In the cold light of morning

A strange thought occurred to me this morning.

I was driving, having stopped in the front at a traffic light. It changed to green, and since I didn’t immediately pull forward, the person behind me hooted in those 400 milliseconds or so of my hesitation (one of my pet hates by the way). It didn’t really worry me but as I pulled away, I remembered how differently this would have been several years ago when I used meth.

I cannot emphasize enough how horrible it was driving to work in those years. I’d shower and change for work, not having slept the night before – sometimes several nights before, then have a last few hits of meth to “wake up” and drive to work.

The drive to work thus served two objectives:

  1. Get to work. (Obviously)
  2. Get the edge off. (i.e. lose the worst immediate effects of the meth high)

Objective number two didn’t always work, and even when it did work, that drive while extremely high, anxious, paranoid, and depending on how many days I’d been awake, on one hell of a downer, was highly unpleasant. You can be high and on a downer at the same time. You can be out of your mind high and depressed from a downer simultaneously. And that’s how I usually was in the morning, so high I’d sometimes forget sections of roads I drove every day, overly anxious and paranoid, and prone to bursting into tears because the meth downer is brutal. I’d also be  paranoid to the extent that sometimes I’d think I was being followed, and someone hooting at me would have put me into a manic panic.

One of my favourite bands is Placebo, and one day, having bought their album Meds, it reached track 12 (track name used for the title of this post) for the first time. The song described my life exactly, and I burst into tears while driving. It didn’t help that track 13, A song to say goodbye, was in my mind a song about giving up on somebody who had ruined their lives with drugs. I took that one personally too.

I still love both of those songs, especially In the cold light of morning. But fuck those years, I never want to feel those feelings again.

 

 

I’m still sad

it hasn’t been the best Christmas and New Years for me, although I did get to spend some time with Josh. I only had five days leave, this past week, and spent much of my time either sleeping while Josh played on the Xbox, or playing on the Xbox while Josh slept. But hey, my season 19 Diablo 3 character is as close as I can ever get to finishing the whole seasonal journey, with just one conquest to go… either get 50 million gold in a single game or finish all five acts of the game in less than one hour… both of which are not possible with my character in single player mode (unless I could play for several months more and reach a higher level). But I’m playing Torment 15 difficulty which is pretty high for a new character, my “weakest” character actually, and the season is almost over. This has been a weird way to spend my annual leave.

Anyway, my sadness isn’t about Josh, it’s his sister, Aishah. I miss her. She went to Cape Town with her grandmother in October, after staying with us for seven months, while their mother was AWOL. I thought my ex would go to rehab (or treatment, whatever she needs as long as she is far away from here), but since the start of December, she’s been in Cape Town too and has her daughter back. The plan was for Aishah and her grandmother to come here for Christmas, but that didn’t happen. In fact I haven’t even spoken to her since the start of December, after three moths of hearing her tell me how excited she was to come here every day, and every day asking if I had her Christmas present.

So I’m sad. I really do love and miss the little girl. Josh doesn’t understand. I try to explain to him that just as [name redacted] loves him because she used to foster him, I love Aishah because I did take care of her for her first two years, and then the last seven months including her sixth birthday here. (He just asked me what I’m writing about and I tried to explain it again. He really doesn’t understand.)

So… yeah… this crazy sense of longing for a family that never was and my love for his sister who I wish was here… it doesn’t go away. Not even three and half months of antidepressants (so far) takes all of it away. It sucks.

I was just reminded of her actually… insomnia took me on a random spree of YouTube videos and I watched this one by a DM on how to deal with players who cheat. And quite unexpectedly it reminded me of Aishah. I taught her to play Monopoly, and she really loved the game, but I had to deal with her cheating. She used a technique that he mentions in the video, because she learned that she could drop the die a certain way, rather than rolling them, and always get a six. Also sometimes she would cheat if I didn’t watch her roll the dice. I was amazed that a six year old could come up with such clever ways of cheating – especially the dropping a die in such a way as to force a “legitimate” six. She is incredibly bright. She’s gifted, more intelligent than either myself or Josh, and I really wanted to be able to be the one to guide her to adulthood… I don’t want to spell it out exactly but there are certain privileges that she won’t get with her mother. But it isn’t meant to be I guess.

Emotions in turmoil

Just a quick one to mention why I am not focusing on writing right now…

I’m on day ten of taking an antidepressant, and my emotions are all over the place. I seem to be swaying between emotional overload and detachment, and although I’ve had things I want to write, I can’t quite seem to find the words.

