Today

I’m mindful that it’s not even 10pm yet, so I don’t want to get too complacent about the day. But I’m tired and want to document this day.

I’d planned to catch up with my good friend J today. And it was the best planning/decision I could ever have made. I put on a dress I quite like, I dropped some more dreaded forms off at the benefits office, but it was less of a chore because they’re situated next to my favourite bakery, and I headed in there for some morning tea to take to J’s. and off i went! It was a sunny day, J lives over a big hill and in a small town quite isolated from anywhere else, so it always feels really nice to crest the hill and feel like I’m heading into a different world.

J and I drank coffee and chatted about this and that. I felt extremely relaxed, and I also felt very in control. I knew J was completely flexible about the day and that really helped because I didn’t feel any pressure. And she offered to make eggs! Yay! Fresh eggs again! If I still owned my own house, I’d consider chickens.

And as her sons came home I felt part of their warm family and really privileged to be party to it all. Her sons are awesome, and I think/hope my boy is going to be like them at the different ages.

I think I felt empowered by the day. I’d taken charge, I was going to rule this day. I’d taken the very rare step of reaching out, and I’m really glad I did.

We parted company at 5.30, but I didn’t feel ready to face an evening at my house. I called Steve and asked if I could come over, he grunted, why? I explained I wanted to see the kids. As I drove there I considered his response, it was cold and unattached. Having been together for so long, I expected compassionate, regard, respect. No, I wasn’t expecting him to fall at the floor and cry for me, but just an acknowledgement would have been nice. I got to the house and the kids were post dinner playing together (not my eldest of course!). I sat in their room and tried to understand their computer world. We were all together for a few hours, laughing and playing. It was balm to my soul. Then I corrected something I thought Egg was saying wrong, we checked with Steve and it turned out I was wrong! But this lead Steve to tell me how he ‘hates’ how I get then/than wrong and how it couldn’t be more simple. I was firmly chastised. Not that’ll it’ll make much difference!

As the evening drew to a close (the kids going to bed) Steve started on at me for leaving the garage door open. I only have a garage remote to access the house, he hasn’t and I expect won’t get a key cut.

He didn’t ask how I was, he didn’t offer for me to stay, he wasn’t gentle with me, he didn’t consider that we were parting on him having a go at me. And for the first time in a long time I thought, fuck you then! I don’t deserve to be treated as an inconvenience. We may not be together but I’m still the mother of his children. We still have a history in which he knows how painful this stuff is for me. He’s tended to the nightmares, the panic attacks, the tears. But he couldn’t be bothered to simply enquire as to how my day has been.

I think because my day has been good, I am doing this course, I am doing far more for myself then I ever imagined, I didn’t feel angry or let down. It just served to show me on how different territory we’re on.

I’m looking forward to hanging out with my kids tomorrow afternoon as Steve is going out for drinks (despite him making it abundantly obvious he had man flu).

From history I know it’s not a home run. I feel the effects of these memories for days/weeks after. Like the 16th I spent at a clinic, so that day is raw for me. And I’ll have flashbacks about the event and how different my life had become. At least I’m prepared. I don’t know how I’ll handle it, but I know I won’t go knocking on Steve’s door expecting any understanding.

I do know I have friends I can turn too. And this is the greatest lesson of them all.

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Traction

I. Am. So. Tired! Brain and heart drained today. But I think it’s a good thing.

Firstly I saw Ian, my friendly CPN, he checked to make sure I have plans for tomorrow (I do) and had printed off a bunch of information on anniversaries and people with PTSD. Very nice of him indeed.

Then I stopped at a bakery (I never do) and had a strawberry milkshake and a cream doughnut! Naughty but delicious.

Then I met my new counsellor, and I had no initial warning instincts about her. She seemed very genuine and I liked her honesty. But she was compassionate as well, unlike Clipboard. Apparently she teaches in part from a Buddhist philosophy, which works for me. She was also into primates and our primal instincts. She also carried a satchel, so that’s my name for her. Satchel.

Satchel and I chatted only briefly about my past (I’ve learnt my lesson there!), but she helped me identify my monkey brain…ok this all gets a bit weird so I’ll leave it there, but it made sense to me anyway. I certainly felt calmer when I left.

Then I had a brief reprieve before picking up my kids at all their different schools. They were all hot and tired and about ready for the weekend – they must be working really hard at school!

