Tipping point

Interestingly the last few days have been surprisingly better. A few ‘shifts’ have happened.

Firstly, I was due to have the kids at my place but there was a power cut, no heat, no light so I felt it best we return to the house. I slept on the couch because Steve was leaving early the next day. They all watched a movie and I didn’t feel like it, so I curled up in a bedroom and read a book. I can’t explain the feeling, but I suddenly knew I had to get out of there. I mumbled excuses about having to buy a bottle of water from the garage. I drove a few seconds down the road and then pulled over and cried like I’ve never cried before. I sobbed, I wailed, I howled like a wounded animal. My entire body shook, i could feel this terrible pain, in that moment I could completely understand why people become addicts because I could have easily done anything to avoid the pain, but I trusted by body. I instinctively knew it was something I had to do. I don’t know how long I sat there for. I managed to get it together enough to go to the garage and buy some water but I was sobbing the whole time. I didn’t care what anyone thought. Back in the car, again i only got a little way and the whole thing started again.

By the time I got back to the house I felt drained and hollowed out. They were finishing the movie and heading to bed. I curled up on the couch and soon came the heart wrenching sobs. I managed to hold back on the wailing but the sobbing was just as gut wrenching, I played some music on my phone to cover the noise. I felt the pain the same intensity and gripped the blanket in agony.

I think I was finally grieving. I do cry easily at times, but I’ve never let go like that before. I always stop myself, scared that if I let go I might not stop or it might hurt too much. Clearly I’d reached my tipping point. I grieved for a number of things, my marriage, my health, the stuff in England, how my life is. Just everything that hurts and feels out of my control.

The next day I felt numb, but without a doubt I knew things had shifted.

A friend of mine that knew I was struggling with my house came and did a blessing on it! It was really nice of her and although I’m in two minds about it, I’m trying to stay open minded. I really love that she did that for me.

I got a new car as mine was too expensive to fix. It’s a cheap little piece of shit but I absolutely LOVE it!!! I haven’t owned a car like it before, it’s very raw but I really love it! And it’s so economical. It’s been well looked after too for its age.

I saw the new psychiatrist and she’s convinced my seizure was caused because my dose of anti depressant is far too high. The maximum dose is 400mg, I’m on 650mg. I may have my answer! She’s slowly reducing it with a view to changing it, I’m ok with that.

I’ve got a busy weekend. I had the kids over last night and I took them out for dinner, it was really lovely. We’re just going for a walk now. Then I’m catching up with different friends. I feel really grateful.

And I have two interviews on Monday! Fingers crossed!

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Group

I went to the group session today and it was a complete waste of time. The group was dominated by this crazy arse woman that talked about her life, making a Steven Segal movie more believable. It was non stop. I eventually spoke up because it was clear everyone had tuned out, but I think the facilitator wanted to bring her under control more gently. Whatever. I used the time to browse rentals on the net. I really hate this house. It’s freezing cold, it’s layout is odd and there’s just not the room for my 4 children. It’s one of reasons I was always going back to the house. To escape my own home. I actually dread going back.

My good friend has come over and she is in complete agreement. It’s just not got a very nice vibe. But it has served its purpose, I needed a house quickly before my parents left and this was here. Hopefully being winter I’ll have less competition looking for a new place.

I had coffee with my friend at her place after group to debrief, it’s become our routine now. She could tell I was really down. I said I longed to return to the house, to the lights, the noise, my children, the warmth and broke down and cried as I seem to be doing constantly lately. She keeps reassuring me that this will pass. At the moment it’s hard to stay positive. I’ve had to stop the gym, stop looking for work and worry constantly about keeping my heart rate down. Why do I keep being beaten down?

I’ve taken to leaving the tv on at night, on a music channel. I can’t stand the silence and this seemed a good way to make the nights more bearable.

I just have to wait until Wednesday- then I should get answers and be able to resume trying to make a life for myself.

