2011 was not my best, in fact it was down right awful. My decision to move back to Johannesburg after living in Cape Town for 2 years was perhaps not the right choice for me. I am very good at ignoring my gut feelings. At the time I had a lot of anxiety about my decision, which I ignored, but I also felt that I wanted to be near my family and perhaps my anxiety was simply because I was 'going back' to everything that had caused me so much trauma. Once the decision was made and my belongings were in the truck, I stood in my drive way and the panic hit me like a freight train.
My arrival back in Johannesburg was fraught with problems, far too many to go into, but by the time I had moved into my new home all I wanted to do was sit on the floor and cry... and I did the tears flowed for the rest of the year. Being alone and addicted to journalling I have the wonderful opportunity of being able to search deep inside myself. I wasn't sure if my depression was because I had left my PEACE behind in Cape Town, or if I was terrified of being back... I think it was a little of both. No it was more of the latter. I have become completely house bound. Thank goodness the pewter classes I teach are with female students and I am blessed to be able to teach in my home. Going out for me is a huge problem and I try and avoid it as much as possible.
I was diagnosed with Androphobia last year, which is a fear of men. There are only a few men who I feel comfortable with, my son in law, thank goodness and my grandsons :o) Haven't you ever wondered who 'they' are? Well 'they' always say that healing takes time, shew this PTS has taken a lot longer than I am comfortable with. Thank goodness that in my darkest hours I really have had some incredible insight into my life.
One of the things I cannot seem to do is to walk through a shopping centre. The shops start closing in on me, I feel claustraphobic, my chest closes up, I feel as though I can't breath and before too long I am in a flood of tears. The pain consumes me. I have tried so many times to think about what it is that I am afraid of? Part of it is memories of my ex husband and the way we used to shop like sharks on a feeding frenzie. There are a lot of different things that shopping centres remind me of, the holidays we used to plan the restaurants we went to, the music, the movies everything about shopping centres reminds me of him.
Link for this photo. Shopping Addict
Now here is the interesting thing. I have been watching Celebrity rehab and listening to the different reasons that people drink or take drugs. Most of these people have serious childhood issues and the drug anethetizes the painful memories, but only for so long and sooner or later the drug gets a grip and those memories cannot be erased instead they are replaced with the addiction. I often hear Dr. Drew telling his patients to feel the pain and don't run away from it. One of the things I did when I got divorced was to give money way. Now that sounds so generous and I am sure if you are reading this, you will wish you were standing in line! I gave away a lot. My decision to do so at the time was because I really wanted to help people in need, but there was more to it than that. I also spent a fortune over a 5 year period and when ever I went to a shop, I came back with more than I needed. I justified everything. If I bought gifts for my grandchildren, I thought ... thats normal. If I bought clothes for my youngest daughter, I also felt, shame she needs clothes, but I also spent thousands of rand on things I didn't really need. I shopped compulsively.
Just before Christmas I had to go and buy my family some Christmas presents. I knew it would be stressful but the shop I was going to was just down the road, wasn't in the middle of a shopping centre and if I was freaked out, I knew I could come home quickly and go back the next day if I had to. I was standing in the shop and all of a sudden I had a complete panic attack... but this time I didn't have any money to throw around to ease the anxiety. I bought what I needed to and while I was paying for my things I began to cry. I rushed out of the shop and on my way home I suddenly realised that this is what I have been doing for 5 years... shopping, using money to ease the pain, only now I don't have that money any more.
Last night I watched a movie called Confessions of a Gambler. The leading actress a Muslim, was divorced and her gay son contracted aids and died. She decided one day to go to a casino with two girlfriends, why I am not sure... but she became addicted to gambling, it seemed to be the only thing that distracted her from her pain. When she had lost everything including the respect of her eldest son, she arranged to have her car stolen and finally hit rock bottom. It was only then that she realised that nothing can take away the pain of losing a son. While I was watching the movie, I began to cry. Something clicked... that is what I had been trying to do for 6 years.
Here I was sitting alone on Boxing Day crying like a baby. I have always been a very strong person and I have survived a lot in my life, but 'this', was something that finally beat me. What was 'this'... the truth that my ex husband was not who I thought he was. I had been duped right from the beginning. All I was to him from the minute I met him, was someone who served a purpose in his life, I was dispensable. I meant no more to him than his car, his golf clubs or anything else for that matter. The abuse I endured for all those years was for nothing. When the time was right for him, he threw me out on the street like an old pair of jeans and replaced me with someone else before my bed was even cold.... I had lost my flavour like chewing gum.
Yes of course the the truth is painful but finally I am beginning to see clearly. Like any other drug addict, this year I hit my rock bottom. I have spent a fortune with psychiatrists, psycologists, healing workshops, hypnotherapist, Family Constellations, running away to live in another city, shopping, giving money away... all to try and make me feel better, to stop the pain, in fact even my art was an escape. BUT... I needed to get where I am today. Like all addicts, I have lost good friends and at times alienated my children.
Can I even say that I have regrets? I suppose not, everything happens for a reason and there is a time and a season for everything. Forgiveness? Well I firmly believe that everyone needs to wait for the right time. Other people will say... you need to forgive, and of course we know that. But we cannot find PEACE until we find all the pieces and make sense of our own suffering.
For those of you who visit this blog, I truly pray that you will find the answers as I have, and that 2012 will be a good year, a prosperous year and most of all a spiritually HEALTHY year, a year when you will be kind to yourself and love who you are.