Fences and Walls

I’m writing in a bit of a rush right now but I’m going out this evening and trying to fit everything in after having the laziest of days.

It’s one of those days where I don’t particularly feel like blogging but I am very aware that this new habit of mine (which is now a month old!!) is a positive one. It’s working for me. I feel a responsibility to continue – for me.  It would be easy to let a day go by – infact I did a few days ago but that was because I’d had a full day and genuinely forgot until I was drifting off to sleep. I’m not going to beat myself up about that. It wasn’t a case of procrastination. I didn’t remember and talk myself into avoiding it. The day just got by me. Maybe I should set an alarm or devote a particular time to this ,but I don’t dig that idea so much.

Although today was another stormy day and like I mentioned above, I’ve been supremely lazy. Fable and I have been in our pyjamas all day and all I’ve done (apart from tending to her needs) is read. I find this difficult to do with Rob working at home. I usually struggle with the negative thoughts I think he’s thinking about me. I would tell myself he’s thinking I’m lazy or I’m not entertaining the baby (bad mother).  Or that I’m sliding into bad habits by lying around doing nothing. I would jump every time I heard him move so that it looked like I was doing something, anything other than nothing. I felt guilty about relaxing and reading. Then in turn I would feel defensive and resentful. Having battles with him all in my mind.

Today I used the Byron Katie app – The Work. I also mediated on these unreasonable, intrusive thoughts.

Anyway, I have to rush off. I’m going to see Fences with Lesley and a friend of hers this evening. I LOVE going to the cinema. It’s something I used to do on my own often before I met Rob. It’s just so expensive!

Happy Tuesday xx

Sharing

 

Telling people things about yourself is always, always a mistake – like a drug, in a way – the euphoria of communication is always followed up by the regret of paranoia and suspicion. You describe yourself in a way – and there is a part of the other person who will always see you in that way. Things, once known, can never be unknown.

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I am reading a book about a woman with a secret past which includes drug addiction and mental illness. It’s dramatic and a fiction but I read the above quote this morning and it struck a nerve.

I struggle to be completely honest about who I am to those in my real life. I very carefully choose what I want people to know about me. It all comes down to shame at the end of the day. I don’t want to be judged. I want to see as a strong woman, someone equal and trustworthy. Admitting to being an addict to someone who isn’t an addict makes me feel weak. Are they going to think I’m a liar? A thief, even? Are they going to be suspicious of me?  So I find myself being guarded. Holding back. The deeper a relationship gets without them knowing my truth, the chasm widens and the more fake it feels. I have had several friendships start promisingly only to falter for no apparent reason. I look back now and it’s glaringly obvious.  I have not been brave enough or trusted them. I judged them. I have also had really strong friendships that have been damaged from my lack of trust. I just don’t want to be ‘bad’. I don’t want to disappoint. I don’t want them to roll their eyes as they tell their partner or their mum what Kelly is up to now.

If I just keep all the bad stuff to myself, I won’t bore/annoy/disgust them or give them a reason to reject me. 

I have been a shitty friend/daughter/mother/partner. I know that being open and honest about how I am feeling is one of my biggest challenges in the journey. I hope that I can rebuild some of the more important relationships that I have hurt by closing myself off and that the new friendships I have made won’t be thrown off kilter too much by the new me.

 

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The yellow card above is always on the table at my AA group. It’s liberating and reassuring. I don’t feel anxious about being judged. Or scared about revealing something that might hurt me later on. It’s a great place to open up and reveal your pain with people who are just like you.  Talking to friends and loved ones is still difficult for me. I am determined to change that about myself but for now I have AA and I have a wonderful circle of you guys here who get it.

I’ve had a few really good days. I have felt stronger. I feel a shift in the atmosphere at home. I’m sure it’s down to the work I have been doing on co-dependency. It’s amazing when something clicks that you didn’t even think was a major issue. It’s not easy AT ALL but I feel like I’m learning more about who I am every day.

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No more, EVER.

