elevate my mood. The meeting felt formal and short. I did have the urge just to breakdown and cry but mostly that’s down to the tiredness from the last few days. I was devastated when a good friend of mine escaped from a mental health unit, I was genuinely really concerned for her welfare especially when the police got involved. I’m delighted that she has returned safely and is getting the care she needs. I’m going to see her tomorrow. 

First I have my first physio therapist appointment hopefully that will give me some relief as I will have a specially made splint that will force the ligaments back into place.

S returned late this evening after his flight was delayed so I have returned  to my house. Everything has been boxed and most of my stuff is up at the house. So this house feels really empty and sparse and somehow that makes me feel even more vulnerable. I haven’t heard my neighbours yet that’s not to say I won’t cop abuse when they see my lights are on. This will be my 2nd to last night in this house, it feels like it’s dragging. On Friday night I’m doing a special camping night with the kids with a school project so although I don’t expect to sleep very well on the floor at least I know I won’t be in this house where I don’t feel safe and well I feel so vulnerable.

So here I am still suffering with this depressive mood in the middle of a move which they say is stressful enough let alone  a badly mangled hand!

As everyone agrees; I don’t do things by halves!

All I hope more than anything is that my new house gives me the peace, the safety and the space to feel able to recharge myself and start to feel better about myself and start hitting more of my goals. Luckily as I’ve mentioned before I know the area and I used to love walking around the town any time of the day or night feeling very safe as it is so peaceful and stunning I’ll put some pictures up when I’m finally settled.

Just a privilege to have my windows open and the kids to be able to play in a fenced backyard, free of drunks and the smell of marijuaina.

Tomorrow I get a lie in as S is taking the kids to school. So I’m looking forward to hopefully banking up some more rest.

Sins of the husband

So a few things have happened. And again its been insightful, albeit a tough lesson.

On Tuesday I had a wonderful day with my son, I took him to see what will be his primary school and he seemed really excited, although unfortunately we missed his sister.  J is doing so much better in that school and the children always seem so happy in there.  H found cars, so he was pretty relaxed!

After that we had brunch in a new cafe, just my boy and I, in which the staff showed him a fairy door and the magic fairy left H a lollipop – he and I were both equally excited!!, we went to the park as Spring gave us a much-needed reminder that summer is on the way.

It was a lovely day and I was able not to mull over the upcoming meeting with my lawyer.  For a few hours I was a mother to a beautiful boy enjoying the sun.

Because S had demanded this earlier ‘urgent’ meeting otherwise ‘it would be my fault that he lost everything’ –  I insisted he leave work early as I didn’t intend to take the kids with me.  He obliged but funnily enough as he rushed in he needed to make an urgent phone call and expected me to hang around.  Er, no.

His lawyer had made certain demands, and also hinted to my lawyer that his client was ‘insistent’ on getting these things wrapped up as soon as possible.

For two hours I trawled through finances, communications, his negotiations.  I’ve never been privy to this information before.  It was quite insightful.  It’s amazing how I am to blame for so many things I knew nothing about! His parents as anticipated were trying to create a back door way in and stake a claim the house, pushing me out.  Which won’t happen.  My lawyer was fantastic as usual.  Very calm and methodical.  I broke down and cried. Not because of grief anymore but because of my own stupidity.  You can never really know anyone.  And I didn’t know him at all.

Nothing can you prepare you for that.  I’ve had all of these awful experiences in my past with men, but I genuinely believed that in S I had found a soul mate.  A kind, compassionate man with integrity and loyalty.  The facts speak for themselves, he’s immature, he has no sense of accountability and he’s happy to continually twist the knife.  I’ve constantly been blamed, been shamed, been treated like crap so he can not face his own recklessness.  So he can use the system, not take any responsibility and ultimately rely on Mummy and Daddy to pull him out.  How can I have let this go on for so long?  How can I been so ignorant?  This wasn’t a relationship built on love and honesty.  This was built on lies, betrayal and immaturity.

By the time I left the lawyer’s office, drained, I wandered around the supermarket. I felt like I had seen yet another level of deception.  There is no safety, no comfort zone, no one to turn to.

When I got home, I didn’t have the kids.  Initially I parked the car and then sat in there and cried.  Like a stone finally hitting water.  The impact rushed at me.  I dragged myself inside and I just lay on the bed and stared at the ceiling. No feelings, no thoughts, just quiet.  I had written a Facebook status saying I would never get married again, and I was amazed by the rush of support.  Clearly people are seeing things in my marriage that I didn’t.  Or chose not to and are only voicing that now.  Another shock.  Who is this guy?  My answer I know now is, he’s the father of my children and someone who I used to know.

