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.

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Struggling

I deactivated Facebook. I didn’t realise just how much I scrolled through my newsfeed, I find myself grabbing my phone and then realising. I’m probably getting more upset having Facebook though, so I think my brain and my emotions will appreciate the break. And I have messenger active, so I can still communicate with friends.

Last night I had a powerful flashback which nearly sent me into a panic attack, but I had the children at mine, so I had to stay calm and distract myself.

The flashback was of my ex forcing me to receive a sex act that the rapist forced on me. So a double whammy. I feel so out of control of these images and memories. I hate it. I hate living like this. I hate that I feel so vulnerable and everywhere feels dangerous and every man that comes near me feels like a threat. That said, I also act over aggressive. A bus driver asked me to move my car, and I told him it wasn’t my fault he couldn’t park his bus (he had loads of room). I got in my car and he opened up the passenger door and swore at me. I just saw red, I felt cornered and I told him if he didn’t shut my passenger door I would ‘cut his head off.’ – a slight exaggeration I think! But it was fear fuelling my anger and on principle I wasn’t going to be bullied by the man.

I’m feeling tired and irritable. My concentration is shot because my brain keeps reliving in the past, so often I miss conversations with my children, and I can’t stay focussed on reading or tv.

When I went for an appointment with my CPN yesterday and he was off sick, but he’s made contact via email and it’s reassuring to have that check on my mental health. In terms of my mood I know I’m stable, that I’m not entering a low. This is purely circumstantial. I hope it stays that way too.

The kids are back at school now (new term started here), so I’m back to chauffeur mode. I need to learn how to use that time so I’m not isolating myself again – which is tempting. The kids on holiday gave me a purpose and I was desperate for them to have the best summer holiday and form lots of memories. Now I need to learn to do things for me.

Therapy and holidays

Had my first therapy session today. Jury’s out on whether we’ll gel. But I did open up an awful lot to her today, more than anticipated with a new therapist. It’s like everything I’ve been ruminating over came spilling out. All of my anxiety around the date, the flashbacks, the panic, my ex and how he treated me, the confusing stuff with the cop. I asked her what was normal, I asked for her perspective, I relayed conversations, thoughts and memories as they came racing through. I even spoke a little about my relationship ending with Steve and how that’s impacted me. Once I started, there was no stopping me! It goes to show just how much I’ve had in my head, how much has been bothering me and weighing me down. I did feel calmer when I left. My head felt like it had more room.

I’ve really got a lot in with the kids these holidays. We’ve been constantly either at the beach or at the pools. It’s another sweltering hot day here and I’ve love to be on the beach, but the kids are struggling with the heat, so they’re happy at home. Two of them (the two youngest) start school tomorrow. It’ll be strange after having them around for so long! But it means I can get stuff done without worrying about dragging the kids around. And I’d like to spend as much time as I can at the beach before summer goes.

So, feeling pretty good about today, certainly relieved to have started therapy again. Although for me, it’s usually the night I start to feel it.

And really happy with the way the school holidays have been. I can’t imagine I’d have been capable of this a few months ago.

Camping and counselling

Camping with the kids was absolutely fantastic. They were really helpful, they coped without WiFi and tv and we all had a really good laugh. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. For me, the disconnect from reality and being absorbed in (sorry for the cliche) nature and my kids was a real recharge. I would have suggested longer, only the heat was stifling so it was hard to keep food fresh, and we had to pick up C’s uniform in an allotted time today, and I see my psychiatrist tomorrow. But it was a good introduction at least. I especially enjoyed us all sitting around a lantern at nightfall and sharing ghost stories. It’s a rarity to have all the kids together and getting along like that. Obviously it’s no comparison to Steve taking them on a lavish holiday with meals out, but at least they adapt to my budget. I missed Steve on the trip. It’s my first holiday with the kids without him. I thought back to our camping experiences (and there were a lot) and I know he would have enjoyed seeing the kids out camping, and I’d have had someone else to share the memories with. It’s weird because I thought of him on our camping excursion but I know he would never have thought about me when they went on their first holiday without me. It never fails to amazes me how much of a light switch some people have with their feelings. We had years together but to him it’s meaningless.

Anyway, there’s no point droning on about that, it is what it is. The important thing is that I got to spend precious time with my children and they enjoyed themselves.

I did have my cell with me, although the battery drained and I had a message to say a counsellor has been allocated to me locally. I’ve been on a waiting list for a while so I’m really happy about that, although a little apprehensive that it’s a person I can relate to well. The reason I opted for this place was because it’s the cheapest service in the area and I may get funding. I literally can’t afford normal counselling or my old counsellor. I start on Monday.

My CPN has told me that I need to tell the psychiatrist that February will be a difficult month for me. I’m not entirely pleased as it’s also her last day so I hate going into detail, I’ll avoid it if I can. It’s infuriating that yet another psychiatrist will be allocated to me and then it’ll be starting from scratch again. I refuse to have any medication changed because a new psychiatrist doesn’t believe in it or whatever.

My medication does seem to be working, although I have to say it was a nuisance to remember it while camping. I never had medication before when I was camping. But I guess it’s that whole ‘having an illness’ thing, like a diabetic. Rather take a few minutes out to take some pills then be back to almost catatonic. I certainly wouldn’t have managed a trip like this a few months ago.

So now we’re back at Steve’s (he’s away) and I’m tied to laundry and tidying. The kids are back to devices and the tv is on. On the flip side it’s been really nice to have a shower and put clean clothes on! And of course, charge my phone!

