Tipping point

Interestingly the last few days have been surprisingly better. A few ‘shifts’ have happened.

Firstly, I was due to have the kids at my place but there was a power cut, no heat, no light so I felt it best we return to the house. I slept on the couch because Steve was leaving early the next day. They all watched a movie and I didn’t feel like it, so I curled up in a bedroom and read a book. I can’t explain the feeling, but I suddenly knew I had to get out of there. I mumbled excuses about having to buy a bottle of water from the garage. I drove a few seconds down the road and then pulled over and cried like I’ve never cried before. I sobbed, I wailed, I howled like a wounded animal. My entire body shook, i could feel this terrible pain, in that moment I could completely understand why people become addicts because I could have easily done anything to avoid the pain, but I trusted by body. I instinctively knew it was something I had to do. I don’t know how long I sat there for. I managed to get it together enough to go to the garage and buy some water but I was sobbing the whole time. I didn’t care what anyone thought. Back in the car, again i only got a little way and the whole thing started again.

By the time I got back to the house I felt drained and hollowed out. They were finishing the movie and heading to bed. I curled up on the couch and soon came the heart wrenching sobs. I managed to hold back on the wailing but the sobbing was just as gut wrenching, I played some music on my phone to cover the noise. I felt the pain the same intensity and gripped the blanket in agony.

I think I was finally grieving. I do cry easily at times, but I’ve never let go like that before. I always stop myself, scared that if I let go I might not stop or it might hurt too much. Clearly I’d reached my tipping point. I grieved for a number of things, my marriage, my health, the stuff in England, how my life is. Just everything that hurts and feels out of my control.

The next day I felt numb, but without a doubt I knew things had shifted.

A friend of mine that knew I was struggling with my house came and did a blessing on it! It was really nice of her and although I’m in two minds about it, I’m trying to stay open minded. I really love that she did that for me.

I got a new car as mine was too expensive to fix. It’s a cheap little piece of shit but I absolutely LOVE it!!! I haven’t owned a car like it before, it’s very raw but I really love it! And it’s so economical. It’s been well looked after too for its age.

I saw the new psychiatrist and she’s convinced my seizure was caused because my dose of anti depressant is far too high. The maximum dose is 400mg, I’m on 650mg. I may have my answer! She’s slowly reducing it with a view to changing it, I’m ok with that.

I’ve got a busy weekend. I had the kids over last night and I took them out for dinner, it was really lovely. We’re just going for a walk now. Then I’m catching up with different friends. I feel really grateful.

And I have two interviews on Monday! Fingers crossed!

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The email

To my counsellor

The MRI was as panic inducing as I expected. In fact I anticipated a seizure as a result of the huge stress on my body. Had it not been for  a friend holding my hand – I couldn’t have done it. The hole was so small and the noise just terrifying. But I am relieved it’s done. I’m also relieved that I didn’t have a seizure – this is surely a positive sign?

I heard on Friday night that the cop in England was found guilty. He will have a record and be unable to work for any police force, corrections, security type roles.

I’m still struggling with it. The guilty thing was decided which indicates he was in the wrong and I feel vindicated. Yet another part of me thinks that he is so less worse then the rapist. He was only ever nice to me – even when he was commanding. He manipulated me in such a way that he made me feel safe, even when he made me feel ashamed and dirty. How can that be? I hoped that Steve might see the ‘affair’ in a different light, that is, there was no black and white. But he has moved on/no longer cares. This outcome is something you and I need to discuss in more detail. Also, the investigating officer is calling me on Tuesday night to explain in detail what it all means and in her words ‘to ensure I have good support in place.’

It’s certainly been a roller coaster of emotions. The betrayal of good friends, the stress of the MRI, the results of the investigation and also learning that Steve is not and cannot be my ‘go to person’

Yet I still learn nothing. Today (Saturday) I longed for my family, for my role as mother and yes I admit I longed for a partner to bear part of my burden. I didn’t consider my fragile emotional/mental state. Instead ploughing on with my expectations.

My eldest C had horse riding and my other children wanted to go roller skating. I was happy to take C and then meet Steve and the kids at roller skating. I longed for the ‘normal’ family outing. Instead the complete opposite happened – as I’m sure you could have predicted. C fell off her horse, once I knew she wasn’t hurt I began a tirade of vitriol towards the horse she was on. My daughter was upset by my comments. She told me I ruined good things for her and that’s why she didn’t like me taking her horse riding. What could I say to that? I have let my own daughter down with my anger.

I was angry because I was scared for her. I couldn’t catch her, I couldn’t save her, so instead I placed all of my powerlessness at the horse. Plus the fact the damn horse did cause my daughter to fall!

So we drove on to roller skating. Her, refusing to talk to me. When we arrived H wanted to skate but my fears clawed at me straight away, the roller skates weren’t made especially for young children, there was no helmet, no pads! My little boy would be vulnerable. I think by this stage Steve saw me as a total nuisance.

I wasn’t needed. I was just a taxi, this was Steve’s show and I was encroaching. I didn’t belong.

Why did I have these ridiculous expectations? Why can’t I learn? This is not my family anymore. We’re not a unit. I am mother on my time, nothing more.