Eventually we text each other and I wasnt surprised at all to get a barrage of how everything was my fault, how he was the innocent party, in my silence, he text more and more about how I had screwed things up for him and how his job was at risk, the house, etc. etc.  I was too tired to give him anything other, then fine.  You’re right.  I have nothing more to say on the matter.  I actually didn’t.  Words are meaningless.  My lawyer keeps saying, actions mean everything.  And his actions have shown me how little regard he has for me.

My lawyer has requested the basics, a house evaluation – he wasn’t even going to do that! And yet still expected me to sign the house away.  Even the debt in taxes includes the period we’ve been separated – which is incorrect and these claims he made in support from the government???  How can he do that without my consent?  How did I get pulled into his mess?  Marriage – sucks you right in with the other person.

I’m relieved I have this lawyer.  I would have broken down and given in ages ago, but she’s advocating for me, shes explaining things to me. She’s giving me the sense of empowerment – no I won’t be rail roaded.  I will stand up for myself.

I was in bed by 8.30, I was shot to pieces.  I had my hospital appointment the following day, I’ll write in a separated blog!

 

Lost

It feels like ages since I’ve blogged. I guess I was hoping to write that I was on top of the world and had all these amazing plans for the future. Sadly that is not the case. In fact I’m beginning to wonder if I will remain in a lower state of normal forever. 

That said, I’ve been busy making the Spring holiday special for my children. I’ve packed lots of outings in, so far we’ve been to the movies, my son’s first cinema experience!


And we’ve been swimming, out to the local park and to visit a Lego exhibit. Previously the kids have been put in holiday programmes, but as I’m around I wanted them to have really good memories and I didn’t want my depression to dictate to me again. It’s not been easy. Every morning I wake up still tired, full of anxiety and a complete physical lethargy that makes me want to curl up on the couch and not move all day. I have to push myself physically and mentally to get going. Baring in mind I’ve been staying at the house so I am also constantly mindful to keep the place tidy and laundry done. It’s pushed me beyond what I thought I’d be capable of. I also received notice from the government department that gives out student allowances that mine is cancelled. The reason is because I changed institutions, so they regarded my withdrawal as points against me. I couldn’t believe it when I heard that. I rely on the student allowance with costs and I felt like someone had pulled a plug on me. I could appeal the decision but to be honest, I don’t have the energy, inclination to even belief in myself. When I got the news I sobbed like a baby. Yes, uni has been a struggle for me, but I had decided to sort it out after the school holidays. Now the decision has been made for me. I didn’t think I’d be able to carry on with the holiday plans. But it’s not about me, it’s about my kids and they’re relying on me. I’m glad that I’ve been able to keep going and give them the best of me.

Next week I have already made some plans, being careful with budget, but I’m also mindful that the week denotes the end of my purpose. The end of my planning, the end of my need to stay motivated. I have no plans in place to deal with this.

Day to day is easier for me. But the future seems scary and uncertain to me. For one, this rental house won’t work for me. The neighbors are just too noisy. I can’t handle revving cars at 1am, the constant parties and loud music on a Sunday morning. I’ve tried to adapt to surburbun life but I can’t stand all the noise. Which is a shame because the house itself is perfect for me. So do I face a move next year? Part of me is considering going to Australia. Just travelling around and getting work where I can. It’s cheap to fly between here and there. But the kids?? To not see them as regularly will be so painful. But New Zealand doesn’t feel like my home and I feel the need to explore and find myself again. Be more in control of my destiny. 

I’m conflicted about the best way forward. But my existence at the moment is living hand to mouth and trying to get by each day. I feel trapped and stuck. Although I realise that’s part the depression as well. 

I feel like I’ve been thrown another curveball and I’m unsure how to deal with it. I need some inspiration and I need to feel strong again. I need to feel empowered and positive about the future. But where to start?

S has found his perfect career and is incredibly happy and adjusted. The break up was clearly the best thing for him. In fact, at times I wonder just how long ago he stopped loving me. How long was he waiting for us to end properly? Funny, I was like he is now before we met. I have completely lost myself during our time together. I no longer like who I am and what I’ve become. I’m drained. The marriage sucked me dry and spat me out with nothing.

What will happen next?

Still down

I’m still up at the house because S has extended his stay in Auckland. It’s pretty full on, but I’m managing. I’m disappointed that my energy levels aren’t really increasing. I’m faithfully turning up to circuit training twice a week, and being really careful about what I eat. But I’m still so sluggish, like I’m wading through mud. Today I was especially exhausted and HAD to take a nap. My concentration is still affected and I forget things easily. Including words and phrases.

I feel like I’m never going to change. Like I will never find true joy in anything again. I keep going and live very much on autopilot, functioning with little drama. Yet I’m not really inspired by anything. I’m not excited by things. I miss feeling alive. I miss periods of being relaxed. I miss being content. I hope this is still situational. I’m living in my ex’s house tending to the kids on a meagre budget. Although I’m really enjoying being with the kids – don’t get me wrong, I’m not doing anything that feels awe-inspiring. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. Maybe this is who I am now? Forever functioning just below baseline with a modicum of energy to get through the day?