I’m caught between an emotional post I want to write, about Aishah’s abandoned teddy bears, and anger at her mother… for things like my mother’s missing wedding ring, Aishah’s tablet, my phone, my money… memories of Aishah telling me not to worry because Father Christmas would buy presents for all of us, and the way things were a few months ago when all seemed well on the surface but I ignored signs that something was not quite right about Megan. Maybe my depression was always there, and my coping skills were messed up, having me lie to myself about some things to try keeping other things the way they were.

Normal writing will resume when my emotions settle down a bit.

And life goes on

It’s the second day treating my depression after this recent incident, the second day taking an antidepressant; can’t say I’m feeling that much better. But at least I am managing. Yesterday was a nightmare… after going to the doctor, I changed the lock on the front door – it seems the police can’t serve Megan with a protection order barring her from entering my home (she has keys) because I don’t know her address. But I could not go for as long as 30 seconds without losing something, be it a screw, the screwdriver, the duct tape I used to try holding the outer door latch in place while I fitted the inner one, or whatever… I was not thinking clearly at all. At least that is better now.

What gets me is that they left without even a goodbye. Well, that’s one of many things that gets me. Megan left chaos in her wake. I can’t even find one matching pair of my own socks, yet there are clothes of Aishah folded on my bedroom table, more of her clothes on the bed, and more on the clothes stand in the lounge. The washing basket that’s supposed to contain dry cleaned washing has wet washing on the bottom, left there for days. There’s breakfast cereal missing, and even two minute noodles. I also can’t understand how the police can’t make a case against her for my missing cash, when she was the only other adult here.

It’s clear she only came back for the weekend because she knew I was getting paid. She went shopping with me, leaving me puzzled that she only wanted to buy toiletries, and food for the day… now I understand why. All her toiletries are of course gone, but she also put a T-shirt ready for me, hanging on the back of my chair. Bizarre behaviour is the norm for her though.

Someone asked me, “Why did you leave cash lying around?” As if I should not be able to leave cash in my wallet in my own home! Way to blame the victim, but if I can’t leave my wallet with cash on my own table inside the privacy of my own home, then the person who was in the home with me can not be trusted.

Someone says Megan is strong. No, going from one relationship to the next, always claiming to have been a victim of abuse at the previous one… that’s not strength. Besides burning this bridge, I wrote this to vent, and besides that, I wrote it to make this crystal clear… whoever she is with now is no doubt hearing the same bullshit about how she was abused before, and when it doesn’t work out (and it won’t), that person becomes the next abuser in her narrative. Mark my words, she will want to come back here, but she can’t.

Her mother also seems to believe her denial of being on drugs… Let’s make one thing clear… This was not the first time she stole from me. When she stole before, she was using… with me. That was back when I was still using meth too. The only time I have known her to steal is when she’s on drugs. And taking some money out of a wallet while leaving the rest so that it isn’t obvious unless you count the money… that’s something she does. So sure, I did not witness her stealing anything, but put two and two together, for fuck’s sake.

Edit: I have no evidence that she used drugs, but she was drinking. I’m even finding empty bottles behind the washing machine.

A couple of months ago, in one of those rare moments when Megan actually spoke to me, she said something along the lines of, “I don’t lie, right?” When I replied that she lies all the time, she responded, “No, I always tell the truth when it’s from the heart.” What does that even mean? I always tell the truth when I’m not telling lies?…Newsflash: If you lie so often that you have to define an arbitrary, moveable exclusion for when you tell the truth, then you are a liar.

Excuse the rant… Again. It’s hard to get over this while there is still stuff left from her being here spread all over the house.

On the other hand, I have now experienced first hand the frustration and hurt that one experiences when trying to help an addict. My advice to anyone who wants to help an addict, someone they care about… Don’t. Just cut them off. Don’t give them money. Don’t get attached to child who is not yours, and mostly, never give such a person the benefit of doubt. If you have a bad feeling about them, listen to that feeling. If they are acting strangely, do not think that you need evidence like a drug test to prove them to be clean. When someone is clean, there will be evidence of their sobriety, signs that you can pick up in their words and deeds. But when someone acts strangely and has strange stories to explain their behaviour, assume everything is a lie because it probably is.

Edit… Also this:
image

You don’t care about us

Apparently it’s high time I treat my depression.

I’ve returned from the doctor, and now I’m on an antidepressant. (Nuzak) But going to collect it was Hell. I went into Dischem and waited for it, but when the pharmacist gave it to me and I had to sign the form, all I could think of was two days ago, when Josh and Aishah both went with me to collect my hypertension meds. Aishah likes to sign the form too, and the last couple of times I let her. It’s cute… endearing. It’s one of those many moments that felt special, in a way her mother, who is never really present, will never understand. But now, not knowing when or if I will ever see that little girl again, now is something else. I would say it feels like death but it’s worse than that.

