Improving

Im getting better. I can feel it each day. My appetite is slowly returning, I’m more focused, I feel more in control, I’m less anxious. This may have something to do with the kids being away for the week so there is only me to worry about, but Its a good feeling

I was thinking about drinking earlier today. I have arranged to meet a friend later on, who will probably be able to walk my dogs together when the younger comes back from his training. We need to work out when and if this will fit with her schedule. I suggested a coffee shop – she countered with the suggestion of a pub opposite.

I have no problem with going to a pub, I have no problem with other people drinking, but, It occurred to me today I actively do NOT want to drink. I really don’t. In the past such a meeting would have been an excuse for a glass (or three) of wine. I have nothing very specific I have to do afterwards, so why not …. and then more at home. But I dont WANT to drink.

The reasons are multiple and in no particular order:

  • I dont want to feel out of control
  • I dont ever want to worry about drink driving again
  • I dont want to let down my sober sister
  •  I dont want to blow my 507 days of continuous sobriety
  • I dont want to feel ashamed of myself
  • i dont want to have to confess on my blog that I slipped up
  • I dont want to do or say anything I regret
  • Im proud of my achievement and I dont want to lose that
  • I dont want any return of the cognitive dissonance that I feel so strongly when I live contrary to what I believe to be right for me

When I started this blog 16 months ago; when getting through an hour in the evening without drinking was a huge effort, when I could see no further ahead than that day, I never ever thought that the day would come when I would NOT want to drink

I know this may not last, after all Im quite labile at the moment, but its a revelation to me. I DO NOT WANT TO DRINK ALCOHOL

So for everyone struggling out there, at the start, when it feels impossible that you will manage parties, birthdays weddings Christmas sober. I promise that one day, if you just keep going, you will not want to drink.

Its been a rocky path for me. And I had no conscious knowledge of the ripples that would reverberate through my whole life when I chucked ‘being sober’ into the middle of the pond of my life

The image at the top represents the up and down path. But everything everything EVERYTHING good that is happening for me comes from the one simple fact of being sober. Its been slow, and at times very painful, but I am SO much better than I was.

I am not especially religious, I was brought up in the Church o England though I fine myself drawn to the religious symbolism and rituals f the catholic church. Im not sure I believe in God, but in the absence of any other ‘higher power’ ; Deo Gratias.

Moving on

I really hope so anyway.

Yesterday, my brother and I picked apart the bones of my financial situation. I found it indescribably helpful, to be completely open, with real numbers. My brother is an accountant, and perhaps for that reason, or perhaps it's just his nature, but he has a completely unemotional relationship with money, and a much more pragmatic view of the future.

In contrast, I have lacked the simple approach that we worked through yesterday. Just an excel spreadsheet, with income and fixed expenditure, a few planned for big things (holidays etc) and at the end, hey presto , discretionary spending. So simple but the beauty of this, is that I can alter the numbers on the sheet – so if I spend less on food than budgeted for- or more on gas , I can reflect it in real time.

And the big debt? Once again, instead of trying to squeeze an impossible amount out of the monthly budget to pay it, he recommended I extend my mortgage borrowing. By far the cheapest way of borrowing, and both accessible and affordable.

I feel immeasurably lighter. And easier. And calmer. And last night I ate better than I have for weeks, and slept from 8pm to almost 8 am.

Onwards and upwards.

Now I’m getting it. 

I’m struggling right now – as most of you will have realised.

Not with sobriety , thank God, but for reasons I just couldn’t understand. Struggling with panic attacks, with anger, with eating, struggling to concentrate, with fatigue. Smoking too much ( at all) feeling just UGH. 

And I just didn’t know why.  Superficially everything was / is fine .

But, now I know, I think. It’s accepting something very painful. It’s actually quite hard for me to wrap my head around it, it’s occupying far too much of my head space, 

It comes down to this: when you love someone, when you commit to them you believe they will help you if you ask. That they will try at least. 