It’s been about 5 weeks since I had my last slip. This is the first time where I have included alcohol in my poison repertoire. It’s not the first time I have told other people that I have quit EVERYTHING. But to me, this is the first time where I have admitted to myself that I should never drink again. That it is a problem.

I can drink one day. A glass of wine here. A wedding, a hen party, Christmas. One day.

This had been my downfall. Until now, with every relapse and period of recovery, I have focused on the pills. The pills are what make me spiral into a suicidal mess. The pills are what make me reckless with my own safety and the safety of my children. I have continued to deny the role alcohol plays.

I have found this 5 week period of recovery the hardest yet. Normally, I find the first few weeks easy. I am often euphoric to have survived another relapse. I am remorseful. Desperate to be good and be forgiven. I say and think all the right things. I convince myself I can do it, just watch me!  Then the bully pipes up with the intrusive thoughts and I am in torment again. Only I have to keep it a secret. I have to be strong and not show weakness. I need others to keep believing I am kicking ass. I don’t want them to be afraid. Or mistrustful. And so begins the slippery slope to failure.

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This time I’m not faking it ’til I make it. There’s no point. Rob and I aren’t ‘back to normal’. He doesn’t want to hear the same shit. I don’t want to say the same shit. I am fully admitting that this is a daily battle. This is the first time that I have told myself

NO MORE, EVER!   Not, one day.. maybe..

Most of the time it’s not about craving a drink, it’s about silencing the bully and man, this bully is relentless.

AA tomorrow. xx

 

Irritation

I was drifting off to sleep last night and I realised I hadn’t written my blog. That’s the first time in a month I missed a day. I don’t feel too bad about it though because yesterday felt like a good day.

The night before Rob and I had a talk about our situation. Earlier that day I’d been out on the bus into town, like I wrote about. I came home feeling really good. The sunshine, the few hours to myself, the music in headphones, they had all pumped me up. Then I walked in the door and it instantly changed. Rob was in a bad mood. He was vacuuming his office but things were re-arranged in the living room and I knew straight away he was pissed off that the place was over-due a clean. This is a common battle between us. I HATE vacuuming and dusting. It causes me massive anxiety. Before Rob lived with me, I could go months without doing it. I do daily laundry. I wash dishes about five times a day. I makes the beds. I cook meals and tidy away. I clear away clutter and crumbs too often to keep track but vacuuming and dusting are my downfall.

Rob is an irritable person. I mean that literally. He gets itchy. He is sensitive to certain detergents. He is allergic to cats. So when the place hasn’t been vacuumed in 2/3 weeks he gets shitty about it. You might ask  ‘Why doesn’t he do it?’ (GO ON, ASK IT! I HAVE!)

Well, he works full-time. I do not. I don’t even have the argument that I have my hands full with Sonny anymore. He is adamant he is not being sexist and nor does he think it’s MY job. (He does though because it is I suppose) He just points out that we have an agreement – he works and supports us as a family. I can run a hoover over the house once a week.

So why does it fill me with murderous rage?

Anyway, I came home the other day, he was clearly pissed off and had resorted to moving bits of furniture around so I would KNOW he had dusted. My joyous mood fell away and I went into the kitchen to hide my tears. I felt like shit. Then I felt angry that he had ruined my good mood. I went from 100 to not good enough, I’m worthless, fuck you in seconds.

I could see the words co-dependant in front of my eyes but I felt too angry and upset to be rational. I got the vacuum out of did the whole house with a churning stomach. I felt bullied and sad and the usual feelings of wanting to be on my own so I couldn’t piss off/disappoint/anger anyone took over. But, I’d felt so happy just an hour before. I didn’t want to give up so easily. All this had stemmed from Rob being in a bad mood. In actual fact, Rob had stopped what he was doing once I got home and was working in his room so I wasn’t even being confronted with any evidence that he was still in a bad mood. What if he wasn’t? Why was I continuing to make myself feel terrible?

WHY THE FUCK AM I DOING THIS TO MYSELF?

