Update!

Again, I have left it quite awhile before writing. I suppose this is largely because of the whole Covid situation, I was waiting to see what was going to happen in terms of my job and my home, like the rest of the world I suppose. I didn’t find myself overly stressed during this period, we are very lucky with our government here and the management of the situation. My job remains stable and I worked from home and the rent freeze meant I didn’t have to worry about increases so in all I wasn’t largely affected by the Covid.

A bit like the school holidays, I was able to enjoy time with the children. It’s a nightmare to take them shopping anyway and we don’t really eat out very much, so there wasn’t a great difference for me. I worry about my family over in the UK of course because it’s a completely different situation largely because of the useless government. I can only speak with them online and hope that they remain safe.

My mental state has actually stayed very stable considering all of the anxiety. Unfortunately my physical health has not been great. I broke my ankle a couple of weeks ago and it’s causing me a huge amount of pain, I was able to get a moon boot so I’m able to drive because I can’t afford to take time off of work. But I think the driving and continued activity is delaying my recovery. Again there isn’t much I can do about that because need to have an income.

Obviously I haven’t been able to rely on Steve at all in terms of support, so I continue to do my best with the kids and my best financially. Although I resent his attitude towards me, I actually don’t feel particularly bothered by him anymore! He is just an annoying aspect of my life that I have to deal with for the rest of my life because of our children. But there is definitely no love or affection there. It does surprise me sometimes when I Think about how close we were and now we are basically strangers that can barely tolerate each other. But I tend not to fester over that very much.

All I care about are the children. As long as they know that we both love them very much and we will always be there for them, that is all that matters. That is very much on point for today as my eldest turned 16! I still can’t believe I have a 16-year-old. I took her for lunch today and to get a manicure, we don’t spend too much time together so it was really nice to hang out. And now Steve has taken them all out for dinner. It was a tradition that we would all go to dinner, and I would have to put up with passive aggressive comments over the table. I have been trying to gently push the kids away from these expectations. I do think it’s unrealistic to expect a separated family to come together for birthdays and Christmas. Last Christmas I made it separate for the first time, and I don’t think it was a failure at all. And this way my daughter had my time all day and now the siblings and Dad have this evening.

My life revolves around the children and my job. Study has also started again now so I’m going to be incredibly distracted with that. I’m also looking after a friends dog. It’s a bit random but she really needed someone to look after her dog while she moved house. Sadly our cat was run over a few weeks ago and we were all absolutely devastated. So taking this dog in as part of a distraction as well from that and to help the kids deal with that grief. He’s been a welcome addition to my little family. he is very gentle and sweet natured and also very well-trained. We took him to the beach the other day on a sunny day and it was really nice to get out of the house and do something a bit different, where as normally we just have slobbed around all day.

It’s certainly been a very strange year. Most people have written off 2020 because of how stressful it’s been. But for me theres been some really good parts, that is, mainly getting my lovely little flat which I still absolutely adore and would love to be in a position to buy in a year and also getting this consistent employment.

Of course we are only midway through! So anything can happen now! But I definitely feel in a position to handle what life throws my way. I’ve proved time and time again that I will come out fighting. No matter how tired I might be, no matter if sometimes I lie in bed and have a little cry. I just keep going!

I don’t have a social life at all! I’m definitely very much a homebody. And this is probably grown even more so during the Covid lockdown. I don’t miss the social interaction, I get enough of that in my job! And I don’t anticipate dating any time in the near or even distant future. I enjoy my independence and I enjoy being able to focus my attention fully on the children. I have no issue anymore if Steve wanted to date and the children I suspect he probably is. As long as he always puts the children first and doesn’t expect anybody to replace me, then he can do what he likes.

It’s taken me a long time to get to this stage. Some would say far too long. But we will heal in our own time.

Update

You know it’s funny, my ex-husband used to take me away fairly regularly on five star breaks, because he wanted to treat us. The reality is that over the last few years I have been busting a gut to look after the children, keep myself on an even keel, and hold the glue together. I am absolutely exhausted and probably deserve a holiday more now than I ever have! And I can’t afford one! And he definitely won’t pay for one!

I’ve continued to work during the lockdown. It’s not been very easy with the children being demanding, within their reasonable demands of course in terms of expecting lunch and dinner and help with homework. And trying to keep the house tidy. But I’ve managed and I’m eternally grateful that my family are well and that I am in a position to be able to work during lockdown. And I’m especially proud of my children for managing the situation so well and for sticking together.

