A corner

  
I love Saturday mornings. I take the child riding at a beautiful, friendly, well run stables very early in the morning. Then we go to the open air pool.

It’s a beautiful autumn day. One of those when the sun is still actually warm. I’m enjoying each moment and realise I’m no longer anxious all the time. My jaws are still a little tight but I’m calm.

Time? Anti depressants? My hormones? Who knows and who cares. 

 

But you might find some time… You get what you need

  I’ve known for a time that the key for me was to find a bigger game. To give myself up to some higher purpose which lights me up and gives me a different focus. I’ve partially been resisting it because it’s what I do and am good at. The games just get bigger. 

But it wasn’t what I wanted and thought I had for a while there. For a while I thought I could just love and be loved.  What pops into my head from time to time is that I am heading into my late forties and hanging on to causes to give meaning to my life as opposed to just giving myself up to the warmth of domesticity and partnership. 

The Baader-Meinhof phenomenem or synchronicity if you like, dictates that once you decide something, other things come along to reinforce it. You see firebirds everywhere. 

Earlier this year I read a book called Black Hole thinking. In a nutshell the book gave you exercises to discover your strengths and passions, look at the alignment between them and what kinds of things you would like to fill most of your life doing. 

So I established that I am really good at creating communities, at speaking in front of large groups, at building relationships. I’m not bad at understanding what makes people tick and can listen and make connections between what happened to make then a certain way. People talk to me and I’m relatively intuitive, and these days fairly compassionate. That I am passionate about people having great lives where they are fulfilled. That they get obstacles out of the way to do so. 

I wondered how I could develop these talents into something more useful. To be an agent for change in a far bigger way than I currently am. 

Then all the palaver with him came along.

 But I’ve been here before. I know that simply moving into an enquiry creates a different mindset which allows opportunity to show up. No need to rush it, or push it, or make a massive effort. Things just sooner or later align. Then  I got promoted at work which just involved taking another event on and I couldn’t see how that fed in to any of these thoughts at all – it felt like more of the same stuff – a bigger team, more projects but essentially the same.

This week I saw that I couldn’t continue to keep my hands on every tiller so directly. That I had to chose whether to continue to micro manage each project and push it impatiently forward or to develop a team of leaders underneath me which would enable me to do the other stuff I’m good at – and be potentially more useful in the process.

So supported by a brilliant team member, I’ve started a women’s network. It’s been massively oversubscribed already. I spoke there,quite well; I think the forum made a difference to some women and it really underlined to me again what I’m good at. I’ve since started linking with other groups and we are planning a “do” for next years Big Show.

When there were some negative comments on linked in about it , I wasn’t afraid to defend it -as I would have been in the past.

So the upshot of all this is I feel a little better. Whether it’s work, the anti depressants or simply where I am in my hormonal cycle between peri menopausal symptoms and pms I dont know, but in the words of the song, you can’t always get what you want ….

Every cloud

I’m now taking a fair cocktail of drugs! For cholesterol, BP, diabetes and of course, depression.

The only side effects to date were from the metformin (for diabetes) which were diarrhoea and, when I raised the dose as advised, terrible nausea. I quickly brought the dose back down. 

There is an impressive list of potential side effects from the sertraline I am now taking for depression including dizziness, increased anxiety in the short term, nausea, diarrhoea, fatigue, dry mouth. I am suffering from none of the above BUT here we are, nearly 1am and for the second night in a row I can’t sleep. Sure enough insomnia is also listed.

And then I remembered I hadn’t wanted any tea. I had nibbled on a couple of canapés at 6pm – when normally I would have stood by the board and positively hoovered them up. Sure enough, loss of appetite is also listed. Now there may be a result!

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Steps

  Yesterday I went to the doctors. I was in one of those uncontrollable crying moods – where I had been most of the weekend.  I sat there and wailed the story out whereupon having checked I wasn’t suicidal (I’m not), asked me if I wanted to be signed off work (I don’t) she duly prescribed me SSRIs (anti depressants). 

On calming down, I told her that, far from being suicidal, I was essentially hopeful and optimistic  about the future. I was just struggling to deal with the present.  A present that is filled with anxiety, grief and tiredness,

I was having a conversation with my boss about deferred grief. His mum died recently and he got over it all extremely quickly. He wonders if it’s coming to bite him in the bum but suspects that if he defers it, it will lessen with time anyway. I’m not so sure. I don’t think putting it off makes it any the less powerful when it comes and in the meantime your denial of how you feel has to manifest itself in some way. My grief over my marriage breakup took 6 months to come out at all – but was excruciating when it came. 

