My emotional rollercoaster

These days I normally tell people I am happy. I’m three years clean after all – I have my son back for nearly a year now and all is well. It’s mostly true and I am happy, but it’s more complicated than that and I have written about it before. I feel it’s time to do so again.

This time I’ll wind back the clock a little further. I don’t know how to avoid this post being too long though. I’ll try to be brief, but too much brevity will result in glossing over things that had significant impact on my life.

Let’s go back to 2010. I’d spent 4 months in rehab, and upon coming out Megan followed me in. She was there for 3 months. Our son Josh was with my brother and his wife – a private arrangement. Three months later, Megan joined me in a sober house where I was living temporarily, and two months after that we rented a place, the place where I am living now – a 2 bedroom place because Josh was supposed to come back to us then.

Our relationship was not normal. I need to point this out or else again give the impression that everything was her fault. We were not having sex, because I rejected her every advance, every day. It’s hard to explain, but due to what happened before, I couldn’t. I figured I would get over it eventually, but “just for now” I couldn’t. So in September 2010, 2 days before Josh was supposed to come back to us, she disappeared. My brother and I went to every hospital looking for her, and he suggested what had happened, but I didn’t want to hear it. She had run away to Cape Town. (We are from Cape Town. I stay in Johannesburg now. Rehab was in Natal, followed by a relocation.)

So I was broken up about that, was borderline suicidal, and thus didn’t get Josh back as planned. Megan relapsed, but I convinced her over the phone to stop and stay clean for a week, then return to Johannesburg and test negative for meth. (Not too bright on my part.) After she returned, she tried to talk me into using (which she had already been doing without success for a few months). And this time I gave in. So at nine months clean, I relapsed, and we both used for a week. I managed to stop, but it was too late. My family involved child welfare, and even though we had already stopped using, they interviewed Megan while I was at work, and concluded that she was on drugs (she wasn’t) and could not make any decisions by herself… And thus the arrangement with Josh in foster care became more official. Not “finalized” yet but that happened later.

After that, she convinced me to use again. And I figured that since they were treating me like I was using, even though I wasn’t, I might as well use. I wanted to anyway. And that was that.

Then Megan liked playing with my phone… The app everyone used was called Mixit, and she met a guy through that, and started cheating on me before leaving me for him. He was a Pakistani, and abusive… At one stage she begged me to fetch her from the police station when she was staying in Springs because he had hit her. But every time, she only stayed with me for a couple of days, then went back to him for weeks or months, and over a year the last time. She used to come back and promise not to leave again… then I’d go to work and return to an empty apartment because she’d left me while I was at work.

I was a wreck then. I was using meth every day, and every night. I had voices in my head most of the time, often Megan’s voice telling me that she loved me. (Something the real Megan hadn’t said for years, but the one in my head used to say it all the time. I’d be at work or walking across a parking lot, and suddenly freak out because I’d heard her whisper in my ear, sometimes in company. And it was getting more difficult all the time to shut the voices out.) I knew the voices weren’t real, but I saw a pattern… every time, just before she would call and come back to me, the voices would “peak” and I’d hear her crying and begging me to help her… then she’d show up in real life. So I was delusional, thinking that we had some kind of psychic connection and belonged together. Meanwhile I was incapable of being there for Josh, although I did start paying his expenses. And I saw him now and then, by staying clean for a week here and there so that I could test negative for meth and be allowed to visit him.

Meanwhile Megan had converted to Islam and gone to Pakistan with her new husband. After she found that he had full blown AIDS, which he refused to treat because he was in denial, she came back again, leaving him on his deathbed. Not to me at first, but eventually, having given birth to his daughter. (I don’t pity him. At one stage, one of the many times she came back to me briefly, he called me and gave me a long lecture about how I should control her, not unlike a similar conversation from another guy that she cheated on me with before all of this. It seems that abusers love to tell me how I should treat women – and abuse them just like they do. It’s unfortunate that she would leave me repeatedly for an abuser, and I don’t know why she would do that, but the “fix” is not to become abusive myself. Anyway, that guy was an idiot and I’m glad he’s dead.)

