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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Job and stuff

I think it’s really interesting that Steve mentioned I used to say all the time, I never really enjoyed that, after everything I ever did. I had lost all pleasure in everything in my every day life. I hardly remember that period at all but it seems familiar.

It’s interesting to me because I have spent the last few years being extremely sad. I have struggled with the marriage break up and all the subsequent difficulties I’ve faced alone. My mental health has been unstable and I’ve probably spent more time crying than I have at any other time in my life. But I have to say that I’ve really learnt to embrace the crying. I don’t see it as a weakness or question my sanity. I see it as a release and I just let go. It’s actually very freeing. In amongst all the grief and sadness there are many things I have learnt to appreciate and therefore enjoy. Simple things. It can be anything from a good cup of a coffee, to something one of the kids say, to driving my really cute car to something one of my good friends say. I guess when I think I’m going backwards it takes a simple comment like that to realise that’s not the case at all.

In terms of the job, I’m sticking at it. Some days are better than others. There’s been some really interesting cases, so if I focus on the clients it ignites real passion in me, I just want the freedom to get stuck in. The team seem a little bit warmer to me. Maybe it’s a time thing? I guess because I’m so open and tend to accept people, I expect everyone to do the same, so I’m bitterly disappointed when they don’t. That’s my problem really and not anyone else’s fault.

I’ve interviewed a nanny to take Harry to his tutoring on Tuesday and Thursday as I’m not going to be available. It really was a bittersweet experience. She’s lovely and I am glad to be working, but I’ve really enjoyed being such a big part of my son’s routine. I’m going to miss that a lot. I do love my boy so much.

I’ve had the kids the last few days, but now they’re off to Napier with the grandparents for the week – it’s school holidays. I’ll miss them so much. I’ll make the most of Steve’s empty house though by doing my washing and using the spa pool 😄

I’ve got this horrible ear infection which I’m starting to think will never go away. I’m completely deaf in my left ear. I’ve been on two different antibiotics. Now I’m on ear drops. It’s really frustrating. When there’s background noise I can hardly hear and I’m constantly shouting which I know is annoying everyone.

My mood is a little unstable, slightly more than usual – it’s the antibiotics. It interacts with my medication. I swing a little between my usual (crying) and then feeling extremely irritable and confrontational. I’m aware of it, fortunately it should only be temporary. I see my psychiatrist every 2 weeks at the moment and I’ve been seeing my CPN pretty much every week but he’s been on leave. I realise starting a new job is also a huge stressor, and I’m really keen to stay on top of mental health. I want to keep communication open and try to stop anything before it spirals out of control, which is easier said than done. I’m extremely stressed about my finances. My job pays pretty much the same as being on welfare, and of course by not being on welfare there’s a lot of things I don’t get discounted anymore so I’m very concerned. You can sort of see why some people can’t see the point of working. Especially when you consider tax deductions and student loan debts and child support, etc. But I’ve talked to Steve about that. I’ve gotten really good at budgeting, but I’m still lousy at understand taxes and what my entitlements are, whereas that’s his strength so I’m hoping he’ll be able to support me in terms of his knowledge.

I have a lot going on, but I’m managing. I’m taking each day as it comes. I’m finding it better to acknowledge each anxiety as it rears up as opposed to try and push it away. I’ve even kept lists of things that really trouble me and it’s amazing to be able to look at those lists a few months later and see most, if not all of the things cleared.

Update

I know why I had the seizure. An interim psychiatrist that I’d never even met, increased my anti depressants over the phone to an amount well exceeding the recommended dose and a consequence of doing that is a seizure. I only found out because there is a new long term psychiatrist in place whom I met face to face and she was outraged by my dosage and explained to me how the seizure had come about. Naturally I’m angry and upset and I’ve complained and there’s an investigation. Suffice to say I’m no longer on that medication. Really goes to show how much faith we place in these doctors, when they’re not always worthy of such trust.

I now have a job, as a mental health advocate. Sounds fitting. But to be honest I’m doubtful. The hours are very long, the pay isn’t good and I’m not sure about the team. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful to have a job, not working is very depressing not to mention I’m sick of the financial stress, but I’ve definitely jumped at the first offer and rather than feeling excited at this opportunity, there’s a lot of trepidation. But I’m trying to stay open minded. Admittedly it’s not been the best introduction. Two days away in Auckland at a company meeting, so a room full of strangers and the obligatory ‘team exercises’ which is enough to fray anyone’s nerves. Plus it was ‘expenses reimbursed’ and the trip was kind of thrown at me so there was no budgeting for it so it really left me screwed and having to go cap in hand to Steve which is always really demeaning. The women in my team are the kind that like to giggle over penis jokes 🙄 I know, right? And there’s just some things I can’t fake no matter how hard I try to fit in.

And it’s coming up to school holidays and I was really looking forward to hanging out with the kids. We’ve had a great school routine going, and I’ve enjoyed taking Harry to his tutoring twice a week, I’ve been really involved with them. Don’t get me wrong – I know parents have to work and I know they still can be involved with their kids!! Its just I’ve been so removed from them with my own issues, it’s been great to be well enough to be such an integral part of their routine. I’ll really miss the little things and I get the feeling this job is really demanding as low paying jobs always seem to be. Steve is already away a lot of the time, so it’s important at least one of us can be there regularly.

I don’t know, we’ll see. I haven’t established a routine yet, so time will tell and there’s no point in stressing now. As I say, I am genuinely glad to be back in the workforce again.