I loved him so much. I adored him, I gave him so much and did so much for him. Financially, I provided everything he ate, every thing. But when I was in trouble and needed his help – an able bodied intelligent man – he ignored me. Refused to help. Left me alone with a huge debt after I had 100% paid for everything for more than five years. I told him, I asked him, I begged him. But I meant nothing to him and he did nothing to help me. He carried on living rent free in my house, carried on spending my money, carried on just as before …. carried on with his hobby (a career pays money – and he does not earn from it) whilst I carried the debt burden alone. 

That simple fact, accepting that, just as it is – is so painful for me. I literally feel sick when I confront it. Of course many others will have seen this much earlier, but I think I have only just really faced it. 

What kind of person DOES that ? Literally, with no conversation, just ” I don’t want to get a job” ,he just carried on. Someone so selfish , arrogant and what ? I just don’t understand how he can go on about how much he “loved me” , when I needed , desperately needed , help, he just ignored that. 

It hurts more than anything I can remember. Much more than the break up. Much more than the end of my marriage.

This is why I feel so fragile right now, this is why I’m struggling. Because I have to accept something that changes everything I believed about a man I loved best in the world, it’s not something I can “unknow” , and I cannot find an excuse for it, there is none. And it changes everything. It turns the whole thing sour and dirty. It means I was just used. 

Thank goodness it’s Friday and I have only today to crawl through. 

The hornet’s nest

Yesterday I poked the hornets nest. I shouldn’t have (maybe) but I sent my last post about debt, by email to my ex partner. I think I did it because I am again VERY angry. I’m not bitter, not wallowing in misery, I’m angry. And anger is an appropriate and healthy emotion in this situation.

It pissed him off. Big time.  Even though I am anonymous on this blog, except to a few, and thus so is he; even though I spoke the TRUTH (or perhaps because I spoke the truth) he was well annoyed. And it sparked an email exchange that continued for some time. Prior to yesterday I have not spoken to, seen, or communicated with him in any way since June 6th, and he is blocked on all my social media and my phone.

He was angry that I had not added how much he loved me, and how much he ‘did for me’ I have noticed no difference in my household workload since he left 11 months ago, so I dispute the last. The exchange got quite heated at one point. He said he would come and collect his remaining things. My response : “If you set foot on my property I will call the Police. Whats left is mine, or chucked. Forget it.”

And my final response is reproduced below – redacted for identifying names –  I’m proud of myself. Really proud that I have told him, that I have said MY truth. he won’t agree of course, but this is MY blog and MY truth

You don’t understand at all. I don’t know why I bother thinking you might. I loved you. Do you understand that. I LOVED you and I wanted to HELP you

All the time we were together – and after, I wanted to HELP you. so i paid for stuff to try and HELP you. I put YOUR NEEDS FIRST. because I LOVED you All I wanted back was to be treated kindly, yes I wanted you to be kind to my children. Yes I appreciated the efforts you made with son 2 &  son 3 in the beginning. Yes, I appreciated the Den. 

But basically I did not want to financially support you day to day for EVERYTHING. I couldn’t afford to. I told you this COUNTLESS times. but you ‘didn’t want to get a job’  – well neither to most of the other people working and taking responsibility for THEMSELVES. 

And your abuse of son 1 was disgusting. Name calling, humiliation, aggression, ignoring, Emotional abuse includes verbal abuses such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, trying to turn the other kids against him.

It was disgusting and I take my share of the blame for allowing it to continue. But I was not the perpetrator, That shame and guilt (should be) is yours. 

and you had started on son 2, and son 3 would have been next as he gets bigger, enters puberty and is ‘awkward’

Your shed was moldy. the wood was rotten from the leaks. Its gone. Son 1 took it down with some help. so it didn’t make the Den rot too. 

we are ok on our own. we are starting family therapy soon, to deal with Son 2’s anger at me for not stopping you abusing Son 1. And his anger at me for allowing you to ‘run the house’ and dictate everything when you were just a non paying guest really. 

we as a family of 4 will be ok. No one else is coming NEAR us, except those we know very well and trust,