So all sorts of memories of the last year keep assailing me and I’m letting them come. I understand why he felt he had no choice but to go back, that his guilt was all too much for him, but I wonder how he can bear letting go of the greatest joy he had ever experienced – which was the greatest joy for me too – holding each other at night? I know it was the best feeling in the world for him. I know that’s why he cannot see me or talk to me again because that will make him remember.  I wonder if he feels any of the pain I do? The last time we spoke, before the catastrophic ending, he said he thought about me all the time and made comparisons in his head. But the fact remains, he went back to do the “right thing”. 

I know that at some point I will look back and wonder how I allowed myself to be treated in the way he treated me – with his comings and goings. How I could not acknowledge how much weaker he is than me. 

Meantime I just need to get through each day taking steps to sort myself out. So I had a really useful conversation about my “too much work” with my boss yesterday and saw where I was my own worst enemy and came up with a plan.

And I joined the brigade of people for whom modern life is just too much and started with my anti depressant. 

GROWL!!

 We took this at Longleat last year

Turn away now if you are squeamish about women’s “stuff”.

I’ve always hated any discussion about the menopause. I am going to have to transform my relationship to it away from being something which is discussed by sexless old women.

I can’t ignore the fact that once or twice a day I get so hot I have to strip down to a vest top. That sweat runs down my back. It’s coming into winter here and not that warm. Yesterday when I was removing my layers one of my team said “well you are getting to that age Beach!” What, the age where I shouldn’t have my arms out? No! THAT age. Oh. says I.

I know it must seem that I am always in a fug, but there are cycles to it.  The same two dates in the month I hit rock bottom last month, are the same two dates from this. And it’s not PMT – that comes later. Leaving me with two weeks a month where I am in a terrible stew and the rest of the month coming out of it, with a few good days in the middle. This blog, dear reader, has enabled me to work that out.

I can’t see much stuff about menopausal mood swings on the ever reliable internet, but anecdotally I know how vicious women can be when going through it.

I’m staying with a horsey friend and she was prescribed Prozac of all things, for her hot flushes – she had an awful reaction so is not continuing – but apparently they hate giving out HRT these days because of the link to breast cancer, blood clotting etc. a double whammy surely as Prozac is a famous anti depressant!

So first job this week is to go to the doctor and see if I can’t get something prescribed! I don’t even want to think about the implications for my psyche of the fact I am almost certainly perimenopausal, but the fact that this lengthy grieving process may be partially impacted by my hormones, well that does make me feel a little better. The fact that I can potentially pop a pill to help deal with it….job done! I do wonder though, what percentage of the population is now on a mood altering drug……

Hello

  http://www.theseeds4life.com/what-you-resist-persists-carl-jung

I read a great blog related to Jungs view that when strong emotions come calling, you should not try to cover them up but acknowledge them. Say hello, invite them for a cup of tea and say you’re working through them. 

So thank you to the patient friends who are still with me on this journey. I don’t know as I would have your forebearance were the situation reversed. Friends who don’t get it any more and urge me to think happy thoughts – I understand your frustration. I feel it myself .

So yesterday I was looking though a list of the events I was thinking of attending and there he was, speaking at one of them. I went into a cold sweat about the other 10 or so I’m attending or speaking at myself over the next two months. I saw no way round it other than to send him the list and baldly ask him to confirm he was not attending any of them. He duly replied that I was safe. 

These are the first words between us for several weeks  now. Dear reader I felt the need to tell him what he’s done to me. It was not lengthy or maudlin . I just said that he had exploded a hand grenade in my life and abandoned me to pick up the pieces. That I was close to breaking point. That I had given him all that I am and all that I have. That I understood why he’s made the choices he had but I thought ultimately they were regrettable for all of us. That he had better be happy to justify the sadness he had caused me.

I thought about it and realised that there isn’t anything he can say in return and indeed it would be counter productive for him to do so. So having done it, I then blocked him everywhere I know how to. This surely is progress. 

