Ebbing and flowing

I’m feeling in a stronger space then I was when I wrote my last blog entry. I’m beginning to understand that my healing ebbs and flows like a river. Even my grief over the marriage seems to cycle. I take these as a good sign that instead of being permanently down, I’m just experiencing a cacophony of emotions/feelings; none of which lasts very long.

I’ve also reconnected with friends and the things my counsellor is teaching me, is providing me with a better sense of perspective.

Last night in fact, I was out at a comedy festival. I was extremely anxious about heading for a night out in the city. We had dinner first and I found the thought was more scary then the actual event. I relaxed and had a really good night. Seeing my friends has reminded me that a, I’m not alone and b, I’m an individual – not just a mother and ex wife. It gives me further opportunity to expand on what I’m learning about myself and receive encouraging feedback from friends.

I continue with the gym – although my physical appearance doesn’t seem to be changing as I’d like. I’ve arranged to catch up with my personal trainer on Friday to make sure I’m doing things right and to improve on my circuit.

I’m also applying for work again! I’ve really appreciated this time to heal and reflect and take things at my own pace. But I hate struggling financially all the time, and I feel I need more of a sense of purpose. With the right job for the right company I feel I can further develop myself and learn and integrate with other people. Sure I’m anxious about it and I doubt myself and my capabilities but I can’t let anxiety rule my life. I am a capable person – I just need some practice!

There was another show I wanted to see in the city but quickly dismissed it assuming no one would be interested or come with me. I finally got the guts to reach out and see if there was any interest. Two friends readily agreed and the tickets are booked and paid for! I think this is the first thing I’ve instigated for a long time. I tend to wait for people to come to me. And that’s not really fair on a friendship.

Steve’s parents coming down kind of forced me to spend some time home alone (aside from gym visits), and as opposed to feeling depressed or ruminating over any perceived trouble, I actually relaxed and appreciated the time. I got some wine, rented some dvds and rediscovered my sense of being alone as opposed to being lonely.

Im attending group therapy on Sunday and this is a reminder that I still have a road to travel and historic issues to confront. But for the most part, I’m ok with that. It’s just another opportunity to reflect on where I’m at and connect with other people.

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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.

House and kids!

So I’m pretty much moved, depending on your definition of moved! My clothes are pretty much put away, the furniture is pretty much put in place. I have an electricity account, changed my drivers license address and Sky television came today to sort out my programming! I have Vodafone coming tomorrow to sort out the wifi – thank god!  The house looks good, it feels like a home. I think this is the best rental I’ve had. It’s comfy, warm and homely.

I don’t have food! My budget won’t allow a shop which is annoying because I’d like to clean up and have friends over.

Having the 4 kids on my own has been really tough going. It’s the holidays, so I’m juggling the move, issues that arise with that and driving around as well as tidying Steve’s house! Talk about out of the frying pan into the fire!

I’m a bit disappointed that my parents aren’t really involved with the kids. They could have used this time to get to know them better, even taking them out individually to make things easier. But they are in ‘holiday’ mode, so babysitting is a no go zone. And I’m shattered and very conscious that I don’t want to become unwell.

I’m trying to hold the fort until steve gets back (tomorrow) and enjoy my time with my much missed kids. But it is harder than most people would appreciate. I’d love to get into my eldest daughter’s bedroom and give it a good tidy out and move furniture around – I love surprising them like that – but frankly I’m too tired for that! I’d like to be able to take them out but I’m stone cold broke at the moment. I got some money through benefits but that wouldn’t even cover rent! I’ve got to make it last as long as possible.

On the whole I’m ‘doing it.’ I’m up early for the busy days, but my sleep is out of whack again, despite the medication . I think it’s because I spend all night ruminating over the events of the day, the next day and all of my anxieties and concerns. I almost fell into a panic attack last night, just because of how much is going on. But I’m determined to keep a handle on it. It’s just a shame that I can’t see my psychiatrist or CPN until 20 October. I could do with some support on this medication regime, although keeping up with therapy will help.

Last night I was determined to have a bath! Luckily my personal hygiene is back on track so I shower daily, but I wanted to indulge in a bath at Steve’s house because it’s been soooo long. I literally never got a chance with the kids and then I was too knackered. But tonight I will attempt it!