No man will ever do to me again what you did, you forced me into a position of desperation living one way whilst my gut believed it was wrong. I tried to reconcile it, to talk to you, to go and see a therapist. I tried EVERYTHING because I LOVED you. I saddled myself with a debt that will last beyond my working life. And you treated me like a worthless piece of shit beneath your shoe, so many times. Superficially charming and lovely. opening doors, ‘saying ‘ the right things… .but I was shown time and again that my opinion was worthless, my wants for MY family under MY roof for which I was 100% paying, counted as NOTHING 

I don’t love you anymore. I’m past ‘hating’ you. I dont LIKE the person that you are. the using, critically bullying unkind person you became.  I don’t really care much anymore. I see you for what you are. a middle aged man with a series of abusive and unhappy relationships behind him. no career, little relationship with his children ( because he bullied and abused them too) I’m living my truth now. I’m honest. I have told my brother about the debt mountain and asked for his help as an accountant to try and sort it. I’ve told everyone you lived 100% off me. I’ve told everyone you threw coffee in my face. I’ve told everyone you abused son 1. Because its the truth and I’m not covering it up any longer. I’m not ashamed. all I did was LOVE you. 

All I did, in my desperately vulnerable post divorce state, was fall in love with the wrong person. And love him, and try to help.

Never ever ever again. Now I have to deal with the aftermath, for us all. My poor damaged children, who were so scared of you. They were. really scared of you. and your acid biting unreasonable critical horrible tone

and it is threatening me when you talk about ‘getting your stuff’.  forget it. Its gone. You took what you wanted, what you left is either mine now or has been chucked. 

its done. over, in the past. One day I will look back and be in a better place. for now. day by day, I rebuild what you destroyed. Im alone now, but I’m so much less lonely than when I lived with the shame and guilt and anxiety…

you think my mood changed. But you never asked me what I WANTED. on and on you went about what YOU needed, when did you ask me what I wanted? never, because you think only about Yourself. I was just an adjunct. when did you ask me how I FELT ? I wanted to talk with you in a safe place ( therapists office) because I was afraid of your reaction if I said what I felt. but hey, not interested were you. 

i regret what happened. I regret not forcing the issue MUCH sooner. In all honesty I lost trust in you in America when you drove off in a temper and left us for hours with no transport no money no documents in the middle of Yosemite. Son 3 was 7. and somehow you made that MY fault,

I should have called it a day then. I wish I had called it a day the first time I met your daughter and you treated her horribly. you spoke to her in a disparaging and critical unkind way the whole time we were together. At that time I had NEVER seen that side of you, and when you went to the loo I asked her why you were being so horrible. ‘ Oh hes always like this’ she said. Nothing out of the ordinary for her. I was HORRIFIED

I should have known then, that eventually you would do that to me and mine; once I was sucked in enough. Once your feet were right under the table.. 

And I wish I had.

I wish I had after you threw coffee in my face for ‘disrespecting a plate’, It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.  

I wish I had after you threw Ben in the street with no shoes and refused to let him back in. I wish I had after so many incidents. I wish I had been stronger,

I wish I had confided in people who REALLY have my best interests at heart. I wish the shame and fear and guilt I felt had been turned outwards instead of in on myself. I wish when I broke down in April 2014 I had been honest with all the people who cared for me. That it was nothing to do with pressure at work, but with the bullying controlling hideous behavior of you to my kids. I wish I had told the doctors who cared for me that I was a victim of domestic abuse (again) But I covered it up because I was ashamed. and I couldn’t accept that you were not who I thought you were. 

I know it now. 

And that’s my truth, and others who saw agree with me. And others I have spoken to. But in the end its what I KNOW that matters. And I KNOW your were abusive to me, to Son 1 and to Son 2. Not to Son 3, though I know he would have been next. 

