It’s become obvious that I’ve been withdrawing from everything lately. It always starts slowly… I’ll sit at my desk, rather than go out with the others for breaks at work; I’ll leave the car out with the intention of going to take photos, but end up putting it away a few hours later because I’m “too tired” or it’s now “too dark” to take photos. I wasn’t really sure why I’ve been withdrawing, or rather, which particular stressor was causing the withdrawal. I only knew that is was happening. Yesterday, I moved one step closer to eliminating one stressor – the dissolution of my marriage. The laws in New Zealand require you to have been separated from your partner for two years before you can dissolve the marriage (get a divorce). That milestone was up on 14 February of this year. So we took the papers to the Family Court to start the official process… it was an interesting trip which caused the activation of ones that hadn’t been present for quite some time.
We took two hours off work to take the papers to court, thinking that would be plenty of time for the fairly simple matter of handing over some papers and paying a fee… how wrong was I!
It started off well… we went into the Family Court reception and were served by the nice lady who took our Protection Order application nearly two years ago. She checked the forms, notarized them where it was appropriate and double checked that none of our personal details appeared on the forms to protect us from any contact from the husband. Then we asked some seemingly innocent questions about what would happen next… in particular asking about how he was to be notified of the dissolution when we didn’t know where he lived… This is where the smooth operation came to a screaming halt.
“What do you mean you don’t know where he lives?” The slightly stunned clerk asked…
“Well, we actively try to avoid knowing anything about him because of the Protection Order.”
“So, what’s this address here…” as she points to the address we’ve listed.
“That’s his lawyers address.” We reply, thinking it makes perfect sense to serve the papers to his lawyer.
“You can’t serve the papers to his lawyer, it has to be him in person.”
“But… I have no idea where he is.”
“You need to try and find him.”
At this point, the clerk confers with another worker about the situation and asks what my options are… Meanwhile we’re dissociating, spinning and trying to keep it together despite the internal chaos… we can’t find him… don’t make us have to find him… don’t make us talk to him or his family again…
After a rather convoluted discussion, the clerk comes back to tell us that we have to try and find him through any means necessary; but if we can’t, we can fill in another form to say that the papers can be served on his parents… But we still need someone to serve them… Someone over 18 to serve the papers to them in person… Someone would have to go to his parents house, knock on the door and give the papers to them…
This news brought another round of dissociation and internal noise… we can’t go to the witch’s house… she hates us… she’ll yell at us… please don’t make us!
Thankfully another woman yelled out that we could pay someone from the court where they live to serve the papers on our behalf…
This just left the problem of trying to find him! So off to the public library we went, looking for electoral roles… We walked there thinking it would be quicker than taking the car, but on the way there was all sorts of activation by different parts… Can we buy a toy? Oh look, a sale! Can we go see that movie? That’s a pretty dress. The desire to get sidetracked was immense… there was so much panic about trying to find the husband. With each comment, suggestion or pull, M tried to assure each one that we would go back later, but that we really needed to find the husband to make us all safe.
We found that the husband hadn’t changed his details official details from when he lived with us. We tried telephone directories and the Internet, but couldn’t find him.
There was another round of attempted distractions on the way back to court, but M deflected each one. When we returned to court, we filled in even more paperwork to say that we’d tried to find the husband. All the while, the internal noise was getting louder and louder.
It was only when we were driving away that the noise quietened. So much so, that by the time we got to a toy store, to keep the promise of buying something later, all the young ones had gone quiet.
On the surface, I can see the noise and chaos was an indication of our stress about the situation. But, I think it goes deeper than that. It was about our fear of having to do anything to do with him, fearing possibly having to see him again, fear that he will react when he gets the papers… It’s also about dissolving the marriage, and therefore admitting we made a mistake in getting married… it’s an indication of our failure.
I still feel the anxiety, disconnection and withdrawal from life… I don’t quite know how to ease that. I’ve tried making an appointment with my psychiatrist to get a review of my medication, but need ACC approval and funding before I can go – which means it could be several months before I get in to see him. This week, I’m wanting to quit therapy… I cancelled Jo and have come close to cancelling Liz several times. Everything about therapy annoys me at the moment – trying to talk, all of Liz’s responses, her making us draw when we retreat and can’t talk…