I do feel like I’ve lost my direction. I’m so anxious about university, it seems so overwhelming and frankly terrifying even though I know I can do the work, it’s still a place where I realised I was breaking down. To head into the city feels like a huge journey out of my comfort zone. In fact, daily I keep my travel to close, well known places. It’s more confronting having the kids because they need things, whereas if I was alone I probably would avoid most if not all outings.

I’m still not being social with friends, I can’t face social interaction at the moment.

The worse thing is knowing that this isn’t normal and wanting to rise above it, but I can’t. I just don’t have the reserves of energy, the motivation and trust in myself. I look in the mirror and all the tiredness, all the exhaustion seems to be coming out of every pore. My hair looks lank and dry, my skin is pale and dry, my eyes are dark and puffy. I seem to have aged significantly.

This is when (it goes against my feminist principles) I just want to curl up in the arms of someone that loves me. I want to be cared for, loved and nurtured during this time. Reminded that I’m worth it, to take strength from another, and to be understood in the silence.

But I have only myself to get that from and right now I don’t exactly like myself very much.

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.

 

 

Reflections on a broken marriage

It is one year ago that S and I officially separated. In NZ, you have to be separated for 2 years before you can divorce, irrespective of circumstances. And the only reason for divorce is citing irreconcilable differences. I think in the US you can divorce straight away, I don’t know about the UK, but Australia is one year. So two years seems a long time.

I’ve been through all the stages of grief, denial, anger, sadness, and over and over them for different periods.

I can still remember S telling me he didn’t love me when I got to Cambodia. My desperation to fly home and sort out the situation and him telling me he’d leave, he didn’t want me to go back. The shock of a marriage gone bad. Although we’d been drifting for some time, I never envisioned divorce in my life. That was something other people did. Surely we’d find our way back?

On my return, S seemed to think we could live together as flat mates. Which might have been possible if not for the fact he couldn’t hide his disgust with me. If I stepped close to him, his barrier was almost tangible. He looked at me with disdain. For me, I couldn’t live like that. I couldn’t pretend. My parents have a fake marriage built on familiarity and fear of the Unknown. I wasn’t going to have this half in marriage. Either we made it work, or we didn’t. In which case, we moved on. Which in theory seemed easy, but then there’s the emotional baggage. S made it clear, he was out. He was over this marriage. No tearful talks from me were going to change anything. So I engaged a lawyer. And why not? I don’t know my rights, I wasn’t going to be left without anything. S seemed to take the lawyer as a personal blow to his integrity. But I don’t regret it. She helped me organise my finances and his financial obligations and explained the house situation. Although S initially agreed to move out within a set time frame, he reneged. And I didn’t want the cost or pressure of going to court for an order. So I decided to move out. S can’t afford to buy me out of the house, and we want to sell later when prices have gone up, so it works for me.

I didn’t anticipate the emotional connection to the house though. Spending too much time up there blurred boundaries and made the separation process harder to accept. But then avoiding the house totally had the other effect of extreme emotional torture.

I’ve flipped and flopped with my emotions and there’s been no easy route.

I can finally say, one year on, I no longer have an emotional connection to the house. It’s S’s house. I sometimes go up there to look after the kids when he’s working late, but I treat it like a friends house.

There was no need for a custody agreement, S and I work well where the kids are concerned, as there’s 4, it’s hard to have them all here at once – my place is quite small. But I usually have 2/3 at any given time, weekends and during the week. My relationship with the kids hasn’t suffered.

S and I are moving into a new stage of our post separation relationship. The hurt has finally disappated. I never thought it would get  to that. But hanging onto the hurt was only serving to damage me.Bearing in mind he’s had longer to deal with his decision and feelings so I’ve found his coolness hard to bare. One result from this is there is no going back. I could never trust him again after all this hurt.  Not that going back is an option. He seems happy and relaxed. Probably much better than his good days with me.

I’m sad, very sad that we had so much history, so many stories accumulated over the years. He was my best friend and I’ve lost that. 

For the first time I find myself missing affection (we didn’t have that for a long time in our marriage, and as for intimacy, God knows). I miss the closeness of a relationship. It’s strange to think of dating again. 

Right now I’m focussing on my mental health, and my fitness. It’s time I took better care of myself as I fight this low. I’d also like to get back into my study again.

I’m enjoying my kids, and I’m more set in my ways now in my house. I didn’t think I’d ever feel like this. I know there will still be hard periods, and my body will crave the familiarity of a man I’ve loved for over a decade, but I know I won’t find my true happiness there anymore.