Here is an email I received from a woman going through a divorce. She sent it around 4am:
Today really got the best of me. Putting my home on the market has really taken this divorce to a whole new reality. I am crushed. Once again, my son is mad at me for not waiting until he left for college in a couple weeks and “now all his friends will know, you ruined four years of high school by arguing with Dad and now selling the house, its ridiculous”.
What I want to do is crawl under a rock. I love my house but can’t stay. I don’t know how to pull it together. I miss my parents and wish they could guide me. I have never felt so sad and alone in my life.
So many people walked away from me once my marriage fell apart, it just blows my mind. I trust no one, all thanks to my alcoholic husband. I find myself so bitter and angry that my life has come to this. It was not the plan I had in mind. I am left without a purpose. All I have been is a mom and a wife for so long, I am empty without it. I honestly don’t know how to get myself over this phase. Someone said to me the other day that God has a plan for me and it will all work out. I couldn’t stop crying because I want to believe that. It feels like this constant state of being in limbo will never end….
My interpretation in reading this email, is that there are several different anxiety-producing problems happening in this woman’s life. The best way I can offer advice is to list them and then offer my advice for each:
1. Selling your home after a divorce. Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of a divorce for some people is having to move. A home is filled with memories, everywhere you turn. In every room, in every corner, even in closets! Our minds tend to remember all of the good memories–things like the kids being babies, possible a new puppy, kids learning to walk, graduating Junior High, the prom, maybe even a wedding there. It’s devastating for some people to leave their home and that can cause anxiety and depression. Let yourself grieve it and make sure not to settle when it comes to buying/renting a new place. The new place might not mean as much as your home to you, but make sure you really like it, that you feel comfortable in it, and that you really like the location. That will help a lot.
2. Dealing with anger from teenage children. Although I’m disappointed in the son for not understanding, and for putting his own feelings before his mother’s, I realize that he is a teenager and that’s what teenagers do. He isn’t mature enough to let himself see the whole picture and focus on what’s really going on, versus his own pain and anger and fear about his parent’s split. He also might be siding with his father because he doesn’t want to face Dad’s alcoholism. I truly think he will come around someday (probably when he is older) and might even apologize for the way he is acting. In the meantime, this woman needs to stay on course. Her son isn’t the one who has to live in the unhappy marriage with the alcoholic—she does. She should be open and honest, but not too apologetic or defensive to her son.
3. Loneliness. I just wrote a whole blog post on this subject. It is an incredibly painful emotion. The good news is, it doesn’t last forever.
4. Being in a marriage with an alcoholic. Perhaps this woman’s biggest stressor is that she has lived with an alcoholic for decades. She is in a lot of pain. I would suggest she go to therapy with a specialist who deals with families of alcoholics, and/or go to Al Anon. She might not realize that she needs a lot of help for both what she has been through, along with how to divorce someone with a drinking issue.
5. Fear of the future and feeling lost. Being fearful can cause massive anxiety. It is very very normal to feel scared, to feel like “What the hell am I supposed to do in my life now?” Millions of women have been in her shoes and have ended up very happy, at peace, and in most cases, much happier than when they were housewives. My advice to her is to talk to a lot of people about opportunities and what she might want to do. I don’t know if she has to go back to work, but I think if she does, that might be a blessing. The key is to do something you really love, or at least enjoy. Try different things, explore opportunities. It might take some time, but eventually you will find you. Surround yourself with people you enjoy and care for, and those who make you feel good about yourself. Get rid of those who are negative or who make you feel badly about yourself.
6. Lack of sleep. Severe anxiety can affect sleep, and that only makes the anxiety worse. It’s a viscous cycle. I remember a time when I was going through a divorce when I would dread night time because I knew I would be up 20 times during the night, tossing and turning, lying there worrying about things. Every problem seems so much worse in the middle of the night, doesn’t it? My advice is, talk to your doctor about sleep remedies, or even better, get some holistic herbs to help you sleep. I just started taking Ashwagandha and loving it. I would suggest seeing a specialist who is certified in integrative or functional medicine. Also, exercising helps with sleep, and so does taking a bath before bed with magnesium salts in it, and/or drinking a warm drink. By the way, drinking alcohol (even one glass of wine) can affect sleep patterns in a negative way.
To my sweet, dear reader, your constant state of limbo will surely end. Be patient. It takes time. And, realize the difference between what you can control and what you cannot control. Then, take action and do things to help you in the things you can control.
Also, enjoy something each and every day. Remember that life is ticking by and no day should be wasted. I get it if you cry or are angry or worried about something, but make time every single day to do something you enjoy, something that makes you smile, and makes you feel like you can go to bed saying, “This might not have been the best day, but there were some good parts.”
Lastly, each night before you fall asleep, focus on the people you love and think of each one. Picture him or her in your head and pray for that person. You may include pets too! For me, doing this is a form of meditation, gratitude and prayer, and it fills my head with good stuff—which pushes out all the bad stuff that is stressing me out.
Like this post? Read my article, “Going Through A Divorce? 21 Things You Shouldn’t Give a F*** About”