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!

?

I’m not sure why, but I seem to have dropped a couple of rungs down the ladder. After I saw my counsellor last week, I felt much lighter, I’d finally articulated all of my jumbled thoughts. But by evening I felt empty. I can’t explain it. Not so much drained as just very alone, very vulnerable.

I hoped it was just blowback from the much needed counselling session; but I haven’t been able to bounce back. Even at the gym I feel very sluggish and tired and yet usually it energises me.

It’s possible I was getting into a routine (of sorts). Irrespective of whether I dropped the kids off or not, I’d head to the gym. Do my volunteer work on Thursday, and I guess from there I planned my days.

It’s now the school holidays – and don’t get me wrong, I’m loving spending time with my kids. Steve is completely off the radar and I don’t mind being available at all hours. But I can’t get to the gym daily, I can’t do my volunteer work, my WSD course has finished, it’s hard to see friends because I have the kids and I don’t really have evenings to myself. I have counselling tomorrow and I need to take the kids with me, and I’m seeing my CPN on Friday, I’ll have to take the kids along to that too. Not much fun for them. But I feel I really need my counselling session to work through this and I need to see my CPN to talk about my mood.

I also had a scary experience at the gym last week. I was on the treadmill listening to my music but glancing at the tv screens and for some reason I completely disassociated. A lot of time passed, my legs were working but my mind went off. I KNOW I was thinking about something (flashback?), but I really can’t remember at all. I suddenly sort of came around and panicked. I didn’t know where I was, what I was doing and why it happened. I’m thankful I didn’t fall off the treadmill. But it’s really affected me. The gym is my safe place where I can think through concerns and then distract myself with weights that usually leads to me feeling good. But for quite an extended period, I’d left my body and lost control of my mind. I feel like a memory of what I was thinking is just on the periphery but I can’t quite touch it. It’s such an awful, scary feeling. I haven’t spoken to anyone about it. I guess if it’s not said out loud I don’t need to own it. Plus I can’t imagine anyone understanding that. For 2 days afterwards I had a terrible migraine. Not sure if it’s related or not.

My sleep is also off. I’m not taking zopiclone because I’m mindful that I need to be alert for the kids. But what’s happening is we’re all going to bed later and then sleeping in.

I guess I also have to factor in that Steve had some friends down from Auckland. They’ve been with their wives since Steve and I have been together, and although Steve has been up to Auckland previously, it seemed to affect me more with them being here. All 4 of the kids were at my house and we weren’t allowed into the house. Which sent my brain into overdrive a bit. Were his friends really here? Or was he planning a rendezvous with a new lover? And why should I mind?

After the weekend, Monday to be exact, I was planning a ‘slob’ day at the the house. I knew I’d have a load of washing to do (I don’t have a tumblr dryer at my place), and I knew the kids would relish the space and privacy. Turns out Steve had decided to work from home. As usual he could hardly look at me, and contempt seemed to be radiating off of him. I politely enquired about his weekend (not question him ruthlessly of course) but see if he had a good time and his friends were well. (obviously I know them). He couldn’t have made it any clearer that it clearly wasn’t my business and I had no place to ask.

I miss catching up together. I’d liked to have told him about my gym experience and get his feedback. I’d like to have shared my vulnerability and get some reassurance. I would have loved one of our evenings where we used to watch a movie, have a bottle of wine, some take out. Just have that connection. But of course I realise that’s totally inappropriate.

So like two pieces of broken jagged glass we tried to sludge through the day. In retrospect I should have left the kids with him (he could have worked and looked after them) and I wouldn’t have been in this situation. But of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I miss his warmth and I miss him caring. I miss just chatting and hanging out.

So I think it’s probably a combination of ALL of these things. And now my internal monologue is beating myself up for not giving the kids a better holiday, for wishing for the old times, for losing at my life.

Last night I had a really vivid dream that Steve was telling me about his new girlfriend- I don’t know if he has one or not. But he spoke with such fondness for her and continued his hateful attitude toward me. I could have cried this morning.

Steve has been my best friend for years. But now he can’t even tell me how his weekend was. His hatred of me is almost palpable.