Of course my anxiety has played havoc, I’m not completely in human. I have had to close myself away in the shower and have a good cry, and I’ve noticed my dose of Valium has increased over the last few weeks because of panic attacks. I found myself waking up in a panic. But I don’t think that’s any different to anybody else. As we realise that those we love around us are at risk. The things we know have changed. And the world around us is an unknown place at the moment.

I am of course grateful to be in New Zealand during all of this. We have an excellent prime minister who is taking care of all of us and the element of risk seems somewhat more less, and although I’m terrified of my children going back to school next week, I have to believe is the best thing for them and for us.

The organisation I work for is very different to anything I’ve ever worked for before. As I’ve had to work from home because I don’t want to put myself and my children at risk, I’ve had to prove myself in terms of meeting KPIs and working on other things as presented to me. I believe that I have met those targets, however the way I present myself is very different to my comrades. I am extremely assertive and I don’t like mistakes being made, and I think this sort of personality probably doesn’t bode well for the laid-back personalities and culture of this organisation that I work for.

I remind myself, that this is really an income provider for me, and I begin my new study again in June. Which I’m really looking forward to. Don’t get me wrong I am totally embracing this role, and I do take on board all of the family situations that I work for. That’s probably makes me a little bit different to others and that I really empathise with my families and their situations. My desire to help them comes from a genuine and authentic place.

I have certainly been enjoying my kids being here more often and they are really enjoying my new home. And it really does feel like a home. With property prices dropping and the need for deposits dropping significantly from the original 20% it would be nice to think that potentially I could look to purchase this property in the near future. I don’t want to get too excited about that in case it’s a no go. I just know that I don’t want to go through constant inspections and be answerable to a corporate organisation and pay somebody else’s mortgage. after all as we know, i used to be a home owner but that was taken away from me. Yes Steve continues to go from better to worse. He is doing exceedingly well financially, the house is now worth over 1 million, and he is sitting pretty. Yes I do feel some resentment over that I’m not going to lie about it. But I have to focus on myself right now and my children I’m doing the best I can for them.

I don’t really have a lot to add in terms of updates because life has been really just ticking along for me. Although there’s been work stresses and other stresses, nothing seems completely unattainable or in surmountable. I don’t know if I can attribute that to the medication or my desire to stay level and on top of things. I just know that there haven’t been any dramatic moments worth noting.

So next week we begin a new journey on level two. Where the kids will be at school and I will be in a new part of my role out on the road meeting families and children, which I am actually really looking forward to. As I said before my desire to help people is definitely genuine. I’m less looking forward to working in the office, but I think that’s pretty standard now being as I already know my passion belongs in a classroom environment.Snext week we begin a new journey on level two. Where the kids will be at school and I will be in a new part of my role out on the road meeting families and children, which I am actually really looking forward to. As I said before my desire to help people is definitely genuine. I’m less looking forward to working in the office, but I think that’s pretty standard now being as I already know my passion belongs in a classroom environment.So next week we begin a new journey on level two. Where the kids will be at school and I will be in a new part of my role out on the road meeting families and children, which I am actually really looking forward to. As I said before my desire to help people is definitely genuine. I’m less looking forward to working in the office, but I think that’s pretty standard now being as I already know my passion belongs in a classroom environment.

I haven’t been catching up with friends, primarily due to lockdown. I have been messaging friends though that have maintained contact with me throughout lockdown. I think it’s really interesting to note who is regularly in touch and who isn’t. It’s like when I moved house, there are some friends that really come to the fore and help another is it disappear into the background. I’m not particularly bothered about this, because throughout this lockdown my main priority has been my children.

Update

It would be easy for me to get carried away focusing on the current pandemic facing the whole world right now. We are very lucky in New Zealand because we have an excellent Prime Minister and we have everything relatively contained. I certainly feel less confident for my comrades in both the US and the UK.

I’m certainly glad that I deferred my study for six months. As I would’ve incurred the cost of a partial student loan and my student allowance would’ve stopped. As it happens I’m still working in the role that I was offered prior to the lockdown. Although initially it was really hard to get started especially being so isolated I feel I have found my way and I’m actually quite enjoying the job. Plus it’s amazing how much time flies when I’m busy with my cases.I have been predominantly looking after my two younger children. This obviously has a it’s stresses in terms of ensuring they are keeping up with their schooling, constantly cooking and tidying and managing my job. My salary isn’t very good, so I’m certainly feeling the pinch financially. Unfortunately Steve hasn’t increased the child-support to reflect the changes for the last couple of months. But I can’t complain because I’m really lucky to be in a roll and for all of us to healthy. Plus it’s amazing how much time flies when I’m busy with my cases.

