I've been seeing a clinical psychologist who is a wonderful woman and because of her talent for mining silver linings out of pretty much any old cumulonimbus, I will henceforth refer to her as Pollyanna.
When I saw her last week, Pollyanna had me playing glad games; I sat down in her office spitting and steaming with anger. I left energized, happy and optimistic about the future.
During our long talk she had me realize that what has happened to me, to my family, though shocking and horrifying at times has quite a few upsides as well.
This event in our lives has been a catalyst for me finding my old self, the one I have been slowly losing touch with over the past six years.
I've found my strength again, I believe in myself and I've shown myself that, rather than having my old 'overwhelmed' default, I still hold scary levels of efficiency and capability (even while being smack in the middle of a life crisis). In between fielding assaults from his various lawyers, and taking good care of our baby girl, dealing with horrible flash-backs, attending family court... all the washing is done the house is immaculate and I've managed not to miss an appointment or be late for school.
I've also managed the final stages of a property purchase and began project-managing the renovation of that; meeting trades-people, getting quotes, shopping for fixtures. I've fixed a broken light fitting in the ceiling at home that's been out a couple of months now and without spending the requisite $150+ on an electrician. I've grocery shopped, banked checks, I've changed beds, done laundry, I've paid all the bills, I've organized the repair of my husbands damaged motorbike. And I feel proud of myself.
Like I said; my former default was 'overwhelmed' at the slightest thing. Some days it's started that way, but it feels a bit like when I used to ski; if ever I stopped to count the moguls I'd completely loose my nerve, so I'd just tuck my head and tackle the path as it appeared in front of my skis.
The night I came back from this wonderful session was the night I tried to pay a bill and found one joint account empty and the other blocked. Pollyanna texted me shortly after about a book we'd been discussing and I told her. She phoned me immediately and talked me down from the ledge I was climbing onto in my head.
As it turned out, the empty account was an error and the other account he'd blocked at the height of his mania. As Pollyanna pointed out; to block the account after he left hospital would have been an act of war, but it wasn't the case.
He's fixed the finances, and Lilli and I have money to live on until I can find a way to make a living for us (I've had enough of being financially dependent).
Oddly enough, even while I thought we were about to become destitute, I wasn't sorry that I'd ignored all the advice on offer and emptied our bank accounts myself. I told Pollyanna this too and she said; "That's not who you are." She's right, I don't steal from my family no matter what's happening and I think it can't hurt his recovery to discover all his worst fears about me where unfounded.
I am the same; I'm honest, I play fair. I have integrity. Pollyanna says without these things, I cannot have self respect and "if you cant respect yourself you don't have much to work with".
In the spirit of Pollyanna's glad game; these things have happened to me us a result of this disastrous situation:
I am stronger
I am a bit smarter
I am determined to regain my independence
I am believing in myself again
I am refocusing on myself and my needs instead of putting everyone else first and me last. (this is not good for me or for the people I love but don't show trust in their managing things for themselves)
I see possibilities and opportunities for me again
My confidence has grown
My loving relationship with my daughter is even stronger than before (if that's at all possible)
AND ...I'm back in my skinny jeans! (being off my food for weeks and then too busy for meals anyway, has cost me about fifteen pounds).
He knows he was suffering from mania
He's recovered a lot from where he was
He hasn't left us penniless
He told the doctor he wants to reconcile
He started asking how Lilli is again
He's communicating, albeit by text, but they're not nasty.
He looks like he might get some help with the scary skeletons from his family closet
He's even had two play-dates with Lilli (and brought her back)
I owe so much to Pollyanna who has calmly, deftly talked me down from several emotional ledges and introduced me to the brilliant works of Byron Katy.
I also owe everything to my lovely Mom who's been staying with me for the past ten days. She thinks she hasn't done much, but she's supported me, hugged me, made me tea. She's fed the dog, sat in the car with sleeping Lilli while I've run into hardware stores, and held my hand through some serious ups and downs.
She's also brought me back in touch with the tough girl I used to be; a chip off the old block. Her Block