I am letting myself feel the pain, the sadness, the despair. It’s all uncomfortable but I can only heal from it by going through it. And I’ve spent too much of my life ignoring what’s in my heart. So whilst my physical world falls apart and my physical health is questionable, my mental and emotional well-being is being acknowledged. As long as I don’t go down again. That would be really bad.

And Steve continues to thrive and love his big, full life with no regard or compassion for me at all. It’s amazing how quickly some people can shut off. I wish he had half of my problems – that might be more humbling to him. But he’s destined to walk on water.

Life. Sucks.

The email

To my counsellor

The MRI was as panic inducing as I expected. In fact I anticipated a seizure as a result of the huge stress on my body. Had it not been for  a friend holding my hand – I couldn’t have done it. The hole was so small and the noise just terrifying. But I am relieved it’s done. I’m also relieved that I didn’t have a seizure – this is surely a positive sign?

I heard on Friday night that the cop in England was found guilty. He will have a record and be unable to work for any police force, corrections, security type roles.

I’m still struggling with it. The guilty thing was decided which indicates he was in the wrong and I feel vindicated. Yet another part of me thinks that he is so less worse then the rapist. He was only ever nice to me – even when he was commanding. He manipulated me in such a way that he made me feel safe, even when he made me feel ashamed and dirty. How can that be? I hoped that Steve might see the ‘affair’ in a different light, that is, there was no black and white. But he has moved on/no longer cares. This outcome is something you and I need to discuss in more detail. Also, the investigating officer is calling me on Tuesday night to explain in detail what it all means and in her words ‘to ensure I have good support in place.’

It’s certainly been a roller coaster of emotions. The betrayal of good friends, the stress of the MRI, the results of the investigation and also learning that Steve is not and cannot be my ‘go to person’

Yet I still learn nothing. Today (Saturday) I longed for my family, for my role as mother and yes I admit I longed for a partner to bear part of my burden. I didn’t consider my fragile emotional/mental state. Instead ploughing on with my expectations.

My eldest C had horse riding and my other children wanted to go roller skating. I was happy to take C and then meet Steve and the kids at roller skating. I longed for the ‘normal’ family outing. Instead the complete opposite happened – as I’m sure you could have predicted. C fell off her horse, once I knew she wasn’t hurt I began a tirade of vitriol towards the horse she was on. My daughter was upset by my comments. She told me I ruined good things for her and that’s why she didn’t like me taking her horse riding. What could I say to that? I have let my own daughter down with my anger.

I was angry because I was scared for her. I couldn’t catch her, I couldn’t save her, so instead I placed all of my powerlessness at the horse. Plus the fact the damn horse did cause my daughter to fall!

So we drove on to roller skating. Her, refusing to talk to me. When we arrived H wanted to skate but my fears clawed at me straight away, the roller skates weren’t made especially for young children, there was no helmet, no pads! My little boy would be vulnerable. I think by this stage Steve saw me as a total nuisance.

I wasn’t needed. I was just a taxi, this was Steve’s show and I was encroaching. I didn’t belong.

Why did I have these ridiculous expectations? Why can’t I learn? This is not my family anymore. We’re not a unit. I am mother on my time, nothing more.

My friend S has continually been by my side, trying to keep me focussed on reality – I cannot appreciate her enough.

I left the skating ring. I didn’t want to physically turn away from my children, but I realised that this wasn’t my place. They had Steve and he was more than enough.

I got some wine and lie miserably on my couch. Images of England and what happened barking at my heels, my hidden fears about my health, the sense of loneliness and the pain. Reality fucking hurts.

The positive things to come out of this is that as we discussed I have taken some control over my death (if that was happen). I sat and wrote everything out. My wishes, the practical aspects, access codes. I saved it as a draft email. I won’t send until I’ve completed my letters to the children. But I know I have at least made things easier and there is less to worry about. In doing this I realised all of my outgoings, so I’ve had to face up to this and make some serious changes.

