Now that 2013 (ie: the year from hell) is drawing to a close, I've had a bit of time to reflect. It's obviously been a very challenging year, but I'm glad that we were able to make some happy memories towards the end of it.
In dot points - because that's how I roll - here's some highlights in rough chronological order:
- After having to drop back to part-time work in December, I lost my job completely in mid-January when my contract extension was refused. I spent two full months unemployed, living off my dwindling savings.
- M & I took a 4 day trip to Sydney, where I got to meet some friends in person for the first time. Yay!
- I got a job; and over the course of the year it's turned out to be one of the best jobs I've ever had.
- The whole life/death ordeal with M, which I've briefly covered in previous posts.
- Backlash from M's siblings who decided to gang up on me, hurling constant abuse and declaring that our 7-year relationship and subsequent engagement meant nothing as I am not "blood".
- We packed up and moved house two months after M's surgery, which turned out to be the first step towards our fresh start. We had planned this before M fell ill, but decided to push ahead with our plans regardless, mainly because I didn't want M to feel guilty and blame himself for holding us back.
- WE GOT MARRIED! And had a honeymoon. It was fantastic.
- I just celebrated my first birthday as a married lady, and Christmas is only a few days away.
I have really struggled in the latter half this year. When M got sick I just kept truckin' on, and I surprised myself with the reserves of inner strength I kept tapping into. In all honesty, I have no idea how I did it, and while it's easy to say that I wouldn't be able to do it again, deep down I know I could, if I had no other choice.
The truth is, when M was released from hospital, that's when the wheels fell off and I shattered into a million pieces. I found myself hiding inside my own home, having panic attacks every time I heard a noise outside, or when a phone would ring. I stopped sleeping; obsessively checking M throughout the night, making sure he was still alive. I eventually caved and went to the doctors and asked for some sleeping tablets. I walked out with a prescription for anti-depressants and refused to take them. "I'm tired, not depressed," I said. The panic attacks and anxiety worsened, and I felt like a bigger failure every day because I couldn't help M how I wanted to. Feeling guilty as hell that now he was worrying about ME, and with some gentle prodding from my parents and friends, I finally went and got a second opinion and ended up with the anti-depressants - which I was given no option but to take - and a psychologist referral. I walked around with the letter in my bag for about three months before I made an appointment.
I've had four or five sessions now, and I think I'm starting to turn a corner. Knowing that how I felt was perfectly normal eased my mind. I was able to work through my anger towards my in-laws - well, I refer to them as the "out-laws" - for making a difficult time even more difficult for me, and it's only been very recently that I've accepted that there's nothing more I can do where they're concerned. They have not apologised, and they never will, because they meant what they said then and they still do. I was willing to be the bigger person and tried to move past it for M's sake; but the olive branch was thrown in my face, and so, I'm done. No more trying to make an effort only to be trash-talked at every turn. You do not get to disrespect me and my relationship (now marriage) and then come waltzing into my home like you own the place - and that's what they wanted. Things in that regard have really quietened down over the last few weeks. They were not invited to the wedding, and although M told them it was happening in advance and why they weren't coming, after the fact there was more drama. Since then, they've all been giving M the silent treatment, which has been a relief for me, and sadly, for him too. It broke my heart when M said "I'm glad my parents are dead so they don't have to see this."
Anyway, aside from all that, I haven't been doing too bad. This year has been one thing after another with no breathing space, and now that the wedding's over and things are settling down, I've been in more of a depressed state of mind than usual. Again, I was told that's normal, and it was described to me as a "whiplash effect", where my mind and body is forcing me slow down and recover. There's not a whole lot I can do but take the opportunity to rest and recover, and then we can focus on our plans for 2014; and there are a few!
I guess I just wanted to take a few moments to sit down and process a few things. I now have an amazing husband, and our relationship, although not much different than before, feels stronger than ever. I have amazing parents who have been with me every step of the way, and the best friends I could have ever hoped for. We have an incredible bubble of love and support around us and I'm so grateful for each and every person.