And here it comes again……

PTSD. It sucks. I mean, it really does. Last night, it decided to give a visit once again.

It doesn’t matter how long it is since the trauma happened, it comes back. It’s been 6 years since I escaped it, with Jack, and it was thanks to Jack that I did. For years I subjected myself to it, but I just couldn’t let it happen to him.

My ex-wife was an abuser. She was one of those ones that starts by isolating you from friends and family. Then she made me feel like I couldn’t survive without her (even though I was doing EVERYTHING to actually look after her, in reality, she couldn’t survive without me). Then she started on the bringing me down, the making me feel completely worthless crap. It just went on and on. Then, it became physical. I NEVER retaliated, because that’s how they really get you, you retaliate in self defence, and then get labelled the abuser, instead of the real abuser. I have plenty of physical scars. Loads of mental ones.

When Jack was on the way, it all stopped, and for the first 12 months after he was born, it was pretty good too. Then it all started, but not a gradual easing back into the abuse, it just happened one day, like a switch was flicked. Continual yelling at me for no reason, making me do everything and then telling me I did nothing. I would be up from 4.30am in the morning, doing washing, changing nappies, getting breakfast for everyone, folding washing once it was dry, making lunch for everyone, cleaning the house, making dinner, whilst changing ALL the nappies, bathing Jack, and eventually crashing in bed at 9 or 10 pm. Then I would hardly sleep because I was worried what she might do to me, or worse, Jack, in our sleep. This fear was warranted, as she had previously tried to suffocate me while I was a sleep, once with her hands, and once with a pillow.

Anyhow, we got away from that. But it visits from time to time. I can’t stand people yelling. It all comes back. Arguments do it too. Then I also get panic attacks, I’ve had a couple now, where it just feels like everything is too much and I feel like I am losing my mind. It usually happens in noisy, busy places, so I avoid places like that as much as possible.

Then, like last night, there are nightmares. Nightmares so vivid that quite often, once they wake me, I can’t go back to sleep. Jack gets them too. Jack’s are quite often things that he actually witnessed his mother do to me, which is so much fun to re-live when he tells me what happened in his bad dream. Mine tend to be a mix, some are just carbon copies of things I’ve tried to forget, some are based on my fears of what she might do if she ever got a chance to do it again.

It’s just a complete headache. You feel like you are doing well, you go months and months with nothing, then all of the sudden it starts up again. It stresses me out, which then has the flow on effect of flaring up my Fibromyalgia. It really sucks.

I guess this is one of the things people don’t talk about when it comes to the effects of Domestic Violence. It’s the aftermath, the things that are permanent damage. Physical scars, sure, they remain, but eventually fade. The emotional and mental stuff, the stuff people don’t usually talk about, is the real damage. It effects your health for the rest of your life. Even though the exact causes and mechanisms behind Fibromyalgia aren’t known, traumatic experiences are thought to be a major trigger to set the wheels in motion. Then you have the whole rebuilding of your confidence, and all the other associated stuff that comes from having yourself torn to pieces mentally. I also suffer from obesity and high blood pressure, both of which I didn’t suffer from before I met my ex. I used to run cross country, was an exponent of Judo, and a whole lot of other things that meant I was slim, muscular and healthy, I even used to border on having too low blood pressure. Now I am fat, flabby and am in a constant battle to keep my health.

I must just add here at this point, I am losing weight and working on the fitness, I have always eaten healthy, which is why it baffles me why I became so big, I mean, I was 165kg’s at my biggest, I am now significantly smaller than I was 3 years ago, but still have a bit to go. Put it this way, I can now go to a regular department store and buy clothes, before I had to go to the specialist “Big Men” stores to get anything to wear. As many big mean and women would know, there aren’t too many options in clothing when you are big. Now, I have a lot more freedom in clothing.

Talking about clothing, that’s one thing I noticed not long after I left my ex wife. Before I met her, I was colourful. I would deliberately find the brightest, most colourful clothing I could. When I left her, all my clothes were grey, black, brown and blue. All dark colours. They reflected the way I felt. As soon as I realised it was the case, I went out of the way to try and get a colourful wardrobe. These days, I refuse to buy anything unless totally necessary, in those dark, depressed colours.

Other things happened too. I was unable to watch anything I wanted to on TV, and forget about movies, from about the year 2002, until 2013, I pretty much missed anything that came out. She was paranoid that the people on TV could see her and knew what she was thinking. For the last 6 years I’ve been catching up on all the movies everyone raves about from that decade I lost. It’s quite strange turning on a TV and watching whatever the hell you want to.