The week about starts next week as Steve isn’t travelling. I’m deeply saddened that it’s come to this. I grieve again for the home I’ve lost and the sense of partnership I imagined for myself. But I realise I can’t emotionally sever ties until I start removing myself from ties.

Tonight I feel a sense of relief that the week is all but over. I’m so grateful to the friends I’ve come to realise are true and can reach out too. But I’m so sad, so lonely and so fed up with myself (more than Steve is – which is saying something!).

I felt so much lighter after our last session and wanted to get down everything that’s happened to make some sense of it. To fill you in and get your much appreciated feedback.

If I don’t hear from you tonight (and that’s ok!) I’ll see you tomorrow,

Much love

Gym

Yesterday is going down in history as a REALLY bad day! I’ve had some bad days, but this really took the biscuit. I was at the gym, on the treadmill almost finishing my stint on it, when next minute I’m lying on the floor in the recovery position not knowing what the hell was going on. I found out later in hospital (an ambulance was called) that I hit the floor and had a violent seizure for 30 seconds, then spoke absolute gibberish for 5 minutes. There were two lovely gym members being really gentle with me, luckily it was at a time when it was staffed, and luckily for me I didn’t seriously injure myself.

The hospital ran some tests, nothing obvious was highlighted. But I’ve been referred to a neurologist. I have to wait for the phone call. Luckily the hospital let me go, there’s no way I was sleeping in there. I had to get Steve to pick me up and take me back to the gym where my car was. I have to say, being alone and not having someone there to support and care for me felt like a kick in the guts. I only asked the gym to call Steve because I was supposed to be collecting the kids. If he had planned to do it, I wouldn’t have had them call him. I know he doesn’t care or want to be involved. I miss that terribly.

I did message some friends though and got some incredible support. I wouldn’t usually reach out like that, but I did feel so alone. And being home alone after such a traumatic day felt miserable.

This morning I woke with a shocking migraine. I’ve not had one for a while. I had to go and get some super expensive migraine medication, but it was the only one that’d get rid of it. And I’m on kid duty this afternoon.

Aside from my gym event, a lot of other stuff has been going on. We had H (6) assessed because we were worried that he wasn’t progressing academically. Turns out he’s monumentally behind his targets. It seems he might have a learning disability. I’ve seen his school principal to find out how the hell this has gone unnoticed and what they can do to support him in class. I’ve also arranged for him to see the GP because he’s so tired all the time. Just to eliminate any underlying health issues. I am really worried about my boy and feel terrible that it’s gone on this long.

I’ve had more interviews and more rejections, although the feedback from my interviews has been good, I just miss out.

It’s been affecting my confidence, it’s been hitting my finances because of the petrol I have to keep buying and the parking I keep paying for. And I’ve been feeling a bit run down. It’s stressful doing loads of interviews. I saw Ian, my CPN and he reassured me that anyone would feel tired and depressed from the interviewing and I’m on kid duty after school so the days have been long and trying. We both agreed I should take a week break and then get back into it again.

I have been catching up with friends at the weekends and it’s been really nice to have more of a social life. I’m trying not to isolate myself again.

I’m feel a bit fragile emotionally and physically. I’ll be glad to get some answers about this seizure and know how I can avoid it happening again. It’s really made me feel anxious about going back to the gym, but I’ll make it. I’ll just take it easy.

I’m doing a lot of work in counselling, I feel really committed to the process. I’m ready to really explore things and work through things.

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.

?

I’m not sure why, but I seem to have dropped a couple of rungs down the ladder. After I saw my counsellor last week, I felt much lighter, I’d finally articulated all of my jumbled thoughts. But by evening I felt empty. I can’t explain it. Not so much drained as just very alone, very vulnerable.

I hoped it was just blowback from the much needed counselling session; but I haven’t been able to bounce back. Even at the gym I feel very sluggish and tired and yet usually it energises me.

It’s possible I was getting into a routine (of sorts). Irrespective of whether I dropped the kids off or not, I’d head to the gym. Do my volunteer work on Thursday, and I guess from there I planned my days.

