Update

I’m on my last week of the 8 week running program. I’ve absolutely amazed myself by running 4km. The goal is 5km on Saturday. I’m still not confident but I’m going to give it a good shot. I’ve worked hard at this.

I had a rough weekend. I signed up for self defence, which was being run by women for women. It should have been a safe space. But I was triggered so badly. The idea of shouting really pushed me over the edge. I used my voice but was ignored, why should these self defence tactics make any difference. Plus we talked about strangulation. I was fine with the theory but I wasn’t ready to do the practice. I ended up locked in a toilet stall having a panic attack. When I finally got it together I snuck out to get my bag and leave. A friend caught me on the way out, she hugged me and reassured me. It felt nice, I could have sobbed on her shoulder all afternoon, but I was scared of upsetting the women. So I took my bag and fast footed it to the car. I cried hard driving home. I had to ring Steve in the end because I couldn’t get a grip. He was very understanding- unusually so actually. He knew I’d been doing this and suspected this would happen. I took comfort in his support and made it home. I was incredibly hyper vigilant- jumping and crying at every noise. The exhaustion though was overwhelming. I napped on and off. I felt so drained mentally and physically. I’ve never known anything like it. I was really too tired to have my boy over, but I missed him so much. Playing lego all evening was pretty hard, but I didn’t want to spoil his fun. The following day I had a wicked migraine. My son watched movies while I lay in bed hoping it would go. Suffice to say I felt like a terrible mother.

I’ve had some rough nights since then. Hopefully it will taper off. In retrospect I never should have taken that on. I have enough going on, I should have realised this would trigger me.

My job still sucks. I’m tired of the politics and pettiness. My boss goes on leave from December 21st, I can’t wait. It’ll be nice not to have her breathing down my neck. My official leave isn’t until 14 January. I can’t wait. I desperately need a break from this job environment. I’m still applying for other jobs but it’s tough going. Particularly with the time of year.

I’m really hoping to enjoy this Xmas. Traditionally I’m always unwell at Xmas. I can feel the low creeping in but I’m trying hard to fight it. I want to be there for the kids. There really is nothing quite as sad as sobbing miserably on Xmas day.

As the running program finishes this weekend, some new friends I made and I are making our own running club. I think it’ll be easier to stay motivated with people. I’ve also signed up to some runs around the area, including Round the Bays, which is quite an infamous run event here.

I am worried about my financial situation. As I suppose everyone is. At least Steve and his family can spoil the kids. I’ll never be in a position to do that anymore.

Fingers crossed for Saturday!

Advertisements

Work stress

Work has been incredibly stressful. One of the women has resigned and for two weeks building up to her resignation she complained to me constantly. I realise I need to take some accountability, I should have shut that down, but I didn’t. I took it all on, so I became increasingly exhausted, drained, miserable etc. I wasn’t sleeping, I was doubting myself, dreading work. I’d already found my starting at the company incredibly stressful but I’ve stuck at it. When things finally felt like they were levelling out, this happened. She was asked to leave the company within days of her resignation as opposed to work her 4 week notice period. She felt very hard done by. Of course there’s two sides to every story and I shouldn’t have been so quick to believe her side. Gradually the story has unraveled and in fact her conduct has been anything but professional. She jumped ship before disciplinary action commenced. I have taken on some of her clients; so I can see her poor work. It’s been a total head fuck. On Thursday I completely broke down. I was so exhausted from not sleeping and the atmosphere at work was grinding me down. My mood has dropped and I’m TERRIFIED of becoming unwell. I miss seeing the kids everyday and the relationship with Steve is either civil or horrible – there’s no middle ground. I had reached my end. Instead of taking time out, I forced myself to conduct a meeting with a client in the mental health ward, he was incredibly aggressive and security was called. I lost it. I panicked and ran out (obviously the ward is locked down so I could only run to the doors). I did this in front of my colleagues. Totally unprofessional. I hate that I did that.

