I’m writing this blog for myself as well as for all of you. I want to explore the loneliness and depression that can follow after a failed marriage. I was going to write this blog a while ago, as I knew it was something a lot of us had struggled with, but to be honest I found it really difficult. How could I help others until I had helped myself? How could I give any advice until I followed it? And how could I conquer loneliness?
Starting with the most obvious- get a pet! Cats and dogs make amazing companions. Dogs can contribute to a massive improvement in their owner’s depression. They bring companionship, physical touch and make you feel wanted/needed. Exercise is a great mood lifter and the added routine of dog walking can be greatly beneficial. There is also improved socialisation through meeting other dog walkers. Dogs can be a proven aid to panic attack sufferers and you know what? Dogs can be really really funny! And what’s better than something that makes you laugh?
And cats. How cute are cats?! Cats are just so bloody cute. Why look at cute Internet cat pictures when you can have the real thing? If you work a lot and a dog doesn’t fit your lifestyle then cats are a great option. They don’t make much mess, don’t need walking and are mostly up for just sleeping and getting occasional cuddles……..I think maybe I used to be a cat in a former life.
If you’re thinking about getting a pet please please go to your local rescue centres and give an unwanted pet a home. There’s plenty of lonely animals as well as lonely people in this world.
Routine, routine, routine! Yup. Get yourself in to a good routine. They say it helps for kids and you know what? We’re just bigger kids. Join a club and go every week! Arrange a cinema/film night with friends. Join the gym and go. Plan how you will spend your week so you know when you will be alone and when you will be around other people. If you’re like me, you struggle to spend anytime alone. Then, you could aim to alternate nights of going out/seeing friends with staying home alone. Plan what you will do on that alone time with rough times if needed: 6:00 p.m. – make dinner, 6:30 p.m.- eat dinner, 7:00 p.m.- clean up, 7:30 p.m.- watch a chick flick (or if you’re like me it will just alternate between Twilight, Pulp Fiction, Human Traffic and Donnie Darko), 8:30 p.m.- eat an entire bar of chocolate…….
9:30 p.m.- take a nice, relaxing bubble bath, 10:00 p.m.- speak to online friends and get ready for bed. This is just a rough idea to get you thinking about planning on how to spend your time. I panic a lot; the thought of being alone scares me. So this way, I can think about how the time will be spent and make it pass easier.
Healthy eating and exercise. I really can’t expand enough on how important eating the right food and getting plenty of exercise can influence your mood. If you’re eating properly, your sugar and hormone levels will all be much better and provide increased energy to enjoy life. You don’t want to be lethargic and depressed! I’m not saying cut out chocolate and weekly takeaway because you definitely deserve the treats! Just think about making healthy choices and eat food that will help. Here’s a link to some food directly linked to helping with depression on Natural News.
Exercise was probably something that helped me the most when I was feeling down. Getting to the gym most days was great for focusing my mind on something, socializing and also great for realising anger! As well as trying to keep myself in shape and improving my self confidence, of course.
Conquering bad thoughts. It can be extreamly upsetting and tiring going over the same thoughts in your head that can be associated with getting a divorce. I think you know what I’m talking about. Self doubt. This does nothing for your self esteem. If you find yourself sitting there thinking of reasons why you are on your own, ‘Did I do this or that wrong?’, ‘Was I too needy?,’ or ‘Was I just a rubbish wife?,’ ‘Could I have been better?,’ etc. then I suggest for every down-on-yourself thought you have, add two positive affirmations of yourself. For example, ‘I should have been a better wife’ should be followed in your head with ‘I’m really funny and I make people laugh.’ Try and do your own version of this remind yourself why you are awesome! For me the big one is, ‘No one will ever love me’ but at least I know I can say ‘I’m a really loving person and I have my so much to give.’ Become aware of your thought processing and take control of it.
If you’re really struggling with depression, then go and see your doctor. There is absolutely no reason to feel ashamed. You know you have been happy before and trust me you can be happy again, it’s just sometimes people need a bit of help on their way. It’s up to you if you want to take medication. There’s no right or wrong answer, its just personal choice. But counseling is a great therapy and I don’t know many people who wouldn’t recommend trying it even for a short time period. Sometimes an impartial ear is all it takes. Counselling is not about giving you answers or someone else telling you what you should or shouldn’t do, it’s about someone completely non judgemental helping you in a confidential environment. It’s about omeone to listening to you and helping you to go through your thoughts and come to your own conclusions about things that may be causing you some trouble in life.