I now read again, I used to be a veracious reader, but that too stopped. I stopped playing and writing music, something that was virtually my life before I met her. I played with numerous bands and did live gigs all the time, even playing with well know Australian bands and artists. I haven’t got back into the scene as I was before, and it is taking time for me to get back into the groove so to speak, when you haven’t played an instrument (or the 3 or 4 I did before I met the ex), for a while, it takes a lot to get back to the sort of condition you need to be in to get back into the music scene.

Well, I might leave this for now, I am tired, my son is tired and hassling me, and even though tomorrow is not such an early start, I need sleep. Goodnight.

Andy.

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Growth Spurt

Since the beginning of the year, Jack has grown about 3 inches (around 7.5cm), and as such has been growing out of clothes at a rapid rate. He has pretty much skipped size 7 clothes, and was only very briefly in size 6, and now is firmly in the size 8 category.  it’s just incredible how quickly a kid can grow !!

So today, I have had to go and get some new long sleeve t-shirts for him, as all the rest he had were size 6, and we’ve been getting by between school clothes, which thankfully I bought size 8’s, and a whole bunch of size 8 flannelette tops I got on a shopping trip to Melbourne at Easter. I also managed to get a few pairs of jeans down in Melbourne on that trip as well, but have just added 5 pairs of smaller ones to the pile of clothes going to the Op Shop.

I’m starting to look at what I need for Summer, even though we are in the middle of Winter right now, as if he continues to grow at this rate, he won’t have any shorts when the warm weather gets here. Then it will be short sleeve shirts too………..

As I am on a limited income, it takes a bit of planning to make sure I don’t get caught short with his clothes, I have managed to stay ahead of the game up to now, but this rapid growth may end up getting ahead of me.

Tonight we are having a late one, tomorrow he won’t be at school because of the dentist visit, on Friday he will be back at school, which is the last of the term, then it’s the 2 week school Winter Holidays. I look forward to the holidays, I enjoy having him around, and it also means I don’t need to be awake before the sun to get him ready and off to school !!!

 

When your body hates you, and other fun stuff from the past few weeks.

It’s been a bit of a rough ride the last few weeks.

To start with, on the day of my son’s birthday, my father decided to drop the bomb that he hates us all, meaning everyone in our family, including his siblings, everyone, and wants to divorce Mum. Great thing to drop on the family on your grandson’s birthday, hey? Funnily though, he’s been such a nasty, spiteful, rude human for so many years now, that most of us were finally relieved. Since then, the waters have muddied, and him being him, has complicated things. Anyhow, whilst I’m still trying to make sense of his unstable mind, I’ll just have to go with the flow.

My parents have been trying to sell their house for over 12 months now, with some interest, but no buyer as yet. It’s a slow market around here. We all plan to move to warmer climes, once the house is sold, but now, with all this crap, who know’s what is going to happen. Jack and I currently live with them, so it’s been so much fun. I really need to win the lotto or something, just so I can get back into my own place. We moved here so as to have support, especially as my condition has deteriorated  as much as it has over the last 12 months, and now we have been thrust, thanks to my fathers arseholery, into an extremely tense and stressful situation. Which, is not great for Fibromyalgia sufferers.

When it all happened, my brother and Aunt were here, and to be honest, if it weren’t for Mum, and her needing support, I probably would have moved that very weekend into my brothers place (he offered if the need arose, but also wanted me to make sure Mum was okay and support her through the shit.) I won’t leave Mum on her own, she doesn’t drive, and we live 15 minutes out of town, and who knows what person Dad is going to be tomorrow. Currently he is acting like none of what’s happened has happened, which sort of makes me feel sick. He’s playing little games, baiting people, but up to this point, we haven’t taken any bait, as hard as it has been not to at times.


 

Apart from that whole shemozzle, I’ve been going through the process of this change over of medications, which in most respects, seems to be going well. However, over the past week or so, getting to sleep has been difficult. I think the home life situation is probably a big contributor to this, my mind is taking hours to stop once I go to bed, and I have to really concentrate to physically relax my body. The other thing is I have been having a bad case of restless leg syndrome, and I will tell you, it makes the whole process of trying to get to sleep so much harder. Right now, I am writing, because I have given up the fight to go to sleep. I am really tired, but just can’t sleep. It sucks. I’ve also been battling IBS today, so my insides aren’t helping me feel good or relaxed either.

Jack has also had fun and games over the past week. He had an immense toothache last Thursday night, tears, everything, I managed to settle it down with Panadol and cloves, he slept well, and then the next morning I rang the public dentist, and managed to get him in for an emergency appointment that afternoon. The result was 2 molars having to be pulled, with 2 more not looking good, which will be looked at more when we go back there on Thursday. Luckily, they are baby teeth, so the adult teeth should be back to replace them in a year or two.

It’s quite frustrating, really. I am on him all the time to brush his teeth, and recently I have caught him out telling porky pies, he reckons he’s brushed them, but the hand basin and his toothbrush have been bone dry. He’s now learnt the hard way that it’s important to brush.

