For a long time I’d been in a state of fugue. In a state of amnesia about my own life.
A year ago, oh, I could of told you about the day before. But the week, month, six months prior? Gone. I could have described a vague feeling, given you a wishy washy recital of how I thought my day/week played out, based on how other days/weeks had played out beforehand.
But honestly, I had no real idea. I was just guessing.
Two years ago? I don’t know. There are one or two particularly ugly incidences which stand out during that period, but apart from those, the gaps in memory are only partially filled when I see photos from that time. Oh, I took the kids into the city that weekend….
Three years ago? Dimmer still. I truly have no detailed memory of three years ago and frighteningly, next to no memory of what was happening, day to day, four years ago.
Huh. Time is a funny, funny thing and as I’ve started to heal significantly in the last 5 months, memories have started to creep/flood back in.
I recall feeling very strong and focused three and a half years ago. I knew what he had done and it had finally reached a level which well and truly breached my sense of ethics, morals and the ability to turn a blind eye. It was over. I knew it.
I coped well for a few months, got on with life and I was not overwhelmed. But then came a letter, which I stumbled upon unexpectedly and which spelt out in explicit detail the myriad ways he had betrayed me and had acted in a predatory, inexcusable fashion towards a young, vulnerable, mentally ill client.
I spiralled quickly into a deep, deep depression. Days spent not talking to anyone, weeks spent lying in bed, time taken only to turn from one aching side to the other. I didn’t work. I didn’t clean the house or myself. I tended to the absolute basics of caring for my children only when their father was absent. There are no clear memories of this dreadful time, only a vague sense of day after day after day spent staring at the ceiling of the untidy and unkempt bedroom I lay in. There was no real emotion. I was numb, from head to toe. I slept, hours at a time, only to lie in silent awakeness for more hours at a time. It was a living death.
Really, in hindsight, I should have been hospitalised. It was, in old fashioned terms, a nervous breakdown.
But time passed and the antidepressants kicked in and I was able to get out of bed and face my life.
Only to find I was living with a man I was legally separated from and who I hated enough to murder in his sleep if I could get away with it. The very sight of him interacting with our innocent, bruised children was enough to incite a rage so full and deep that I was often incoherent and tearful beyond words. How could someone seemingly so sincere in his love for his children act in such a way that the fabric of our relationship was torn irrevocably asunder? It made no sense and was infuriating in it’s senselessness.
The disrespect, unkindness and disloyalty, once restrained, or least hidden, in the past, reached new and increasingly painful heights in the context of being separated. I have no idea how I got through this period of twelve months or so. He’d have been happy to continue on…..Yet it reached a head almost exactly, maybe exactly, two years ago.
Him at work. Me watching a movie, by myself, the kids in bed, asleep. I am drinking wine and I’m feeling relaxed and relatively happy. He arrives home and I am immediately tense.
An argument starts, over what, I don’t recall. It escalates and as he walk away from me, hurling an insult over his shoulder, I rush at him and land a clenched fist at his back.
He whirls around and the swift, hard punch to my lower jaw lifts me literally off of my feet and I fall backwards, backwards. Lying flat on my back, stunned and dazed. Him, so much larger, crouched over the top of me. Snarled, twisted face inches from mine. Fingers gripping painfully into my shoulders as he shakes me up and down up and down up and down shouting shouting shouting- who would want you? look at you, you’re a mess, an ugly bitch, a fuck up, I hate you, I could kill you but you’re not worth it. A clenched fist millimetres from my face. I have shut myself down. I am watching this scene outside of myself. I breathe softly, despite my terror, careful to make my face blank and body compliant.
He leaves. He takes my phone without my realising and sends a text to himself from my phone, detailing how “I ” want to kill myself and it’s no-ones fault but mine.
The following day, bruised jaw, aching body, I tell him he has two weeks to get out or I am calling the police to have him removed.
He leaves and so starts the slow process of having my memories return and build and reach a place where he plays no part.
I’m disturbed at times by the absence of memories, the difficulty in recalling what I’ve done, what my children have said or done. It saddens me. But I do know that I am in a vastly healthier place now than I was 1, 2, 3 years earlier. The memories I build now are sweet and true and based on both beautiful and mundane moments with people who love me and who I love and who are kind and warm and would never ever see me lying on a lounge room floor, numb and bruised.