This is kind of the stuff that no one really wants to talk about during and after a divorce. No one really understands it until they have experienced it, and quite frankly, sometimes it is really freakin’ hard to deal with something that feels wrong with you, but no one can see. The first time I dealt with these feelings was while I was in rehab from being hit by a car. I was dealing with minor brain damage at the time, post traumatic amnesia and post-traumatic stress disorder, plus a few other injuries. Trying to cross the road was quite an ordeal. Then when I was able to drive again 3 months later, I kept picturing people being hit by a car.
Not a pleasant time. I found it hard to comprehend that there was something wrong with me, but I couldn’t see it, and nor could anyone else. All I was doing was focussing on what was wrong, what happened and playing a bit of a victim. This was about 12 ½ years ago.
Then next time I dealt with these feelings was 3 years ago. I was not long out of hospital, recovering from major knee surgery that saw me in a leg split from thigh to ankle. I went from Mrs Independent to Mrs Dependent on Everyone. There was zero support (as far as I am concerned) from my (then) husband. We were staying at the Mother in Law’s, big mistake, and my idea too! When you are lying in bed, in a fairly decent amount of pain, taking OxyContin and Endone, feeling like crap, you cannot shower yourself. Cannot pick up your kids for a big squeezy hug. Cannot walk your dog or drive a car. You are used to taking care of your appearance, but you can hardly dress yourself in anything decent and feel pretty and made up. Then from the bedroom you can hear quiet conversations in the kitchen that go something like this, ‘Oh, it is so hard on Blah Blah (the ex)”, you kind of say to yourself, um, hang on, who is the one who just had surgery? Hard on who? Oh, that’s right, the one person who is supposed to have your back and be there for you and take care of you when you can’t look after yourself, that’s right, forgot, hard on the one who can still go to work and whose mother is cooking dinner and doing everything. Mmmm These types of conversations I would hear at least once a day. Slowly, and ever so slowly they chipped away at my inner self. (Well, in a way, I allowed that, but that’s a different story). Chip, chip, chip. Then ‘that’ night, was when my heart was completely crushed. That night was one of the hardest of my life. My ex basically allowed his mother to belittle me at the dinner table; I hobbled off to the bedroom in tears. He politely then came down and said to me ‘now you know what it’s like not to be supported’. WOW. Heart crushed. However, what state was I in to walk out the door and take the kids then. Zero. Upon returning to our own home, our marriage was in tatters. Where we lived was quite remote, as far as I am concerned. I felt so isolated from my friends and people don’t randomly drop in any more. I was feeling lost, alone and unsupported. I had no immediate family around. I could hardly walk, couldn’t drive, so I had to stay put. Chip, chip, chip. Again, focussing on the lack, the girl I saw in the mirror was almost someone I didn’t recognise. There was no sparkle in her eye, and no big smile to be seen at all, barely a pathetic grin. The only thing that made me smile at all was the kids and their cheekiness. My husband was sleeping on the couch every night and I felt my marriage crumbling away. There was nothing I could do to stop it, and in all honesty, I don’t think I wanted to stop it crumbling. Chip, Chip, Chip. When you are at your absolute weakest and feel like there is no one to turn to who ‘gets it’, it feels like the loneliest place on Earth. I think the hardest words to ever utter are, “We are done”. It’s fricken hard enough to admit it to yourself. No one ever goes into a marriage thinking it will end, so how the heck do you deal with the lead up to the end. How do you even comprehend this? One day, and I remember this ever so clearly. I was at my daughter’s swimming lesson, and coming out of the pool with Moo in my arms, she was just 3. A girlfriend and her daughter were coming into the pool for their lesson. We’ve been friends for 15 years. I looked at her. I had nothing in me, absolutely nothing; I was completely spent of any emotion or energy. Not even enough to smile to her. I just looked at her and gave the most smallest of grins, as if I was looking at a stranger. That was it, enough. I knew I needed help because I just couldn’t do this state of mind any more. But what could I do? Chip, Chip, Chip. I made an appointment to see my acupuncturist. Went and saw him regularly for a week. Then one day, another clear memory, I was sitting on the corner couch in my pale green dressing gown, staring out the window, looking at the trees in the breeze, my stomach churning, breathing abnormally, feeling like I had to go to the toilet every 2 seconds, couldn’t sit still but couldn’t get out of the couch. Dry mouth. Crying uncontrollably. No idea what to do. I called my Doctor. When I saw her, I told her everything and just burst into tears. At least by now I was driving and more mobile. She prescribed me some medication for anxiety and depression. F*ck! Really, this again, I though. F*ck. (I suffered from anxiety after I was hit by a car 13 years ago). But I just knew that I didn’t have it in me to deal with any more without some extra help. I then started seeing a psychologist. I absolutely did not want to have to rely on these “happy pills” but right now, they had a place and purpose. I was also advised to walk, get some sunshine on my skin early in the day, eat healthy and I continued the acupuncture. I did all this. Saw the physiologist weekly and then I got over all the talking about the problems and my past, so I also enlisted the guidance of a life coach. About 4 weeks later I uttered the words, there’s the f*cking door! Then about 2 weeks later the official words from my ex were “I think we need to separate’. Ummm, that’s what happened 2 weeks ago, but sure ok, let’s have that discussion. It wasn’t pretty, but again, I will save that for another time. However, I cannot tell you how much ‘lighter’ I felt inside. Like the world had been lifted off my shoulders. It still wasn’t an easy time at all, but I knew it was right. I am not sure why I didn’t listen to my body earlier, but I definitely listen to it now and use my intuition for so many decisions and choices. I trust me and how situations make me feel. I try and stay out of my head and listen to my heart. I ended up taking the happy pills for about 6 months in total and then slowly got off them. I stopped seeing the psychologist, she was great, but that purpose was served. I saw the life coach regularly and changed my view on what divorce meant. I found my love of meditation, I learnt mindfulness, kept up the acupuncture and also had reiki. I got in touch with my woo woo side. I also put me first. No playing the victim, no endless pity party and no being a martyr either. What good was I to my two gorgeous children if I couldn’t look after myself? So I had to put me first. I made time for me, I made time to treat myself to have massages and meditate. I also changed my focus. I didn’t sit around and look at what I lost and what was in the past. I didn’t look at my marriage as a failure. Sure it was the end of something, but how about that start of something even better. No time to be bitter. I was grateful for what I had in my marriage and that it gave me 2 of the best little people on the planet. I was grateful that there were lessons to be learnt and time for growth. I was grateful that at nearly 40 years of age, I had an amazing opportunity at a fresh start in life. How cool is that? I was running a travel biz from home (still am), but I am now sitting here sharing this story with whoever reads it, I am speaking at networking events to help others get through this, I am mentoring and coaching other’s through their divorce. If I can do this, anyone can and I found my passion to help others in the same situation. So honestly, how cool is that? While I sit here now, I am happily single for 2 ½ years. It did feel like all doom and gloom at the start of my marriage ending, it most definitely did not continue that way. I went on a great journey to find my sparkle and smile again. I decided to “Show Up For Life” and I created my ‘What’s Next’ Chapter. I have never been happier and felt more like the real me, a better version of me.
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