Despite being around my beautiful children, I can’t shake the feeling of loneliness. And Steve’s parents have announced they’re coming down next week, so I’ll be dismissed from mothering duty.

Is it loss of control? Is it a sense of not belonging? Is it just part of the cycle of grief and healing? I don’t know and I feel I’ve lost my way a bit. Please just let this be a temporary phase.

Treading water

Life is trudging a long and I continue to fight the low. I’ve continued my gym routine and walking and swimming with the kids on Sunday.

The manager at the volunteer agency offered me a job working with her interviewing people, so I had my first experience last Wednesday as that will be my regular day of the week. I’m was absolutely shattered by the end of the day! Then I had to drive to another town to pick up my three little ones and then go back on myself to pick up my eldest from volleyball training. It was a hot day too, so we all felt tired and irritable that day. But I’m glad I’ve decided to try this role. I hope the tiredness will fade as I get more into a routine.

Today was the start of an anxiety course my CPN put me down for. Ironically I hardly slept last night, anxious about the course! I’m up at the house as Steve’s away, so this morning I dropped the kids off and then crawled back into bed. I was warm and snuggly and wanted to miss the whole day. I reasoned with myself, I was tired, I hadn’t slept, the course would probably be crap, I couldn’t be bothered to go to the gym. But at the very last minute I decided to at least try and then leave if I didn’t like it. So I did. I got out of bed, attended the course, which wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before but I’ll continue with it in case there’s any snippets of new information or advice. I’d packed my gym clothes so I went straight to the gym afterwards.

I’m really proud of myself! On the Sunday I felt tired and sluggish and wanted to stay horizontal but as it was another nice day I’d promised the kids a walk and they were looking forward to it. It did them good as well.

So I’m doing my best. I can’t say I won’t go into a deeper depression without a fight.

I have my counselling session on Wednesday morning – which I’m dreading! God knows what direction Satchel will take us! I have contacted my old counsellor but I’ve still not heard back. I’m not sure she’ll be able to work with my budget constraints.

Things between Steve and I remain cordial. Although it nearly got bumpy. I attended a course on Saturday ‘parenting through separation’ which is done by the Ministry of Justice. It was really interesting and unfortunately I also found out that Steve and I made some costly mistakes at the beginning. Still, going forward there was some useful information and I was also given a ‘parenting plan’ which is a useful template for parents to complete and use as a frame of reference for each parent’s responsibilities. I tried to discuss it with Steve but he wasn’t interested. He feels what we have in place now is working. Which it is, and we’ve always been united where the children are concerned. But I was so badly stung by the separation agreement we put in place through lawyers, I can’t help but feel some insecurity about things further along. As our relationship hasn’t exactly been linear.

Still, a lot of people I met have terrible issues over custody. I’m thankful this isn’t the case for us.

Tomorrow I’m meeting my good friend to try a yoga class, which we’ve both had to delay for various reasons. So I’m anxious about that, but at least I won’t be alone.

Therapy fall out

Physically I’m feeling unwell, I just vomited quite violently in the toilet.

Mentally and emotionally I feel beaten up. I feel a myriad of different emotions. Fear, shame, guilt, anger, sadness to name a few. I really thought when Steve got back from work he’d appreciate how bad I was feeling, but he didn’t care. I stayed in the bedroom while the kids played outside and he watched tv. I don’t know why I expected anything different. But he’s the one person that’s always got me, always understood and supported me. I suppose it was wrong of me to expect something different. After all I’m not his concern now and it’s none of his business.

Memories plague me. Snippets of horrible scenes that I don’t want to think about. I feel the shame and sense of being dirty as though it only happened last week.

I wanted to shower and scrub myself, but I was at Steve’s house, so it wasn’t really reasonable to expect to do that.

Even my relationship with my ex has come to the forefront of things. And even worse, ‘our’ song came on the radio on the drive home from Steve’s and it felt like I was being taunted from a past that should be buried. I think about how he manipulated me, how he abused me and how I held him in such high regard (this is a different ex, not Steve).