So I stopped. I stopped caring if he was in a bad mood. (Not easy) I sat down and wrote yesterday’s blog entry about my love of the theatre instead of a post bitching about housework and my relationship. And guess what?  I felt so much better. I took responsibility for my own emotions. It’s not easy but I’m learning.

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I want to write more about yesterday. Yesterday was a really nice day but I need to go be mummy right now. Back later xx

 

The show must go on

It’s beautiful out there today. I hopped on a bus into town by myself at 10am for a few hours. It’s rare that I get any time truly alone so I really appreciate it. I had the La La Land soundtrack on full blast in my headphones and rested my head against the window of the bus, just soaking in the warmth of the sunshine. Big musical numbers like the one I’ve linked choke me up. The song can be as exuberant and joyful as they come, about nothing more than a sunny day and young love and I will still have to blink back the tears. Something about a perfectly timed chorus of voices fills me with euphoria. Which in turn makes me ache for the stage. *blink blink*

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(My first lead role – Cinderella, 1988)

I’d been in a few plays before Cinderella but this was the moment that sticks with me. We’d been doing a different play and our teacher got sick. Our headmaster had to take our class for a few weeks and decided to change whatever show we had been planning to Cinderella. I distinctly remember him calling out my name for the lead role. I squealed. Another girl mocked me, stealing my thunder and making others laugh at me. I think that’s the first time I recall feeling shame for something good happening to me. I learnt then to hold back my joy.

I memorised my lines over the weekend and got praised for doing so. Again, something that girl teased me about. I know now it was jealousy. The following year we did Peter Pan. She got the lead role and lorded it over me. I was Wendy and perfectly happy with that part. I feel like she only got the part because she had short hair anyway. 😉

Acting, even in primary school productions at 10/11yrs old felt like magic to me. It was the best feeling in the world. It came to me just at the right time. My parents split when I was 8 and I was so sad and lost inside. Acting was my outlet.

I joined the Mid-Powys Youth Theatre at 12. You were supposed to be 14 but I lied about my age. I was the same height and build at that age as I am now so it wasn’t impossible to believe. I don’t know what kind of person I would be if I hadn’t has MPYT throughout my teenage years. It’s still the happiest time of my life. I was so committed, so dedicated to it. My first few years I had smaller roles than I wanted but I was young and new so that was to be expected. I envied the older girls so intensely. I wanted to prove myself. I wanted it to take up more of my time. I wanted to be there 24 hours a day. I had found my people, my tribe and I finally felt like I belonged somewhere.

I soon got larger roles. I have goosebumps now just remembering the thrill of it all.  Our company was award-winning. We performed at the National Theatre in London twice. We even did a tour and film of one smaller show. I fit it all in around my schoolwork.

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I was involved in 8 shows in my 6 years with MPYT. All I wanted to do was be on stage when I left school. I auditioned for several drama schools in the UK. I got call backs for Bristol Old Vic and The Central School of Speech and Drama. Eventually I only got in to CSSD. It was a massive learning experience. There were people on my course who had been auditioning for 10+years. We ranged in age from 18 (me) to 45. I went from being a big fish in a small pond to a tiny, tiny minnow. They all seemed to want it so much. I got homesick fast. Going from my small Welsh village to London was a culture shock. I missed being a big fish. I felt inferior and lost all my confidence. I was home within 3 months. I talked myself out of going back. CSSD even offered me a place the following year which looking back was a big deal. Thousands of people audition for approx 30 places. I didn’t realise how privileged I was. I didn’t tell anyone they had kept my place for the following year. I didn’t want anyone to know. I had no intention of going back. I disappointed so many people. I had such an opportunity and to others it looked like I let it slip from my hands without a care.

I cared. I was so disappointed in myself too, I just hid it. I convinced people I’d hated it. I was too ashamed to admit that it scared me. That I couldn’t handle being so far removed from my comfort zone.

I haven’t stepped on a stage since.

I always said that I wanted to be an actor or a mother. Or both. I would have always chosen being a mother over acting. I desperately wanted to have baby from an absurdly young age and was a mother by the time I was 20.

