Shinedown and smiling

I returned to work last week. I was off for 2 months. 2 months that took me from despair to ok. Over the past couple of weeks I finally felt like me again.

When I was trapped in anxiety my thoughts were all in the front part of my brain. They were fizzy and frazzles and I couldn’t think very far ahead. It’s hard. I felt dull and slow. This is how I felt in August, when I realized I was not coping well. Things didn’t make sense. Life didn’t make sense.

Now, my thoughts are in the back of my head. They are clear and connected and I can see them. I can plan ahead and envision how things will unfold. I can understand what I want and I see my emotions for what they are. I feel sharp and intelligent. I can handle unexpected problems.

It’s amazing how this shifted. In the frazzled state I did worry I might be like that forever. It was hard and scary. That’s part of the problem. No matter how prepared I am for a low, I still get trapped there…Hope becomes very small.

But I am out of that pit. I am back feeling productive. And so I returned to my life and I returned to work. I missed it. iWork with some amazing people.

I am being gentle with myself, but I am also re engaging with my responsibilities. It’s time. Although a part of me would like to hide at home forever, I do know that avoidance is not a viable solution

The past couple of months have been a true period of grieving. I have cried many tears. I have questioned my life and wondered what I did to deserve the crazy events of the past 10 months. I licked my wounds. I repeated the word acceptance a million times.

A few weeks ago I went to a lovely heart centred yogic healing evening. During the class we focused on the energy around our heart. At one point I was filled with the sensation that my heart was whole again and that it belonged to me…as it always had. I had just forgotten….I had finally found a bit of the acceptance that I had been looking for .

Since that night I have felt optimistic about the future. I get to do things my way! There’s no one around to tell me what to do! It’s up to me!

I’m not sure why this is so exciting…but it is.

So, act one of “Anne’s rediscovered life” was to go to a concert to see if I still liked them…I drove the 5 hours and went to the venue and I was overjoyed. The music filled and inspired me. The song lyrics made sense. I was truly happy. And, although I went to the concert alone, I didn’t feel lonely once. I plan to do it again soon!

Shinedown and Papa Roach. I have seen both before. I look forward to seeing them again.

Thank you all for your continued love and support! It’s keeping me moving forward!

Stillness and peace,

Anne

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Happier Wednesday post

Hello!

I stopped in to say thank you all for your lovely thoughts.

The bleakness of depression has lifted. I hand many days of tears and sadness. I also changed my medication. Many love,y friends asked me for coffee and I went. Every single one of those people reminded me that I have so much love in my life. I just need to ask for it. And share mine back with them.

Together those things have worked to bring me back to where I can see some stillness and peace.

Along the way came another big blow. Craig is having a baby with his new girlfriend. A baby.

He is 48 and not even divorced yet. And he decided to do this with another employee who works for the same company as both of us. Sometimes I think his actual goal here is to humiliate and belittle me.

But, What it did was shine a light into my heart that showed that there was a small piece that was still holding on to hope that he would realize his mistake, beg for forgiveness, prove to me and the kids that he needed us and life would return to normal. After all…weren’t we worth it? Weren’t we worth some grovelling and missing?

Funny…that small bit of hope was fighting with the rest of my heart that wants me to see my freedom. That knows getting divorced was the right decision and that I could never live with someone is didn’t trust or respect. This part of me wants to reacquaint myself with Anne. To be me.

So. I have cried more and grieved and gently let go of that last piece of hope that things could be different than they are.

And you know what? It feels right. The anxiety is lessened. The future looks bright.

I think I now feel a bit of sympathy for him. 48 and a new baby? No thank you. I plan on retiring in 8 years. I guess he will be working a lot longer than me! Lol

And the kids have found their own interest in the idea of a sibling. This included anger, tears, heart wrenching sadness that they were not enough to keep their father happy (I can only say it takes everything in me to not hate craig for creating that thought) and acceptance. It’s only been a few days, but I can see that they will both be ok.

We will all be ok. Hopefully even craig, the gf and the baby.

Thank you for being there for me! The saga continues.

Stillness and peace,

Anne

Depressed – warning not a happy post

The low has turned into full on depression. Everything is heavy and dark.

I remember thinking I was going to be ok, that I was financially stable and that being in charge of my life was liberating. I was free to be me,whoever that is.

I remember going to work not too long ago and feeling happy, noticing the sun on my face and the green summer tress.

Right now I feel neither of those things. I feel empty. And oh so very sad.

I’m sad that things have changed and that craig didn’t love me. I’m sad that he has a new life and he doesn’t even miss me. After all these years…I’m sad that I now am both mother and father to our kids as he has moved on.

I’m just so tired.

Objectively I know this is grief and emotional burn out. My road trip turned out to be really hard. I must remember not to go visit complicated family when I am tired. It is not a break. And along the way I have reached out for help to a few people who hurt or criticized me in response. It has shaken me.

