Co parenting and anniversary

I’m acutely aware that February is pressing down on me, the month of the anniversary of the rape. I’ve decided this year not to find out the exact date. As every year I face the same dilemma, to confirm the date or not. Confirming the date hasn’t made any difference and my brain refuses to remember the exact date, so I’m going with my brain’s desire. I saw my CPN today and warned him that February would be difficult, and fortunately I have a psychiatrist appointment on the 26 January so I can get some planning in place mentally. It’s awful because I spend January dreading February, in a state in February and then it ticks over to March.

I can feel myself becoming more emotional, but I refuse to let my fear wear me down. I’ve gotten into good practice walking the dog every night, and I feel much better for reconnecting with my friends, something I plan on keeping up.

I finally saw the kids today and the whole day turned to shit. I waited at Steve’s house as he’d text to say they were going out, then that they’d be late. When they arrived back, J was the only one that talked to me! It’s like I didn’t exist. Steve had bought them bits for their rooms – more stuff I can’t do, and they were engrossed in sorting out their rooms to accomodate the new stuff. I sat on the couch and read a magazine, pretending the whole thing wasn’t hurtful. Next minute, Steve and the girls were playing a card game! I didn’t get asked, there was no consideration of the fact I was there waiting. I just felt crushed. So I announced I was leaving. I just KNEW Steve would text something to either guilt trip me or pass blame and sure enough that text arrived ‘why were you so moody with the kids?’ – I couldn’t even be bothered to get into it. He will never know what it’s like to be left out so frequently.

I came home miserable and opened up a bottle of wine. I rarely drink (especially alone) but I just wanted to unwind and watch some movies. Get rid of this icky feeling. To be honest I still can’t escape how this whole thing has made me feel. But tomorrow Steve is going camping at a friend’s house, so I’m spending the night up there in his kingdom. So who knows? Maybe the kids will notice me? Maybe Steve can lose his reign for the night.

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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.

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.

My suffering is complex.

Brought about by a brutal rape, my parents that I’d regarded as my protectors letting me down. Not offering the support and guidance that I needed, that might have changed the course of my healing.

The abuse of an ex, with his wicked temper, the physical attacks and the sexual humiliation.

Alone in the world, no trust, no basis to build a relationship I travelled alone. Sensing an emptiness but unsure how to find my completion.

A terrible experience through an attempt at justice later on. The cop with his shrewd words, promises of protection, eager to care for me and offer me solace when my husband seemed so distracted by work. Groomed, boundaries broken.

A marriage over.

A girl left broken.

I’m a girl in a woman’s body. Afraid. Untrusting and like a full 180, I am empty and alone.

Seeking solace in the wrong places.

But I’m so guarded. I don’t trust easily. Everyone is a wolf to me, eager to feed on my flesh and drain my blood.

I want to move invisibly through life, I want to be left alone. Yet who will hear my cries in the night?

Does anyone care? 

I’m a broken girl in a woman’s body. Im empty, im afraid and I will never trust again.

Why did this happen to me? Why? 

My last night

My last night in respite. Most people ‘transition’ gently from crisis respite to ‘normal’ life. Not me! I’m straight out of the frying pan into the burning abyss of single motherhood with 4 children. I’m actually quite anxious about it. I can accept that I’m unwell, and with that reality I need to deny its affect on me while I put my children’s needs ahead of mine.

I saw my case manager today and I felt so out of it. He was trying to initiate conversation but I couldn’t quite keep up. My brain was tired and a few words drifted by me. I tried to listen but I was out of my body. Easily disassociated from the moment. The thing that’s pending is changing my meds which won’t be easy, but we need to tie it within S’s work schedule. Yes, not only am I housekeeper, child minder and on call nanny, my mental health needs to fit around S’s work. It’s easy to feel frustrated. I haven’t seen my home for so long and I’m so out of sorts as to where I’m sleeping half the time! 

