How did your divorce leave you feeling?
Sad, angry, embarrassed, guilty, alone, like a bad parent, in disbelief, overwhelmed, stressed, judged, like a failure, like life is out of your control?
This is NORMAL.
The main thing that kept me from getting a divorce for years was because I didn’t want to potentially ruin my son’s life. I also didn’t want to face the judgement from my family and the people I interact with on a daily basis.
I put this huge load of pressure on top of me to fix it all…and I spent two years trying. I tried everything under the sun, from spicing up the marriage, offering to go to counseling, taking care of my appearance more, keeping the house clean, not nagging as much.
I didn’t know what he wanted from me. What I did know was that there was a giant void in my life. Something needed to change because I felt completely trapped in a Groundhog Day cycle. I felt unhappy, and I could just feel that he was unhappy too.
I gained the courage to finally break the news that I wanted a divorce. The day I told him, you think that I would feel this huge weight lifted off my shoulders, but I actually felt the exact opposite.
I thought to myself, what the hell did I just do? Is this the right thing? I felt this way not because I wanted to be with him still, but because I was so terrified of what was to come…
I felt shame, guilt and fear of the unknown. I wondered how it would affect my 2-year-old son. I felt like a complete failure in life. Not to mention how judged I felt by those around me, including my own mother.
The stress of the future of my life really caused me to crash into a world of depression. I lost 15 pounds, got aches and pains in my joints and drank every single day. I didn’t exercise, I didn’t go shopping for food unless I had my son with me and I cried myself to sleep for months.
When was it going to get better? I wondered.
When depression sets in, the ONLY healthy way out is an “upward turn.” Something that sparks you to push yourself out. The key words here are “PUSH YOURSELF”.
I realized that I had to take control of my own life and find a new purpose. I literally lived for being a wife and a mom. In the process, I completely lost sight of who I was as a person. I’m not defined by my role in society (being a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a cop) …I’m defined by the person I am on the inside. At my core.
I thought to myself, life doesn’t stop. I either grab it by the horns or let it trample over me. I can take advantage of this situation and see it as an opportunity for growth and improvement. And I did just that.
Here’s how I did it.
I created my blog
I used it as an outlet to reflect on my own emotions. I was able to achieve self-actualization by looking at how I handled life from the outside in (you can achieve this with journaling as well). It also gave me a purpose. The real me (not the mom me or the wife me, but the Malissa ME) was able to help thousands of people by sharing my stories and advice.
I cut the toxic people out of my life
I went through my phone and social media and deleted/blocked every single person that I felt negatively judged by…including my own mom. I did this because it was holding me back from growth. I was constantly thinking about what others thought of me and my choices, so I completely blocked them out.
I started to take time for me
I began to work out and eat actual meals vs. the occasional protein shake and packs of crackers. On some week days off of work, I would drop my son off at daycare and spend the day at the beach alone. I would just bask in the sun and listen to waves with my favorite summer Starbucks drink.
I spent more quality time with my son
A major stressor in my life was the guilt I felt over breaking up our old family dynamic. I was terrified it was going to destroy my son. I figured out that the thing that would destroy him was not feeling loved. If his emotional and physical needs weren’t being met, he would indeed feel the negative effects of the divorce. All the time I spent with my son was dedicated to doing something fun and exciting with him. We learned to skateboard, went bike riding, jogging, played make believe at the park, went Pokémon hunting…the list goes on and on. The key was to go OUTSIDE to do these things. The physical activity and sun just made us both feel good.
I only focused on the things that made me happy
I stopped worrying about things out of my control. I stopped giving a crap about what my son’s dad did or didn’t do. I stopped worrying about what my co-workers thought of me. This is by far the most important thing that helped my growth. Once I stopped giving a crap about what everyone else thought, things just fell into place. I pursued only the things that brought me joy. I surrounded myself with the people that encouraged me. If I didn’t want to do something because it was unproductive to the “new” me, I didn’t do it. I took control of my own life.
Here’s the deal. If you’re stuck with all of those negative feelings, and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting dimmer and dimmer…. HERE is your upward turn. I am your sign.
This is your new motto:
I’m going make the rest of my life, the best of my life.
So, next time you engage with anyone or in anything…ask yourself…
Is this helping me become the new me? Or is this hurting the new me?