This has been a really special summer. Usually the kids are in holiday programs but I’ve been determined to give them a good time with trips to the beach, the pools and of course camping. And with Steve taking them away to Napier (to his parents) and on their holiday, they have a lot to talk about when they go back to school, and more importantly they have memories.

I’ll miss them when they start back at school. Which is next week. But my plan is to take the dog on lots of long walks so I can keep up my activity level and increase my fitness. And get to the pools for a good swim.

New year woes

I’m writing my last entry for 2017 before 9pm in bed. I’m feeling really unwell and teamed with my medication, it’s making for a sluggish and disoriented period.

Last night I was up at Steve’s and was struck with the same debilitating PTSD symptoms. I’ve given up trying to question the whys now. I wasn’t triggered, the house is safe and yet I had this unrelenting fear of an intruder, coming to do me harm. I suppose the greatest feeling that accompanies this is loneliness. I have no one to share my fears with. No one to give me comfort or reassurance, or even at least acknowledge and validate my fears. I just have to push it down and get on.

Today I took Ava for her final vaccinations and a microchip. I think I found it more unbearable than her! But the microchip is so important.

Following on from her appointment I felt too unwell to do anything else. I actually felt faint at times, and the sweat was pouring off of me. We came back to my house and I awaited a text that said Steve was leaving Napier so I could estimate their arrival time.

Of course that text never came. And now I’m bed unwell and it’s all my fault and the kids wanted to stay in Napier and I dragged them away from all the fun up there. Blah blah blah. I get fed up being the selfish, meanie mother sometimes and there’s no reasoning with Steve. Once I’m in the dog house, I’m fully there to stay. Still, at least it gives him something to bitch about to his parents. My failings. If only I could be as perfect a parent as him.

I have no desire to see the new year in. I’m done with hoping for something better. It’s just more disappointment and shit to handle, with a different number at the end.

I have no inspirational comments or pseudo motivational sound bites to make. It’s just me signing off one miserable year, expecting the same next year.

Suicide and Xmas

So Xmas eve night I cried for hours. As I often do on Xmas, and no alcohol was involved. It got so bad I started to consider driving off and then driving off a cliff. The idea seemed incredibly alluring but I considered that Xmas day would be forever remembered as the day that mummy killed herself. It was really hard to try and stay rational. Popping a few Valium helped.

Xmas day has been fantastic though. The kids loved their presents (even the meagre few from me) and Steve cooked a beautiful roast. It was nice to be a united family and I think the kids really benefited from it.

We took the kids to the park to try out their new bikes

And of course Ava came along. Although wasn’t impressed about being kept on a lead! But their were loads of families out, despite the drizzle. It was lovely to see.

I did have fleeting moments of panic, I’m not sure why. So found myself easily exhausted. And I’ve been getting constant headaches from clenching my jaw at night, so I need to sort out some sort of bite plate at night.

Xmas with a mental illness is never easy and I felt the struggle all too much as usual. But I tried to get into the festive spirit and relax.

Tomorrow is Boxing Day and Steve is taking the kids to their grandparents in Napier, I’m dreading being alone. I’ve really loved having so much time with the kids. I won’t drink and I guess I’ll communicate as best I can with friends to ensure I stay on top of my feelings. I really hate feeling this way. It’s like no medication is strong enough to get me through Xmas. And I’m clearly not strong enough. It’s a terrible weakness I have.

So today I will treasure, I’m grateful to Steve and I’m truly blessed to have such awesome, beautiful children. I’m sure the kids will have a great time in Napier and they deserve to be spoilt. I just wish it didn’t have hurt as much to let them go.

Drinking and work

It’s not long until Xmas and I did a really stupid thing last night. I was up at Steve’s as he’s away and I got drunk in the bath. This caused a major meltdown, me wallowing in the bath thinking about how awful 2017 has been and how much I’ve failed. How I must be a great source of disappointment to my family and friends. I sobbed my heart out, having to dive under the water when I heard the kids to wash away the tears.

This is why I avoid drinking. I’m not a good drunk. I either think I’m god reincarnated or scum of the earth. There’s no middle ground. It’s also not good with my meds, I ended up with my head down the toilet most of the night and this morning and a thunderous headache to boot.

Mentally I’ve been stable (ok, aside from that slip!). I’ve been quite content looking after the kids, taking them to the pools, enjoying their company, and enjoying the sunny weather.

And I have a new addition to the family..,

I hadn’t wanted to get a puppy, but in the end decided at least I’d know it’s background and it would be safer with the kids. I met the woman selling them and she was really lovely, this puppy, Ava kind of chose me! She came straight over to me and I adored her instantly. The kids have been great with her and she’s really laid back. In the chewing stage which is annoying, but I’ve bought plenty of toys. It’s nice to have company at mine when the kids aren’t there.

I’ve been in weekly contact with my CPN just to ensure everything is going all right.

The job is really too much for me. The night shifts are really messing me up. Working from 9pm – 7am ruins 2-3 days for me. Quality time I could be with my children. And it throws my medication regime off. I’m also aware that a good sleep routine is paramount to good mental health, and I’m working nights every week, with only a couple of evening shifts. If I’d known the time of the night shifts, I’d never have taken the job. But I’ve tried to find a rhythm and not give up at the first hurdle, but it’s simply not working. I’m looking for something else now. Still only part time, but with consistent hours so I can plan my weeks with the children and no more nights.

I’m really trying to be less of a grinch this year. Just because I hate Xmas doesn’t mean everyone should suffer my wrath!

Not long now until the big day! I’ll be up at Steve’s and we’re having a bbq – traditional Xmas day in NZ.