I spoke to my best friend last night. Not only am I grief ridden, I am over tired, over worked and ready to burst into tears at any moment. It’s a combination of a bigger job, the time of year for work, not sleeping and no support from my daughter’s dad (which I usually do get plenty of). My love of work has also been impacted by my grief over him- he has been part of what I do and inspired and caused me for quite a while. 

I’m sorry I am still in this loop but this is the biggest trauma I’ve dealt with – worse than my divorce. Baby steps is probably all I can take right now, so hello grief. I hope I say goodbye to you soon and that your neighbour acceptance, rather than anger comes calling. 

Escape room

 Yesterday we played a game called Escape Room. I was locked with three (very nice) colleagues into a room with some clues and we had to find more clues and solve the murder. It was great fun.

I also used my anger highly productively. Tore through back to back meetings being incredibly clear and in my cross ness about golf days  set up a couple of conversations about corporate networking.  apparently the sexes network differently – there have been studies done and papers written so first thing to do is get a hold of them then get some team in place to start turning it round. 

My boss (who I adore) is currently scared of me. I’m normally so reasonable and never complain without offering a solution. Yesterday he checked in with me before using a slide of my arse disappearing up the wall at the Big Show – was it ok to use the slide and call me a combination of Bridget jones and Ranulph Fiennes? Yes, says I, I know I’ve become a rampant feminist overnight but you don’t have to tread on eggshells. How much of this is caused by bitterness   says he? Of course it is, I freely admit, but I’m using it productively. 

So a couple of nights ago His (ex) grassroots football club he organises and runs the twitter feed for,  followed me on twitter. Then unfollowed me today. He can check up on me on twitter without following so clearly it was his  way of saying hello – then he regretted it a day later. 

It’s now been 7 weeks since it reached it’s catastrophic climactic end. An end which had already been long and drawn out. I can see everything intellectually. Who he is . What will never happen between us now. On one level I despise him. But mostly I despise myself for my pathetic neediness. 

No amount of telling me to snap out of it works. I’m trying really hard . I keep coming back to my hypnotherapist point of view that now it just has to be a decision I make. A decision to let it and him go entirely . I get nothing but pain from hanging on to it, nothing but a life currently stalled. 

The clues are big enough. Why can’t I escape from a room I’ve built for myself?!

A hole in one… Big golf balls

  I think I might be done with this writing. That’s good news , right? It feels like there isn’t much left to say. Every day I see more clearly how weak he is, how enrolling . I don’t hate him any more – at least not at the moment. I really do never want to  see him again. 

But I am angry. Not with him – with the world. And that’s not good, is it? Isn’t there something called transference where you can’t be angry with the person you should be angry with so you get angry with someone else instead?

I’m angry with all the men I know who show no balls in life. Angry with the person who has seen fit to use my email account to send spoof emails to everyone in my address book – which he might think are really from me. Angry with my stalker who thinks it’s enough that he should love me – that I get no choice in the matter. Angry with the dog and cat who both saw fit to poo in my house and keep me awake half the night. Angry with my daughter for encouraging the dog and the other cats, which make our own cat so terrified he poos inside. Angry with people I know who allow piss poor relationships with really important people in their lives to continue to destroy them and each other. Angry with men who flirt and don’t follow through.

Mostly, I’m angry about golf days. 

My boss loves them so does the new manager in my team.  Because the industries we work in still hold them on the whole and my boss is master of lots of stuff he is doing lots of golf days. He was even slightly apologetic about it the other day. But the fact remain the ways to network in our industry and our business are cricket (the main industry charity) golf and there is a football team. How fucking anachronistic!  No wonder there are few senior women! Women are welcome to come and serve drinks or go to the spa. How patronising!

I hate being angry. I hate complaining with no solution. I don’t allow it in myself normally. 

I’m hoping that this moment of anger will spur me on to cause something, to make a difference – at least in the sexist networking. Because I can’t provide balls to some of the men I know which are the size of my own. 

Jack’s Bar

 

 
  This is not from last night and features absinthe which you can’t get at Jacks

  Last night I was the kind of drunk where you can’t see straight, weave when you walk and lose your bags. 
It’s always at Jacks and not the pub opposite us, Doggetts, where I have my finest indiscretions. 

The first, two years ago was with a colleague (in fairness we had to hold each other up to get to the train station). Then there was Him – we invited him out with the team and proceeded to pour pints of wine down his neck. That was the start of a whole lot of trouble for both of us.