Well I’ve taken some time out to write this blog, I’ll have a hefty price to pay (house will be messed up again!). But I really needed some down time (although I’ve had numerous interruptions!). But I am glad to be back, I’m happy to have my children with me and I’m relieved that Steve is being really helpful and hospitable. It feels so nice not to have the negative energy and fear of the unknown.

I’ve even had a nice email communication with Steve’s parents. Thanking them for looking after the kids – they are really good with them, especially Steve’s dad and I’m happy the kids have that relationship with them. I can’t imagine them having the same closeness with my parents, but maybe when they’re older my parents will find it easier.

In other news, my sister got engaged! I’m so happy for her. She’s been with her partner for years, and they own a house together but it didn’t look like marriage would ever be on the cards, but he surprised her on a holiday in the US. I feel really lucky to have reconnected with her when I went back to the UK.

Novelty wears thin

Staying with my parents;

Pros – I get treated like a kid

Cons – I get treated like a kid

As the novelty of their distant first born returning wears off and the frustration builds (we’ve had her hair done, bought her clothes and she’s still miserable) things are getting more strained. My dad feels it necessary to comment on anything I eat, and when I eat (which isn’t often but apparently I still get it wrong) and also there’s the whole, ‘get some fresh air, it’ll help you’ as I remain hidden away like a vampire reading my books. Of course, if they’d put me on the bloody insurance I could go out and yes, even walk! But no, they’re playing taxi which makes me feel awkward, and it’s slightly embarrassing ending a day with a friend, ‘I just have to call my mum.’

I did have lunch with my pregnant best mate the other day. It was an anxiety provoking start but I ended up relaxed and really happy to see her. And she’s asked me to be her birth partner – very exciting! Of course if she goes into labour before her induction, I’ll have to get my mum to drive me (insert eye roll here).

So I haven’t been out as much as I’d planned in my mind, but then England was never going to be a cure. 

And now I find my nights lying awake tossing and turning and dreading going back to NZ but not feeling I belong here either.

Of course I miss the kids dreadfully and we Skype a couple of times a day. S hasn’t bothered messaging at all to see how I am. I had to chase him down to discuss the kids and a parents evening, and even then I could tell I was a major inconvenience to him. That my opinions didn’t count and basically- who the hell was I again? And if it’s at all possible, he’s even colder with me than normal.

Mind you, despite my planned trip to Cambodia he later accused me of leaving our marriage, which was completely inaccurate. So I suppose with his family firmly inserted into my family, there’ll be whispers that I deserted them and I’ve no doubt it’ll be held against me for all eternity, like with Cambodia.

So in essence, I need to get myself sorted pronto. But as I can’t see a psychiatrist, I can’t see anyway to lift this perpetual dark fog. I’m chugging on with fluoxetine, but it’s not making a difference. And I can’t find myself facing the imminent task of house hunting and moving again with any energy or determination. To be honest, I’m not even sure how I’ll manage the flight at the moment. I’m conscious that September is divorce month and S will slap me with the paperwork before the ink from the printer is dry. Perhaps there’s some avoidance on my part. Although I don’t why. He’s as cold as the ocean, and has made it abundantly clear that he stopped feeling anything for me years ago. Why I continue to pine something that ultimately makes me feel like pond scum is anyone’s guess.

So here I am in limbo. Not getting the miracle fresh air that will cure me, and feeling completely isolated and deeply uncertain about my future.

Settling in

So of course I’ve found my wedding photos, little momentos from S, old pictures of when we first met. I expected to break down in a heap. I haven’t. Not yet anyway. I guess I knew it was inevitable. I think the thing that stops me from feeling it so strongly is that I know he wouldn’t feel anything. He is so unattached he wouldn’t recognise himself, nor relate any memories. Another timely reminder that this is definitely over and there’s no going back. He isn’t the same person in the pictures. He doesn’t care like he used to. Already he’s blamed me for our son being behind at school over FaceTime, when I was trying to find a solution. He seems to like making me feel useless, digging out my failings and insecurities.