I don’t care if you don’t accept it. I Know, KNOW KNOW  that the way you behaved was emotionally and verbally abusive to son 1 & 2 , and financially emotionally, verbally and occasionally physically abusive to me

That’s it. its over now. and I see what others see. And that’s not ‘love’ ExP. Not Love at all

I sent that to HIM. Because I wanted HIM to know that I am no longer the woman with no boundaries who drank to cover her anxiety and shame. I am no longer the woman who could see no way out of a hideous situation, I an no longer a doormat. I am a woman who is growing in confidence, I am a woman who is living HER truth, and I am no longer dong, or living with things that make me ashamed.

And today. Today I feel VERY strong. And Fuck the hornets

Debt

I have alluded to this in my blog before. But it’s another of those deeply shameful things that I have tried to avoid looking at / dealing with / talking about.

Im currently reading Brene Browns first book about Shame. Its quite tough going in parts so Im interspersing it with a novel given to me by my sober sister last week ! And in the process of examining my own catalogue of things I am ashamed of, that shame me, debt is one of them.

I am an impulsive spender. I am generally a generous person and enjoy giving. I have also been lucky enough to have a career (for which I studied a long time and worked hard) but which now provides a comfortable level of remuneration. As a single parent whose ex husband is not able to contribute a great deal financially (although he does make regular small payments) the financial burden of raising three kids has fallen on me. I grew up in a house where money was tight, and I have wanted them to have things and opportunities that I did not – I like holidays ( not extravagant, but generally end up expensive see impulsive spending) I buy Art, because I love Art. but its not cheap. When I got divorced we hammered out a deal that enabled me to buy my ex husband out of our home. I raised a lump sum and gave it to him so that he could buy a place for him to live.

It should have worked out. I had enough income for me,the kids and the house. I had no debt (except the mortgage)

and then I met exP.

Even though I am very angry with him, I don’t want to out him on the blog. And the ‘blame’ is not 100% his. I allowed this to happen.

My ex is an artist. At one time, in the 1990’s he was reasonably successful. What he does he does well. But he has no business sense and an uncanny ability to sponge off other people. So when I met him, the extent of his issues was not made clear to me. He was living nearby in a flat which appeared to belong to him, he said it did. But in fact it is in trust for his children. He had no job, no income and a ‘stalled’ career for reasons still not entirely clear to me. He made odds and end of money doing odd jobs for people, but once he moved in with me, he became 100% dependent on me financially. Before I became a domestically abused doormat, I did say I was only willing to tolerate this situation for a 6 month – and a maximum of one year before I expected him to be self supporting. I didn’t expect him to support me or my children ( and I actively did not want him to pay the mortgage on MY house in case it later gave him some legal rights) .

So I paid £2000 for his daughter’s 21st birthday present and dinner; £1600 for an event he exhibited at, £800 for his dental bill. All his food, clothes cigarettes, toiletries haircuts petrol insurance for his car, car tax , every single dinner, event or evening out we went on.

I am so ashamed. But I must write this because it is the truth, And I must live in the truth. My brother is an accountant. Over the last years we have become very close ( at least I think so) and today I asked him to help me sort out the mess of my finances. I trust him enough to believe he will not judge me, just help. I dont want money from him, but I trust his judgement and advice, and I need help.

The six months past, and the years deadline. Still no income. And of course he had nowhere to live if I kicked him out. And he was still being nice, and the kids still loved him, as did I (so much) and so we went on. Thousands of pounds for camera equipment, a three week trip round America , nice gifts for his kids and mum at birthdays and Christmas, all paid for by me. ALL of it.

And of course I was not set up for that was I? My divorce settlement was worked out to provide my children with the stability of living in the FMH with me, I took on extra debt so my exH could get himself a place ( he didn’t but that’s another story) And this is where I was stupid. ( Although Brene would say I must not call myself that) I continued to believe that he WOULD sort it out because I could NOT believe that a man who went on so much about respecting others, and his pride, could not see how WRONG this was. ( I now see that of COURSE he knew it was wrong, he just didn’t care) I got into debt. 0% credit cards, that’s ok, I juggled and balanced and stayed within the 0% deal. But ALL the strain of that was on me. By now the bullying and domestic abuse of me and the children had started. When I raised the issue of money with him he would get very angry indeed, scream at me ( hes a big man – a foot taller and about twice my weight) throw things at me, never to hit me ( he said) but to scare me. And it did

so I kept quiet. Let him pay for dinners ( with my card or one he had linked to my account) Let it appear he was solvent. Let it appear normal.

and why ? because I was ashamed. So ashamed. And so afraid. And I had no idea what to do.

