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.

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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.

Car! Sorted!

So now I officially own my own car. It’s a zillion years old, but hey, it’s all mine! And although finance was tempting to get a nicer car, I have grown up enough in the last year to know that adding to my financial pressure will ultimately affect me in a really bad way. The less stress the better.

My first week of work is done. Two assessments, passed both. Another one on Monday. It’s nice to feel tired from actually doing something! And I enjoy the work, the team are really nice.

The ‘separation agreement’ is now signed and official. The divorce is another $211, and I’m not particularly keen to get the ball rolling on that right now. Again, it’s pressure and upset I don’t need.

Tonight we’re going out as a family for my daughter’s 11th birthday dinner. It’ll be nice to all be together, things between Steve and I continue to be amicable and I’m pleased with the place we’re at. Although I still miss my husband, I’m not completely useless at life as a singleton. In fact I continue to get stronger and more confident. Let’s just hope it stays that way. My mental health continues to be a source of anxiety, like things are going so well, so where’s the price I need to pay? I’m seeing my psychiatrist next week, so it’ll be good to have a review and make sure I’m on track. I’m also seeing the benefits office to declare my part time income. I get really nervous about these things, I don’t want to screw the system (it’ll only backfire on me) so I’ll be able to get everything up to date.

So;

Job – sorted

House – sorted

Car – sorted 

Now I just need to get money actually IN my bank account so I can start saving and get some extra bits for my Home (dining table, knickknacks, etc). I did go to the charity store and get some more cutlery for a few bucks! I surprise myself!

Disappointment 

Am I disappointing my family (parents). Yes. 100% Gone are the ‘Europe xmas breaks’ we used to buy them, gone is my capacity to accommodate them in my own home, thus them only needing flights. I am now reliant on them financially and I would say emotionally but they’ve never been very good at that side of things. Every cent my father spends is another black mark against me. He can barely control his irritation. And to be fair, in his retirement, looking after a daughter that’s pushing 40 is a lot to ask.

So far I’ve enquired about numerous properties (competition is hot), made my benefit appointment and a slot to see my therapist, I’m still applying for jobs and may well have secured one – won’t know for sure for a little while. This has been me being proactive and not waiting for things to happen for me.

I’ve had my medication changed and feel much more positive about the regime. It’s just a shame that dr was temporary.

But my parents, they don’t seem to see it. Or maybe it’s all just not happening quickly enough. I still want to spend hours languishing in bed, I still feel low, my anxiety is shocking, sleep isn’t much better – but I’m trying desperately to organise my life.

Tensions are so fraught though, and arguments keep popping out – but you can tell they’re only mild releases of pressure. A big blow up feels imminent.

I feel quite alone in this struggle. I’m enduring another tidal wave of grief and sadness after seeing anything remotely mine in the house been chucked out. I understand Steve was being practical. And it’s just ‘stuff.’ But it’s a stark and shocking reminder that the house is nothing to do with me. That I don’t have a place there. I have no home. Yesterday I broke down and cried. I felt I could have cried for hours to be honest but with the kids around, I kept it hidden. They’re so happy to see me again, I don’t want them to think I’m unhappy.

I’ll have Harry and my daughter here in the motel tonight to sleep. Although it’s not very nice here, I’d like to spend more time with them.

So the struggle is ongoing, I’m really putting everything into putting my life in order. I think my parents just can’t understand me, the situation and the complexities of it. Although I’ve tried my best to explain. Something’s people only get it when they’re going through it themselves.

Reality

So my dad has booked the tickets and I’m beyond excited to see my babies again. It’s been too long and much longer than I anticipated. I keep imagining their faces, their warmth, even the way they smell. I won’t be able to get enough of them.

The hurdles that I have to deal with on my return are what are keeping me awake at night. I’m so glad my parents are going to be flying with me and have booked accomodation for us. That’s a huge weight off of my mind. But I have so much to organise in the short time they’re with me, seeing my lawyer, organising my medication and worse still, organising my own accomodation in the long term. I keep having terrible anxiety attacks and I’m barely sleeping. I feel deeply suicidal because I don’t know how I’m going to be strong enough to deal with all the shit, especially how Steve will inevitably treat me. I feel so vulnerable, so alone, so afraid of my uncertain future. But having my parents by my side in the start will help immensely. My focus is on my children and their love and excitement to see me back.