Whenever I go to the theatre now, I get emotional. As soon as the lights dim I feel like my heart is going to explode. I miss the camaraderie backstage. I feeling excellent at something. I will never be as good at anything as I was at acting. I still fantasize about going back to it. After I had Sonny, I put that notion to bed. It was unrealistic. I talked myself down once again.

I have thought about trying to learn some monologues. Just for the hell of it, to see how bad my memory is these days. I used to be able to learn lines so fast. Before multiple pregnancies and a truck load of substances addled my brain. It feels like it might be something good to practise. I feel like it could be a meditative exercise. Another tool to help with anxiety and distracting myself from intrusive thoughts.

It’s hard to feel at peace over unrealised dreams, isn’t it? I am eternally grateful to have to have those experiences at all. I just wish I hadn’t been so scared.  I don’t regret having my children but I will always wonder what I’d be doing now if I’d had a little more faith in myself. If I’d been braver. Maybe supported a bit more by my family.

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I think I will try and learn a monolouge. Maybe show it to Rob. Or if I’m brave enough, film myself and show you guys.

Doris

Storm Doris is whipping up a gale outside. I wanted to go out today with the baby as Rob is going into the office which is a rare occurrence. Only I can’t. It’s too awful out there. I don’t have a car so would have to wait on buses and window shopping would not be pleasant in gale 70mph winds.  SOO now I’m pissed off and my brain wont shut up.

But you wanted to go out!!

Over and over. Today’s intrusive thought.

Not;

Buy a bottle of wine or steal that lip balm

My brain is punishing me because it made plans that I had to cancel. It keeps trying to tell me that the weather may change in a few hours (it wont).

I know that this is the perfect example of a time to meditate. I did try earlier. It did help for a short time.

It’s SO ridiculous. It’s torrential outside. I do not want to go out in it. Even if I was without Fable I would not want to venture out in such weather. Why can’t my brain get the memo?

I have even tried to make alternative, safer plans. I have asked a friend if she wants to drive over and go to the soft play place near my house, with our kids.

 

Several hours later..

I got over it. I started to feel poorly so had a nap with Fable and woke up over it. I’ll go out tomorrow.

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Therapy was so intense today. I was forced to confront some very uncomfortable truths about myself. I feel a bit battered right now.

We spoke about my childhood. Trying to work out when my feelings of anxiety may have begun. I spoke about my parents split which is something I have always dismissed as a non-event. Something  many children experience and therefore not something I have allowed myself to feel any pain about. The led on to how harshly I treat myself.

‘You are a vulnerable child but treat yourself as a putative parent’, he said.

I came to a realisation that I am desperately trying to hide the part of me that I feel i garbage. I don’t want anyone to see me as vulnerable, unable to cope, or weak. I have zero empathy for myself. I feel I am defective. That when it comes to being deserving of sympathy – I am different.  It’s true, if a friend of mine was in my exact situation I would do anything to help her. I would sympathise. I would look at her struggles and draw the dots together as to why she was acting in such a way. I would find her deserving of love and friendship. I am not a monster! Only to myself.

I had a difficult relationship with my mother. Still do. But as a child I only ever remember her as unreachable. To little me, t was as if she didn’t love me (I still don’t fully believe she does). She provided for me, yes.  Fed me, put a roof over my head but she did not make herself available emotionally. I did some pretty despicable things to try to get a reaction out of her in my teens but it never worked the way I wanted it to. Her reaction only reinforced my belief – that she tolerated me and had no choice than to put up with me until she didn’t have to anymore. (Oh god, writing that…I think that’s how I feel about every single person in my life..)

I read a blog entry a few weeks ago about self- love. The writer wrote how she knew  ‘she deserved the best’. I admit I cringed. Not at her self-belief but at the thought of voicing the same for myself. Even writing this entry I feel some disgust at myself. It feels a bit ‘oh, woe is me’ and I really struggle with that. My mother ignored many traumatic events that happened to me throughout my youth which led me to believe that it was best not to moan. Adopt the very British attitude  of  keep calm and carry on. It’s why reaching out felt like the hardest thing in the world (and the weakest…AAAND here’s comes the revulsion..)