The debt mounted (as it does)

At Christmas 2015 I broke down in front of a mutual friend T. I think I have mentioned him before. I went to T because I knew he would not judge, he was neutral enough  and not intimately involved, and I knew he could ‘hold’ my emotion. I cried for 2 hours. I told him everything , and being T he listened, offered me tissues coffee and support, did not judge, and tried to help me find my own solutions. I had a debt of eighty thousand pounds. I could see I was one step away from disaster. I could see I would soon struggle to make repayments on the loans.  I told T this, and for the first time (and last despite what else I have told him) I could see he was shocked.

I stopped paying the rent on exP’s studio at that point. I stopped paying his car tax. I stopped his credit card linked to mine. I started to take back control. I just did it. I didn’t discuss it with him I just gave him the bald statements ” I can’t afford to do this any longer”.

It took sobriety , March 2016, and a further 8 months before I kicked him out. Its almost a year ago. I am still SO ashamed of myself. I risked my kids security, I have damaged my own security in old age, and I was too ashamed to seek help earlier.

He left me £80K in debt.

At least £60K of that I can attribute directly to spending on HIM.

I chose the image above because I carried that burden alone. he wasnt interested AT all. why would he be. All the debt was in my name. He had a home, food fuel and everything he needed.

I am so ashamed of myself, but I need to put that shame again, where it belongs. Take my part; for naivety, poor boundaries, allowing shame to keep me silent. But the majority of the shame lies with a man who would live off a woman , knowing she is in difficulties and not lift one finger to help.

In reality I expect he has found another mug to pay his bills. Thank God it’s not me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five hundred days

Today is my 500th day of continuous sobriety.

As long as I don’t drink today (and I won’t) I will have completed 500 whole days without one drop of alcohol at midnight tonight.

My sober sister and I were reminiscing  last week about how slow the early days go, how the 19 days between us seemed like such a huge gap at the beginning. How she was amazed when I got to 42 days. Now there is no difference, except in semantics. now, it seems a very short time ago I wrote the 400 days post!

My mother and I had our first senseful conversation about my drinking / sobriety at the weekend. I showed her my pendent and tried to explain what ‘being sober’ meant to me. She doesn’t “get it” (hence the comment “but you could have one glass of wine”) because she has the best off switch ever, but I think she is quite impressed / proud almost of my commitment and resolve. I did explain that the whole problem is that I CANNOT have ‘one glass’ of anything alcoholic, never have been able to ,and that all forms of attempted moderation known to man, failed spectacularly. I think she was still kind of surprised when I said I intend NEVER to drink again.

so where am I.

Its probably a ‘stock taking day.

I’m struggling right now. with anxiety, and with feeling overwhelmed by everything. BUT

  • I’m sober. everything everything stems from that simple fact
  • My ExP has gone. he is no longer in my life in any shape or form. he’s blocked from all contact and every day I think about him less
  • I am no longer miserable inside
  • I have a plan for son~1. Its a bit radical, and its expensive and its a risk. But at least its a plan
  • I have a bones of a plan for son ~2. I have contacted his father. He is not and never will be an ‘adequate’ parent, let alone a useful one, but there are small things he can do, and I will try to get him to do the for son~2’s benefit
  • I have a network of really nice people around me. Some very close, some a little further away. But they are kind, and will support me.
  • I have faced, and named and talked about the domestic abuse in my home. I needed to do that, its taken almost a year to do it, but I have
  • I have committed to the therapy I started, and gained so much from it. I am stronger, my boundaries are better, and it ‘holds’ me when I waver.