I am both relieved at the booked flights and equally terrified. There is something to be said for the ignorant sanctity I have been indulging in back home. Although I’ve obviously had guilt and uncertainty, the immediate concerns could be thwarted by delay. Now everything is speeding towards me like a jump from a tall building and I know this landing is also going to hurt.

I’m scared of my unknown future. I’m not strong like I used to be. Nothing is the same. And somehow I need to conjure the strength to organise everything in the short time that I have my parents both emotionally and financially. And I worry about the toll on them. They don’t have deep pockets, they’re old and deserve their peace. Not hurtling towards a car crash situation that’s geographically the furthest point away with a large potential financial burden.

I feel like I’ve let everyone down. I’m no longer the daughter to be proud of, the mother to be proud of and the woman to be envied because I had it all. I’m broken and I have nothing. I am nothing and I’m completely without direction. 

Aside from the warmth of my children – that is all I have to cling to.

Sun after the storm

So I had no luck with the GP. There’s a long wait for a psychiatrist, and strict criteria and as I’m being treated in NZ, I won’t get treated here. I understand the principle but my meds need reviewing and the GP won’t do it and I’m left struggling. I even had to get a nurse in NZ to send a copy of my current prescription to the GP before she wrote any out. As if I’d lie about the meds I’m on! I know my meds better than most GPs thank you very much!

I took the hurdle really badly and ended up brooding in my bed again, feeling dejected.

It was a struggle and Mum has been trying to get me to the hairdresser but frequently cancelling because I can’t face it. It’s her way of trying to make me feel better about myself and getting me out, which is actually really thoughtful. I decided to go against my desire to languish in bed and do it. I felt so anxious I nearly cried in the place! Silly really. I’ve always loved getting my hair done and been confident. But now I don’t go out and I’m so fat, I’ve not bothered. The hairdresser was lovely and really put me at ease. And I’m glad I had it cut. It looks a lot better.

When I woke up this morning, I didn’t want to go out again (mum had said she wanted to take me shopping). My body was like lead. Getting ready was really hard work and I didn’t think I could face it. But I decided to push through hoping I’d feel better for it.

 I got a lot of really nice things – which I didn’t expect! We walked around a bit and then stopped for coffee. For the first time in months I felt less self conscious and a bit more normal.

I also bought my son a really cute ‘Cars’ jacket from the Disney store (which admittedly I did tear up a bit).

I’m so glad I came back here. For a while it looked like nothing was going to change and perhaps it had all been for nothing. But gradually I’m getting a bit more positive. And it’s so nice to be cared for. My mum makes lovely home cooked dinners, and has done my laundry for me! I’m an overgrown kid again!

But it’s giving me the respite I need to clear my mind and try to think about my future. I’m still very sad and going back to NZ seems to be an overwhelming task; setting up all over again. But if I can continue to get myself in a better space I might start to focus on the positives. I feel like I have my family behind me, which really helps and I’ve still got friends to catch up with.

Getting there!

Bed

I’ve spent the day in bed. I’m in this horrible fog of missing my children terribly, grieving my marriage and feeling uncertain about my future. It’s all so over whelming so staying in bed seems like the easiest option. But I feel guilty because I know I should be doing more. It’s a cycle where I feel constantly miserable and can’t seem to find any solace.

I think my parents are struggling to understand this part of me. They’ve never seen how bad depression is and they probably think I’m being lazy and not even trying. I feel that way!

I’m not sure what the answers are. I’m not sure how to find any sort of peace. I should really catch up with some old friends, but I’m ashamed of what I’ve become.

My children miss me (although S has told me that they enjoy having his mother there) and I resent her for being in my place. Her place is unquestionably part of the family. Unlike me.

I just continue to feel really alone and I’m not sure anyone gets it. I keep remembering when S and I were here last time, so much pressure was on us. In retrospect I should have embraced my time in the UK, rather than seeing it as a punishment. I’ve made so many mistakes. Too many to begin to unravel.

Strangely the bad memories from my past aren’t playing a part. I’m still stuck in the recent past and present. Perhaps my brain has triggered a defence mechanism. Either way I’m grateful. I don’t need any of my past haunting me now.

So I’ve come all this way and inevitably depression has caught up with me and daily life is a struggle.

I don’t know what to do anymore.