Today is the first day I’ve felt normal since getting back. My headache has slowly retreated, and I feel less foggy and confused. It’s been unbelievably hot here! And the long, light evenings are really strange to me! I’m still sleeping a lot and I think my medication regime is still trying to settle. But at least I feel human. It doesn’t usually take me so long to recover from a flight. I suspect my weight has been quite a contributing factor to that. That and all the stress I was under in NZ. I feel like I can actually breathe properly here. I feel less oppressed, there are less expectations and I’m able to rest, or have the company of my parents as I need. Currently I don’t feel like a burden to them. It is truly nice to feel like I’m home.

I’m even showering regularly! 

Tomorrow Dad wants to drive to Reading to visit the cemetery where his parents are buried – its Father’s Day here tomorrow. I was very close to my Nan, so I’m glad to go. I have no anxiety about going out, in fact I think I’ll enjoy the road trip. It’s supposed to be another sunny day. 

I’m not sure what I’ll be doing for the rest of the week, or if I’ll continue to feel relaxed (I really hope so) so I’m just taking each day as it comes. I know I had some major concerns and regrets on the way, but now I know this is the best thing I could have done.

The stress and the stranger

Yesterday was nothing short of madness. It was a ‘teacher training day’ coincidentally before a long weekend. And I had stuff I needed to sign, print and scan that was highly confidential and relating to ‘the thing.’ I know, grrrroan. 

So I bundled the kids into the car on a miserable wet day and headed for the library. Thankfully they were awesome and were kept busy on the computers doing their homework- I know, weird right?! And H enjoyed the Disney movie 


Photobomb!

So I was left to the usual technical problems and glitches that usually happen when it seems so easy in theory to print and scan.

Task completed I bundled the hungry monsters back into the car for a late breakfast and early lunch, by way of saying thank you for your patience and being good.

It was a lovely part of the day 


J and C can’t be seen but in a rare moment my little family together were gathered.

Going back to the house it hit me, during this week I’ve stayed incredibly on top of things. Everywhere tidy and in terms of my own feelings, everything compartmentalised. I was determined not to break down or think too much about any of my experiences, the lawyer and the ‘the thing.’ Although that was marginally ruined by S’s lawyer forwarding a rather unhelpful letter to mine re the house and now my lawyer is on holiday for a week!

When S came back his approach had changed. Neither angry or irritated he seemed sad. He was desperate and really playing at the heart for my understanding of signing the paperwork. I swear to god ordinarily I would have caved right there, anything to make him happy and done what he wanted. But something in my gut has shifted. His ploy was less desperate and more game play. I played my resolve without dispute. We both have lawyers, they will discuss it. We will remain civil but I won’t do anything without hearing from my lawyer.

I realise that I don’t trust him. He had all of these meetings, made these assumptions and didn’t expect me to do anything but trust him. But really his actions haven’t gained my trust recently. Prior to him ending it officially (while I was away) all of our accounts, his meetings with the IRD, banks etc have almost be conducted in secret. I’ve been excluded from everything. And as I said before, spousal maintenance has been treated like a ‘favour.’

I don’t think he appreciates this new resolve of mine.

Later that evening I decided to stay, I was tired, needed shopping for my house and was enjoying the kids. Plus I’d got movies to watch. He got some wine (I’ve not drunk for MONTHS and some chocolate- which I’ve not eaten for months either). It should have felt like the old days. I suppose I was supposed to feel nostalgic and get emotional about my feelings. But I didn’t. It felt like I was watching movies with a mate. Things bubbled away in my mind, new knowledge, aspects of ‘the thing’ but I had no desire to share it. In fact I’ve been become increasingly aware of how important keeping things close to my chest is. 

This morning I was treated as an over staying guest. S made a few comments about my movements and my leaving. Usually I’d get emotional but I’m not! In fact I’m pretty pissed off! This is MY house and I’m not the housekeeper/nanny that’s done a job and I won’t just bugger off because I’ve completed my role! 

I think he’s being rather rude! But I’m no longer a sobbing wreck, begging to be loved and protected and supported.

I’m an ex wife who’s utilising the right to have a lawyer to advocate for me. I’m a mother spending time with my kids on a holiday in a house I’m ALLOWED to be in and I’m managing a hell of a lot of stress without the support and/or input from someone who’s frankly primary concern is themself.

In short I don’t really care what he thinks or feels anymore. I can’t read him because I don’t know him, and I don’t know him, so I can’t trust him.