Last night was the 40th birthday of someone (who I will just call Red Wine Teeth) I have worked with for far too long who remembers everything I’ve ever done and regularly brings out emails or pictures to humiliate me with. I love her to bits. She causes me. When I feel like it makes no difference whether I’m there or not, she let’s me know what I bring to the party. And there was a lot of that last night – a lot of love I heard that my team feel for me and for each other which made me so happy. Ok Gloves would only say he was “fond” of me. But I know the truth. 

And then there was hitting on Gloves’ best friend who is more in my age group and also suffering from a broken heart.  I think we both saw the chance to wind Gloves up with the potential of his best friend and his boss having a thing but he wasn’t biting. The best friend said I had a great aura. I’m not sure if he can actually see them or not but if he can I wouldn’t be surprised if he was right as I do think I am pretty shiny right now, especially since I decided to forgive and move on. I know I’ve been here before but he’s always come back to destroy my equilibrium before and I really think we are done.

I’ve flirted with three men of my own age who are available in two days (that’s not counting the stalker who now wants to “merry me”). Nothing has to come of any of it – it’s the principle of the fact that they are both available and open to a flirt which makes me know they are out there and someone will be right for me soon. I see how I gave everything to someone who whilst he did love me, was not in a position to give back to me. 

I was so happy with my evening that walking to the station I grinned so hard I thought my face would break. I’m sure someone muttered “you’re sexy” as I walked past but that could have been the alcohol.

Coming unstuck

  As you know I’ve been stuck like a fly on a web. Unable to let it go – angry, grief stricken and grinding my teeth at night.  All the time functioning pretty well on the outside – thank goodness.

I baulked at the idea of therapy as I don’t want to spend months digging around in my psyche at this point but that will be my last ditch if this hasn’t worked.

So last night I went to see a woman I’ve seen 6 times in 6 years. I also paid for Him to see her. He says it was helpful – I’m not sure how. We keep in touch so she knows what’s going on with me but her methods are fast which is why I like her. She talks to you first then does hypnotherapy then comes up with some concrete actions  it’s a mix of therapy and Tony Robbins – it doesn’t dwell in introspection for too long. 

I’ve only ever had to see her twice on the one issue to get a breakthrough. 6 years ago I could not imagine sitting across the table from a man on a date. After sessions with her I enjoyed a prolific dating life for a while. 

So I sat opposite her and tried to think of the episode in my past which this had triggered. How hypnotherapy can work is that you think of the first time you felt like this – normally as a child then in a state of deep relaxation you go back and talk to that child. 

I could not think of anything new to say we hadn’t looked at in one of my 6 previous sessions. I told her that whilst intellectually I could see it all – even how awful life would have been if he’d come to me – I could not inderstabd why I was holding onto it. I described to her where my grief and anger came from. The loss of control – it was in his court completely and I find that hard to bear; the fact that I need to win and that when it came to him chosing between her and I, his wife had won; the sense of abandonment from someone who I felt had truly loved me.

We looked at the cost to my life of holding on to all this and I can see it’s horrible but when she asked if I was ready to let it go I could feel my brain still holding on. The idea of letting go also meant giving up.

She did some archetype work with me – with the warrior talking to the lover, the magician and the sovereign which was interesting but I can’t remember her saying anything I could not have said to myself, or one of my friends couldn’t have said to me. Though it helped that she had met him. .

A few things helped:

That no one had won. If I thought his wife had, I should think again as she has a husband she can’t rely on and a miserable marriage.

That he did not have the necessary internal resources to make a life with me. 

That rather than being angry I could feel sorry for him

That after effectively eighteen months of this  I had become addicted to the uncertainty of it all and that now that there was certainty in the uncertainty that had completely thrown my brain.

That for only 5 weeks in the whole year we were “together” did this look like it could really work between us (outside of the early fantasies) and was going in the right direction. (She let slip that he had described it as an affair consistently).

She believed I just needed to decide now. To chose to let it go by creating a bigger future to live into. That I should get to work on my list of what I want for the rest of my life and create the space for someone who can give me the certainty I need. 

I think it’s shifting. I don’t feel angry with him any more. I’m less afraid about bumping into him. I’ve got one or two ideas of what I want to have in my life. 

It normally takes a short while for it all to sink in.