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.

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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.

Leaving the house

So, tonight is my last night in what was the family home. I am surprised by how upset I am. I stayed longer than I anticipated and it’s been hard at times. Tiring, stressful and barely any time to myself. But it’s the chaos that I’ve missed. The house is lit up and warm, I’ve cooked meals and hung out with the kids in spaces designed around a large family. The big kitchen that I adored when we bought the place, the beautiful en suite with its own bath so I don’t need to remove a ton of bath toys before I get in. Of course, the little bits that are ‘me’ have been pretty much removed from the house. The master bedroom looks functional and plain. I’m ok with that of course, but tonight it’s plainness makes me feel sad. That I enjoyed a ‘home’ again for this period but it’s not my home anymore.

I’ve chatted via text to S while he’s been away, updates about the kids. This in itself is also weird. His first time away as we’re separated. I’m used to daily calls, expressions of missing each other, reminders that we’ll be reunited again soon. But this time, I know, come tomorrow night my car will be parked on the drive (not in the garage) and when S gets in, I’ll drive back to a cold and dark house. It feels a little bit like resetting again. I hope the emotional impact doesn’t affect my mood even more. 

It’s surprising that when I think I’ve made progress, something hits me again. I wonder how long this goes on for.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be dragging myself to circuit training. I know it will be hard again to force myself and I’ll come up with a myriad different reasons why I can pass. But it’s just an hour.

I feel so sad tonight. Tomorrow will probably feel a lot worse.

Still down

I’m still up at the house because S has extended his stay in Auckland. It’s pretty full on, but I’m managing. I’m disappointed that my energy levels aren’t really increasing. I’m faithfully turning up to circuit training twice a week, and being really careful about what I eat. But I’m still so sluggish, like I’m wading through mud. Today I was especially exhausted and HAD to take a nap. My concentration is still affected and I forget things easily. Including words and phrases.

I feel like I’m never going to change. Like I will never find true joy in anything again. I keep going and live very much on autopilot, functioning with little drama. Yet I’m not really inspired by anything. I’m not excited by things. I miss feeling alive. I miss periods of being relaxed. I miss being content. I hope this is still situational. I’m living in my ex’s house tending to the kids on a meagre budget. Although I’m really enjoying being with the kids – don’t get me wrong, I’m not doing anything that feels awe-inspiring. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. Maybe this is who I am now? Forever functioning just below baseline with a modicum of energy to get through the day?

I do feel like I’ve lost my direction. I’m so anxious about university, it seems so overwhelming and frankly terrifying even though I know I can do the work, it’s still a place where I realised I was breaking down. To head into the city feels like a huge journey out of my comfort zone. In fact, daily I keep my travel to close, well known places. It’s more confronting having the kids because they need things, whereas if I was alone I probably would avoid most if not all outings.

I’m still not being social with friends, I can’t face social interaction at the moment.

The worse thing is knowing that this isn’t normal and wanting to rise above it, but I can’t. I just don’t have the reserves of energy, the motivation and trust in myself. I look in the mirror and all the tiredness, all the exhaustion seems to be coming out of every pore. My hair looks lank and dry, my skin is pale and dry, my eyes are dark and puffy. I seem to have aged significantly.

This is when (it goes against my feminist principles) I just want to curl up in the arms of someone that loves me. I want to be cared for, loved and nurtured during this time. Reminded that I’m worth it, to take strength from another, and to be understood in the silence.

But I have only myself to get that from and right now I don’t exactly like myself very much.