I went to my doctor last week. I had serious thoughts of going to the mental health clinic and committing myself. I’m afraid of myself…depression is sneaky. But Cleo and cooper need me. I KNOW this is temporary. I just keep forgetting.

My dr has taken me off work for a bit and I am going to only do supportive things. I have logged out of Facebook. I increased my antidepressant. I went to acupuncture and will go again this week.

And I guess I will also cry and try to let some of the sadness that has bubbled up out.

I am not drinking. Even in this scary dark place I know it would only add to the weight I feel. I know all these years of self discovery and change will help me find my way back to ok. Part if me even thinks that it will be better.

So if you are a meditator or a prayer please send me a bit of light. I really need it.

Stillness and peace

Anne

A low period…

Hi There! I am still here. Still sober. Even if there have been days where I wish I could turn off the world, and there have been many, I have not.

Craig has moved away. Last Friday I signed all the divorce paperwork and it will be filed soon and then it’s just to wait for the judge to approve. I keep the kids, the house, everything. He runs away to live with his latest girlfriend. 800 km away.

Since then I have sunk deeper into a bit of a depression. I am just so tired. My brain can’t quite keep up with reality. Some days I wish I could go to sleep and not wake up. I know this feeling well and I am being extra careful with myself.

On the plus side I love being single. I love sleeping alone, taking care of the house. I enjoy my new car. The kids are awesome and spends lots of time with me and we are closer than we have ever been. Most days are quite content. I am figuring out who I am. I never lived alone before and it’s interesting!

My neighbour fixed my lawnmower. I fixed a bike tire. I’m capable. I have an excellent job and am financially independent. Craig pays child support and I am ensuring the kids have the same standard of living they always had.

But it’s all confusing. One day I know this is just craig and his continuing seeking for something to settle himself. It’s not about me. The next I wonder what I did wrong…what I should have done differently…I know that’s not helpful. I can see I was already way too codependent and I did not need to sacrifice myself further on the alter of marriage…I’m forever listening to Ram Das and bringing myself back to be here now. The thoughts of who, what, why are irrelevant. We are getting divorced. I am now in charge of my own life. The possibilities are limitless.

But. The kids are caught in this. Their father has run away and they choose to not communicate with him, mostly because I don’t think either of them can begin to understand how this happened. I tell them often that it is not their fault. It’s all him. I hope they believe me.

I still wouldn’t change the last 20 some years. Besides the kids, who are amazing, lol, I have had some awesome trips, days, events. And some horrible ones. They all get me to where I am now. A true believer that suffering is grace, even if I hate it at the time.

I’m packing the kids into the car and going on a road trip tomorrow. I think I need the change of scenery and a bit of shopping therapy. I can’t get caught in the depression…it’s too dark.

As always, sobriety is the glue that holds my life together. Sober Anne is rational and competent. She can do hard things. I can remember how stressful the years of drinking were, and how scared I was of change then. How hard I clung to the familiar, even when it was killing me. I use that memory to let go more now. I don’t need to cling to a life that’s gone. I might miss what’s still to come.

Stillness and peace

Anne

Dates and meaning

I believe that much of our suffering results from the meaning we give things. Meaning that has no read basis. It is subjective. As things change, the meaning changes.

Today is my 20 year wedding anniversary. Of course, craig and I are well on the way to getting divorced and there will be no celebrating.

I wondered this morning if I should feel more sad. The past 6 months have been filled with a wide range of emotion from excruciating heartbreak to anger, disappointment to self confidence. I embrace the liberation of being in charge with no one else to accommodate.

It is earth shattering to have the person you love choose to betray you. It is a huge blow to one’s ego. It opens the door to questioning my worthiness and my value. Is something wrong with me that he would hurt me so badly?

Bu in the end it is him hurting himself. I choose to remove myself from the drama.

I have moved on with rebuilding a safe and supportive life for myself and my kids. We have changed up the house. We have created new routines. They help more. Which is new as until this all happened in November we have had a live in nanny for 15 years. None of us are good at taking care of the house! Lol

The pets continue to multiple. There is now a fish, mouse, hamster, rabbit, bird, bearded dragon, snake and a leap arc gecko. Whew!

Part of me is still sad for the old Craig. He is missing out on so much. But I have to let go of my sympathy for him. He has his path. I am walking my own. Some day he will just be somebody that I used to know….but not yet, obviously, as even writing that makes me sad…

My hope is that next June 5 I don’t even notice the date.

So I am good. Finding myself. Absolutely still sober and grateful for that every day as I chauffeur kids around and keep things as sane as possible.

Stillness and peace

Anne

Puzzle pieces

Bear with me…I have another analogy today about my life….

