Respite

I asked to go into respite again for a few nights. My mood has plummeted and I desperately need a medication review. I asked continually over Xmas but I kept being put aside. I fell into the ‘not ill enough’ bracket. Even though my psychiatrist was working over the Xmas period and my CPN told me to contact her if I needed a medication review. Oh the joy of the mental health service!

Managing my job has become impossible. It was hard already over Xmas, but with my mood so low and the searing dread about my bitch of a boss coming back soon, I was an anxious mess. So I’m on sick leave this week, next week I happen to have prearranged annual leave. I’ve also asked to work part time on my return.

I have heard some interesting news today, in the UK I was prescribed Effexor, which I found to be a really effective anti depressant. When I came back to NZ, it stopped working and I couldn’t understand it. So a medley of other anti depressants were prescribed. I’ve just found out that in NZ, Effexor isn’t subsidised by Pharmac, only a generic substitution is. Apparently this generic one is made of a different composition, and has been ineffective for a lot of people. This means I’ll have to pay more for a prescription but it’s worth it.

I can’t see my psychiatrist until January 22nd, so unfortunately she won’t prescribe until then. So I’m only on lamotrigine which is anti seizure after that one convulsion I had in the middle of last year.

I can intellectualise that my mood has dropped because of a chemical imbalance and that it’s temporary. Brought on by the pressures of the expectations of a new year and work. And it’s this that I’m trying to hold onto. But it’s extremely hard both psychologically and physically. I’m absolutely exhausted and totally demotivated. I’ve stopped running, I can barely look after my basic needs; showering, brushing my teeth, cooking, tidying up. I cry a lot, my anxiety is through the roof so I am often on the brink of panic attacks and my heart feels like it’s going to give up. I’m especially hyper vigilant, so at home I’ve felt like someone is trying to break in every night.

It’s so hard looking after the kids. I’m fighting it all the way, I took the kids to the beach on Saturday and swimming on Sunday – even though every muscle in my body didn’t want to move. Driving was hard because of concentration, I felt physically sick from the exertion and I struggled to not be miserable and snappy.

I’ve promised the kids I’ll take them camping next week, so I have to be better for that. I’m concentrating all of my efforts on getting ready for that, which is why I’m taking this week out. Although I still intend on seeing the kids at Steve’s, luckily he’s on leave this month. I miss them painfully, but I know I’m not in a position to have them stay at mine for now.

So here I am, back in respite. But I’ve chosen this before I became much worse. It’s funny actually because the guy that gave me the induction told me he didn’t think I belonged here. And you’d be hard pressed to tell. I’m actually in clean clothes, I’ve got a deep tan from being out, I maintain eye contact and hold conversations. Admittedly I’ve been in far worse states. But what he doesn’t know is that I’ve not showered, I only got dressed to come here, I’ve had terrible suicidal ideation and just from our conversation I was so exhausted I slept afterwards for two hours.

No one really knows what anyone is going through, and initial appearances can be deceiving.

I don’t see this stay as a fail into the new year. I see it as me creating (by advocating for myself) a safety net so that I can take some time out for myself to prevent becoming so unwell I’m virtually catatonic.

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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!

Rape

I saw an English series today that was really triggering. A girl was raped and the perpetrator and his friends seemed to think they had done nothing wrong. As usual when I see things like this I wonder what the rapist thinks when he thinks about me – if indeed he does. Does he feel victimised? Does he brag about taking someone’s virginity? Does he justify his actions that night? What does he tell his daughters? How will he keep them safe? What’s his moral compass when it comes to them? Does he feel guilt? Does he think he had a lucky escape where the law was concerned?

I was reduced to tears. The white hot blade of pain stabbing at me, as usually occurs when I’m triggered to think about it.

My life will never be the same. I recall the rape suite where I told my story. I recall the sterile, cold Family Planning centre where I got the morning after pill. Faceless professionals. The AIDS test, the vaginal swab. The coldness and the emotionless processes I followed.

I will never get closure. I will never get to face him in court. The justice system is weak.

