I feel that after two of these pesky situations, I am now an expert on divorce.
Okay, okay, maybe not an expert but I definitely have some ideas, tips and advice that can help when you have to tackle the pain and stress that divorce (almost always) will bring.
Divorce is often messy, with so many unknowns. The only person you can control is yourself, and how you react to all the ups and downs. Maybe it was a long time coming or maybe you’ve been blindsided by your mate. No matter what has led to this unfortunate split, there will be feelings that arise you may not have believed were there. Maybe you initiated the divorce, but now have feelings of doubt. Perhaps you returned home from a weekend away to find that your spouse has removed all their belongings from your home and the shock of it all is crushing your soul. What if you’ve known about, and accepted, their not-so-secret second life but now they have decided to sit you down and let you know they are finally done, with you. There’s a million scenarios that have led you to the point where you are now sitting here searching for something to give you a sense of comfort. Well, these are what have helped me the most and maybe, these will help you, too!
It’s Okay to Admit You are NOT Okay
There were days that I could not physically make myself get out of bed. I was MISERABLE!!! Feelings of failure, sadness, loneliness and heartache filled portions of each hour, of every day. My marriage rapidly unraveled, due to some issues with severe mental illness, and I found myself in a place where I was struggling to find solid ground to stand on. I caught absolute hell from a handful of people who didn’t quite understand that I was in the midst of a deep, awful depression. And if I can be completely honest, it’s been over two years, and I’m still not completely over it. I still have really big feelings about so much of what I experienced. (You can read more about this here: Ex-Husband #2 – Zaina Marie)
Anyway, I got to the point where I knew I was going to continue to fall if I didn’t get professional help. Between therapy sessions and medication to treat my diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder, I was able to begin opening a new chapter. I was living away from all of my family and my closest friends and suddenly, I needed to go from being a stay-at-home mom to the new sole provider for my girls. It was quite the journey, one that I am still working to fully embrace and thrive in. I’m not exactly where I want to be with all of this but recognizing that I was not in a good place was the first step to addressing my problems. You can be strong, and still need a little something to stabilize a chemical imbalance and no one should be made to feel as though they are less than because of it. Get yourself a therapist. And check with insurance first to see if they have coverage for this in your plan!
Don’t Be Afraid to Share
You aren’t alone. There is someone out there who’s already conquered the road you are traveling, that you can look to for advice. And once you are able to share your troubles, someone else is going to reach out to you because you are the inspiration they need. Maybe you will find comfort with freely releasing your story on a blog, or your social media page, or YouTube. Joining an online private group could be more your speed. Some religious institutions have created programs where other people in similar circumstances can fellowship and connect. This isn’t a battle that you must fight alone.
Now, if you do better within the confines of your own thoughts and walls, by all means, do whatever helps you get through the day. Whatever is best for your heart, and your mind, that is all that is important. Just know, that if you need someone to chat with, or vent to, or go throw axes with, there is a circle of like-minded humans that will welcome you into their village because they also are traveling parallel paths with you.
Feel the Hurt, and Then Release It
Let your heart travel through all the stages of grief. While a divorce isn’t technically a loss of life, it very much is an ending. And depending on your investment, it can be devastating to sort through the death of your marriage. First, you may not be ready to actually see it for what it is. You are in denial that it is truly happening. Next, you can become angry as the emotions build up and you realize the divorce is real and it must go forward. But maybe, it doesn’t need to be this way and you try to bargain your way out of it. If you just change this or that, plead and beg, the tides will turn and you can fix it. Depression weasels it’s way in as you find yourself in the sadness and darkness, knowing that it can not be stopped. Lastly, you accept it. You make peace with what is going to be your new normal and start to figure out how you can make the best of it.
Sometimes, you will progress to the next step in the process and then slide back a notch or two. Let it happen, just don’t stop focusing on upward movement. Having a bad day? I had plenty of those. Give yourself a time limit to wallow in the tears. Tell Siri to set a 10-minute timer. You take that, and fall apart. You ugly cry or sit in silence or punch your pillow. When that alarm sounds, you pull it together, and you compose yourself and you go conquer the world. Give it your best, and when that wave of sorrow comes back around, you give it another go. You might have seven sessions one day. Eventually, they will become less frequent. And if not, refer back up to admitting you are not okay and seek some professional help. (Many resources are available here: National Institute of Mental Health)
There are so many varying paths divorce may take. Some people go on to find meaningful relationships and marriages with other people. Some may not get over it easily, or ever. Just know you have options and you can put yourself in a better position to overcome the pain using these steps I’ve written about today.
Please feel free to share any experiences or advice you have found helpful through your divorce process.
Be Kind, Always.