It’s amazing how much I have realised just how strong my relationships are. I have either started strengthening old relationships or maintaining current relationships using social media. I have also noticed people that I am less concerned with and I’ve cut them off. Not through any fault of theirs or mine, but rather we are just very different and there’s been no point continuing and empty relationships.

I’m also extremely grateful to have moved into my new place so quickly and before the lockdown started. I still absolutely love my little home. It’s got a great feeling, it’s really light and airy, and the kids absolutely love it. I also have a cute little fruit garden, and I’ve been able to offer fruits to people in the community.

There is no doubt about the fact that I was feeling confident about this New Year. And I know it’s a dreadful time for the majority and we are under a lockdown so our freedoms have been taken away-for the best of course. So much has happened for me on a positive front that I still feel really confident about this New Year. obviously there is the anxiety that goes with not having certain freedoms, and I worry about the health of my children. However when I look at the US and the UK I can’t help but feel very contented in my little bubble. My priority is, and will always be, my children. And selfishly I am enjoying the extra time with them, even though as I say it is stressful to be a single parent in lockdown.

At times, like anyone else I find myself having emotional bursts, and periodic panic attacks. I recognise this is predominantly to do with a sense of claustrophobia and a lack of control. But it’s amazing how almost comforting it is to know that I’m not alone in this and we are all feeling it at the same time.

We are in autumn now. I certainly wouldn’t like to be cooped up at home in the summer. Autumn is my favourite season and has always been my favourite season. It’s beautiful with a mix of colours and it’s neither too hot nor too cold. Although this autumn so far we have already had plenty of sunny days.

So my focus at the moment is my children and my new job. I start study again in June, but this is online and doesn’t require me to go anywhere. So it’s achievable.

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.

Update

I haven’t written for a while I think that’s because there’s been so much going on and I was hoping for a break to work out how I was really feeling. Study has been stressful but I’ve managed to remain on my objectives. I’m worried about my mental health but this is predominantly because my ex-husband has now decided that we should no longer have contact including I should no longer be allowed at the house. At all. Ever. I took the news really hard at first and I honestly felt that my mental health was going to slip. But the reality is it’s probably the best thing. I do find myself leaning on him and trying to find support from him even though he’s not in a place to give it to me. It’s amazing how you can spend so much of your life as part of someone else’s life and suddenly you’re on your own. I think I’ve been relying on him subconsciously to support me through the different endeavours of my life. Now there has been a definite shift on who we are to each other and although that was initially painful I think it might be the way forward. Obviously it is painful to think that after so many years we used to be best friends but the reality is that, it is no longer. I have to find my way as an individual.

Study is continuing although I do find it very hard but I’m hoping if I stay focused I’ll find my way through it.

Work is always challenging but I really enjoy the work and the team environment.

I feel closer to my children than I have done in awhile and I enjoy having them more often at my home.

Although I wish there are some things that could be more different in my life, such as having a new home that can accommodate all of us perfectly, I realise this is not going to happen. I make best of the situation I’m in.

On June 4 I have my second MRI scan this will show if the lesions in my brain have increased thus increasing my chance of having MS in the future. I’m not worried about this as there have been so many developments in medical science, and I have more pressing things to be concerned about.

I would say at this stage I am content. I am not particularly happy, but I’m not particularly depressed either. I feel like I am ploughing on through life as I should be.

University work

I’m back from Hamilton and so happy to be with my kids.

I’m still completely overwhelmed with the uni stuff and don’t have a clue what I’m doing. Fortunately Steve is really intelligent and good with computers so he was able to sort out some of the software for me, but even he struggled. The platforms are so unuser friendly.

I have got my first assignment done and dropped off though – phew!

All of this might be for nothing though if I don’t get my student allowance approved. I’m quite stressed about that. I’ll find out next week.

My mood still isn’t quite right. But the fact I drove to Hamilton and participated in the orientation week is testament to my new medication routine and desperation not to fall into a terrible depression. I still struggle to get up and get ready, but I really hope that will pass eventually.

I’ll be glad to get next week confirmed

School

I’ve started my new job as a Teacher Aide and it’s bloody hard work! I have a new found respect for teachers! Everyone seems really nice so it’s a nice change from the toxic environment I’d gotten used too. What I really love though is having my kids here at mine and being able to take them to school and pick them up. I’ve really missed being so involved with them. It also takes the pressure off Steve because he was the one having to race around after the kids.

I’m already learning a lot. I just hope my stamina quickly improves.