I took a huge gamble and told my boss I felt under huge stress and the thing with my colleague had really affected me. She seemed to be really understanding. If I go by the colleague that left, I’ve just made a huge mistake. But I don’t know what’s real anymore and who to trust.

I’ve spoken to my CPN, he knows I want a new psychiatrist. This current one has done nothing for my sleep. She won’t prescribe zopiclone, and whilst I understand her concerns – she’s not prescribed an alternative either! And everyone knows sleep is a major trigger for people with mood disorders. I think it’s really poor management on her part. My CPN is arranging that for me in the long term but is arranging an urgent referral in the short term. He has been really good to talk to. He really put my reaction in the ward into perspective. He said a lot of mental health workers have days where they get easily triggered by patients. It’s part of the job, but it’s important to talk about it. I just feel like I’m being judged all the time.

Last weekend Steve was away and I had an absolutely fantastic time with the kids. It meant the world to me. This weekend Steve is with the kids and I’m making an effort to catch up with friends. Also a friend has given me some zopiclone so I’m having some good sleep which is making a world of difference. I’m making a concerted effort not to keep thinking about work and I’m planning to try and start Monday afresh.

I just hope with everything I’m doing I can keep my mood from slipping.

All work, no play

I’ve been to so many support groups recently – I’m feeling pretty drained! Not to mention my boss has got me driving constantly as a resident ‘leaflet distributor.’ – I’ve come to realise that she’s so threatened by me, she’s keeping me busy in other ways. Unfortunately for her it’s backfiring because people are talking to me and wanting to sit and chat with me which is going to get me in a whole new load of trouble. She’s been off the last couple of days. But I’m already in trouble because the groups she’s sent me to have resulted in connections – which you’d think would be the point, but I think it unnerves her that I’m able to establish a rapport with people so quickly. I’m trying my best to just keep my head down and stick at it. But it’s a really unpleasant work environment.

The other night I was invited to a ‘Realities’ group – a group for people with distorted realities. My company have been trying to get in there for months, to effectively market to the participants. But were told not to go by the people that run it. I was invited, which my boss was happy about and pushed me to go, even though I can’t relate to the content of the group. It was late at night in the city too, and the weather was shocking. But I thought I might garner brownie points. That, and a few others, plus I had my own survivors group on Sunday. I’ve been pretty tired.

The group on Sunday was good though. I did talk about the job and the difficulties I’m facing. It’s good to get a fresh perspective and get reassurance that I’m not just paranoid. I can also hear new coping strategies. I do want to make this work. I’d much rather be working than doing nothing all day. Although I’m missing the kids terribly.

My weekend was busy. I caught up with a good friend on Saturday although I was late because I slept in (unusual for me, but my sleep has been shocking) and caught up with another friend before group on Sunday (which I was also late for because I slept in!). Sleep is really off the charts. And my psychiatrist is being really anal about zopiclone which is having a big impact on me. She’s irritated the hell out of me, so I’d rather just not see her at the moment and pick up what basic prescription she gives me. I don’t have the energy to argue or ironically, advocate for myself.

I’m still really enjoying my home! I’ve realised that I’ve completely stopped looking at other houses. That may change eventually. I miss having a garden – but it helps coming up to Steve’s periodically, and I know the kids get plenty of room up here.

Things between Steve and I remain mostly civil. It’s hard to capture! It changes so often. My feelings can be excruciating at times. I miss him terribly and get hit by tidal waves of grief. Anything can trigger it and there’s a lot I avoid (songs, movies, places, etc). Memories can suddenly overwhelm me and make me feel like my guts are falling out. But I’m not sobbing everyday. I’m not texting everyday looking for some kind of response. Small steps, maybe progress? I think it’s taken a long time to accept it’s really over. And before that happened I was never really going to grieve. I miss his friendship more than anything else. It’s weird to have lived in a bubble with someone for so long only to find yourself having new experiences alone. And these experiences keep happening and therefore this realisation keeps happening.

Team meeting tomorrow. Dreading it.