He’s not a kid that eats lot’s of lollies, actually, we rarely have lollies in the house, and we don’t do soft drink or cordial. Even when he’s at a party, he will eat fruit if it’s there, instead of lollies, while the other kids gorge themselves on all the sugar in sight. He has a great diet, eats a wide variety of veges and fruit (even fruit and veges that I won’t touch, like Brussels Sprouts), prefers wholemeal bread, all the good stuff. Will even choose water or plain milk over anything else.

I have all my own teeth still, at 41, well apart from my 2 upper wisdom teeth, which because they didn’t come through properly, had to be removed. I also have 2 fillings, but they have only happened in the past couple of years, 1 is in a wisdom tooth in my lower jaw, again, because of the problems I had with them coming through, and 1 filling on a molar on the top next to where a wisdom tooth was pulled, the wisdom tooth actually broke a piece off it. I never had teeth filled or pulled until nearly 40 years old. In saying that, I have one of my front bottom teeth chipped, due to the mouthpiece of my trumpet being smashed into it by a drunk at a gig I was playing 15 years ago, and in the past few months, I have started to get a few twinges of pain from it. I must see if I can get it capped soon.

I might sign off for now, not feeling like sleep will come easy yet, but I have just taken some codeine based painkillers for the first time in about 3 or 4 days, so hopefully that will help. I might play a bit of Goobox while I wait for them to kick in. Goodnight.

Andy.Old photo's 004

Me, many moons ago during a jam session on the beach.

Here we go…….

Hello !!

We are all on our own paths through life, but what makes life interesting is when our paths cross – Me !!!

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Ibis at Tyrendarra, South West Victoria, Australia

I just thought I’d kick this new adventure off with a bit of a tranquil sight of these beautiful Ibis flying over the wetlands of the Tyrendarra Indigenous Protected Area I snapped a few months ago. Although they aren’t the most attractive birds, there is something so graceful about their flight.

I love to get outdoors to witness nature in all it’s glory. Whether it be an early morning sunrise, with the pink and orange hues breaking through the black of night and banishing the dark from the sky, or a wild thunderstorm sending bolts streaming across the sky, there is something so humbling being able to witness it all unfold. No two sunrises or thunderstorms are the same.

I guess that’s what helps get me through the day. The chance to witness something amazing. Most days are a real struggle. It’s very difficult living with a chronic illness like Fibromyalgia. For those who don’t know, it manifests itself in many ways, there are a multitude of symptoms, but the most debilitating, from my point of view, are the constant pain, and the ever present fatigue. Between nature, and my son Jack, I manage to get up every day, even when I feel like it is an impossibility.

There are a bunch of other unpleasantries associated with Fibromyalgia as well,  like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), joint stiffness, super sensitivity to temperature, super sensitivity to light, super sensitivity to anything that touches your skin, I mean, it is really not nice at all.

Recently, I have had a few visits with specialists to adjust treatments, it’s a chronic illness that is poorly understood, they don’t even really know what causes it or what exactly is going on, and you can’t continually take ever increasingly stronger Opioids for ever, so I have recently started on some new medications in the hope of getting some relief from the symptoms.

In the past 12 months or so it has become a lot worse, and that is the thing, that’s what it does, it gets worse and worse over time. It takes a lot of willpower and intestinal fortitude to keep going.

Apart from the medicinal efforts, I do a lot of what is called distraction therapy, I was doing it well before I even heard it was a thing. That’s why art, photography, writing, all that stuff is such an integral part of my life. It is something I can immerse my mind in to ignore the pain. It works well, about 50% of the time. I’ll take that 50% if it means that whilst it is working I am not shoving pills down my throat to stop the pain.

I have been on my new medications for about 2 weeks now, I am in a transition phase, which means I am getting used to these, before I start coming off the other things I have been taking. In 2 weeks time, it will be D-Day, when I start to reduce my reliance on the Opioid based painkillers. The new drugs have made a difference, it tangible, but a bit hard to explain. It is a lessening of the pain, which in my opinion is the worst symptom, but in a weird way. There is not a moment in at least the last 5 years where I haven’t been in pain. The painkillers lessen the severity from intolerable to slightly less intolerable, but it doesn’t ever go away. Oh, pardon me, there was once, about 3 years ago now, when I had a fall and was on Endone for a couple of days, I didn’t feel anything, let alone pain, on them !!!

Anyhow, I think I better get myself off to bed, tomorrow Jack has school, so I will have to drag myself into the day at 7am, and seeing it is now nearly 11pm, I won’t have a great deal of time to enjoy another restless sleep, hopefully getting enough rest to manage another day.

Andy.