Edit: Worth adding, and I don’t know why or how this happened, but in the last six months before she returned and I then cleaned up, my meth use, which was more than ever before, more or less stabilized. It doesn’t make sense, but the voices stopped – except for when I stayed awake for several days at a time and became paranoid while coming down. But I slept an hour or two every night, so I didn’t get into that state anymore. I was still high all the time (because that’s how I used – that’s how it goes when you’re a meth addict), but was coherent and was thinking clearly. So in that last six months, I was functional, I was a team leader at work with two developers working under me, and in fact I was doing most of the work. I wasn’t normal by any means, but for that brief period, my drug use was under control. I didn’t want to use anymore, but procrastinated every day. “I’ll stop tomorrow”, I thought; but tomorrow never comes.

And that brings us up to date, more or less. I cleaned up the day they arrived, in September 2013. I’d reached a point where I needed a prod to motivate me to stop using, and this was it. Megan’s little girl gave that initial motivation I needed to stop. I love that little girl. And that’s where my sadness comes from now. They stayed with me for nearly two years, and in that time Aishah and I became close. I treated her like my own daughter. The other night, I was sitting on the balcony at home, and I looked up at a neighbour’s balcony, on which there was a child’s chair. It made me remember the day I bought a chair for Aishah. She was only just over a year old. But I brought it home and told her, “This is your chair. Aishah’s chair!” and she was so excited… She carried it everywhere and sat right in front of me on it. Then the next day she discovered that she could stand on it to reach stuff of interest.

That’s just one example. I can’t write more without becoming overly emotional. Aishah gave me reason to live again. Josh couldn’t because I didn’t see him every day. But his sister could. For two years I was not only happy, I was joyful, ecstatic even. And we did get to see Josh more, since we were clean and took part in two programs that we were required to do in order to get him back. But there were always things to be used against us, contrived reasons that the foster care, which should never have happened at all, dragged on and on.

And then, Megan and Aishah went to Cape Town on holiday. But she didn’t tell me that she had no intention of ever coming back. Let that sink in.

They came back to Johannesburg a couple of months later and lived with some family friends of Megan, without even telling me straight away. And after that, we did see Aishah regularly again. At one stage I took both children to an indoor trampoline park every week, and last December I got Josh back. But at the end of April, Megan and Aishah went to Cape Town for good.

So while I am happy to have Josh back, I miss his sister. I don’t think of her all the time and cry on my drive to work (because I used to take her to and from crèche every day, and we’d play these games where she called out “Bus!” or “Truck!” after I taught her the words)… not anymore. But I do think of her every day. Again, I can’t say too much on this subject, because the tears will flow too fast and leave me incapable of writing.

And recently Megan asked if Josh could come to her for a week’s holiday… I don’t have a piece of paper saying I have sole custody, although she agreed in court for him to come to me. So really, the same person who could go there “on holiday” with no intention of coming back, thinks that I can trust her enough to send our son there all by himself, on holiday. It really gets to me. But what gets to me most is how much I miss my little girl.

Edit: I do trust Megan now. I really do. But that doesn’t matter. If Josh were to go to Cape Town alone and anything happened, there are a few people who will say “I told you so”. And although I can trust her, I don’t know if I can trust her family. Megan is very impressionable… for years she listened to everyone except me. She will take advice from an imbecile before she considers my view. I recall once begging her for three hours not to leave when she decided to leave in the middle of the night. (We were both high.) She conceded that everything I said was true, and then left anyway.  And when she went to Pakistan, those people told her that once you convert (or “revert” as they call it – they do believe stupid shit) to Islam, you can’t deconvert. And she believed them. For nearly two years she wouldn’t let Aishah eat bacon, for goodness sake. I do not know who she has been speaking to in Cape Town, and what kind of “advice” she has received. So while my heart may say I can trust her, my brain cannot take that risk. (And as illogical as it is, I do still love her and would take her back if I could. I must be a glutton for punishment.)