If I look back 500 days, I was a mess. A mess in denial, a scared, bullied, intimidated, financially broke, frightened, out of control mess; presenting an acceptable front to the world.

I’m rawer now, I feel more vulnerable, I’m more obviously anxious…. I’m an ‘out there’ problem drinker (dry); problem eater, problem impulsive spender.

But I’m honest. And true to myself and those around me. And i’m sober

Not bad for 500 days. And there is real hope for the next 500 …

A nice day

I wanted to write this yesterday really, but yesterday was just too much again.

On Wednesday I met up with my Sober Sister. We met, as I have previously said over the internet, and she lives about 100 miles from me. It seems ridiculous given how well I feel I know her, and she me, but this was only the third time we had met in person.

We had planned to go to an exhibition, have some lunch, and left the rest of the time fluid. I was early to meet her train, became very very anxious again outside a big train station, rushed to Boots to buy some Kalms tablets and rescue remedy ( I am a scientist, I don’t believe in gentian and valerian, but needs must ! ) I paced and down a bit, practiced some deep breathing and mindfulness techniques but I still felt really anxious.

Eventually her train arrived and I hovered anxiously at the top of the platform. And there she was, beautiful, bright, smiling and lovely. She gave me a huge hug, and our lovely day began. We went for a coffee, and by the time that was over, I was completely less anxious –  back to normal really. Could be Kalms, I think it was the company.

We wandered through London with the aid of Google street map as I have NO sense of direction, we went to the exhibition and mused over art works. We talked and talked and talked. It was almost 4 pm by the time we got around to lunch , which I ATE. and then we wandered some more. talking , all the time

What a blessing that day was. How simple the pleasures, but how profound the reassurance and sense of well being and security.

Thank you xxx

Domestic abuse

I don’t like the term Domestic violence. It implies that unless someone hits you, punches you or pulls your hair, its not “real”.

I prefer the term domestic abuse. It covers the whole variety of horrible things that go on behind closed doors , in families, between people who live together in intimate relationships,  that damage people and ruin lives. I will say here that although the majority of perpetrators of domestic abuse are male, 1 in 6 victims is also male. The statistics for men seeking and receiving support to leave domestically abusive relationships are even more horrifying than for women. When I refer to ‘he’ in my posts, I am referring to my ex husband and my ex partner, both of whom are men, and both of who were (and probably still are) perpetrators of domestic abuse. the table below refers to the behaviour within my most recent relationship. He would deny it, but its true.

Early in my therapy my counsellor mentioned PTSD. I smiled nicely, with no idea what she was talking about. But she did, and she probably saw in me that I had put up with so much for so long I have become traumatised, and thus unable to deal with a situation , to feel normal responses to a situation that others would have found horrifying. I have no doubt now that to some extent I have suffered from PTSD, Now that the wave of emotion is broken over me and the reality of what I put up with, and my kids endured for YEARS is hitting me again and again and again, I’ll come back to this. As an example I explained to a close friend how my ex husband chased me around the little island in our kitchen with a carving knife. Its a long time ago, but I feel NO emotion connected to this. None. I recognise it was horrific and very frightening (and I was scared out of my mind at the time) and that no emotional response is probably a bit weird. Maybe it will come later

A whole raft of uncomfortable, painful and frightening emotions are rolling over me right now. They pass, in time, with breathing and mindfulness and some rescue remedy or Kalms tablets (velerian, gentian and hops! ) but its bloody exhausing.

my lovely doctor is on holiday, so I have decided it would be wise to seek some medical advice and am in the process of getting an appointment with the Physicians Health Programme in London. I saw them before and they were amazing… I don’t really want to be off work, I don’t think I need to be – work gives me structure and sanity, but i am really struggling with fatigue and inertia and ‘just cant do this’

Maybe its because I’m safe? Maybe it is because for the first time in many years my home IS a place of safety and calm. Maybe its because actually I do have too much on my plate… three teenage boys, a demanding FT job, a bonkers puppy, and a home to run. Maybe my ‘standards’ are just too high and its not reasonable to expect anyone to sail through this. I feel like a failure admitting how rubbish  I feel, but I do…..

