MONDAY 21 AUGUST
I have written too many emails and made countless phone calls over the past months, all in an urgent attempt to get my husband the care he needs and the support he is entitled to.
The pressure has only been increasing, the desperation growing. But I had no real idea of where to turn, which path to take, or even how hard to fight. All I really had was determination.
So today, finally, I made a call to a lawyer who understands this demoralising battle I’m engulfed in. She had an answer for every last question I pressed on her. And she showed me a new way forward.
The relief was immediate, as I shrugged off the burden that I’ve been carrying for too long.
And despite being dragged down this morning by a distressing nightmare that lingered after I woke – where my husband was violently refusing the hospital’s care and absconding at every opportunity to drown his demons in drink – that simple phone call gave me the lift I had been hoping for.
Tomorrow is a new day, and I’ve already decided it’s going to be a day just for me.
TUESDAY 22 AUGUST
Many more hours on the phone today, but this time, underneath all the actual words, I was now hearing, “we care about your situation” and “we want to try and help you” and “what else can we do?”
Calls to Centrelink, on advice of my lawyer, to help with our financial hardship now my husband’s claim has been terminated. A visit to the GP for referrals to the psychologist. A long conversation with the social worker from the hospital, who rang purely to check on me and how the kids and I are coping at home. A call from my lawyer, a woman with a plan and more than enough knowledge to back it. And lastly, a call from my husband’s best mate (who lives on the other side of the world), who just wanted to know how I’m doing.
Today, everyone was on my side. It felt surreal.
But today, there was no call to my husband. He needs time to focus on his headspace and time to think about healing and time to concentrate on his recovery.
And I need… well I just need some space.
WEDNESDAY 23 AUGUST
It was certainly not the most ideal start to my new job today. A major computer crash only an hour in, on top of being left as the sole pharmacist in a foreign dispensary, made for a hectic and very tiring first day.
Years ago, a day like this would probably have left me reeling. The pressure, the impatient customers, the frantic pace. But stress has become so relative these days.
My life now is very different.
After years living alongside PTSD, my life has conformed – and deformed – in countless ways.
I have lived through disturbing situations I never imagined would become part of my story. And I have handled highly stressful episodes with a strength I never knew I possessed.
So a demanding first day at a new job has been shifted well down the scale for me now. It’s barely a bump in the road.
The demons of PTSD, with their emotionally exhausting battles, have not only forever changed my husband. They have forever changed me too.
THURSDAY 24 AUGUST
I know this is the right thing for now, and I know that this is the right thing for me, but I’m still trying to shake the feeling of guilt for stepping away.
I need a break from my words and my social media. Not a long one, just time to catch my breath and find some space while my husband is still in hospital. Because his stay is also meant to be our chance of respite.
With my ever-growing blog now taking up so much of my spare time, and our exhausting battle with the insurance company stealing the rest, I have nothing left over to just stop and be.
I am not defeated. But, to be true to my words of “caring for the carer”, I am going to take some time to just stop. And to just be.
I hope you will all understand.
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