“I want a divorce.” The sentence I was afraid of was coming finally came from his mouth. It felt like a ton of bricks and an ache in my stomach. I felt like I was in a movie where the camera zooms out and shows you like an ant.
Shortly after he moved out, I overdosed on pills. I was struggling with an addiction to prescription pain pills and had easy access. My world came crashing down that night. I don’t remember anything, other than the doctor telling me I was lucky to be alive. A week after my suicide attempt, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. So many questions arose in my head — I was overwhelmed and felt defeated. How could I handle a diagnosis that I knew nothing about, getting sober and a divorce?
Divorce is one the hardest things I have had to experience. Not only was I learning about my new diagnosis, but I was dealing with a divorce. My therapist through my medical provider told me to avoid any and all triggers until my medication (antidepressants and mood stabilizers) were in effect. I knew this was not going to work for me. My biggest trigger was my soon to be ex-husband and I couldn’t cut him out of my life, because he is the father of my two daughters. Every time I saw him I felt so much anger, sadness, anxiety and pain. My moods were a nonstop rollercoaster. Sometimes I felt like a ticking time bomb, just waiting to go off. Every time my phone would ring, I would hope it was him telling me had made a mistake and wanted to come home. That phone call never came. Instead, I got papers handed to me.
I worked with a private therapist and went weekly to help cut down on the episodes of mania. My mood was all over the board. One day I had extreme highs of happiness, others I couldn’t even get out of bed. It took me about six months and a couple hospitalizations to learn to identify and try to control my manic episodes.
It has been almost two-and-a-half years since he told me he wanted a divorce. Over time, I learned to cope. The road to recovery from divorce was long and drawn out. Through my weekly therapy sessions I found my most helpful outlet: journaling. I found ways to cope with my anger, like meditation and breathing techniques. I also learned to accept that I had to have medication to have a healthy life as a single mother.
Journaling was my biggest savior throughout the divorce. I would write and write and write, sometimes for hours on end. I stopped yelling my emotions through the phone to someone who most likely didn’t care and had moved on. I would write him letters that I never mailed. After the divorce finalized I knew it was time to let go. I had a huge stack of letters and I read them one by one sitting next to my fire pit with my dogs. The first letter I threw in the fire, I panicked. What had I done? Maybe I would mail these to him one day and he would finally realize what I felt, how I felt. As soon as the first letter turned to ash, I let out a huge sigh of relief. With each letter I dropped in the fire, I watched as the flames engulfed the paper. My letters, my emotions, were ashes now. It was time for me to fully move on.
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