I talked about too much today and it’s really messing with my head.

Unfortunately I have the 2 younger ones staying with me tonight as they start school tomorrow. But I would have preferred to stay alone tonight. I’m sad, I’m lonely and now I’m sick. I just need some space. I’m due to return to Steve’s Tomorrow as the 2 oldest are there and he’s away overnight.

Bad night

Last night was horrific and it’s been a while since I had a night as bad. I watched a couple of movies (nothing scary) and felt relaxed. I’d spent most of the day up at Steve’s cleaning out my eldest daughter’s bedroom (it was really bad). I aired out the house and did some laundry. So being back at mine felt good, plus I took Ava for a walk during a break from the constant rain. As far as I knew, I wasn’t feeling triggered or unsafe. But I guess that’s part of having PTSD. It can just happen for no reason.

I took a sleeping tablet as my sleep hasn’t been great, but all that did was keep me stuck in nightmares and when I managed to force myself awake – it wasn’t for long. I felt terrified. I was absolutely convinced that my attacker had found me. Every noise became him. I was in and out of panic attacks, I felt completely frozen in fear. Even having one of Steve’s golf clubs by the bed didn’t reassure me. I felt completely vulnerable.

The fear was unrelenting, the nightmares continued, graphic and upsetting. There was no rationalising last night. As far as I was concerned I was under attack and I was powerless to stop it.

By morning I was absolutely exhausted. Relieved to see the daylight, I decided to sleep longer in the relative safety of a more rational brain. My stomach ached violently all day and I struggled with nausea. When I made it to Steve’s house, I started on my second daughter’s room, but it felt really hard and my body felt sluggish. In the back of my mind, I worried that while I was at Steve’s, my house would be broken into. I worried that someone could be following me and see me alone between two houses. I worried that I’d get a call with bad news. The anxiety was overwhelming and I felt constantly hyper vigilant. I couldn’t let my guard down, despite feeling so tired.

It’s certainly been a while that I have felt so strongly. I know I experienced periodic panic over the Xmas period, but this was something else. This I used to suffer weekly, then monthly and then I guess every few months. It’s a debilitating completely suffocating blanket of fear and anxiety.

Tonight, back at mine, I watched a movie and now I’m in bed with flutterings of fear. Just as I was locking up, my security light came on and my mind jumped immediately to it being an intruder.

I hate feeling so powerless.

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.

Going down

I saw my CPN today. I was in tears by the time my appointment started. I’ve been working long hours, I’m scheduled to work tonight from 9.30pm-7am – with no breaks. And tomorrow night the same! I was up at 4am this morning because Steve was going away for business. I’ve got no money, my car is expensive to run (why oh why didn’t I factor in running costs) I’ve got no food and no money to buy food. And yet I’m working all the hours I can which is slowly killing me. I’ve been so emotional, I had to ask Steve to order pizza for me and the kids tonight. He did so, without any argument and I was so pathetically grateful I sobbed over that.

So I’m feeling kind of raw, overly tired and tiredness is a huge factor for me. Plus all this talk about sexual assault allegations is making me feel triggered and sick.

I wanted to see the CPN to check in because I’m terrified of a relapse. He told me that he felt my reaction was that caused by stress – which he considered normal, but commented that shift work can of course trigger mood disorders. I’m talking to him next week to see how I am.

I’m glad he’s there to listen and guide me as I can’t afford therapy anymore.

I haven’t been able to catch up with any of my friends because I’m either working or too tired from work, so I’m feeling quite alone and isolated. More trigger points for me.

The commute into work is killing me, parking is a hassle, and the train seems too much hard work after a long shift,plus I don’t like travelling alone at night.

In all I feel like a flake.  I’m barely making enough to pay rent and bills. My hair looks bloody awful but i can’t afford a hair cut, let alone colour. I feel miserable about my appearance, but can’t do anything about it.

I’m of course grateful that I have a house AND a car AND a job. But at the moment work is ruling my entire life, I’mmissing valuable time with my children and my financial situation is dire. Meanwhile Steve continues to live in the big house and now drives a Jaguar. 

I feel so useless.