Before I found Joelle’s AMAZING Trash The Dress site, I was really struggling to find, well anyone, to talk to that could really relate to my divorce. All my friends were still in the dating game, and my parents have been happily married for 27 years. As wonderful and supportive as everyone was, no one fully got it.
Along my journey for my depression treatment I met a woman also going through a divorce. Someone in her circle suggested a local divorce support group at a church downtown. At first I thought she was crazy. No way would I go to a support group! First, I would be the youngest one there. Second, I would probably be ostracized because I’m 20 and getting and divorce. Like, really, what’s wrong with me? Third, I wouldn’t get anything out of it. I don’t have kids or martial property. What advice and support would I get that’s helpful?
Well, somehow I got talked into going. I grabbed myself a Starbucks and held my breath in as I walked into the church. Around me were historical and beautiful religious artifacts. I walked into the room and saw smiling faces of people much older than myself. I was told to write my name on a name-tag, fill out the contact info sheet, grab some coffee and a cookie, and take a seat. We sat in a circle and the facilitator, a licensed therapist, introduced the group, the brief rules (confidentiality, dating is discouraged, safe place, etc) and had some of the seasoned veterans of the group start by sharing their week. Then us newbies told our stories. It reminded me of groups I ran during my counseling internship in graduate school. Was this divorce AA?
I was picking at my cuticles, tapping my feet, and feeling the churn in my stomach. Was I next? I took a deep breath and the plunge and spoke. I told my story, in all of it’s honesty, good and bad, and waited for reactions. What was everyone going to think? The group smiled. The facilitator thanked me. A few people interjected and told me their relatable stories. They all said, “we are so happy you are here.” A wave of relief crashed over me. My body calmed and my heart rate lowered. I smiled. I was accepted. When group wrapped up, multiple people came up to me and thanked me for being so brave.
Since, I have gone to the group weekly. It’s my safe haven. And, although, many group members don’t know what it’s like to divorce so young, every divorce is different and every divorce is the same. We all have stories of betrayal, heartbreak, grief, anger, triumph, and healing. Although we all experience these facets, they are all slightly different for each of us. But we can attempt to make sense of it all and take baby steps towards healing by sharing our stories. So go for it. Find a local support group or join one online (shameless TTD plug). Tell your story. It doesn’t matter if you are 20 or 60, divorce sucks and somebody somewhere knows what stage of suckiness you are in.