I’m not incognisant of all that I have achieved in the last 496 days. I have quit alcohol, and stayed dry, I have got rid of an abusive partner , I have supported, nurtured reassured and protected my boys. The house has not fallen down. I have made big inroads into the debt Ex partner left me with. I have set boundaries and insisted they be respected, I have massively improved my relationship with my mother. I have supported as far as I am able my friend K and her poorly husband. I have made plans for son~1 which most people seem to think are sensible and solid. I’m doing ok. or better even than ok. But my god I’m tired. and overwhelmed and I feel like I’m clinging onto my sanity with my finger tips. Because there is no other choice.

Below is the risk assessment tool we were being taught to use to recognise families at high risk, at the educational event I attended 3 weeks ago or so.  My ‘x’s are included. I score a 12. If you score 14 you are referred immediately to a multi agency panel to help safeguard you and your kids. But he never hit me. That’s not domestic violence – ….I’m ashamed, guilty and somewhat disbelieving. I feel so utterly terrible now I cannot imagine how I carried on with him living in my home. I cannot think why, when I was being so thoughtfully cared for last time,  I broke down (by family, friends and professionals) I did not tell one person what the real problem was. Why ?

how am I ever ever going to get away from this, get over this; I cant see a way through.

 

  Yes No Don’t know State source of info if not the victim
  1. Has the current incident resulted in injury? State what and whether this is the first injury.
x      
  1. Are you very frightened?

Comment:

x      
  1. What are you afraid of? Is it further injury or violence? Please give indication of what you think (name of abusers(s)…) might do and to whom, including children.

Comment:

x I think he will harm my children      
  1. Do you feel isolated from family/friends i.e. does (…) try to stop you from seeing friends/family/doctor or others?

Comment:

x      
  1. Are you feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts?
x      
  1. Have you separated or tried to separate from (…) within the past year?
x      
  1. Is there conflict over child contact?
x well over child care      
  1. Does (…) constantly text, call, contact, follow, stalk or harass you? Please expand to identify what and whether you believe that this is done deliberately to intimidate you? Consider the context and behaviour of what is being done.
       
  1. Are you pregnant or have you recently had a baby (within the last 18 months)?
       
  1. Is the abuse happening more often?
x      
  1. Is the abuse getting worse?
x      
  1. Does (…) try to control everything you do and/or are they excessively jealous? In terms of relationships, who you see, being ‘policed at home’, telling you what to wear for example. Consider ‘honour’-based violence and specify behaviour.

Comment:

       
  1. Has (…) ever used weapons or object to hurt you? 
nO but the threw things at me and smashed things up      
  1. Has (…) ever threatened to kill you or someone else and you believed them? If yes, tick who

You  Children  Other  (specify who)

       
  1. Has (…) ever attempted to strangle/ choke / suffocate / drown you?
       
  1. Does (…) do or say things of a sexual nature that make you feel bad or that physically hurt you or someone else? If someone else, specify who
       
  1. Is there any other person who has threatened you or who you are afraid of? If yes, please specify whom and why. Consider extended family if HBV
       
  1. Do you know if (…) has hurt anyone else? Please specify whom including the children, siblings or elderly relatives. Consider HBV

Children  Another family member  Someone from a previous relationship  Other (please specify)

       
  1. Has (…) ever mistreated an animal or the family pet?
x      
  1. Are there any financial issues? For example, are you dependent on (…) for money/ have they recently lost their job / other financial issues?
x      
  1. Has (…) had problems in the past year with drugs (prescription or other), alcohol or mental health leading to problems in leading a normal life? If yes, please specify which and give relevant details if known

Drugs  Alcohol  Mental Health

Comment:

x      
  1. Has (…) ever threatened or attempted suicide?
       
