PTSD & struggling with basic life skills

I finally went food shopping this week!

 I’ve been living in absolute chaos since the night the police took him. Due to PTSD I’m struggling more than usual with everyday activities like driving and shopping. So, the fact that I finally went food shopping this week feels like a major turning point in my recovery. My fridge and cupboards are no longer depressingly bare.

I still haven’t cooked myself a meal from scratch but I have a choice of nourishing foods as well as treats for me to nibble on whilst I am gaming and pottering around the house this weekend, which makes me much happier.

At some point I need to assemble the replacement furniture that he’s smashed up – but I’m doing a good job ignoring the IKEA boxes stacked up in my hallway for now.

One of my glaringly autistic traits is my rigidity and dependency on routines and organising my life in a certain way. However, my mental health has been so poor that I have been really disorganised and scatty. I haven’t done any cleaning in weeks and the mess is giving me anxiety but the worst part of this is how things are affecting the people I care about.

I forgot my sister-in-law’s birthday last weekend and I only realised because Facebook told me. I honestly thought I had plenty of time that day to find a gift, buy a cake, drive an hour over the border to surprise her with lit candles and a sing-along to “Happy Birthday”.

Instead I wasted the whole day wandering about the house not doing much.

After numerous cups of coffee I was anxious enough to notice that time is escaping I should get my shit together. I hopped in the shower only to realise that my boiler had broke down so I stubbornly spent 2 hours trying to get my boiler to work (failed).

I ended up arriving really late, like after 9pm at night and because of this we had a very late and rushed meal in a crappy restaurant chain at the nearby shopping mall. We then went to the last showing of Dumbo at the cinema where I spent the whole movie crying and then ruined the atmosphere for the rest of the night.

I’ve tried to forgive myself for last weekend but of course I’m ashamed about making things shitty for the people who care about me.

There’s so much more shit that’s hitting the fan like getting caught for a driving offense and performance issues at work. My boss has been permanently pissed off with me the last couple of weeks. So I know I’m letting people down but I am not sure that I can do anything about it other than avoidance and try to minimise the fuck-ups at work but I don’t think I’ll succeed right now.

I think the only thing I can do right now is try to focus on myself. I don’t know really. I’m just winging it here .

I wrote a list of all the things that will help me look after myself better. These are all simple things that I was very used to doing and I know they work for me, so I thought I should try to do as many as I can this week.

Here’s the list and you can see what I’ve ticked off:

  • Go shopping for ingredient to cook meals – done
  • Eat nourishing foods (e.g. fruit and veg) – done
  • Go for a run – done 3.8k
  • Go to the gym x 3 – done 2 (missed 1)
  • Drink more water – nope
  • Clean the house – nope
  • Change the bed linen – done
  • Don’t drink coffee after 12pm – nope
  • Home admin, bills, etc – nope
  • Go to bed early – nope
  • Go for a swim – nope
  • Stay away from alcohol – done

When I wrote this list I realised just how different (and damaging) my lifestyle became through being in a relationship with him. In a nutshell, I stopped looking after myself as soon as our relationship became serious.

For example, I used to subscribe to a weekly recipe box. This was something that added so much value to my life because it was a way of working on my (autistic) rigidity as it helped me vary my diet and try different foods. His first reaction to the recipe box thingy was to mock me for it. I couldn’t understand why because I was cooking all these really interesting meals for us – but he thought that living on microwave meals and delivery food was a better idea as it “less stressful”.

My therapist explained that his response to this was that by disrupting my routines and breaking down my “systems” of living, he would have more control.

I can see what she is saying and I can think of so many other examples to support this theory. I mean, I used hate microwave meals and tried to stay away from them but because of him I find myself having them nearly every day.

One scenario that I recall as I write this was that Friday nights with him became our “delivery food night” and eventually, towards the end of the relationship he would just order the food without even asking me what I wanted.

So I found myself in a place where I didn’t even have a say in what I was eating and I was eating mostly crap.

Then there’s the alcohol issue. I’ll am going to leave that topic for another day because I am doing OK today, and I am worried that I’ll get really upset if I start remember things as I try to write about it.

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