In the time following my divorce I let myself down tremendously. In my mind I was an independent person and I swore to myself that I would be just fine. It is in my value system that a person does not need to rely on others to make them happy. Yes, being with other people and having meaningful relationships is a significant part of happiness, but not the only part. In no way was I going to let the dissolution of my ten-year marriage destroy me. And it didn’t. Not really.
The problem was that I set my views of what “not destroying me” meant a bit too high. In my mind I wouldn’t cry but once or twice, I would embrace my new freedom and rebuild my life with enthusiasm. I got that partly right, most days.
At first it was great! I had new goals and hope and all sorts of wonderful things to look forward to! I moved, got a new job, and started at a university – which was a major life dream of mine. Things settled down. Then, I started to feel the weight of the last couple years. The stress of the divorce – and all the mess that went with it – had made my mind fragile. I couldn’t think. All the things I was trying to learn at the university felt out of my grasp. My mind was slippery and felt cramped. This had never happened to me before! I had always been able to learn effortlessly. This was the only thing I ever felt I was good at and I found myself dropping classes! So much for my goals.
Couple that with my life-long tenancy to stuff things rather than deal with them and I found myself becoming something I didn’t ever want to be. I had battled depression before, but this round was the worst yet. It went in cycles. I’d be fine for a few weeks, carrying out life, working on turning my new apartment into a home and paying my bills. Then one day I could hardly get out of bed and I started crying all the time and anywhere. I’d cry at work, in the car, on my days off I’d be listless in bed, not so much crying as a constant stream of tears and helplessness. This would go on for about two weeks. I’d start to feel better again, and then I’d crash again. Up and down and up and down… I began to feel terrified of the next down cycle. The whole time I’m telling myself “I can do this,” “It’s okay,” “It’ll pass,” “Things are better now.” They were, but I couldn’t get my emotions to understand that. I eventually dropped my pride, dropped out of school, saw a doctor, and got some help. Sometimes that extra help really is a necessity.
Things got better. It’s been nearly four years now and I haven’t had a down cycle in months. It took way more time than I wanted it to. Things still aren’t perfect, but my mind is coming back and I am fathoms more comfortable being alone. Well, not alone… It occurs to me that we don’t have an adequate word to describe how I feel now. I’m not alone; I have friends and my children and family. Independent doesn’t really work either, I feel like that has nothing to do with relationships and more to do with just not being dependent. Single doesn’t work either because that just relates to romantic relationships.
What I do feel is whole. I don’t feel like I’m missing something anymore. Yes, a romantic relationship would possibly be fun and fulfilling. It’d be nice to have someone to do things with, talk, cuddle, create dreams, and share the load of life. But I’m comfortable in my own skin again and I feel like I can see a path before me. Who knows what that path will hold, but my lover now is life and living the full breadth and length of it. My goal now is to sew into my children and sew into myself. My goal is to relearn how to learn and give my mind the combination of rest and exercise it needs to be able to recover. My goal is to use what I have gone through to be a help to others if I can. After all, what’s the use of experience if you can’t turn it into a benefit?