I will carry this on for the rest of my life. Sometimes it lays dormant beneath the surface. I can almost breathe without the feeling of dread and self hate. Sometimes, like now, it bubbles to the surface.

Despair. Self hate. A pain that never ends. A shame that never goes. Self disgust that wraps its tentacles around me.

I will never be fully free of what happened. I will never forgo the panic attacks, the moments of paralysing fear.

I am marked. By him. Forever. And it sickens me.

Feeling low

I feel really down. I can’t decide what’s the contributing factor. I’ve been getting up at 5am three days a week for this boot camp and I’m absolutely exhausted. I hope I get used to the early starts. My boss has taken on a new advocate and she happens to be my other colleague’s close friend, so they’re giggling and hanging out and by default my boss loves them both so I’m the odd one out. They all went to lunch today #awkward. I just seem to lurch from one uncomfortable situation to another. I’m really fed up. And I miss Steve. I’m lonely and I miss the closeness. It comes in tidal waves and I’m riding another wave. It really hurts that he doesn’t care at all and has happily moved on. I’m pretty sure he’s seeing someone now too. I know I shouldn’t care, but I do. And I know he’s changed and I don’t really like the revised person, but my mind wanders back to the old him. The old us. I feel bruised and raw.

I’ve not had my counselling sessions recently because we’ve not had childcare when my appointments are. I’m going tomorrow so hopefully I can process some of this stuff. There’s no point talking to friends – no one gets it. I feel alone with it all.

A few days ago I nearly had a panic attack. I was triggered by something on a program, completely unexpected and that’s added to my feeling of misery and loss of control.

The trouble with the early starts is that I can’t have my son stay over. I miss him so much. I tell myself it’s only for 8 weeks. Luckily Steve is away tomorrow so I’ll be staying at the house. They all want to go trick or treating. I can’t stand Halloween but I’ll have to drive the kids around so they can get their sweets! I’ll be exhausted- I have training and counselling tomorrow. But I want my kids to have a good time with me.

It’s all very disjointed but I wanted to write out what I was feeling. I hate the feeling of a pressing low and I’m not sure how to stop it because everything feels so overwhelming.

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.

Therapy

I saw my therapist which helped a lot. It felt like ages since I’ve seen her. I was able to talk about the job and witches I work with and the stress I feel. I was also able to talk about the flashback and panic attack. She takes this to be a sign that I’m healing – that my body is processing things. I got emotional at times talking to her but it felt good to finally have someone that I could pour out my heart too.

This weekend I’m supposed to be getting the company car so the expectation is that I’ll be out of the office more. This is what I was hoping for. I find being in the coven all the time really draining and stressful. It’s the constant negative energy that I can’t keep batting away and pretending it doesn’t affect me. I realise that part of it is my own paranoia, and my own self doubt, but they have definitely rail roaded my confidence with their comments. I saw a new client the other day and I full blown didn’t believe I had the capacity to conduct the meeting. I’ve had doubts about myself before, but never to this extreme. And this has come from the constant; ‘if you can’t do (whatever it is they’re talking about) you can’t do the job’ repeatedly way of training me, and knowing that everything I say or do is repeated back to the boss who then grills me over it. Or being told to do things a certain way, I do it that way, the boss tells me it’s wrong, then who ever told me in the first place agrees with the boss, giving me the feeling of being thrown under the bus. So while I can account for my own paranoia and self doubt, there’s also a lot that hasn’t helped.

Hopefully being on the road will help, although in saying that, there’s a lot of control and paranoia around the company car from the boss! so I’m not looking forward to that either!

I’ve had the kids most of the week which has been fantastic. It’s really helped give me something to look forward to and helped ease getting up in the morning. I’ll be with them all next week as Steve goes away again next week.

I’m seeing the psychiatrist next week to discuss this new medication which I think is making me quite restless. Presumably it’s helping my mood as I’m not experiencing any major mood changes and my tearfulness is in keeping with the stress of the job. Although having said I’m quite irritable as well but that might also be the job stress as well.

I’m going back to the survivors group next month and also a support group for people with mood disorders, both at the start of August. I would like to reengage with my peers and hopefully get some advice.

Hoping August will be a better month!