Today my son turns 11 months old. It is amazing how quickly a little life races along. 11 months ago I was sitting at work impatiently waiting for the thing in my gigantic belly to come on out. Now that thing is a walking and sometimes talking entity who has changed my life for the better in so many ways. I sit here in bed on a cold autumn morning and I am so proud that I am his mother. We make a great pair and I love him more than anything.

Today also marks the first day of my life without a certain man in it. We shall call him Cam (because I think he would be offended if I used his real name). I have know him for twenty years. We grew up together as part of the cast of a theatre group. We dated as teenagers and then there was a gap where we lost touch for a while. At 24 he came back into my life through the wonder of MySpace (haha). We decided a catch up was long overdue and arranged to go out on the town. One thing led to another an I found myself in a nightclub in the city taking my first ecstasy tablet. I was no stranger to drugs in that I had always had a weakness for smoking pot, but up until that night I had never even wanted to try anything else. It was like something inside me broke and I decided it was time to give it a go. Can was a more experienced drug user (in that he went out regularly and had been doing so for years). He looked out for me as I experienced the awesomeness of my first high and that night we found ourselves in bed making love. It was the start of six crazy years where we both experienced the highs and lows of drug taking and the highs and lows of what was sometimes a very unhealthy relationship. I am not going to go through a blow by blow account of our life together (at least not today) but I did need to get some background info out there.

Eight months before he came into my life, I had been sexually assaulted by a much older man. It is a terrible thing to happen to anyone. At the time was running my own business which was successful in its own right. I was working sixty hours a week and absolutely loving life. The assault ruined me. I let it ruin me. By the time Cam came back into my life I was so scared and angry with the world that some irresponsible drug taking was what I felt needed. I through myself into the relationship head first. He had been sexually assaulted as a teenager by his stepfather and I felt he alone understood the pain I felt every day about what had happened to me. I didn’t see that we both so caught up in our own emotional turmoil that we couldn’t be the rock the other needed to get through the other side. We just kept clinging on and dragging each other down until we were so deep in an ocean of blame and anger that it took years to get out.

We were out on the town every weekend taking pills and smoking pot every single day – all day. I was going to work high as a kite and I just didn’t care. I don’t know how I thought this was the answer to my problems but at the time it seemed so right. I loved (and still love) Cam so deeply that I was blind to how destructive we were to each other. Neither of us had the strength to take a step back from the situation and say “dude we are so fucked up all the time. Eventually this is going to end badly”. I thought we could go on like this for years.

What goes up must come down. It happened to me first. I started to become really anxious everytime I took a pill. I had one night where I to too many and found myself in the toilet of a nightclub alone sweating and delirious. That was so dangerous. I am lucky that it didn’t end very differently. I had to stop taking ecstasy because I was freaking out all over the place. Cam was disappointed that our great night’s out clubbing were curtailed. Instead of dealing with the anxiety, I increased my pot consumption. I smoked in the morning, after breakfast, all day and then, because I worked at night, I’d have a huge session in the afternoon. After work all I could think of was chopping up and smoking a huge bowl. Sounds gross when I read that back but it was exactly how I felt. I’ve we’re jay and silent bob, cheech and chong. As I write that I laugh but really it is not funny. Apparently marijuana is classed as a non addictive drug. I don’t agree at all. If I didn’t smoke I couldn’t sleep or eat. The withdrawals were horrible. My solution to that was to just keep smoking.

Psychologists and medical professionals will tell you that smoking too much marijuana will a crazy person make. Once again, the first person to crack was me. Can and I were a year and a half into our relationship. We had moved in together out in the west. It was a crappy house but we were happy because we had each other and we could smoke as much as we wanted. It took a while for me to admit something was seriously wrong. When we had been clubbing a lot I’d lost a fair amount of weight. I was a size 14 at the beginning and by then was a size ten. All of a sudden, stoned or not, I couldn’t eat. Everything I did eat came back up. I shrank away to a size six. I looked like a skull on a stick. You could count my ribs. Depression descended upon me like a thick black fog. I can’t identify when it started, but I do know that one day I couldn’t remember what it felt like to be happy. I thought I’d never be happy again. I slid from tearful, to hysterical, to angry, to downright aggressive all in the space of an hour. I hit out at everyone and everything around me and kept smoking smoking smoking. Being stoned was the only way I knew I block out the pain I felt from not dealing with the assault. I blamed myself for letting it happen. I won’t delve into that more today. That is a whole other topic! But suffice to say that I was trying to self medicate and it was failing miserably. Poor Cam was hideously unprepared for what was happening. Having never dealt with his own feelings of blame and inadequacy related to his sexual assault, he was in no way ready to help me with mine. We would fight like wounded animals. Every blow was intended to cut to the bone. Things said and done in the heat of the moment left scars that are still raw four and a half years on. I said I wanted to kill myself but I didn’t have the guts. Really I just wanted him to know that I felt like I had nothing to live for and I was screaming out for him to save me. He couldn’t do it. His own pain made it impossible for him to be who I needed him to be. He failed me and deep inside I hated him for it. With his background there is no way he could have been my savior – but I felt he let me down all the same.

Any normal human being would have walked away from such a terrible mess. Our friends were up in arms at how much damage we were doing to each other. Even now I am so grateful to the ones that stood by the both of us as they watched it all unfold. There was judgement of course but there was also acceptance that we had to work it out or ourselves.

The culmination of this melting pot of depression, anger, drug abuse and blame came on Australia Day 2009. Two and a half years after it all began we had the biggest fight that ended with him moving out, police being called and apprehended violence orders being filed on both sides. You’d think that this would be enough to tell us to stop and walk away. Everyone told us to – friends, families, workmates. But no – we both liked flogging a dead horse. The day of our court case we ran back into each others arms and off we went again. I’m sounding so blasé about the court case but it really was the scariest thing. I have grown up in a middle class family where nothing like that ever happened before. So had Cam. It was so far removed from how we should have been behaving and yet we still couldn’t see how bad we were being for each other. I panicked about being alone and didn’t really think about whether coming back to him was the right decision (i know him well enough to say that did exactly the same thing). If ever there was a moment where I can say that we should have walked away, that was it. After that it was another three years of pain before he finally called it quits for good.

My fingers hurt from typing this on the iPhone. There is much more to get out but mummy duties call.

Until next time I am going to leave with a quote from eat pray love that absolutely applies to my relationship with Cam who was without a doubt my soulmate. The best and the worst thing that ever happened to me:

People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it.


~ by abstarini on April 15, 2012.

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