I’m seeing my psychiatrist tomorrow. I might ask for the Effexor to be increased. I don’t feel low like I did before, but I’m still incredibly anxious. Although I guess that’s part of starting a new job. Especially in an area I know nothing about.

I’m taking each day at a time. To have a new job is a real relief, although I won’t feel the financial benefit for a couple of weeks and it’s a bit stressful because I’m only working part time. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to study. The financial burden might be too much.

So yeah, things are getting better.

Update

I’m on my last week of the 8 week running program. I’ve absolutely amazed myself by running 4km. The goal is 5km on Saturday. I’m still not confident but I’m going to give it a good shot. I’ve worked hard at this.

I had a rough weekend. I signed up for self defence, which was being run by women for women. It should have been a safe space. But I was triggered so badly. The idea of shouting really pushed me over the edge. I used my voice but was ignored, why should these self defence tactics make any difference. Plus we talked about strangulation. I was fine with the theory but I wasn’t ready to do the practice. I ended up locked in a toilet stall having a panic attack. When I finally got it together I snuck out to get my bag and leave. A friend caught me on the way out, she hugged me and reassured me. It felt nice, I could have sobbed on her shoulder all afternoon, but I was scared of upsetting the women. So I took my bag and fast footed it to the car. I cried hard driving home. I had to ring Steve in the end because I couldn’t get a grip. He was very understanding- unusually so actually. He knew I’d been doing this and suspected this would happen. I took comfort in his support and made it home. I was incredibly hyper vigilant- jumping and crying at every noise. The exhaustion though was overwhelming. I napped on and off. I felt so drained mentally and physically. I’ve never known anything like it. I was really too tired to have my boy over, but I missed him so much. Playing lego all evening was pretty hard, but I didn’t want to spoil his fun. The following day I had a wicked migraine. My son watched movies while I lay in bed hoping it would go. Suffice to say I felt like a terrible mother.

I’ve had some rough nights since then. Hopefully it will taper off. In retrospect I never should have taken that on. I have enough going on, I should have realised this would trigger me.

My job still sucks. I’m tired of the politics and pettiness. My boss goes on leave from December 21st, I can’t wait. It’ll be nice not to have her breathing down my neck. My official leave isn’t until 14 January. I can’t wait. I desperately need a break from this job environment. I’m still applying for other jobs but it’s tough going. Particularly with the time of year.

I’m really hoping to enjoy this Xmas. Traditionally I’m always unwell at Xmas. I can feel the low creeping in but I’m trying hard to fight it. I want to be there for the kids. There really is nothing quite as sad as sobbing miserably on Xmas day.

As the running program finishes this weekend, some new friends I made and I are making our own running club. I think it’ll be easier to stay motivated with people. I’ve also signed up to some runs around the area, including Round the Bays, which is quite an infamous run event here.

I am worried about my financial situation. As I suppose everyone is. At least Steve and his family can spoil the kids. I’ll never be in a position to do that anymore.

Fingers crossed for Saturday!

Tinder

My friends have talked me into going on Tinder. They’re desperate to see me move on and be happy, or just have some fun in the interim. But my heart isn’t in it. No one is going to become my life partner. I’m just not ready and nor will I ever be. I don’t miss sex, I only miss affection, but not to the extent I’ll start dating. Dating requires trust and a genuine desire to get to know someone. I simply don’t have either.

My world is my children. All of my love and energy goes into them. I cannot imagine a man feeling the same about my children, aside from Steve.

So I’m on it, but I’m not enjoying it. And frankly I won’t bother meeting anyone. You simply can’t recreate 13 odd years of a relationship.

Work of course takes up a large amount of energy. Ive had some really positive feedback for once, from clients. I wouldn’t get it from my boss. And my boss still seems to dislike me. The environment is tough. Being busy helps alleviate some of that, but the job itself is so draining. And I feel like I’ve missed so much of my children.

I’m still doing the running. I hate it! But I’m always glad afterwards! I felt especially proud of myself last Saturday for pushing myself so hard and achieving my goals. First time I’ve felt proud of myself for a long time. It’s weird not being able to share that with anyone.

I have a friend staying with me temporarily. It’s both a blessing and a curse. It’s nice to have company and someone to chat to in the evenings. But she’s rather messy! So I’m torn between missing my space and enjoying having someone around.

I still desperately need a holiday. But I’ll never be able to afford that.

My life seems to have hit a plateau. I’m neither displeased or excited.

I have terrible pangs of sadness at times still. I hate those periods of insufferable pain. I wonder if it’ll ever end?

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.