Update!

It’s been along time since I’ve written anything. I just feel like I haven’t had much to really document.

I have completed my first year of study. It was incredibly overwhelming at times and I felt my confidence was really tested. I did at times want to end the study because I felt it was too much, especially wrangling my four children. And my ex-husband hasn’t been entirely helpful. However I’ve completed the year, I think I have failed one paper I have really enjoyed working with the children for the year. I think I found a passion that I had no idea existed. On my last day they presented me with a beautiful handmade card, and my mentor teacher presented me with a bottle of wine and some coffee that I absolutely love and I’m known for. I continue to teacher aid for the duration of the year, which has it stresses especially when a child becomes violent with me.

Mid year I experienced quite a low.  I made some changes, such as going to the gym, giving up alcohol, and seeing my doctor to discuss increasing my antidepressants very slightly. Listening to my body and looking out for myself has been a real priority for me this year. When I feel myself getting on edge or really struggling, I make sure I heed the signs and make some changes.

 we are coming into summer now, and conversely for me my mood tends to slip at this time of year. I feel the pressure of Christmas coming up and the financial stresses that comes with that, I also find there is this superficial need to act happier because the sun is hotter and lasts longer every day. During a particularly hot day I took the kids to the beach at their request.  it was something that I was actually looking forward to however, it turned into a really amazing day and I really enjoyed myself.

Steve has been offered a new job with a better package, and he’s naturally over the moon about it. I do find myself resenting how Lucky he is. And how he progresses all the time, where as I tend to stay stagnant. And of course, I’m under constant financial pressure.

People often ask me if I’m dating. That is a big fat NO. I have no interest in dating whatsoever. My priorities are my children, study and work.

The day at the beach! And my beautiful cat, Snow.

Visual representation in therapy

My therapist today told me that I’ve worked incredibly hard, particularly over the last few months and I’ve achieved a lot. The way I talk about things is different. And she sees us moving forward onto the ‘next level’ of things. I didn’t understand what any of this meant and asked her what that might look like. She actually did a visual representation for me which was really helpful and unlike anything I’ve experienced before.

She took a bunch of toys and books from the box and laid them out on the floor in different spots. Each item represented some aspect of my life. The abuse I’ve experienced, Steve, the kids, my home, my job, my friends. She showed me how it was all a jumble when I started counselling. But things have separated and I no longer mix them all up. She showed what things are my priority (kids) how my home has moved closer to me (it feels more like home) and how my past has less power over me. How my friends are of great value to me, and how, despite a Baptism by fire, I have continued to stick it out with my job – and who knows where that might lead for me in terms of a career. Seeing my life laid out in an external format was really enlightening. I couldn’t identify the emotional connections, but I know I felt some contentment that it wasn’t as overwhelming as I always think of my life to be. My therapist explained that I would, in my own time, work through the different dynamics and discover new feelings, identify things I hadn’t worked through or considered before. Carefully unraveling layers, but ultimately consolidating foundations with the ultimate goal of becoming stronger, more aware, healing.

I’d really like to be handed a manual and told exactly what the processes are and rush through to the end. I find all this work very painful and often wonder if I’ll ever truly be at peace. But I guess I just have to trust the process.

This session certainly wasn’t like last session which was incredibly intense and I felt the pain for days. I didn’t think I’d stop hurting but obviously I did because at some point normal life resumed. The weekend was pretty tough but that’s because the kids didn’t want to stay with me so I was pretty gutted. I felt the familiar tug to wallow in bed the whole time; and I pretty much did. But on Sunday I went out to watch a movie – The Wife. I enjoyed it immensely. I like watching movies alone. I cried during the movie, it was really just an excuse to release some emotions.

I’ve had the kids the last couple of nights and I feel so much better for it. And Steve is away for most of next week, so I’m looking forward to next week with them. Time with the kids means everything to me – even though they’re messy and noisy! They make my house a home, they’re my whole world.

I feel a bit numb from this afternoon. I tend to after a therapy session, unless it’s been particularly intense, in which case it’s harder to control, I have to seal it off as I’m looking after the kids. But I’ll be thinking about that visual representation a lot. I can move things around in my head and think about what issues are requiring my attention sooner.

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.

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.

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.