Easter will be the time I change meds. I can utilise all the mental health services and S won’t be at work. I’m hopeful that I can start to feel better with an introduction of new meds and no stress of S needing to work.

I still want to see my children over Easter, I want to witness their excitement and joy with the traditional Easter egg hunt and I want them to see us united again, it’s not easy for them with all this lack of stability. I feel such regret that my children no longer have a proper family. I especially regret that I haven’t been as vested as usual because the tiredness and withdrawal into my shell.

So I’m back on duty Wed-Fri night. It’ll be late so I’ll probably stay over Friday night. S doesn’t seem capable of catching an earlier flight unless HE has plans that evening.

Then maybe I’ll get over to my place. No guarantees, I don’t want to risk it if I’m still unwell and unstable.

Respite has certainly served its purpose. I’ve slept on and off throughout the days. Enjoyed home cooked dinners and have appreciated the background support from friendly staff. The house is warm, the bed is comfortable and no one expects anything of me.

I just wish wish I felt better. Like I had flu and the rest had cured me. I’m fed up of my brain feeling like a brick shoved in butter. Heavy, unsecured, unthinking, confused, aching. I hate all these insecurities, I hate myself. 

I can understand people saying, snap out of it! I wish I could! It feels like there’s a switch somewhere that I’m missing. I know this isn’t a permanent state (I think). I know it’s an illness but its magnitude is beyond belief. My memory is shocking and I feel one step removed from everything. My body weighs a ton, and it takes me ages to get ready. It’s affecting every part of me and it’s hard to tell irrational thoughts from rational thoughts.

The PTSD is there ticking away in the background. Letting me know how I’m constantly in a state of flight or fright, potentially falling victim again to another prey. 

Life is especially difficult at the moment. I just want to get well. I want to join in my life again, I want to enjoy things. I want to breathe in the fresh air and feel grateful. I want to be who I am.

Group 

I was in two minds about attending the monthly survivor group today.

In one respect; I’ve not really been out. Driving to the next town, seeing old and new faces, hearing about trauma, partaking in the whole event felt like an arduous task and emotionally crippling. What if I was triggered? What if it pushed me down a darker hole?

In another perspective, it might make me feel less alone. It might make me reconnect with old friends, hear about their situations making mine seem more normal. It would be a task that I completed, an accomplishment. A shove in the right direction.

I wish someone could make the decisions for me sometimes. It is SO hard to know the right thing to do.

Fortunately there was a woman here at respite that listened to both sides and told me, I could go, try it, if I felt it was too much – I could retreat. There is no obligation to stay for the entirety of the group. And I agreed I could at least try half the day. She was able to focus on the positive aspects, unlike me, that as usual thinks of the worst case scenarios.

It ended up being the latter.  I 

  • Showered
  • Brushed my teeth
  • Drove to the group
  • Stayed the entirety 

OK, small things but considering how low I’ve been, they’re big accomplishments. And my body fought me all the way, sluggish and anxious. Trying to find reasons to get out of it. 

Initially I felt alien sitting amongst faces. Everyone seemed to want to share and there was different energies around the room. I felt strangely both out of place and where I should be. I ignored the instinct to run back to my car. It’s time I said some of my thoughts out loud.

It was so nice to catch up with familiar faces and everyone was so warm and understanding. Not that I expected any different. They’re an amazing bunch of women, so compassionate and empathetic. Despite their own trauma, they’re always ready to offer support and advice. It’s such a privilege to be part of this amazing group.

I ended up sharing some things and although my own voice sounded strange to me, almost strained, the relief of sharing a weight was amazing. And the feedback I received was immensely helpful and supportive.

By the time I left, I felt nicely tired, like I’d achieved some level of peace. 

I came back to the respite facility, in was raining and miserable but it was nice to return to the warmth and lights and even dinner was ready! A stark contrast to either the kids screaming at me (or each other) or the dark, cold welcome I’d receive being alone. Not that I don’t like my home, I love it. But I don’t trust myself to be alone. The rationale during the day is often gone in the middle of the night, after perhaps a few wines, which I’d no doubt  treat myself too.

