Steps I took to survive the storms of divorce

In my previous blog Weathering the storms of divorce I shared my emotional roller coaster I experienced during the separation and subsequent divorce after 17 years of marriage. I was at a very dangerous cross road and I had to decide whether I would die for the husband who had betrayed my trust or live for my children. I chose to live and fought with depression and hopelessness to regain myself.

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Here are some of the steps I took to survive the storms of divorce:

I sought professional counselling – I decided to seek professionally counselling. Fortunately for me I was studying and was able to receive free counselling on campus. Counselling not only allowed me the forum to express my feelings but it also provided me with an avenue to view my situation from a different perspective.
These were my main take away from my counselling sessions.
1. My marriage failed but I am not a failure because I am more than just a wife. I am also a successful mother, entrepreneur, friend and so forth.
2. That I should not accept the blame for my husband’s infidelity because other married couple went through the same problems my spouse and I experienced and neither of them cheated. My spouse’s infidelity was his choice.
3. I should separate myself from the situation and take as long as I needed to process what was happening.

I started taking better care of myself.  I started to rest as best as I could.  I also took iron, Vit B12, and Omega 3 fatty acid as these supplements are known to help with depression.  I joined the gym and attended zumba classes.  Even though I didn’t lose any weigh, the exercise helped me to relax.

I listened to inspirational music even when I didn’t feel like it and before I knew it I would find myself humming or singing along.  I prayed and prayed and prayed some more.  Sometimes there were no words so I would weep or say “God please help me, don’t let me die like this.”  I prayed so much that I would fall asleep praying and woke up praying.

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It didn’t matter how I felt I would get up, dressed up and showed up for work and church.  I made sure I didn’t look like what I was going through so I would still get my hair and my nails done.  I however did not force myself to do too many social events.  If I didn’t feel up to it I would turned down the invitation.

I confided in my close friends.  I relied heavily on my friends.  Honestly, I don’t know if I would have made it through without them.  My small circle of confidants would pray for me, encouraged me and patiently listened to me telling the same story as often as I needed to.  I re-framed from talking to too many people or to vent on social media. In spite of my pain I wanted to clothe myself in dignity for myself and my children.

Whenever I felt like I had exhausted my friends, I would journal.  I would also write down inspirational or motivational sayings and quotes wherever I read them and would re-read them as often as I needed to.

Finally, the biggest and hardest decision I had to make was to completely cut off all communications with my spouse.  I blocked him on Facebook and his telephone number.  I am in no way recommending this action to anyone but this was something I needed to do because of all the mix signals, confusion, guilt trips, resentment and anger I experienced when talking to him.  It was only after I cut off the communication I was able to think clearly and concentrate on the healing of my emotions.

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Five years after the separation and the divorce I still have days when I have feelings of sadness and mostly anger.  I allow myself to feel what I must but I try my endeavour best not to allow these feelings to take up residence again in my soul.  There are times when I wished that it would all go away but I understand fully well that healing is a process so I made sure to be patient with myself.  I continue to rely heavily on God and on occasion I still call my close friends for support.

I know I am not where I should be but I am nowhere close to where I was and by God’s grace I continue to get stronger each day.  I have weathered the deep and have no intention to drown in shallow water.   If you are going through a divorce I encourage you to not give up.  Though the storm is waging now it will not last forever.  Surround yourself with positive people and seek professional help if you need to. Crawl, creep and limp if you have to but don’t you dare throw in the towel.