He is my children’s father and just someone that I used to know. But I’m keeping it civil of course 😉

Night out

I’ve really enjoyed the school holidays with the kids. I just feel I’ve been able to focus on them completely rather than languishing in the pain of my separation. They really have kept me going in all of this. I’ll admit though that towards the end of this week my strength had depleted. No longer able to maintain the tidiness and order of the house, and I was worried about my finances. But I knew as I headed to mine of Friday night I’d miss them sorely. 

My friend contacted me, she’d been having a rough time with her boyfriend and asked if she could stay at mine on Friday and Saturday night. I’ve not been social at all so it was a huge deal to have someone in my bubble as it were. This friend ‘T’ is younger than me, no experience of marriage, kids, separation and so her level of understanding isn’t quite there. But I decided to throw caution to the wind and open up my home and also make plans for Saturday night.

Friday she drank wine with great gusto but I didn’t even feel tempted to drink. I was tired from the weeks events and didn’t feel the need to drink for the sake of it. She talked about her boyfriend and her childhood with a rawness I’d not heard from her before. An anger, a grief that was painfully sad for her. On the Saturday she worked and I headed up to the house to hang out with the kids while S took our oldest shopping for an upcoming camp. The kids were great and I felt relaxed and content in their company. So much so, I dreaded the intended night out.

I felt obligated to follow through, T was hitting the wine again and I decided to drive as I didn’t intend on drinking. My head was beginning to thump painfully and wondered how the hell I would ever endure the evening. I was shocked when T produced a bottle of wine in the car to neck. I made the assumption at that point that this clearly wasn’t a girl just wanting some fun and a good night out. This was a girl in a lot of pain, needing the alcohol and distraction.

Another friend, even younger joined us at the bar. It was very busy, everyone seemed to be drinking a lot. Which as most sober people will know, it’s pretty tedious to be around. Fortunately a band played and I enjoyed the music. The girls were up and dancing, that alone would have been great. But T was pulling men up, flirting, dancing in a most seductive way. The guys were all over her and the young, excitable friend. I was the one with the coats and the bags!! Looking on, staying alert and suffering with a worsening headache. I could see things were likely to get out of hand, but I came across as the nagging bore. At the end of the night guys were asking the girls, where next? And making their intentions clear, but the girls fobbed them off without a second thought. Only my sober eyes were able to read mixed expressions of frustration and annoyance. For an awful moment they talked about going to a club but I shut that down. Even without a headache I couldn’t think of anything worse. By midnight I was well and truly a pumpkin!

Of course we walked the younger girl home. Even more wary that any dregs from the bar would follow. T was still shouting at and chatting to random guys. I became more frustrated and determined to end the night without incident. My hyper vigilance was at an all time high. I felt paranoid, aware, jumpy and positively over dosing on adrenaline. 

Back in the car I couldn’t help but justify and sort of chastise T for shouting out at random men along the street. She got predictably defensive. The remainder of the journey was in silence.

Last night I lay in bed with a god awful migraine wondering how I could gently enquire about the drinking and her behaviour. I felt that she was in a bad place and could be on the way to self destructing. The girl is on under a lot of pressure, work, study, family, boyfriend. It all seems to be mounting up. But every attempt in my mind sounding like interfering or being too out of touch. It’s incredible how much the age difference impacts a friendship. In the end I did the only thing I could think of, I messaged her boyfriend in confidence and asked that he make contact with her and try to come to some sort of conclusion. As with everything in the air, it was having a negative impact on T. I took a gamble – this could really blow up in my face, but he’s reassured me that he won’t mention my message and last I heard they were meeting this evening.

Frankly my first social evening in months was not really a good introduction. My head is still pounding, I worry for my friend and have been reminded that I’m really too old, too tired and too boring for these sorts of nights out.

My daughter leaves for camp tomorrow for FIVE days. The location is EIGHT hours drive away. I’m anxious beyond belief. Luckily she’s a smart girl, I trust her implicitly, but I don’t trust anyone else! I will miss her terribly.

My son will now attend kindy 2 days per week which I’m really happy about so I can spend more time with him. 

I’m at my house feeling quite unwell with this headache and it’s lonely without my family. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to it.