Next Steve came over and like a tag team, he took over as I took off. I saw my GP for the FORTH time to get this bloody medical certificate for the benefits office. I’ll be dropping that off tomorrow.

Then on I went to the ‘widowed, divorced, separated’ group that I started last week. I was already a bit raw from therapy so I was surprised when I spoke up (last time I avoided it) and even let go of some emotion. I hope I’m on the right path to grieving and healing. I literally can’t do anything else.

Now I’m back at my dark and lonely house, missing the kids, missing the big house and it’s peace and serenity. It’s Valentine’s Day and I haven’t had anything. Nada. So it’s tempting to just throw in the towel. But I really felt I gained some traction today, and I haven’t felt like that in a long time.

Tomorrow I’m spending the day with my beautiful, warm mate that’s been an absolute god send through these really rough times. I know I’ll feel safe and respected with her. I’m very lucky.

Swimming fail

Ladies night at the pool tonight, as usual on Sunday night and I try to make it fairly regular. There is a sense of camaraderie amongst women of all shapes and sizes and ethnicities being able to enjoy the pool without fear of judgement or preying eyes. I usually enjoy the background chatter, people catching up, family members aqua jogging together. And I’m certainly most at peace in the water.

Tonight before I left I’m without the kids. I’m at my house. It’s raining heavily, I’m jumping at every noise, I feel lonely. I couldn’t decide whether swimming would help or not, but decided it would get me out of the house.

My body felt worn out before I’d even really begun. The usual energising chatter sounded unbearably loud and from the snippets I caught, really tedious and inane. I tried heading to a different part of the pool and floated on my back. But the chatter continued. The pool was extra busy tonight. I didn’t feel like myself. I wasn’t open to talking to anyone and the smiles I gave were forced. I sat bubbling in the spa pool for a while and realised just how off my axis I’m becoming. The usual joy I’d get from swimming isn’t there. My hyper vigilance is at an all time high. I dreaded returning to my house, but didn’t want to drive home in the dark. Luckily the evenings are still light here.

Now I’m sat in the relative dark, relying on a sleeping tablet to get me through the night.

I have an appointment with the benefits office tomorrow morning which is causing me great anxiety and I have a counselling session booked at lunch time. And of course next week is the day of the actual anniversary, so my entire week is going to be awful. Perhaps that’s why I felt so out of tune with swimming.

I wish I wasn’t experiencing all of these feelings.

Kindness

So I’ve been feeling the mounting pressure, the increase in panic and anxiety, the lack of sleep and just general malaise as the date gets closer. I reached out to a friend of mine and ended up going to her place. Her place is the very definition of a home. She has three boys which kind of adds to endearing chaos. They are great boys. She has pet birds, a cat, a dog and chickens (heavenly fresh eggs). A beautiful garden filled with fruits of different kinds, privacy all around, oh and a spa. The only thing is it made me ache for a ‘home.’ The house still feels like my safe place, but Steve always removes anything of mine, he likes to make it clear it’s his house. My house is old, it’s on a busy street, the rooms are small so it’s hard accommodate the 4 children. It doesn’t have that ‘cosy’ feel. It just feels like a house I sleep in.

Anyway to be invited to her house was great. She dyed my hair for me, made me delicious poached eggs (from her chickens), and copious amounts of coffee! We chatted, sometimes about the serious things, sometimes about random things. It never felt forced or awkward. And I felt it was something I really needed. Time to connect with another soul. I felt so nurtured from our time, I asked her if we could spend Thursday together. I’ve never done that before, but I felt my friend would understand and be supportive. So as my CPN suggested, I made a plan in advance rather than trying to wing it on the day.

I tried talking to Steve about Thursday again and his response was that he didn’t understand why I couldn’t just treat it like any other day. I’ve tried forgetting it in the past, but my body knows.

Anyway, I’m really grateful to my friend. Kindness can make such a huge difference.

Course

This evening I’m starting a course on how to move on after a marriage has broken down, or a person is widowed. My friends have been pushing me to attend this sort of thing as I’ve not been ready to move on. The timing is pretty bad, I’m trying to work through my past and hold onto my sanity. Maybe this will be the distraction I need?

I’m incredibly nervous. I was already making excuses to not go and then I was happy when the babysitter cancelled due to injury. But our regular babysitter has offered, despite having only just had a baby! So it’s back on! I’m going!