My friend S has continually been by my side, trying to keep me focussed on reality – I cannot appreciate her enough.

I left the skating ring. I didn’t want to physically turn away from my children, but I realised that this wasn’t my place. They had Steve and he was more than enough.

I got some wine and lie miserably on my couch. Images of England and what happened barking at my heels, my hidden fears about my health, the sense of loneliness and the pain. Reality fucking hurts.

The positive things to come out of this is that as we discussed I have taken some control over my death (if that was happen). I sat and wrote everything out. My wishes, the practical aspects, access codes. I saved it as a draft email. I won’t send until I’ve completed my letters to the children. But I know I have at least made things easier and there is less to worry about. In doing this I realised all of my outgoings, so I’ve had to face up to this and make some serious changes.

The week about starts next week as Steve isn’t travelling. I’m deeply saddened that it’s come to this. I grieve again for the home I’ve lost and the sense of partnership I imagined for myself. But I realise I can’t emotionally sever ties until I start removing myself from ties.

Tonight I feel a sense of relief that the week is all but over. I’m so grateful to the friends I’ve come to realise are true and can reach out too. But I’m so sad, so lonely and so fed up with myself (more than Steve is – which is saying something!).

I felt so much lighter after our last session and wanted to get down everything that’s happened to make some sense of it. To fill you in and get your much appreciated feedback.

If I don’t hear from you tonight (and that’s ok!) I’ll see you tomorrow,

Much love

Being real

I’m still going to the gym! People have told me I look like I’m losing weight. But I can’t see it! I’m so impatient for results. I went to see my GP to see if maybe she could prescribe some pills. Apparently there’s only one brand available in NZ and it’s dangerous with the medication I’m on. Gutted. The GP told me I can’t expect to lose weight like a normal person because of my history with medication and an under active thyroid. So the frustration continues. At least I’m enjoying my gym sessions.

I feel that after discussion with my CPN, my baseline is lower than I’d hoped. I’m actually quite a miserable person! At least I’m not technically depressed.

I’m still interviewing for jobs. I’ve had a couple of offers actually. Neither of them really appealed and I want to be sure that I’m taking on a job that I really want and feel passionate about. That said, I’m getting sick of my financial restraints. I’m struggling all the time. It’s so frustrating when Steve is living like a king and I’m here with nothing, struggling to make ends meet. I have made plans the last few weekends and although it’s been great to be social – I really can’t afford it.

But none of this is why I actually started this blog entry.

Today I had a really intense therapy session. I verbalised my shame over something’s I’ve done and the part I played with this cop that’s still under investigation. I actually talked about my shame and my disgust. I cried, I hurt, I put it all out there. My confusion, my anger, my vulnerability. My deep rooted sadness. My chest clenched so tightly with anxiety that it hurt, it literally hurt to breathe. Then I got this painful ache in my stomach. My whole body was reacting. I’ve not talked in so much detail about my own behaviour and my own shame. My therapist was pleased that I felt in a place to actually talk about these things. To start healing. Although I felt I was exposing a broken part of me, my therapist told me that it was time I honoured all these feelings and it denotes strength. I thought about that as I drove to pick up the kids. To be honest if I wasn’t on call for the kids, I would have dedicated some more time to thoughts and feelings. Which is something I usually try to avoid. I hate feeling uncomfortable. The therapist told me I should be kind to myself and I should forgive myself for thinking so badly of myself. It’s interesting that she worded it that way. Forgive myself for thinking badly of me – not, forgive myself for my behaviours.

I feel like something shifted in me today. Or at least is gradually shifting. I’m thinking about things on a far deeper level and it’s for no other reason than for myself. I want to be the best version of myself; which means facing some home truths and things that are uncomfortable.

It’s a bit like the gym, I’m doing that for me. So that I can feel good, and have my time to clear my head. Therapy is doing that to my insides. Or better yet, I’m doing it for myself.

It’s still difficult not having someone to discuss all this with. I do feel lonely but I know that Steve isn’t the person I can talk to about things. He’s not my person, and never will be. I don’t resent him as much as I have. I see how we’re such different people with such different needs. It’s hard to be angry with someone when you’re more focussed on sorting out your own life.

And that’s really where I’m at now, trying to become a more authentic person so that I can be a better mother/friend. There is so much more I need to work on, I need to grieve over, I need to move on from. I feel like I’m finally getting all the tools, I just need to do the work.

I’m taking life day by day. Trying not to over think things, trying not to waste energy on the things I can’t control.

I can’t say I’m a fully revised version of myself! Just someone that wants peace, to be true to herself and to be a great mum.

?

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.

Progress

Progress is slow – but there is progress. The other day I didn’t have to take the kids to school, and I found myself lying in bed, not wanting to get up. Lunchtime came and went and still I remained, dozing on and off in bed. Everything felt too hard, pointless or required too much energy. But I told myself, I must at least go to the gym. I always feel better afterwards, not once have I finished a work out and gone, naaa, that was a waste of time. So I went and I did my hour and felt pretty chuffed with myself.

