My heart is pounding, I can’t seem to breathe in, and I feel like I'm on the verge of passing out. Somewhere in my brain, I think: panic attack.
I get panic attacks if I think about how I’m never going to be rid of The Father. As a rule, I don’t let myself think about how I’m going to have to deal with him for the rest of my life. It works 95% of the time, and I can usually have a sense of humour about it. He is pretty ludicrous. But then sometimes? It's like this.
I think about how angry I am at him. Why did he have to be one of the 10% of men who choose their wife’s pregnancy as the perfect time to have an affair (or three)? When did he become that guy? Was it always there? Was he always like this, so angry, so hateful?
And then: how didn’t I see it coming? How did I choose so badly? How could I be so stupid? I’m so furious with myself because I didn’t know, I didn’t choose better, I didn’t listen to my instincts, I didn’t get out sooner. And it’s not me who really pays the price – it’s my daughter, who will always have a little bit less than she deserves. She deserves more than this, than him.
I remember my friend Pippa’s advice: breathe in for a count of eight, breathe out for a count of 10. It helps the O2/CO2 balance in your bloodstream, or something, and stops the dizziness and hyperventilation.
I try to punch my anger into a pillow but it’s still there, like a hard ball, and I don’t know where to put it. So I turn to the keyboard. And after a few minutes, I can take a deep breath, and I think: just another day. And this too shall pass.
It's nothing new, after all, this latest incident. As ever, he's putting himself first and assuming I’ll take care of the bothersome business of providing for our child. And I will – because that’s what I do, and I love her enough that tomorrow, I won’t mind. I’ll be glad of it, and the bond we have as a result. I really do know that, in the scheme of things, I'm ridiculously lucky and blessed in many ways. But just for today, I’m struggling to find my sense of humour about it.