These are just a few ideas I thought might be helpful. Hope you find something that works for you. Remember you will be happy again.
Today we have a special guest blog from Trash the Dress private online support group member, Cynthia.
Sometimes I find myself lost in this feeling of being overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed with the knowledge and the assurance that I am where I’m supposed to be, and everything happens for a reason. I don’t know why I am where I am, and it’s not easy to be here.
But I am so thankful.
Thankful for the interactions with people that allow me to speak the truth into their hurt beings. I speak these truths with total conviction, because I believe them. I believe them with everything in me.
I believe that being married to the sake of being married is detrimental to the soul. I believe that relationships in life are a two-way street and it doesn’t matter what one does, if that relationship is one-sided it won’t work and it will rob you both of your lives.
I believe that you cannot control other’s choices, and you cannot allow other’s choices to control you.
I believe that even though it hurts, and even when it seems like constant pain is inevitable…. there is an end, and there are better days coming.
I know that this experience does not define my character and my life, but what I do with this experience is the foundation of my life moving forward.
I look forward to each day, even the dark ones because I’m living my reality and not wasting time on a life that I never really had. I still stumble, but these days I can get back on my feet on my own and I smile while I dust myself off.
I’ve always been a “planner.” My dad often quoted John Lennon to me saying, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans”. That statement rings no more true in my life than now. This experience in life has allowed me to let go of the negative connotations that comes with a life of plans, and I’m able to enjoy each day for what it is. I am not afraid of the unknown – I can’t wait to see the surprises life brings. I no longer grieve for the future I planned, I am open to the future that my life has planned. I am along for the ride, and intend to enjoy it.
Its amazing the impact that 365 days can have on you. To think about it, 365 days doesn’t seem like all that much when we live life focusing on getting through the day to day. Yet to others 365 days can be the difference between life and death. Life and death, whether it be emotional or physical is exactly where these past 365 days teetered me. Yet I’m alive, well, and have life abundantly.
I was turning 23- it seemed to be another day as most birthdays are- but I struggled to fight the battle for the familial interaction I always desperately yearned. I was married to a man who didn’t know the meaning of a gift and believed that love and gifts should be given year round, not just on some corporately dictated day. That would be fantastic if he meant it, or if he had known what love was. I didn’t need a tangible gift, or lack thereof, for me to know who I was to him.
I was another year older, and another year more in the grasp of some miserable life I thought I deserved. Every year, I would buy myself something around my birthday and tell everyone he had got it for me, just so that I could continue to persuade others into our false fairy tale.
Little did anyone know that I would go home and fight and argue to simply spend my birthday with my family. I would be given restrictions, of how long we could spend with them of what I could and could not share with them… My life was dictated to me, every moment of every day. I would fight my case, until it wasn’t worth fighting anymore and I would give in. Even on the one day a year when it’s okay to be selfish, that wasn’t the case for me. It was just like every other day, I was simply a supporting role in his life. Until he had something to prove, then I’d be this amazing woman who still went home and got broken and beaten down every night.
In these 365 days, I faced the facts. The lies were brought to light, and my life was given back to me. Moment by moment, I slowly grabbed onto my life again- making decisions myself, doing what I wanted to do-and moment by moment brought me closer to the last day of that life. To some it may signify a broken failure, but to me it meant that I had finally allowed myself to see the truth in the surrounding lies. I ran and never looked back. I did something for me, a purely selfish decision for both my dog and I. And the months continued to pass, and hour by hour it made it easier to accept my new life.
I am now 24. A divorcee. I’ve learned to appreciate every single moment that life gives you. To appreciate the sunsets and the sunrises that take your breath away. Never to look at yourself like a failure, but to instead take life and learn from it. Because every day is new. You have baggage, but it’s the kind of baggage that says, “I’m not going to accept anything less than I deserve.” It’s the kind of baggage that says, “I’m strong enough to walk away from abuse.” It’s the kind of baggage that gives you the chance to live the life you want. Go back to school, rediscover those hobbies you weren’t allowed to embrace, wear those jeans he hated, eat those foods he told you would make you fat. Get your voice back, form opinions and speak them. You are allowed to be you. This is YOUR life, to be defined by no one but you.