It’s impossible for me to hear the good about myself. I am confronted day-to-day with the wreckage of my fuck ups. I live in my own brain so I KNOW what kind of person I am.

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I’m not sure if any of this will make sense written down. It was a really good session and my mind got shook a few times with little epiphanies. But I’ve had epiphanies before and trusted in them and still went on to keep fucking up soo..

I may blog some more later. I’ve only scratched the surface of what we discussed today but I need to decompress. -_-

Tuesday musings

I have wonky bottom teeth. They didn’t used to be wonky but I sucked my thumb well into my thirties and over the last 5 years it’s like they just lost the will to stand straight.  I feel ya teeth, I feel ya.  (They didn’t get the #RESIST message..)

Most days it doesn’t bother me.

Other days I compulsively run my tongue over them until it’s sore. My mind races with negative thoughts about how unattractive it looks. How unlovable it makes me. How it will always be the first thing people notice about me and that will be the image in their head whenever they think about me or try to describe me. (My previous post on intrusive thoughts forgot to mention the body image bully the lives in my head).

 

If it’s not my teeth, it’s my forehead. Not my forehead? My wobbly tummy. My shitty hair. My dumb dress-sense. Yadda, yadda.

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Alcohol and drugs used to quieten those thoughts. A few years ago I was a lot heavier than I am now but I was so numbed to my feelings that I didn’t really care. I look back at photos of myself with horror but it was kind of nice to have a reprieve from caring SO much about my appearance.

These days I’m mostly happy with how I look. When I find my tongue getting sore from running it over and over my wonky teeth, I must remind myself how much of a kick I get out of life’s imperfections instead of dwelling on how my personal flaws make me less than.

Intrusive thoughts in recovery

You can go to bed having had a decent day. A day where you felt you had a grasp on things and kept your head and wake up the next morning to utter chaos! All I did was sleep and yet this morning I was riddled with anxiety. I’m feeling huge guilt for not being able to do anything special with Syl and Sonny whilst they are here. Syl especially. She’s 12 and she hasn’t left the house since they got here on Fri. She’s not been fully healthy but it still eats at me. Fable has been hard work today. She won’t be left alone and is struggling to settle. She’s coughing and crying and won’t be comforted. That is something I find the hardest to deal with as a parent. Not being able to make your child feel better. I experience it a lot with Sonny. He is very intolerant of being touched. No cuddles. Sometimes he might let you hold him wrapped in a towel after a bath but it’s very rare. I find it very upsetting. Now Fable is like that today and even though I know she’s just having a bad day (few days) and she’ll be fine soon, it definitely triggers something.

Today I feel torn between Sonny, Fable, Sylvie and Rob. I’m in an impossible situation where I’m failing to make anyone happy. Syl is so good. She caught me crying and I explained how I was feeling. She reassured me she was fine. Rob gave me a hug earlier which was nice. He could clearly see I was having a wobble. I went to my second AA meeting at dinner time leaving Rob to deal with all the kids and work. I had those feeling beforehand of not wanting to go in. The idea of actually not going and hiding out in a cafe entered my head. That is something I have done in the past. I tried going to NA meetings a few years ago. They were pretty dire. It was often just 4 of us and I honestly felt intimidated. The others had some serious stories and addictions to drugs that, at that point, I considered next level. I didn’t think I was better than these people – or less bad. I know if I had ever come in contact with drugs like crack or heroin I would have tried them. I would be dead now. It’s pure chance that I never did. Anyway, these meetings fuelled my anxiety. So I would skip them. I lied to Rob. I would sit in my car. Sometimes I would go to the pub and have one glass of wine, some food and read my book.  I did the same with my yoga class and the gym. I wanted to appear to him that I was working hard on self-improvement. I would switch off the ‘good voice’ in my head and listen to the bad one.