  1. Has (…) ever broken bail/an injunction and/or formal agreement for when they can see you and/or the children? You may wish to consider this in relation to an ex-partner of the perpetrator if relevant

Bail conditions  Non-Molestation/ Occupation Order  Child Contact arrangements  Forced Marriage Protection Order  Other

     

Food

Ok. I’m making a lot of progress. I’ve been in therapy for almost a year and I cannot express strongly enough how much this has helped me; supported me; ‘held’ me when I have been desperate and gently/ kindly reflected my feeling back at me enabling me to question assumptions and beliefs that have been long standing. Interestingly its not the first time I have tried ‘therapy’, but it IS the first time sober and the first time I am fully engaged in the process. These things may be connected !

I have made huge progress in so many areas, I have started a much more productive dialogue with my mother –  by being calm and having self confidence I am able to communicate much better with her. This is good for us both and I have booked a spa day with her at the end of the month for her birthday. Relationships at home with the kids are better. the heightened emotional states that have so often been a feature of our family life are much reduced in frequency and intensity. The kids fight much less, are kinder to each other and we are able to talk together about some complex stuff. This comes from me. From my calmness, and my exterior calmness comes from my inner sense of developing self. Oh yes, big progress.

And of course I am sober. still. 493 days. And 95% of the time I don’t WANT to drink. I actually don’t want clouded judgement, messiness and loss of control.

So, i have made various references to disordered eating in this blog and to my therapist, and last night we actually discussed this.

I’m going to write honestly here; last night with Angela was the first time I had ever really been honest about my weird eating. For the few people who know me and read this please do not panic. last week I ate nothing at a for three straight days. I’ve never said that before. Its true, Angela felt that was quite extreme. Because I’ve never told anyone that I have no idea if its extreme or not. I thought a lot of people might do that?

I have had disordered eating since I was about 17. I don’t know why. My mother has always been overweight (from childhood) and battled with this when I was young. Both my brother and I were brought up on three meals a day and entered adulthood as normal sized people. My brother was actually pretty skinny for a while, and though he like our whole biological family, gains weight easily, he is a normal BMI as a middle aged man.

In the past I have been borderline anorexic (as in counting every single calorie) and dropping to my lowest BMI of about 18 by taking laxatives, and other tablets obtained from ‘slimming clinic’s. I have been bulimic, at my worst binging and vomiting 6 or more times a day. I always felt ugly, disgusting, overweight (even when I was not) I have rarely been able to eat without at least thinking about the calorific content of what I am consuming. Since I have had children my weight has swung between 8 stone ( thats 112 lbs or about 51kg) and 12 stone (168lbs or 76 kg). I am 158 cm tall, the highest weight rendered me in the obese category, the lowest BMI was about 20.5.

So what is it all about? Angela and I talked about this a bit last night. I don’t have any answers really. Right now I ‘cant’ eat; I’m not hungry and the sight of a big plate of food, the thought of it, makes me feel sick, I’m not really worried about this, I’ve had this physical reaction to situations of heightened emotion for 30 years or more. It settles in time.

I have learned to take note of it tho’, as falling BMI is for me a sign that my mental health is not great.

Right now I feel emotionally better than I did two weeks ago, but I still can’t eat (much). I wonder if there is a part of me that is rather pathetically calling out for people to notice I’m struggling… the physical signs of emotional turmoil. (when you eat nothing at all you lose weight quite fast and quite noticeably)  I think there is an element of ‘control’ going on – I can’t control so much, but I bloody can control my weight ( this is subconscious -I’m testing this idea) Is it a partial cross addiction?  I know its not good for me, I need to be fed to cope and function, but that’s on an intellectual level. Emotionally I’m not able to do it. At the moment. I don’t know why.

I would really like it to go away though. I’m 52, when will it stop? Maybe its something about myself I just have to accept, maybe it will smooth out from these extremes as I settle. I don’t know.

I’m going to see my GP next week. I think that’s probably a good pace to start maybe I need to tweak my SSRI or something …