There’s still telltale signs that I’m not functioning properly. Housework has taken a back seat, I’m more emotional, my anxiety is always running high. I’m usually very house proud, so it’s unlike me to let the house get so messy. And every Wednesday when I go to volunteer I go through a myriad of excuses as to why I can’t go. But I go, even though my entire being is resisting.

But I see progress and I think others are noticing it too. I maintain my gym routine, I try to maintain communication with people and I put a lot of effort into my time with the kids. I’ve kept up with the Wednesday evening group for the ‘married, separated or divorced’ even though it’s a fair drive and the nights are drawing in so it’s dark, but I’m taking part more. And it’s reminder that I’m not alone.

Last Sunday was the survivors monthly meeting and it was a total flop. There wasn’t the usual energy and interesting pieces of information. It basically revolved around two women that I don’t like very much – and nor does anyone else for that matter! I was sneaking out and two of my friends caught me, they felt the same so we left and went to one of their houses and enjoyed a cold beer. It saved my Sunday from being a complete waste of time. I had to leave early though because Sunday night is my swimming time with the girls. They look forward to it every week and I’m really pleased we can do something together.

I have no routine, Steve’s hours are completely off the wall. Working very late, leaving early, sometimes travel sometimes not. So it’s a bit hard for me to commit to much else because I never know when I’m going to be needed. But it kind of works. I get more time with the kids and they’ve stayed at my house more often. I’m not sure if Steve realises how fortunate he is to have me always waiting in the background, ready at the drop of a hat, even though I’m still fighting my own mental illness. But I think I owe him. After all he went through because of my illness and having to be there for me constantly. At least I get time with my children, as opposed to him dealing with a sick wife.

Things remain amicable between us. But I feel a little like I have to walk on eggshells, if I say the wrong thing he accuses me of trying to start an argument or makes comments like ‘it’s always about you.’ I have to be careful what I say and how I say things. But I appreciate he’s busy and stressed with work. I just wish he didn’t think so little of me to always assume the worst.

The positive thing to come out of all of this is that I’m rediscovering myself. I wasn’t very self reflective when I was married. We were a unit and everything was just assumed as we’d grown together as opposed to growing as individuals. But I’m realising I’m quite a different person to who I thought I was and my likes/dislikes have changed a lot. It’s scary to realise everything I thought I knew is in question, but at least I’m being honest with myself.

So, the journey continues, one day at a time.

Fighting fit

I’m really fighting back against this low. I’m determined not to spiral into the horrible, black abyss I’ve been in before. Today was another example. I woke up but didn’t want to get up at all. It wasn’t just tiredness, it was a complete unwilling to take part in my life. Fortunately Steve has been away a lot recently so I have the kids – which I love. They were my motivation for getting up this morning, but it still felt like trudging through mud.

My friend and I did the yoga class last week and really enjoyed it. Today, I really didn’t want to go, I just wanted to drop the kids off and crawl back into bed. The strength of this feeling is like a magnet. But I dressed in my gym gear and drove to yoga, determined to just give it a few minutes at least. For the first 10 minutes I hated it. My body wouldn’t comply, I was tense, anxious, kept thinking about how I could just have stayed in bed. But gradually I got into the yoga – although I’m not bendy at all, my yoga days are well behind me.

I had a quick coffee with my friend, even though I’d never have imagined being out in public earlier.

I didn’t want to go on to the gym, I reasoned that I’d done my hour of yoga – but thought about how previously I’ve felt better for going, even when I really didn’t want too. So I went and had a fantastic workout, I’m getting stronger and I’m speeding up on the old treadmill. I left sweaty and with shaking muscles but dead proud of myself for my achievement.

I think I’m on the right anti depressants at last. They really act as a buffer. And fighting against my cumbersome body must be paying off. Although physically I haven’t changed which is really annoying.

Tomorrow I’m back at my volunteer role and I’m supposed to attend this special Easter luncheon. Mingling with different people from the organisation. I’m dreading it. Absolutely dreading it. But I will go, I’ve made that commitment to my boss and myself, even though I’ll be incredibly anxious.

In small steps I’m taking part in my life. It’s not easy and my internal monologue is still full of self loathing, doubt and anxiety. I ‘catastrophe’ every event/communication that I have. Some habits are harder break then others.

As for Satchel, she just keeps getting worse, her metaphors are cringeworthy, and she just rambles on aimlessly desperate to impart her knowledge of the Buddhist way of living, if I even mention stress or anything I want to get off my chest – she immediately stops me to meditate. It’s very off putting and unhelpful. I’m still on waiting lists for other therapists, but I also chased up my old counsellor and put it to her boss that I couldn’t afford the usual charge but wasn’t having much luck elsewhere. She said she’d talk to my counsellor and see what they could do – I never imagined I’d be able to do that. It feels embarrassing and shameful to basically beg for cheaper sessions.

Anyway, I’m off to pick up the kids and then make them all a lovely dinner (although they probably won’t like it!) but taking the time to prepare nice dinners for them feels like another way to show my love for them. Rather than putting frozen nuggets in the oven all the time – although that’s ok of course! And I still resort to that at times!

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.