Our life has been like a puzzle. After many years of placing pieces we had created a lovely family picture. There were four of us, smiling, content. To get to this point has taken work from us both, independently and together.

Craig’s affair broke off his part of the puzzle. The pieces were thrown to the wind..damaged to a point they could never be put back where they were.

I’m left with The remaining part of the old picture…a picture of me and my two awesome kids. To smooth out the new edges I’m forced to continue dismantling the puzzle.

I changed my bedroom furniture, I sold my old van, I submitted all my financial document to get the divorce going. Each action is a removing of a piece of the puzzle that represents craig, and it is painful to do. I don’t want to be the one choosing to change the picture…but I can’t change the truth. The new picture only has three people in it.

Of course, it is still a lovely picture. And there are now seven pets joining us. Seems like a reasonable trade for one human.

I still have quite a few pieces to figure out. I’m not rushing them, but I’m doing it. The chance that the new picture is even better than the old is too attractive…just like sobriety!

Sometimes you just have to have faith.

Stillness and peace,

Anne

What is infidelity…

Hi there,

I know this is my sober blog. I started creating another blog to deal with my current life, but I stopped myself. This blog is really about me living my life sober. As such, I wrote about other things…depression, concerts, kids, natural disaster and now the end of my marriage.

I have written about craig a lot. We seemed to be best friends and had a lot of fun together. No…we were best friends and had a lot of fun together. I refuse to give up my good memories. Whenever I try to I become a little paranoid and unbalanced because then everything I know becomes questionable. I cannot live that way.

So, what am I going through…here is my analogy. If you have experienced this maybe it makes sense…

You and your spouse of many years are sitting side by side, marvelling at a sunrise. How beautiful. It’s a picture of perfect ease.

Without warning the spouse stabs you in the back with a knife. You are completely shocked and in pain. You cannot comprehend that your best friend, the person who has seen you at your best and your worst and still loves you, the father of your children, would do this.

He immediately says it wasn’t him. It was a mistake. There’s no knife. Don’t be silly. Let me help you.

You, confused, unable to reconcile your spouse, whom you love and trust, with a person who would stab you, agree to let him help you and turn your back to him.

He pulls the knife out. Pauses. And stabs you again. Immediate saying it was a mistake, somehow your fault for moving. There is no knife….don’t be so dramatic…

In pain, you are getting a bit more aware. No matter who you thought this other person was, they are now hurting you. Some self preservation kicks in. You step away from them.

He falls to his knees saying he didn’t mean to hurt you. He was confused. He’s not even sure where the knife came from. He loves you, but he’s unable to control himself with the knife. It will never happen again. He swears.

So you let him pull the knife out and quickly turn to face him. You still trust him enough not to hurt you when he is actually looking you in the eye. You know you will never turn your back to him again.

Suddenly he reaches out and slashes your arm. Again you are surprised. Then he slashed your other arm. And it dawns on you that you must move further away where he cannot cut you. It is very hard to do this. To leave your best friend, who you trust and love. You try to rationalize a reason for this behaviour. He is angry, he had a bad childhood, he is brainwashed, depressed, obsessed with knives. You watch him where he sits by himself, sharpening the knife, smiling at you. You wish you had thought to take the knife away after the first cut.

Scared and shaken you move far away from this person who would stab you and cut you without any apparent remorse or regret. Over time your wounds heal. They leave scars, but that’s just part of life. You never understand what happened, and eventually you stop trying to. There’s way too much life still to live.

Sorry for making the stabber a he. It could easily be a she as well.

Thank you for reading. I hope you have a good day. I plan to. Stay sober! It makes everything manageable.

Stillness and peace

Anne

Stupid foot

I’m waiting for an x ray of my foot. I had a stress fracture 2 years ago and it’s never really felt right again. There’s suddenly a big bump at the spot and it hurts. I went to Physio and she wouldn’t touch it until it was x rayed. Sigh.

It’s not stopping me from going to yoga, etc, but it throbs at night and it hurts to wear shoes…

Otherwise I am learning to be single. I find it very lonely some days. I miss having that person to text hi to. To marvel at the cold or to send funny news articles. I am not that great at feeding myself. For years I’ve meal prepped and cooked. Now I often have cheese and crackers.

I’m going to try to get back to normal with this this week. My son is willing to try new things and so I’m going to cook some teen friendly meals.

Maybe this will help me get motivated. I am isolating in the house. I don’t go to yoga every day. I think I needed this time. I have been cleaning out the house and putting things how I want them. It’s liberating after having a live in caretaker for 15 years. I’ve never really taken care of the house. I like it.

Part of the reason our caregiver stayed was because craig was vocal that he would not do the household work. He would pay for it, or I could do it. I tried to for a very short time and I realized doing housework while your spouse sits on the couch is extremely resentment building. So we paid someone.