11 thoughts on “My emotional rollercoaster

  1. No, it didn’t make it worse. But it didn’t make things better either.

    Please, Jerome, consider this sentence: [Megan] will take advice from an imbecile before she considers my view.

    Based on that sentence, I have to tell you this: Love is apparently blind and illogical for both Megan and you (at least for you). How can you call that “real love”? I’m sorry, but I can’t understand.

    Maybe you love her because she is the mother of your son Josh? And the mother of Aishah, the little girl you too love as if she were your own child. (Neither of these reasons are bad ones.)

    But at the same time I beg you to consider this saying: Sometimes it’s better to follow your heart than your brain.

    Nevertheless, Jerome, “sometimes” is not equivalent to “always”.

    All the best for you, my friend!

    And please, Jerome, don’t get angry with me now for my telling you these harsh remarks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right though. I tried making it work for the children and that didn’t go so well.

      Yesterday I found out the landlord wants to sell the place I’m living in, and I don’t know what exactly I’m going to do. I am broke today, for the month already… draw the last of my money out of my account. So I couldn’t even afford to take her back and feed another adult and child anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Now I’m really worried, Jerome! You are brilliant and logical in your analyses of religious and woo bullshit. Seemingly a very intelligent and clever man. Easy to like. Interesting to know. Equipped with with a kind and loving heart.


    …at the same time your private life seems to be a complete mess. Lind of.

    Already broke on November 2? How is that possible? I hope there is a network of REAL & TRUSTWORTHY friends – hopefully also relatives – around you.

    You need people around you whom you can trust. Rely on. Get energy from. Now. Immediately.

    The life situation you describe is awkward.

    Now you must be strong in all kinds of ways. I don’t want to lose you! So repeat like a mantra: “I’ve been clean for three years now and must continue being clean.” And: “Josh is my lifeline, he needs me and I need him.”

    If I were religious – which I’m not – I would have believed that God’s trying to punish you for denigrating and not worshipping him. But instead I believe you are a bit naïve. For instance by trusting people who aren’t fair to you. Why can’t you see that people exploit (cash in on) you? You seem to be meek like Jesus in the Bible. And remember what happened to him! He got nailed on the cross. Don’t follow his bad advice and ideas.

    YOU DESERVE SOMETHING THAT IS MUCH BETTER THAN THIS MESS, JEROME.I don’t want you to fall down into the rabbit hole again.

    So, please, stay clean! And start cleaning up in youir surroundings, symbolically speaking.

    Away with all wrong decisions. Use your brain! Think logically! I know you can.

    Start being brilliant and logical also in the way you lead your own private life. Sometimes it feels as if you are your own worst enemy. Stop treating yourself like crap!!! I want to see you happy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can only do my best. The financial situation really sucks. I earn an OK salary – 47k per month (around 33k after tax) which is quite high for South Africa, certainly above average. But my expenses are terrible… Rent, electricity, car, car insurance, gym, school fees, life insurance, retirement annuity… it would be OK if it was just that. Then I have one debit order to “credit card legal” for old debt, and two debit orders for a car I no longer have, and another card that I’m supposed to pay but have not. I drew the last of my money out of my account yesterday, leaving me with 4k for the month, but… I have not collected my new contact lenses (am wearing my old specs – which I did for a whole month already), am supposed to go to the dermatologist (R800 for an appointment and I haven’t bothered to get that medication last month), and will have to get the next (and last) repeat of my hypertension medication (high blood pressure). Since it’s the last repeat, that means I have to see that doctor too, which is R400 a session. Not sure exactly what I’ll do but I’ll manage.

      Will see a banker, also want to find out if I can stop (and maybe reverse) those 2 debit orders for the old car, which will give me back R2500. And find out what the repayments will be and if I can afford to buy the place I’m living in. But the idiot bankers (I qualify for private banking) aren’t calling me back, after I filled in the online contact form. I think they use my old email address.