Things between Steve and I remain like a roller coaster. Sometimes I think we’ve nailed a good relationship. And more specifically I think I’ve personally negotiated my own feelings about our separation. But then something happens and it’s like I’m back to square one. The hurt and confusion, the loneliness and dread. Not knowing how to move forwards. I’m told that’s fairly normal after a break up. But really I’d like to be given set time frames and resolutions!

I’ve totally relaxed over my house situation. I’ve stopped trawling the adverts for a new place. I think because I’ve had the kids over so much I’ve started to relax more. I’ve moved the furniture around, bought more heaters, got some blankets for the living room and the kids enjoy coming over, it feels more homely. I’ll still periodically check out rentals but definitely not like before. I’m not desperate. Because Steve’s house doesn’t feel like home anymore that’s been a huge shift for me. I was up there this afternoon but that’s the first time for a while. It doesn’t have the same appeal. It’s still a luxury, but no more than staying in a hotel. I know it’s not mine and I actually don’t care anymore. Besides, when you look at it, there are many, many cracks and imperfections, there are sad signs of neglect and no one wants a home that’s neglected. Eventually I’ll probably see the house as a metaphor for my marriage but at the moment I’m still wearing the rose tinted glasses. And that’s ok, I’m aware of it. I own that. And I believe that will change in time. It has to, because what I feel and what I know to be true are two very different things. Certainly when I compare old Steve with new Steve, they couldn’t be two more different people.

Well I’m hoping to have an early night as I have an early start tomorrow. I’m quite anxious about it as to be expected. I have my second eldest daughter here with me as her school is a short walk away from me so it’s really nice to have the company and I think she really enjoys the independence. So it’s a win win.

Tipping point

Interestingly the last few days have been surprisingly better. A few ‘shifts’ have happened.

Firstly, I was due to have the kids at my place but there was a power cut, no heat, no light so I felt it best we return to the house. I slept on the couch because Steve was leaving early the next day. They all watched a movie and I didn’t feel like it, so I curled up in a bedroom and read a book. I can’t explain the feeling, but I suddenly knew I had to get out of there. I mumbled excuses about having to buy a bottle of water from the garage. I drove a few seconds down the road and then pulled over and cried like I’ve never cried before. I sobbed, I wailed, I howled like a wounded animal. My entire body shook, i could feel this terrible pain, in that moment I could completely understand why people become addicts because I could have easily done anything to avoid the pain, but I trusted by body. I instinctively knew it was something I had to do. I don’t know how long I sat there for. I managed to get it together enough to go to the garage and buy some water but I was sobbing the whole time. I didn’t care what anyone thought. Back in the car, again i only got a little way and the whole thing started again.

By the time I got back to the house I felt drained and hollowed out. They were finishing the movie and heading to bed. I curled up on the couch and soon came the heart wrenching sobs. I managed to hold back on the wailing but the sobbing was just as gut wrenching, I played some music on my phone to cover the noise. I felt the pain the same intensity and gripped the blanket in agony.

I think I was finally grieving. I do cry easily at times, but I’ve never let go like that before. I always stop myself, scared that if I let go I might not stop or it might hurt too much. Clearly I’d reached my tipping point. I grieved for a number of things, my marriage, my health, the stuff in England, how my life is. Just everything that hurts and feels out of my control.

The next day I felt numb, but without a doubt I knew things had shifted.

A friend of mine that knew I was struggling with my house came and did a blessing on it! It was really nice of her and although I’m in two minds about it, I’m trying to stay open minded. I really love that she did that for me.

I got a new car as mine was too expensive to fix. It’s a cheap little piece of shit but I absolutely LOVE it!!! I haven’t owned a car like it before, it’s very raw but I really love it! And it’s so economical. It’s been well looked after too for its age.

I saw the new psychiatrist and she’s convinced my seizure was caused because my dose of anti depressant is far too high. The maximum dose is 400mg, I’m on 650mg. I may have my answer! She’s slowly reducing it with a view to changing it, I’m ok with that.

I’ve got a busy weekend. I had the kids over last night and I took them out for dinner, it was really lovely. We’re just going for a walk now. Then I’m catching up with different friends. I feel really grateful.

And I have two interviews on Monday! Fingers crossed!

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

?

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.

Doing things

I have been trying to fight this low. I can’t bear to feel like I did before. I joined a gym and have made myself go everyday – even though my body is painfully resistant. I can’t believe how unfit I am.

I also saw the volunteer agency to see if there was anything I could offer my time towards. There were a few suggestions, and I’ve contacted the places. Unfortunately I’ve only heard back from one and their training doesn’t start until August . I thought volunteering would be easy to organise.

Steve and I got into it last night, i ended up getting drunk. This afternoon he’s basically referred to our entire marriage as a sham and that stung. He thinks so little of me, and can barely look at me in person. It’s incredible how quickly he’s come to loathe me. I suggested we have a conversation, try to hash out our differences and reach a compromise, but he’s turned me down point blank. I guess I need to get used to it. He’s not going to change and I have to stop letting it hurt me. I worry about the children though, they pick up vibes really easily. It’s so unfair to them.

I’m still attending my Married, Separated and Widowed group. I’m determined to stay committed to this course, as it does me good to get out one night a week. And it forces me to be social – even when I don’t want to be. One of the facilitator’s offered to go walking with me this weekend in a bid to keep me active. She text this evening, so we’re going out tomorrow morning. I also have the monthly survivors group tomorrow.

Next week Steve is away so I’m up at the house. It’ll be great to spend time with all the kids and in a nice house – with a bath!

So I’m doing what I can but it feels like an uphill battle. I can’t imagine getting to a place where I’m genuinely happy and enjoying everyday.