Update

My job continues to tick along. I meet quite a few different people. Some are incredibly interesting and very humble. Others seem to be so entitled and obsess over the smallest of things. Not too dissimilar from me. I’ve always obsessed over the smallest of fractions. It makes me wonder just how happy I’ve been in my life to let somethings affect me so much.

I hate the separation. I hate missing the familiarity of Steve, the companionship and the affection and certainty that comes with a long term relationship. But I’m closer to the kids. I appreciate every second I spend with them – I can think of nothing better than spending the days and nights with my children. Of course it’s draining and stressful, especially when I’m juggling my job, but they are the absolute epicentre of my earth. Maybe I took them for granted before? Maybe I relied too heavily on Steve to look after them? I’m always there when he has his work commitments. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

I’m back at the gym – which was a huge feat for me. I was genuinely scared that I might bring on another convulsion. But I can’t keep living in fear. Admittedly I did join a different gym. Start fresh. And it’s not far from the office, so I’ve been going in before work, but if I have the kids, I can go in during the day. So far it’s worked out really well. It’s still a hard slog to go there. I think of a million different reasons not to go; but I put on my gym gear and force myself. I never regret it afterwards. In the spirit of my health and fitness, I’ve joined a ‘couch to 5km’ group. I’ve not told anyone except Steve because of the logistics. It’s a very early start Mon, Weds and Sat. So early in fact on the weekdays that I have to drive 40 minutes into the city, back home to shower and swap to my work car and back out again. It’s a huge commitment, not to mention cost, but I reason that it’s only 8 weeks. I can do it. Can I? I hope so. I’m very anxious about it. I start next week – and again, I’ve already thought of a million different reasons to get out of it. It’s sheer determination to change the rut that I’m in that encourages me.

My counsellor asked me the other day; am I pleased with myself? Am I happy with where I am. But I don’t feel I’ve done anything to warrant feeling proud. Each day is a grind that I survive. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly happy either. But was I ever? I can’t think back to a time in the last few years where I stopped and thought – I’m genuinely happy. It’s been about survival for me. And some days have been better than others, but there hasn’t been a defined period of contentment. That’s not because of the separation – it was before then. The benefit of losing everything is seeing the bigger picture. And I’d genuinely like to go to bed and smile. Sure, time with the kids is awesome, but at night I ruminate over everything little thing. Was I a good enough mum? I stress about work all the time. I wonder when I’m going to cop the next bad mood from Steve. Things still aren’t great between us. The reason being; it defies my expectations. I want a relationship of sorts with Steve, but he’s not willing to participate. Instead there’s this uncomfortable dialogue and unpredictability of sometimes getting along, sometimes having a slanging match. I try not to get sucked in, but old behaviours are hard to break. I can’t control his behaviour, like I want him to show me more respect, so I have to learn to control my reactions and change for myself the impact on me. It’s actually really hard to do that. It’s amazing how much power we can give people.

My medication has changed radically. Some things recently I changed (after seeing the GP). I’m really more in control of my medication. I’m seeing a new psychiatrist in a week, sleep is still an issue. My new exercise routine hasn’t changed that. I obviously need chemical input, I just need something that’s cost affect and works. My CPN has left which I’m quite gutted about. I had a lot of respect for him – even being a man! I’m supposed to see this new woman but I’ve put it off. I don’t feel able to establish trust with anyone else at the moment.

So life continues for me. Not particularly interesting. I’m trying to grow as a person and a lot of times I think I am. Usually it’s interaction with Steve where I end up doubting myself.

Maybe this new fitness program will bring about some positive change.

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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.

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.

Update

I know why I had the seizure. An interim psychiatrist that I’d never even met, increased my anti depressants over the phone to an amount well exceeding the recommended dose and a consequence of doing that is a seizure. I only found out because there is a new long term psychiatrist in place whom I met face to face and she was outraged by my dosage and explained to me how the seizure had come about. Naturally I’m angry and upset and I’ve complained and there’s an investigation. Suffice to say I’m no longer on that medication. Really goes to show how much faith we place in these doctors, when they’re not always worthy of such trust.

I now have a job, as a mental health advocate. Sounds fitting. But to be honest I’m doubtful. The hours are very long, the pay isn’t good and I’m not sure about the team. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful to have a job, not working is very depressing not to mention I’m sick of the financial stress, but I’ve definitely jumped at the first offer and rather than feeling excited at this opportunity, there’s a lot of trepidation. But I’m trying to stay open minded. Admittedly it’s not been the best introduction. Two days away in Auckland at a company meeting, so a room full of strangers and the obligatory ‘team exercises’ which is enough to fray anyone’s nerves. Plus it was ‘expenses reimbursed’ and the trip was kind of thrown at me so there was no budgeting for it so it really left me screwed and having to go cap in hand to Steve which is always really demeaning. The women in my team are the kind that like to giggle over penis jokes 🙄 I know, right? And there’s just some things I can’t fake no matter how hard I try to fit in.

And it’s coming up to school holidays and I was really looking forward to hanging out with the kids. We’ve had a great school routine going, and I’ve enjoyed taking Harry to his tutoring twice a week, I’ve been really involved with them. Don’t get me wrong – I know parents have to work and I know they still can be involved with their kids!! Its just I’ve been so removed from them with my own issues, it’s been great to be well enough to be such an integral part of their routine. I’ll really miss the little things and I get the feeling this job is really demanding as low paying jobs always seem to be. Steve is already away a lot of the time, so it’s important at least one of us can be there regularly.

I don’t know, we’ll see. I haven’t established a routine yet, so time will tell and there’s no point in stressing now. As I say, I am genuinely glad to be back in the workforce again.

Things between Steve and I remain like a roller coaster. Sometimes I think we’ve nailed a good relationship. And more specifically I think I’ve personally negotiated my own feelings about our separation. But then something happens and it’s like I’m back to square one. The hurt and confusion, the loneliness and dread. Not knowing how to move forwards. I’m told that’s fairly normal after a break up. But really I’d like to be given set time frames and resolutions!

I’ve totally relaxed over my house situation. I’ve stopped trawling the adverts for a new place. I think because I’ve had the kids over so much I’ve started to relax more. I’ve moved the furniture around, bought more heaters, got some blankets for the living room and the kids enjoy coming over, it feels more homely. I’ll still periodically check out rentals but definitely not like before. I’m not desperate. Because Steve’s house doesn’t feel like home anymore that’s been a huge shift for me. I was up there this afternoon but that’s the first time for a while. It doesn’t have the same appeal. It’s still a luxury, but no more than staying in a hotel. I know it’s not mine and I actually don’t care anymore. Besides, when you look at it, there are many, many cracks and imperfections, there are sad signs of neglect and no one wants a home that’s neglected. Eventually I’ll probably see the house as a metaphor for my marriage but at the moment I’m still wearing the rose tinted glasses. And that’s ok, I’m aware of it. I own that. And I believe that will change in time. It has to, because what I feel and what I know to be true are two very different things. Certainly when I compare old Steve with new Steve, they couldn’t be two more different people.

Well I’m hoping to have an early night as I have an early start tomorrow. I’m quite anxious about it as to be expected. I have my second eldest daughter here with me as her school is a short walk away from me so it’s really nice to have the company and I think she really enjoys the independence. So it’s a win win.

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!

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.