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.

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.

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.

Lithium and PTSD

So I’m officially back on lithium now. It’s too early to feel the awful side effects, but my psychiatrist reassured me that my mood would stop dipping. So we’ll see how it goes. I’m starting on 1000mg increasing after a week. I’m still keeping my other medication which I’m hoping to reduce over time because I’m now on so many pills.

My PTSD reared up spectacularly recently. My car was making a hideous noise to the point I was panicking while I drove it. I made it to Steve’s house and asked to borrow his car. I begged him to call the dealership because I’m so anxious about confrontation. I’ve dealt with them three times already and my anxiety was too high. I was prepared to abandon the car altogether. He made the initial call but I followed it up after he kept on having a go at me for dumping the car outside his house. They agreed to come and collect it.

So turns out, someone took my wheel nuts off, no doubt desperate to steal my alloys to make some money for Xmas. Fortunately one is safety locked on, so I was driving a car with no wheel nuts. I was very fortunate that I didn’t have an accident. The car is either parked outside my house or the police station where I work. Naturally it’s unlikely to be the latter where this occurred, so it means the offender came onto my driveway. I reported it to the police who classified it as a burglary and they asked me to check for signs of entry into the house. I couldn’t see anything, but that didn’t stop me from panicking. That night I barely slept, every noise sounded like an intruder, I was absolutely terrified. The first time I have felt so vulnerable in my home.

I told my elderly neighbour what had happened as she parks outside her house and she told me that her neighbor (on the other side) had had his car trashed. A garbage can thrown over it, windscreen wipers bent. I was shocked and I guess grateful that nothing worse had happened to mine.

I borrowed one of Steve’s golf club’s in an attempt to feel safer at night. But it’s been hard. I’ve been especially jumpy and been suffering with horrible nightmares. I have had an unrelenting migraine for three days, which is costing me a fortune in medication as the prescribed codeine isn’t working.

The deduction from my pay for my student loan was so huge, it’s meant I can’t make the rent. I don’t understand it at all, I thought I had to meet a certain income threshold. I really don’t need this. I’m literally going to be one of these people that is better just living off benefits. Which is awful because work, despite the long hours, has been really good for my confidence and sense of independence.

I’m really feeling the stress and with Xmas fast approaching, it’s only going to get worse. I hate Xmas as it is, so I’m making steps to avoid it, although I’m supposed to be attending this bloody work function on the 13th. I can’t think of anything worse. The people I work with are nice, but so bitchy and in these cliches it’s pretty pathetic. They’re definitely not the sort of people I’d want to liaise with outside of work. I’ve offered to cover the night shift in an attempt to get out of it, but they’ve worked it so that I can still attend and work later!

I’m not seeing the kids from now and through the weekend, I’m working and Steve’s away so his parents are down and looking after them. Of course I’m grateful to them for stepping up, but I miss the kids terribly. I wonder what this is all for sometimes.

Feeling bullied

So I’m feeling pretty raw. Whenever Steve and I seem to be getting along, something happens and he loses his temper and I’m left feeling like shit. I know I shouldn’t let him have that power over me, but on the whole I am feeling quite fragile. I feel like my mood is generally more stable, but then I have bouts or periods of feeling extremely low. They only tend to last for a day or so. I really don’t like it at all as I’m constantly worried that I’ll drop and not make it back up again.

My car lies dead at Steve’s house. And Steve did let me use his car for work. He does these odd helpful things, but then throws it back in my face, or does just enough from stopping me thinking he’s actually quite abusive. Certainly emotionally. And what’s worse is that he knows he can upset me very easily and can jump on my mental health or emotional state as though it’s a weakness on my part. He loves throwing at my face that he ‘helped me move’ that’s his nugget that he brings out when he wants to dominate me, but I can only weakly reply that he stopped the spousal maintenance, that he could have helped me because he’s left me with nothing. But even in my ears I sound pathetic. The fact that I’ve secured a house, got a job and manage my mental health, and previously dealt with the car issues, proves that I have the capability, but he doesn’t see any of that. In fact when I’m with him, it’s easier just to agree with everything he says.

I’m sad that it’s like this. It’s not that I’m in love with him anymore, but I just wish he wasn’t so nasty and mean all the time. He’s out to punish me and it’s never ending. I wish he’d just see me as a person and certainly respect me as the mother of his children, but he’s holding onto so much resentment towards me. He can’t seem to move forward. I’d like to say I wish I could have less to do with him, but we have the children. He continues to make me feel bad and I feel completely powerless. He’s such a narcissist that he sees nothing wrong with his treatment of me. In fact, he’d say it was all my fault that he treats me like shit.

I’m working full on as much as I can. I desperately need the money and it’s the only way I’m ever going to get on top of my bills and have money for Xmas. The stress is unreal, but at least working keeps my mind busy and not able to linger over the trouble I have with Steve and not having any money.

I’m dreading Xmas, there’s already a lot of talk about it here and stuff is popping up all over town. Luckily I don’t watch live television or else I’m be inundated with Xmas ads. As it is, I only have time for occasional pre recorded programmes.

It would be really good to get into therapy again, if I could afford it. I feel I need an outlet for my anxieties and concerns.

Well hopefully my car will be taken away to get fixed, that’ll be one less thing to worry about and using public transport when I’m working long hours isn’t ideal.

Seeing my psychiatrist on Friday, so will get the ball rolling for lithium.