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Divorce: Writing and My Recovery

“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.

Read more of Laura's posts here.

Comments

Hi good on you have at to deal with a lot and it's not easy but u r stronger than you think I to have bipolar and my wife of 12 years and 3 wonderful boys cheated on me Iam finally divorced and have my 3 boys full time it has been hard dealing with the divorce plus brining up 3 young boys on my own and haveing bipolar but I have survied a year and we r strong together me and my boys your article is insperational thank u life does go on and we can get though with the right meds and help and talking

Thank you Lee for your positive words and thoughts! It is difficult to accept when your partner has an affair, I know! I wish you the best of luck raising your boys - remember each day makes you that much stronger!

I feel so far away from my husband he doesn't communicate to me he used to . I went through a sexual assault last year which was hard for us all to deal with . I just can't be doing with the mood swings it's getting me and my kids really down we are always on pins because he shouts a lot , which sets my anxiety off I don't no wat to do I have been married for 8 years and with him for 10 , we only got him on meds 3 years ago which was a real struggle he always says he's unhappy at work then when it's payday he goes to the pub all nite he shud nt b drinking coz of meds and he usually comes home to give the wages to me as he knows he has impulsive spending I phoned him and he just take the piss out of me in front of lads at work ( they dnt even know about his condition dnt hav a clue ) which is really annoying because they thinks he's funny and encourage him
Sorry for the rant but I'm at my limit

i pray that happiness will be on your side. it is sad and it breaks my heart when my bf want to "take a break". my emotional roller coaster is bad especially when i didnt get enough sleep or drank coffee. now, i am trying to laugh and smile as much as possible even though i am sad inside. i am trying to move on though it breaks my heart to pieces.

may love will be on our side one day...

Let's face it, not all of us bipolars are the easiest people to live with, especially when we are in stressful situations like a divorce. Based on my personal experience, you should look long and hard for the right lawyer. For me, that means finding a lawyer who understands bipolar illness and doesn't rant on about how you should pull yourself together and control yourself. When looking for a lawyer ask what the lawyer knows about bipolar illness, not whether he/she knows about bipolar illness. Most people think they know about it, assure you they do know, and then later rag on you for not pulling yourself together on command. This will amount to overload for you in an already stressful situation. Good luck.

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