Job woes

So I’m feeling like even more of an inconvenience at my job. Today just wasn’t worth going in. I arrived, typed some stuff out, no one knew what to do with me, I was sent on a long lunch break, culminating in being sent home. While I was in the office I caught some looks and the odd comments, it’s very uncomfortable.

Yesterday I blew my stack at Steve. I was dismissed early again from the office and I text him straight away to let him know I could pick up the kids thinking I was saving him a trip back from the office. He sent me a shitty message about it not being ‘feasible’ to work around my last minute schedule. I wasn’t so much angry at him as I was being in this shitty situation. So I called him shouting and he shouted and we went around in circles. I ended up seeing him later as I picked up the kids and I apologised and broke down and told him how hard this job was, how stressed I was, how hard the weekend had been. I know he’s not particularly interested, but I’m just a pressure cooker at the moment.

I am worried about my mental health, it’s hard to maintain self care when everything else in my life is out of whack. I am genuinely unhappy in this role. I dread going to work in the mornings and feel completely miserable when I finish. My boss is such a prize bitch. I really can’t do anything right. It’s destroying my confidence. I’m still hoping it’s teething issues and will get better. But right now it’s draining and really impacting me.

It’s awesome having the kids back from Napier though. They stayed with me last night and it was lovely. Fortunately I start late again tomorrow so they’re staying again tonight. I love having them back. It gives me something really positive to focus on.

I’ve worked with bitchy people before but this is a unique situation as there’s only the four of us, I’m not allowed to really talk with other people in the building as my boss doesn’t trust them, so I’m stuck with these women, and I have to listen to their shit all day. What’s worse is that my boss doesn’t trust me or seem to regard me as a professional, so unless she’s holding my hand, I can’t make decisions or do anything of my own accord. I have to be spoon fed in her time. If I move too quickly as I have done, she absolutely blasts me and it leaves me feeling tiny and incompetent. I’ve never been made to feel like that before.

I just feel like I need to keep trucking through this and hopefully it will get better

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.

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.

Toxicity

I did go for that walk, (Sunday) then later in the evening I went swimming with two of my daughters – which I love doing. That evening they had a special aqua aerobics session which I joined in with.

Then Monday and Tuesday back to the gym. By Tuesday lunch time I started to feel really unwell. I was up at the house and really enjoying being with the kids. I put a lot of effort into each dinner and kept the house tidy. So I didn’t want to give in to an illness. By Tuesday night I had a bad stomach, my ears were ringing, my sight was blurry and I had obvious tremors. I realised that I was feeling the effects of lithium toxicity. Presumably all of my activities and not enough water was the cause. As I had the kids, I didn’t want to let them down, so when they were at school, I rested and drank lots of water. I also stopped taking the pills. On Wednesday night I had this horrible sensation of something being lodged in my throat. That continued through the weekend. It was really getting me down.

I saw my GP on Monday who confirmed that the lump in my throat was caused by the lithium. Now the stuff is fully out of my system, the lump has gone away.

I refuse to take the medication again. I’m seeing my psychiatrist on the 16th to discuss. I’m still on anti depressants and they’re the most important.

On the Sunday it was really nice, I had three of the kids at mine (surprisingly my youngest daughter came along too). Although I still wasn’t 100% I didn’t want them to be stuck inside on their devices all day, so I took them for a walk along Plimmerton Beach, which turned into an impromptu swim for the kids!

It was a really lovely day 😊

Steve and the kids took me out for dinner on my birthday (8th). It was a fantastic surprise, and the kids had a little present for me. I really appreciated the effort Steve went too. I didn’t expect it at all. Although at the end of the night when we all separated, I found that difficult. Suddenly alone again going to a dark, quiet house.

I’m back at the gym now and trying to increase my fitness. It’s a hard slog!

The low is still largely present in my everyday life, but I keep forcing myself to do things I don’t do when I’m really ill. Like shower every day, wear clean clothes and get some exercise.

Im also Skyping with my family more often, it makes me feel less alone.