Monday, July 18, 2016

Tainted Moments

It's been six months since my divorce was finalized and 10 months since I separated from my now ex-husband. Life has become easier in those 10 months as I learned to accept my marriage had ended. I felt ahead of the game as I had been given the opportunity to start the grieving process months before I made the decision to divorce. I realize there is no going back, nothing to fix what transpired, there is only moving forward. There are moments, days, even months of unceasing happiness where I'm dulled into thinking I've fully moved past my marriage and divorce. But these are only passing moments of falsehood that are ripped to shreds with backslides of emotional torture and backlashes of the destruction to my life that have occurred.

Divorce is a horrendously emotionally destructive force that tears apart the psyche and the heart. Albeit necessary and unavoidable at times. It has an inescapable far reaching grasp on life after divorce. Day by day I learn to live without the one person I considered to be my true soulmate and countless other adjectives to express how much this person meant to a cautious heart that didn't expect or believe it would find or receive what was given in the span of nearly 7 highly fulfilled, unconditionally loving years. And in spite of my daily learning and adjustment, I've come to expect that the milestones of my new life are haunted by my marriage and divorce.

This wasn't an easy expectation to accept. I was blindsided after my divorce time and time again. I experienced long stretches of excellent coping with how my life was unexpectedly altered. I was happy, free of heartache, and enjoying life only to be emotionally slammed when I would accomplish a life milestone by the haunting remnants of my marriage. With each milestone or accomplishment, I'm reminded that I was supposed to be experiencing these moments with my husband not on my own or with another person. And the grieving of my marriage is renewed each time. Grieving that is soul breaking.

Divorce doesn't come in a neatly wrapped package with a guide of what to expect. I've learned one can never truly be prepared for how divorce affects the heart and life afterwards. I will be coping perfectly fine one day and my peaceful existence will be ravaged by the heartache of divorce without any warning.

Presently, I'm in the process of buying a house and as the closing date nears the worst my grieving becomes. It started the day after my bid was accepted by the seller. A couple days later my divorce's death hold loosened. Now, a little over a week away from my closing date and the death hold is tightening again. This is an exciting milestone with great promise for my future. And yet it is tainted by my marriage.

Somehow, I must force myself through the renewed grieving process and continue to forge ahead on the new paths my life holds for me as a divorced person. Otherwise, I will never be able to enjoy the wondrous milestones my future holds for me. I'm still learning how to break free of the death holds my divorce periodically has upon me. I'm told by other far more experienced divorcees that I will experience such grieving periods for 3-5 years as my heart heals and over time life becomes easier.

In the meantime, I must keep sharing my pain with loved ones who will listen to me. I take refuge in the understanding arms of other divorcees who are able to relate to my experiences unlike others who haven't experienced divorce. I restarted therapy. And beyond these steps, I'm not sure what else to do at this point. But I'm taking steps to help my heart heal and enjoy my life's milestones, tainted as they are.



Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Don't Shut Me Down

I was going through another bout of depression. Not anything particularly new for me. I've battled depression since childhood when my chronic illness started. I've completed years of psychotherapy and resume counseling when needed. Although the triggers of my depression vary, it usually surrounds my health and now my divorce. And occasionally I go through bouts of feeling that life is pointless and I'm simply waiting for death. These bouts can easily become a struggle for me and I frequently reach out to friends when I'm starting to feel the pull of depression again. That is, until I'm shut down for reaching out.

It takes courage to reach out to someone when we are at our most vulnerable point; when we are emotionally raw and desperate for some semblance of peace or happiness. It's not easy opening up to others about depression especially when depression cycles periodically. We often feel like a burden to those around us and tend to struggle with our emotions on our own until we reach a breaking point where we feel we must talk to someone - for our own sanity and safety. Therefore, when we reach out it shouldn't be taken lightly. So when we finally muster up the courage to reach out for a listening ear it can be devastating when we are met with responses telling us to stop talking about what we are feeling and experiencing simply because the person doesn't want to listen or is uncomfortable with what we are sharing.

I was met with such words the last time I reached out to a friend. I can only presume that my depressive feelings was causing my friend to feel uncomfortable but as I read his words telling me to stop talking about what I was feeling I was instantly shut down. No longer did I feel safe turning to this person who wouldn't let me openly talk about my depression. No longer did I see a friend who cared for me but rather someone who wouldn't listen to my words, my pain, my cry for help. I felt betrayed. I thought this person was safe and would be there for me in our friendship. I was wrong and it stung my hurting heart.

When this happens, not everyone will reach out to another person. One rejection for help is
destructive to the psyche and the remaining emotional reserves that we cling to in our times of need. For someone whose depression has resulted in suicidal ideation, there often is not a second cry for help. A suicidal person uses the small remnants of hope and what is remaining of their emotional strength to ask for help and when that help is rejected, there is no more hope for help or recovery. When we lose hope, we lose ourselves.

It is difficult to look past a trusted person's dismissal and betrayal of our cries for help but for our own well-being we must look past another's behavior and try again. There is always someone who is willing to listen whether it be someone we personally know or someone available through online support groups or phone hotlines. We must remember this and hold strong to this knowledge.

If you happen to be privileged with the trust of a hurting person, please be mindful of what this person is experiencing. This person is simply asking for your support and understanding. Sometimes a hurting person doesn't need advice or even words, just simple acknowledgement of their pain. And if you're worried about a hurting person's safety, kindly express your concerns and direct them to professional help whether it is counseling, hotlines, or even 911 in the case of an emergency.