It’s now the school holidays – and don’t get me wrong, I’m loving spending time with my kids. Steve is completely off the radar and I don’t mind being available at all hours. But I can’t get to the gym daily, I can’t do my volunteer work, my WSD course has finished, it’s hard to see friends because I have the kids and I don’t really have evenings to myself. I have counselling tomorrow and I need to take the kids with me, and I’m seeing my CPN on Friday, I’ll have to take the kids along to that too. Not much fun for them. But I feel I really need my counselling session to work through this and I need to see my CPN to talk about my mood.

I also had a scary experience at the gym last week. I was on the treadmill listening to my music but glancing at the tv screens and for some reason I completely disassociated. A lot of time passed, my legs were working but my mind went off. I KNOW I was thinking about something (flashback?), but I really can’t remember at all. I suddenly sort of came around and panicked. I didn’t know where I was, what I was doing and why it happened. I’m thankful I didn’t fall off the treadmill. But it’s really affected me. The gym is my safe place where I can think through concerns and then distract myself with weights that usually leads to me feeling good. But for quite an extended period, I’d left my body and lost control of my mind. I feel like a memory of what I was thinking is just on the periphery but I can’t quite touch it. It’s such an awful, scary feeling. I haven’t spoken to anyone about it. I guess if it’s not said out loud I don’t need to own it. Plus I can’t imagine anyone understanding that. For 2 days afterwards I had a terrible migraine. Not sure if it’s related or not.

My sleep is also off. I’m not taking zopiclone because I’m mindful that I need to be alert for the kids. But what’s happening is we’re all going to bed later and then sleeping in.

I guess I also have to factor in that Steve had some friends down from Auckland. They’ve been with their wives since Steve and I have been together, and although Steve has been up to Auckland previously, it seemed to affect me more with them being here. All 4 of the kids were at my house and we weren’t allowed into the house. Which sent my brain into overdrive a bit. Were his friends really here? Or was he planning a rendezvous with a new lover? And why should I mind?

After the weekend, Monday to be exact, I was planning a ‘slob’ day at the the house. I knew I’d have a load of washing to do (I don’t have a tumblr dryer at my place), and I knew the kids would relish the space and privacy. Turns out Steve had decided to work from home. As usual he could hardly look at me, and contempt seemed to be radiating off of him. I politely enquired about his weekend (not question him ruthlessly of course) but see if he had a good time and his friends were well. (obviously I know them). He couldn’t have made it any clearer that it clearly wasn’t my business and I had no place to ask.

I miss catching up together. I’d liked to have told him about my gym experience and get his feedback. I’d like to have shared my vulnerability and get some reassurance. I would have loved one of our evenings where we used to watch a movie, have a bottle of wine, some take out. Just have that connection. But of course I realise that’s totally inappropriate.

So like two pieces of broken jagged glass we tried to sludge through the day. In retrospect I should have left the kids with him (he could have worked and looked after them) and I wouldn’t have been in this situation. But of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I miss his warmth and I miss him caring. I miss just chatting and hanging out.

So I think it’s probably a combination of ALL of these things. And now my internal monologue is beating myself up for not giving the kids a better holiday, for wishing for the old times, for losing at my life.

Last night I had a really vivid dream that Steve was telling me about his new girlfriend- I don’t know if he has one or not. But he spoke with such fondness for her and continued his hateful attitude toward me. I could have cried this morning.

Steve has been my best friend for years. But now he can’t even tell me how his weekend was. His hatred of me is almost palpable.

Despite being around my beautiful children, I can’t shake the feeling of loneliness. And Steve’s parents have announced they’re coming down next week, so I’ll be dismissed from mothering duty.

Is it loss of control? Is it a sense of not belonging? Is it just part of the cycle of grief and healing? I don’t know and I feel I’ve lost my way a bit. Please just let this be a temporary phase.

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.