So I hope I’m able to sleep well tonight.

My case manager is coming to assess me tomorrow, but I’m back on duty on Tuesday as S goes away again until Friday 🙄. 

Today was really hard, but I survived and feel better for it.

UK and me

I had one night last week at my house and I had a migraine the entire time so I didn’t get the rest that I really wanted. I’m back at S’s house now and the kids are in bed. Egg has been really sick for the last couple of days with a tummy bug, I had to pick H up from school because apparently he was acting unwell and he’s been super tired since he’s been back and has been sleeping on and off. And my eldest is suffering with really bad period pain which is unfortunately something she’s inherited from her mother. Let’s hope that’s the only thing she inherits.

It’s only Monday and I’m already feeling frazzled. My body continues to ache in a way that slows me down and makes me feel cumbersome and old. The weather has been predictably miserable, although we are nearly in autumn now, and that’s usually my favourite season. To be honest with the mood I am in, wrapping up or curling up with a hot water bottle sounds idyllic and suits how I feel.

Luckily this week is quiet for me with only a therapy session planned. That’s if I get to go, if the kids are well enough. 

I only watched English programs today, I was so keen to get out of the UK when we were last there, it seems ridiculous to think I miss it. But last time I was forced to relocate, S worked long hours, and I was going through the police investigation. Now the idea of being there as a tourist is so appealing. There is something to be said for being around your own people. Conversation flows much easier, and I miss the English humour.  I miss my home comforts, my favourite foods, my favourite places, and a well-made cup of tea. I wonder if this is part of my current need to feel nurtured. As its the familiar things I miss, the things that make me feel comfortable and cared for, safe and homely.
I’m starting to think I will remain at this lower level of functioning. Although I did swell with pride at the parent teacher interviews, and I still get that warm rush when I pick my children up from school, I can’t remember feeling joy or happiness. My mind is a mess of a worst case scenarios, relief when the worst case scenario doesn’t happen and preparation for the worst case scenarios. It’s not a mentally healthy place to be at and it’s very tiring.

I have no idea what happened to that police officer in the UK. As usual I wasn’t updated. I noticed in some news articles there is a reference to a police officer that was fired for gross misconduct but it’s  anyone’s guess if it was him or not. I don’t try to look up the rapist, I don’t want his face in my head, and it would drive me insane thinking about his movements.

My circle is becoming increasingly smaller. I find it too hard to maintain relationships with people. I’m just very unsocial and I hate to say it again but I am also just too tired.

Dating isn’t an option for me. The ironic thing is that the only person I can trust is actually S. He knows me intimately and I don’t just mean sexually, I know that if I got ill he would still have my back. I know that for all our arguments, all the bad things we’ve said to each other and all the horrible things we’ve thought about each other surmount to nothing if either of us need one another. I know that if I dated someone I would never give them all of me, because I have already given it to S. And I can honestly say, that if he needed me I would drop everything and anyone and be there for him. I know that S has moved on and sees me as somewhat of a burden perhaps he mostly tolerates me because he needs me to look after his children, and because I am his children’s mother, but I do believe that in my darkest hour he would help me. Despite all the bitterness we still have a bond, and I don’t think I could have that with anybody else.

That’s the only time I’ll say that. I wouldn’t say it to him! I’ll stick with bitching about him!

I’ve noticed my insomnia is getting worse, even though my meds haven’t changed. It’s like I’m tired but my brain keeps thinking about all these different things at night usually not good things. I’ve been lectured enough by various doctors about ‘sleep hygiene.’ And I follow their advice. There is no TV in the room, I turn my phone off at night, I try to eat at the same time as the kids around 5.30/ 6 o’clock. And I don’t drink coffee in the evenings. But still my brain keeps whirring and in the end I give up and start reading a book.

I’m not sure if I’ll just carry on like this, if I break, or better yet I’ll start to feel better. It’s anyone’s guess.