I can never tell when I’m taking too much on, until I basically break down. But I hope this will be a positive experience. A helpful experience.

I’m definitely not ready to date, and it’s not that sort of group. I just want to learn more about becoming my own person again.

I’m staying at Steve’s again, he’s away. It’s quite handy, Ive insect bombed my house. I hate all creepy crawlies so this will take care of them. And I think some bugs have set up home after following us back from camping. There’s something quite cathartic about setting off a bomb and walking away. (Insect bomb of course).

It’s nice to be at the house, safer. And more space.

Be interesting to see how this evening goes and tomorrow I’m catching up with my CPN.

Down

I write a blog for myself. I want to document my feelings and things that go on. If some people read it and find it useful – great! Some other people might read it and think it’s boring tosh- and that’s fine too. As I said, my blog is my diary, and being online is validating – as opposed to keeping a journal.

So with that in mind I’m writing how I feel right now. I hope that in a couple of days things will change.

Today I had therapy, it was a non event, she taught me breathing exercises which were pretty pointless thanks to a gaggle of young women outside the window being noisy. The only interesting thing that occurred was asking if I thought all men were dangerous, to which I replied instantly yes. All men have the capacity to get angry and then dangerous. She told me that wasn’t true. She wants me to recognise my responses as irrational and garner some control. Of course she’s right. I spend most of my life hyper vigilant and ready for an attack – it is exhausting.

Anyway, after therapy I felt quite raw, still tired from the night before and still processing so many things. I opted to go to Steve’s house. I didn’t want to be alone and my house somehow doesn’t feel safe like his. He was working from home and I told him I felt sick from everything and really sad. And I did feel really sad. He didn’t even glance up from his iPad. It was obvious I was a bore to him. I straight out asked him if he thought I should be over this by now. His answer was vague, but painfully clear to me. Then he went to get the kids. I sat for a while looking out the window and then realised there was no point to me being there. I was clearly emotional and I didn’t want the kids to see and Steve clearly doesn’t care so I have nothing.

At my house I’ve felt like I’ve come off my axis a little bit. Im feeling down. Miserable. Lonely. Afraid. Like I’ve failed because I’m not over it after all this time. The failure is a big one.

Interestingly I felt like I was getting somewhere after the group and chatting to my friend about things. I honestly felt things were changing. And yet they’re not. Apparently I’m just repeating things.

So I’ve hit a wall. I no longer know what I’m supposed to be doing. And worse still my mental illness is threatening to consume me because I’ve lost myself somewhere.

So this is how I feel tonight. Alone. Sad. Like a failure. And I’ve no idea how to get myself back on track.

Struggling

I deactivated Facebook. I didn’t realise just how much I scrolled through my newsfeed, I find myself grabbing my phone and then realising. I’m probably getting more upset having Facebook though, so I think my brain and my emotions will appreciate the break. And I have messenger active, so I can still communicate with friends.

Last night I had a powerful flashback which nearly sent me into a panic attack, but I had the children at mine, so I had to stay calm and distract myself.

The flashback was of my ex forcing me to receive a sex act that the rapist forced on me. So a double whammy. I feel so out of control of these images and memories. I hate it. I hate living like this. I hate that I feel so vulnerable and everywhere feels dangerous and every man that comes near me feels like a threat. That said, I also act over aggressive. A bus driver asked me to move my car, and I told him it wasn’t my fault he couldn’t park his bus (he had loads of room). I got in my car and he opened up the passenger door and swore at me. I just saw red, I felt cornered and I told him if he didn’t shut my passenger door I would ‘cut his head off.’ – a slight exaggeration I think! But it was fear fuelling my anger and on principle I wasn’t going to be bullied by the man.

I’m feeling tired and irritable. My concentration is shot because my brain keeps reliving in the past, so often I miss conversations with my children, and I can’t stay focussed on reading or tv.

When I went for an appointment with my CPN yesterday and he was off sick, but he’s made contact via email and it’s reassuring to have that check on my mental health. In terms of my mood I know I’m stable, that I’m not entering a low. This is purely circumstantial. I hope it stays that way too.

The kids are back at school now (new term started here), so I’m back to chauffeur mode. I need to learn how to use that time so I’m not isolating myself again – which is tempting. The kids on holiday gave me a purpose and I was desperate for them to have the best summer holiday and form lots of memories. Now I need to learn to do things for me.