Now I do it for me, and the kids, but they are a small help. It’s good.

I saw craig yesterday and he told me he was lonely, missed us all desperately and thought he would like to date. That he didn’t believe I would ever forgive him and I would beat him over the head with the affair for the rest of our lives if we tried to reconcile. Yup. It’s really all my fault.

It’s funny. This just clarified his inability to take responsibility for his actions and his tendency to blame everyone else.

It all makes me sad and heavy. I don’t want to be a single parent. I don’t want to be divorced.

But suffering is wishing things were different than they are. I don’t want to suffer unnecessarily. So on I go. New life.

Stillness and peace

Anne

Cold days

It’s cold here where I live. I expect it’s cold in most of North America. And living in northern Canada it is to be expected. But -55 is beyond acceptable. I have been hermiting in the house much more than usual. I admit, I like it.

We got a bird. His name is Paul. Yes, the zoo grows. We have Frank the bunny, Norman the fish, Dill the bearded dragon, peter the snake, Larry the mouse and Melvin the hamster. Some days I wonder what is wrong with me…lol but they are all small and, with the exception for frank, live in cages.

Being single is an interesting think. I moved Larry the mouse into my room so I have someone to talk to besides myself. He is a bit stinky…mice are brutal, but he makes me smile. And since my room is now all mine, who cares?!? I have never lived alone before.

Craig is no longer around. He appears remorseful and apologetic. It’s hard to tell what’s true and what’s lies to cover bad behaviour. I see him at work, we do work together, but that’s about it. I had some thought of just sucking it up and letting him come back, but I refuse to accept that cheating on your wife of 20 years with a sleazy young woman is acceptable or tolerated. I have way too much pride and self respect for that. Plus,he continued to lie to me about things…insignificant things (or maybe not…it’s hard to know when someone is a known liar and cheater). I’m not sure where his rigorous honesty is. I guess he still, has some work to do. And now he has lots of time for that.

The kids and I are settling into a nice routine. C Is going to school every day, which is a huge improvement for her. I finally demanded the school to help me find a way to assist her. Her school anxiety is debilitating. It took going to the district office, but they have accommodated her in a way that is working! This is so awesome. She is succeeding, and she is no longer texting me all day telling me how horrible it is. It’s helped us both. My son is playing basketball for his school, so I drop him off every morning for early practice. It’s nice to have a little alone time with him. I know he is somewhat sad and definitely angry. The three of us have already made a few plans. This could be fun.

Most days I am pretty resolved that I will be divorced at some point in the future. It’s hard to let go of 20 years. It’s very hard to believe that a parent could put illicit sex above their self respect, children and stability. But, of course, people do this all the time. It’s so cliche.

In many ways this experience is just like quitting drinking. I cling to my memories of craig as a good friend. As a fun guy. As someone I trusted explicitly. Just like I clung to the idea that life without booze would be dull, lifeless and hard. I rationalized my drinking for a long long time. Refusing to truly recognize the harm it was doing to me and my life.

Fear of change kept me in the pain of addiction. And, I am pretty sure that the same thing is happening here. Fear of change, of being alone, of having to decide everything for myself have me considering if I can accept Craig’s shitty behaviour and reunite. But my past experience shows that the leap of faith forward turns out to be much better than holding on what I know is hurting me.

Some days I’m very very sad. Occasionally I have been excruciatingly frustrated that this has happened without my consent (control freak) and on these days I am very careful with myself. I would love to dull my mind. But I know the only way to get past this is to let it be.

Most of the time I am looking forward to endless possibilities.

Stillness and peace

Anne

Codependency revealed

There is nothing like the deep cut of pain to open ones eyes to their own actions.

I am codependent. I have spent many years minimizing my own wants and needs to accommodate my husband’s. He never asked me to, but I have.

This is an old behaviour pattern for me. Read the room, decide how to keep the peace, act that way.

Smile, accommodate, don’t complain. It was still a mask, even if I didn’t realize it. I was still trying to protect myself from anger, criticism, being told I was selfish. I

I believed I was doing this to create contentment. I thought my behaviour was selfless.

But it was actually martyrdom and I was expecting so much less for myself than I deserve. Resentment has hidden inside and it has reared its head.

Why? Because it hasn’t worked. All my accommodating and lack of boundaries and empty threats didn’t keep craig in love with me. He still betrayed me. He did what he wanted. He always did.

I can only control my own behaviour, and my own behaviour has not always been for me. I can not control anyone else. Their decisions are on them.

So here is my opportunity. Now I can look at my life and try to remember what it is I want and value. And I can own those things, I can plan for them and I can find the words to voice my needs.

This has shaken me deeply. I know that is the sign that it’s real.

Stillness and peace,

Anne