Dear Miranda, I’m here with a life raft. (Also Titled: Guide to surviving divorce and the inevitable misfortunes that follow.)

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I’M HERE! Sorry it took me so long to paddle out to where you were drowning. I’m glad you’ve been able to tread water so far. What looked like a much needed adventure now is looking like a shipwreck but have no fear! It will turn into the best voyage of your life. Eventually. For now just get in this stupid fucking life raft with me and let’s have a chat.

So one of the big things I found out after my divorce was that A) difficult life stuff always seems to happen all at once in a heap following your announcement to do it alone and B) doing/ dealing with EVERYTHING all alone is really fucking hard.

Let’s start with all this shit all at once. I feel like it’s one of those things that is just inevitable following a divorce/separation because there is everything you used to do topped with everything your partner used to do that you are now doing topped with all of the really irritating and time consuming stuff you have to do because of the separation topped with life and all its bitchiness.

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Here are the steps to dealing with this without losing your mind.

Step 1. Breathe. Seriously. Take a really huge lung full of air, hold it, and then slowly let it out. You are going to be ok.

Step 2. Kill the panic. In times when everything gets crazy you and I have a tendency to either cut off our feelings (or morph them into something else) or panic. Now I’m not telling you to cut off your feelings or morph them… I want you to feel them. And when you do you are probably going to get anxious and tingly in a bad way and want to panic. Kill that shit. Your feelings are valid. Real adult life all on your own is really scary and really crazy. And you know what. You are going to be ok. And that makes you a serious BAMF.

Step 3. Prioritize your stress. I find it helpful to do this by actually physically writing a list . Think about all the shit that’s troubling you, big or small, and write that shit down. Then look at your list and rewrite in the order of most urgently/stressful to least urgent/ stressful.

Now. Cross off everything on your list that you have no control over, can’t change, and is totally out of your hands and as you do mentally let that shit go in your life. You have plenty of real issues to worry about without stressing over things you cant control or are petty.

(Hypothetical Examples: My Aunt Jane Doe has been really unsupportive, My best friend lives a bazillion million miles away, I have to move to a town/apartment I think sucks because it’s the only place affordable/available.)

Good Job! Now look at whats left on your list. You see the Top three things on your list? That is ALL you are allowed to worry about.

“But Catie, all of these other ones are so…”

NO. STOP. You get three at a time to worry about.

And I promise you that by the time you get those three sorted out some of the ones you weren’t allowed to worry about will have gotten fixed or become irrelevant/unimportant to you.

I imagine this is your reaction to having to pick only three.

Now that you have your three where do you go from here.

Step 4. Brainstorm, Pray, Meditate, Ask for Help. This is the “fun” part. This is where you look at your top three problems and go. “Ok, so what are all my options? What options do I like the most/least? What do I need to do?” Often times there is very little we can do other then sit and wait. That’s where the Pray, Meditate, and Ask for Help come into play. You have picked your battle but now you need emotional support. (PS I think you should write a blog with your three and I will be some of your emotional support.)

Do this every day. Has anything changed? Are you feeling more at peace? Have you had any breakthroughs? Don’t expect an instant solution. Some things take time.

Hopefully once you do all of this you will feel some weight lifted from your shoulders.

So now lets move on to issue B (which in case you forgot is: doing/ dealing with EVERYTHING all alone is really fucking hard).

This one is not so easily organizable  and is more of an emotional and personal process so instead of tell you what to do I will tell you how this went down for me. 

Step 1. Facing Reality. After the roller coaster of relief/excitement/sadness/frustration comes the reality which was simultaneous better and worse then I thought it would be. The better part is that I had a fresh slate. I could start totally over and focus on JUST what I wanted/needed. But the worse part was that I was alone. Like REALLY alone. And at times I was really really lonely exhausted. Don’t misunderstand. This didn’t in any way change my mind or make me regret leaving. It was just a new fact of life that I had to chew on. One of the hardest days I had it seemed to small but I was SO worn out from work and the burdens of life and when I got home Emily was hungry. I didn’t have anything in the pantry and no energy to cook anyway and I remember thinking the shitiest part of not having a partner was that I couldn’t just call someone and say “Hey can you pick up some food on your way home.”

It’s not about the food. It’s about when you are exhausted and life has gotten the best of you, you don’t have that someone who is the constant support for you. If you fall, then no one catches you. You feel it full force.

Which leads me to…

Step 2. Spiritual healing. For me, the weight of life and its pressures was to hard to continue to bear all by myself. So I gave God a try. I mean at this point what did I have to lose? And it ended up being a lifesaver for me. It’s definitely a growing process and one of those things that I continually define and redefine my own boundaries and beliefs, but feeling like I wasn’t in fact all alone and there would be peace was a HUGE comfort to me.

Step 3. Getting out of my comfort zone. When we started this blog one of the first things I posted was my New Years Resolutions. What several of them were in fact though was my new LIFE resolutions. Rules to force me to stretch and grow and move out of my comfortable but solitary little box. I was forced to come up with ideas to make new friends, plan a trip, and be happier. My resolutions may not have seemed big at the time but for the first year of divorced life it helped me shape a much brighter future.

The last thing I want to say to you is that I love you. I’m sorry life has been such a jerk lately. ❤ And I’m here if you need me.

-Catie-

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