So today I had a bad thought. I thought about skipping the AA meet.

Rob and I can see each other’s locations on our iPhones so I was able to acknowledge the bad thought, tell myself I couldn’t get away with it and happily go to the meeting. And I did go happily. I felt happy to have a reason that forced me. I know that Rob will read this and most likely feel dismay at that statement. If he wasn’t on high alert and trusted me more, would I have skipped the meeting? It’s possible. Only because once that bad voice pipes up I find it almost impossible to ignore. It’s like OCD. It’s an intrusive thought. The hardest thing for me is to let those intrusive thoughts go without acting on them.

Buy a bottle of wine

Don’t go to the AA meeting

Steal that shampoo

Order pills online 

This is the nature of my addiction. Acting on unwelcome thoughts. Not acting on it makes my heart race, my head hurt and makes me angry and feel sick so I tell myself I will feel better if I just do it.

And I do! I do feel better in that moment. That’s why it torments me so.

The conniving voice told me I could put my phone on airplane mode outside the AA venue as if I was there, go and hide for an hour and half in a cafe, walk back to the meeting near the finish time, switch my phone back on and pretend I went. But there was always the chance Rob would turn up to check on me. That fact made me feel able to let go of the intrusive thought.

It felt comforting to have no way out. I’m sure it won’t be comforting for him to read this but this is my truth. I said as much in the meeting. I admitted I felt ambivalent about attending. However I will say this – I enjoy the AA meetings far more than I did NA. So far. I’m not feeling like they are something that creates anxiety. That they will become something I will want to avoid in the near future.

I have said to Rob that I would be happy to have a breathalyzer at the house to reassure him. He thinks it’s a bad idea. That it will become something I resent. He doesn’t want to be my prison warden. He doesn’t want to be my carer. I feel like they would be good for me. I’ve said previously, there are times when I feel like I need to be treated with kid gloves. Like a child. I feel that having an immediate way of being caught out might be an effective deterrent because simply having it there would enable me to silence the intrusive, obsessive thoughts. I don’t know? I can see the opposite point of view. I think it’s very disappointing to him and depressing that I need the threat of being caught out to be the best reason not to do it. He’s right. It is sad.  I hope that therapy and more personal research will help me learn more about the obsessive, compulsive aspect of my addictive behaviours and how to not act on them.

 

Now Rob is in a terrible mood. When he is struggling to cope with whatever the day brings he completely shuts down. He is mono-syllabic. He won’t make eye contact. He looks like is in barely controlling simmering rage. I find it devastating. I have said to him, I would rather he stomp about and shout that this. (I don’t know if that’s true but at the time I want him to anything other than how he’s being.) He hasn’t been able to get any work done because of Fable needing constant attention, the house being full of kids and me going to a meeting which took up 2 and half hours.  Tomorrow the kids go back and that will take up 3 hours of his day too. I’ve asked if there’s anything I can do and have basically been told to get out of his face. This is a prime example of feeling like I should be on my own.  He has barely spent a minute with my kids since they’ve been here. I’ve tried everything in my power to keep everyone happy and failed. I don’t want to feel these feelings. This is a prime example of a scenario where I end up feeling like it would be best if I was alone. If I was on my own with my kids then I would have a far better chance of keeping at least them happy. I feel guilty because he hasn’t been able to get any work done and angry that he gets like this when my kids are here.  I have other children. They are part of the deal.

I don’t want to be feeling my feelings right now. This is when I want to take something to feel different. All because someone else is having a bad moment. If he was happy – I’d be feleing pretty damn good after my meeting.

GAH, SO MUCH TO FUCKING WORK ON!

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I need to go for a run or meditate but there’s too much going on right this second. I feel kind of weird writing emotionally about what’s going between Rob and I. That was what I did the other night after we had an argument, and then made the post private.I know he will read this and possibly get even more pissed off but writing right now is helping me process the jumbled, messed up thoughts so I’m going with it. Sorry babe.