Feeling like death is normal for me. It has been for a long time. I have grown accustomed to being empty, my emotions a desolate wasteland of nothingness. Once every few months I have a good day, but every day otherwise is death. And occasionally Josh asks why I’m so sad but I can’t answer. At least that’s the way it was. Now it’s worse. Now it’s something else.

It feels like too much. I’m still not over the death of my mother, and in a way I was OK with Megan using me – I thought it was for a greater good, for Aishah. For Josh. For both of them to be together as a family. And somehow for a time my endless sadness faded. Not completely, but it faded. Now it’s back worse than it ever was.

When Megan made her absurd accusation against me, I went to lay on the bed, and did nothing other than stare into space for two or three hours. I couldn’t move. I pictured myself writing a note, a brief declaration with nothing other than “I didn’t touch her” and slashing my wrists. Of course I couldn’t do that. But it’s a fantasy. A fantasy of escape, of relief and release from this endless emotional torment of existence.

But I have to be strong for Josh. The problem is, I’ve been doing that for years, and it doesn’t go away. This feeling deep down, of empty despairing hopelessness and a need for release… it only grows worse with time. My mother’s death took me further into the abyss, and this latest episode with Megan using me and taking advantage of my devotion for Aishah, while it brought temporary happiness with the few months of both children together, has plunged me even further down the nightmare road.

I’ve reached a point where it can not continue. I can not function like this any longer, can not pretend to be able to cope, and I certainly can not deal with somebody like my brother and his “help” which involves disregarding everything I feel and lectures about thinking logically rather than emotionally. I can’t just switch this off. If I could, I would.

So hopefully treating my depression with medication will make a difference. It’s a start, anyway.

But still, it hurts to be used. To give my all to help someone for six months, only to be abandoned like I don’t matter at all. And what of her son, Josh? He was here yesterday because it was the last day of his school holiday, watching a movie with Aishah. She lied to him, told him that she was just going downstairs. Then she took Aishah and didn’t come back. Who does that? (Actually she has does this sort of thing before.)

Somehow I will find the strength to go on, and I hope the antidepressant will help me feel OK, more able to be there for Josh and not have everything be such a struggle. I’ve been doing alright, I think, but I know he worries about me, and he shouldn’t have to.

Anyone out there having suicidal thoughts? Glad you are still here…

I shared this one on Facebook and received not one reaction, so maybe it belongs here instead. I’m not going to go into much any more detail here than I did there, because reasons… So the text that follows is verbatim what I wrote on the status, together with the image. I’ll block quote it so the typeface is different to this one…

Uh… In 2010 when she-who-shall-not-be-named ran off the day before we were supposed to get Josh back, I admitted to having suicidal thoughts.

That was used against me by my own extended family, who pushed for child welfare and getting him into foster care because I was “obviously not ready to care for him”. And they succeeded, partly because relapse and being high was a better option than suicide and being dead.

That was my “support structure”. That’s what I had to deal with in my journey out of addiction. I thrived in the end despite “help”. But to this day, if ever I have suicidal feelings, I dare not admit it, because I guarantee they would try to use it against me again, and take my son away from me again.

I’ve had Josh back since 2015… but it’s worth sharing all the same. There are people who will use your depression against you, and then boast to all and sundry how they helped you.

Image may contain: text

I guess my message here is simple… Life can be shit. And people will kick you when you’re down, then gaslight you after you get up again, dismissing everything you’ve achieved yourself while trying to take credit for helping you up when they did not. Fuck them. You’re always on your own when it comes down to it; although sometimes it’s less obvious than others. But if I can get up, if I can keep going despite it being tough, so can you. keep it up.

My issues; I don’t know if I am depressed or just sad

I wish all my readers a happy new year. We had a good holiday, and although I only took one week of leave, that week was well spent with Megan and Aishah who came to visit Josh and I.

The time spent with them was not without its problems though, and this brought some things to my attention. Maybe on some level I knew that something was wrong, but I didn’t know how wrong it was.

The time spent with them was marred by Josh’s poor behaviour. Not only was he jealous of his sister and the attention she received from me, but he was mean, selfish, and spiteful. His behaviour was so bad, Megan and Aishah ended up leaving and I had to drive them to the airport on New Year’s day, even though the original intention was for them to stay a week longer. Megan wasn’t blameless herself… It felt like she spent too much time on her phone, such that she didn’t spend enough time engaging with us. It’s the little things… when you are present and engage with the people around you, you talk about things, you relate to them, you have a relationship with them. When you don’t, you’re almost not there.

I’ve described myself as happy, even until recently, and now I question that. I was happy three years ago, when Megan arrived in the month that Aishah turned four months old. I was able to quit my meth habit, and have not resumed it. (And never will.) Aishah was a pleasure to raise for those first two years when they lived with us, and she made me happy. She’s intelligent, inquisitive, and a joy to be around. Having her here again for a short while brought all that back, and having them leave took it all away again.