      Having my mother there is a huge burden. She is staying in what was supposed to be Josh’s room, and Josh and I are sharing a room, with our two beds next to each other. Looking around, I can’t find another 2 bedroom place for less than R2000 more per month than my current rent, so three rooms are out of the question. It’s unfair that I have to look after my mother with no help from my brother, but I’m stuck with her.

      I have nobody I can rely on, nobody I can ask for money, so I just have to find a way. There is an unclaimed fund I can collect for an old RA or something – I keep forgetting to fill in the form. But the local revenue service might deny me collecting it because I am behind on my tax returns, plus they say I owe them money. It must be a mistake but I have been putting off trying to get that sorted out.

      But no worries about drugs. I don’t even think about that… Like, it isn’t even a consideration.

      Edit: Of course there are several expenses I forgot to mention… such as petrol and grocery shopping. (The shopping for an extra adult really kills me financially.) Plus I have a second credit card that I normally pay into, and then use in the latter part of the month. That card has eventually maxed out over the year, and this month I couldn’t pay anything into it. My cheque account is also maxed (the overdraft) and goes a little over the limit because the one debit order (to credit card legal at the same bank) is forced through in the middle of every month. So if I leave money in that account, it disappears. However, having a lot of cash on me is inconvenient. If it wasn’t for the expenses I still have to pay, I could take that 4k cash, and split it to 1k for each week. That’s kinda what I’ve done now. I have 1k in my wallet, and 3k stashed at home. Actually I did something similar last month, with less money.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Also, I struggle to multitask. When I am at work, I can’t seem to focus on any of this personal stuff I need to sort out. I’m working on up to three projects at work, plus when new clients have to integrate with our services, it’s always me who has to create accounts, credentials etc for them, and sort out what’s going wrong when they have issues using our various web services.

      And now, I’ve had what was supposed to be the last part of some major changes to a system, made by my colleague, handed over to me. It’s supposed to be almost done, but there are some issues that need to change fundamentally in the code, on the lowest levels of a complex, abstracted system. So the expectation is that I have been handed something that’s trivial to complete, and that expectation is completely and utterly wrong. Not my colleague’s fault, mind you, it’s just not as trivial as he expects it to be.

      So I have this pressure on me to perform at work, pressure that’s often unfair, and I’m struggling to cope with that, never mind my personal life which I tend to forget while I am at work.

      I’m getting better at multitasking, in that I am getting more done when working on multiple things at work, but then my personal life suffers more.

      I don’t really have a personal life. I go home, help Josh with his homework, maybe play a game for a few minutes and download a movie, then I go to sleep. Rinse and repeat. Except weekend when I get a little time to watch movies and some limited rest. But that’s it.

      I’m happy with my situation, that is, with having Josh back and raising him, but my life is a mess.

      Edit here too: The issue at work is I have all this pressure on me to deliver, and… This is a small place with the architect only working here 2 days a week – not even that lately, and a junior dev who works on something unrelated. The number of systems we have has increased in the last year or so, and because some of them are overly complicated (not by me), setting up accounts for integrating clients and such is time consuming. Also because the number of systems has increased, and there will always be bugs, I am constantly having to switch from one thing to another… queries always come in and support can’t deal with most of them, so investigating issues and fixing bugs takes loads of time as well… meanwhile the pressure on me to deliver does not change. I know of two new projects coming my way, and some major changes to one system coming tomorrow. I’m overwhelmed, overworked, and on the threshold of not coping.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Well, I bought some time with the landlord. Told her I am interested in buying the place and need a couple of days to meet my financial advisor and see what the bond repayments will be, and if I can afford them…

      I have to meet with someone in private banking anyway, and will try to get to that tomorrow or Saturday.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are very openhearted and frank, Jerome. Here on your blog. You seem to be a very honorable man. Indeed you deserve respect.

    But at the same time I feel that you urgently need someone to talk to about your financial problems and other worries. It’s hard to be alone, to feel alone, to be the one who always has to perform and achieve not only every day but rather every hour of every single day.