I still have Josh, but he is a difficult child. He’s moody, always complaining that he is bored, and seldom appreciates anything. But he was fine until a couple of months ago. It wasn’t this bad for most of the year, and in fact things were going rather well, which gets me to what appears to be the root of the problem…

Just the last couple of months, Abbi, his former foster mother and my former sister-in-law, has been visiting every Wednesday. She took it upon herself to collect him from school, since she stays just down the road from the school, and this allows him to spend time with his cousins. Then she brings him home so that his cousins can spend some time with my mother – their grandmother. But this is when his bad behaviour started and now it is out of control.

I have a few problems with this: Firstly, I know that she would not be comfortable if I collected her children from school and drove them anywhere, yet she started picking Josh up without consulting me, and assumed it would be OK, just because he stayed with her for a few years. That sets a double standard. And near the start of last year, she once called me to say, “Josh’s schoolbag is looking raggedy and some of the other parents are complaining. It would be awful if somebody called welfare.” So without saying a word, she is giving the children a message, telling them a story that I am unstable, cannot be trusted to drive them, but she is fine. I take things like this very seriously.

Secondly, there is the psychological aspect of this on Josh. By seeing them so often, he is reminded that he used to stay there. It makes him miss them more. That’s how it works. When you don’t see someone so often, you forget. This is also something that makes my getting him back commendable. The psychology of having a child removed normally leads you to forget them, rather than make you try harder to get them back. I got him back in spite of the effect removing him had on both of us. So having him see his former foster mother too often makes him miss staying there. It makes him remember that she was his “mother” for a while. It undoes all the progress that I have made with him. I think mostly it is this that is affecting his behaviour. He was fine until these weekly visits started.

Thirdly, on other occasions when he sleeps over at either Abbi or my brother, he is forced to say his prayers every night. This is also undermining the progress I have made removing him from religion, and is causing him confusion. No doubt they would say that he is not forced to pray, but the fact is, when there, he feels compelled to behave as the other children behave.

Now Josh refuses to listen to me or my mother. If he wants something and I say no, he complains that, “You say no to everything. I want to live with Abbi because she doesn’t say no to anything.” That’s not true, of course. I don’t say to everything, and she does say no as well. Also, whenever I go there, I can hear her voice even from outside the house, shouting at the children, all the time.

And over Christmas, Josh not only got his one gift from me, he received several from Abbi as well as her friends and family members. This, after he already has been spoiled rotten by them. He has hundreds of toys, far more than most people… so many that he does not appreciate anything. I was not brought up like that. On top of that, he was mean to his sister and wouldn’t let her play with his toys.

Back in October when we went to his former foster mother’s house for a Halloween party, I was reminded just how different her and her friends are to me. As a few of us sat outside around her swimming pool, a couple complained about the #FeesMustFall movement, saying some dismissive things about the people who are trying to get affordable fees. It’s easy to be dismissive of people who don’t have anything, who live in poverty, as you sit around your pool on a property that you own. (Or someone else’s when you also own property, but you get what I mean…) It’s easy to dismiss others who have to fight for equality and call them entitled when you have plenty. Those people, those Christian people, are the epitome of white privilege and that is not how I want my son brought up. I always feel totally out of place around such people. I do not belong there, and neither should my son.

It’s OK to have stuff. It’s not OK to think that you are entitled to it. It’s not OK to be dismissive of underprivileged people. I would prefer to give most of his toys away to the needy, but he seems to be too attached to them at the moment. Attached, and yet ungrateful.

Another interesting thing happened at that party… At one stage the children were splashing too much in the pool. Then Abbi threatened them (light-heartedly) and said that all the children could get a hiding just like her children. Interesting, because at court when I got Josh back, my brother tried to prevent it, by claiming untruthfully that our mother, who stays with me, is abusive. He even told Josh and me that if ever our mother hits Josh, he will call the police and get a restraining order, because spanking a child is illegal, and get Josh removed from me. Double standards much? Josh has told me that both of them spanked him, and when he got a demerit at school, Abbi’s father once made him choose between being hit with a belt or wooden pole.

I think I have to put a stop to those weekly visits. They are causing chaos.

But more than that, there is my feelings, my feelings of loss and despair after Aishah left. It brought everything back, the heartache of losing her after initially raising her for those two years. She isn’t even my biological daughter, but I love her just as much as Josh. She is very special to me, and this has brought my lack of happiness to my attention. I thought I was happy. Now I’m not so sure. I’ll have to see how things go, if my feelings improve in a couple of weeks. If not, maybe I am clinically depressed, and maybe I need help.