    Everybody here reading your blog understands that you have a hard and strenuous time at the moment. But just lately you told us, your blog followers, the “real” truth about your life. That your life is like an emotional rollercoaster. That your life is, more or less, a complete mess. At the moment.

    I recommend you to to dare to share your burdens with others – or at least tell others of them that those burdens exist and are very heavy.

    By telling us (your blog followers) all this, Jerome, you took an important step #1 in your quest for freedom and a better life.

    Now it’s time for you to take step #2.

    This next step might – but not necessarily must – be that you also tell all your workmates – your boss included – at the office what’s wrong with your tasks/assignments there.

    I think you are very skilled senior C# developer, Jwerome, but that you often get the wrong types of problems to solve.

    As far as I understand it you are a good problem solver both at work and in your private sector of life.

    But way too often you seem to be the one who has to correct and revise what others have complicated to much for you, or for themselves. In short: You seem to get the wrong tasks to solve. Which means there is a suboptimal use of your talents.

    It’s like this metaphor: Suppose you’ve lost your keys. Then you start looking for them where you suppose you lost them and not search for them near the closest lamppost, although of course it’s much easier to look for keys on the ground in the light from that lamppost, but you’ll never find your keys by looking at the wrong places.

    Do you understand my metaphor, Jerome? Good, then you might explain it to me, because I don’t understand it myself… *just joking*

    Anyhow, maybe you should try to break a bad habit, Jerome? It’s seldom a good thing never to tell your friends you are in trouble. Perhaps that’s why you long for Megan, because you dared to share your problems with her? I don’t think your longing for Megan is about love; it seems to be something else (than love) you miss in your life.

    As to your job, Jerome, and the suboptimal use of your talents there, can it be, maybe, that you’ve never ever told your boss that a good motto often is the old saying it’s often better to nip it in the bud? Do it right right from the beginning. And you don’t need to make so many time-wasting corrections.

    If I’m right here, can it be that you’re too meek (and like Jesus) also at the business office, almost afraid of demonstrating how skilled and clever you indeed are? Then repeat after me: “I’m not a Christian, I’m an atheist! I don’t care a damn about Jesus and his meekness and submissiveness. I don’t need to be loved by him. I don’t even want to be loved by that liar.”

    And tell me, Jerome: Is it completely impossible for you to get some help from your brother? Or from your business firm? An advance on salary or something like that.

    Do your boss know how talented and skilled (I suppose) you really are, Jerome?

    I doubkt they know it. You are probabkly to meek to show them your real value. Why? Is it a kind of self-hate?

    One thing is for sure: You don’t any God to punish you. You do that yourself better than any God might do it to you.

    Please, stop hating and punishing you!

    You seem to be good at hiding your light under a bushel. Why, Jerome, why?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To the question at the end… I don’t know.

      Your suggestion about the advance in salary reminded me of something I forgot to mention. (Excuse another long story – will try to be brief). It turned out, at the end of July, my car had what’s called a balloon payment arranged. I didn’t know such things exist. 33k left to pay, in one go. Obviously I couldn’t afford to pay it in one go because that’s my whole net salary. So I had to refinance the car for another year. But the bank stopped the debit order one month early, and although I refinanced it, they didn’t arrange a new one. So every month, I had to go into a bank and pay it manually. But I was one month behind because they fucked it up. I thought it was sorted, then found out a week or two into last month that the debit order still wasn’t loaded, and I had to make two payments. I made the one, and had to get an advance on this months salary for the second one. So this month I got R2600 less than usual, but the debit order was loaded – I think.

      I do find it hard to assert myself. I’m sarcastic and outspoken, but maybe don’t speak up for myself enough. The issues at work are not only on me though… It’s more about it being a small company and unfair expectations forced on everybody, by an autocratic company owner who expects people to work late. I was once reprimanded for leaving at 5PM every day… when the day ends.

      You might be right about the suboptimal use of my talents, especially when I have to juggle different projects, the focus changes all the time, and when I am forced to do tasks other than development, and other than development using the language of my choice.

      Liked by 1 person

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