It's been almost a week since I finalized my divorce to my now ex-husband. I still kind of flinch when I say that word. I've wanted to call him that for so long, it's so strange that it is now actually true. I remember when we first got married, we loved to introduce each other to people as "my husband" and "my wife". My how things can change.
The first day I couldn't get out of bed, didn't want to talk to anyone.
The second day I got out of bed (only because I had to work), but still didn't really want to talk to anyone. It wasn't so much sadness anymore but more of a numbness that had set in. As I've mentioned earlier in this blog, numbness is my defense mechanism when things get too hard. It's great for getting me through trauma, but also sort of puts off the inevitable.
By Thursday I was feeling well enough to get to the gym and hit the treadmill and yoga. I worked off a ton of stress by running the hardest I have in a long time, and then centered myself with the yoga class. I felt much better.
Somewhere in those few days my ex had a literal nervous breakdown. He called me from his car in the middle of a total panic attack, had to leave work and get his mother to take him to the doctor. He has been put on medication now, thank God. But not before having another crying attack while picking up the kids for the evening. I kept firm to my boundaries...but to say watching him have an emotional breakdown isn't draining and upsetting would be a lie, especially since it's happening in front of the kids.
I also struggled with my own internal "freakout" dialogue again. I told myself I was crazy to be putting myself into a vulnerable position with Mr. Wonderful again. That there is no possible way I could ever go through with getting married again because look at how this ended and I refuse to EVER, EVER go through this again. I honestly had NO IDEA how difficult this divorce would be. I still haven't had a glimpse at those feelings of "freedom" that I was sure I would experience. Just sadness, mind-gripping fear of falling into the same traps in the future, and a lot of numbness.
I'm talking myself through the freakouts by asking myself daily if the good that can come of the risk of trying again outweighs the potential bad of losing another love or going through another divorce. Not even just daily....sometimes lately hourly. I had to get myself through another disagreement with Mr. Wonderful while battling those feelings, and I've so far come out on the other side feeling like I can keep going forward. It's a battle right now, but I'm sure that once I get some distance from the pain of the divorce it will get easier. He's an amazing man, and I'd regret letting go of him for the rest of my life and that always wins out over any fear of possible future pain.
I go through periods of feeling really strong and unbreakable, and then I go through times of feeling completely broken and exhausted. During those times my body literally shuts itself down...I had fever all weekend and today a migraine. It didn't help that Saturday I was out with my brother and a bunch of friends at an outdoor festival and ran right into my ex and my children. It was so jarring and unexpected that I felt as if I'd been in a car accident.
On top of everything, something has been building up under the surface regarding my father. It's the time of year I think...fall with my Dad means watching football together EVERY sunday, it means my birthday (he always does something special for me), it means him helping me with my kids' birthdays (two of them a week after mine), it means going to the State Fair with him, it means him trick or treating with us, it means Thanksgiving at his house, it means his own birthday at his favorite German restaurant. All of our traditions since I was born, every single one of them in the fall and every single one of them without them this year. It's hard to accurately describe the state he is in right now, but he is not Dad anymore, and I'm coming to a place of realizing that he will never rehab from this. That he's stuck, forever, in a body that makes him like a baby. On top of this, his wife has stopped all communication with me and my brother. There is guilt for not visiting him enough (I have major panic attacks everytime I go now, so I have to limit my visits). I wish this situation would somehow resolve, but it seems like it's going to be a wide open wound that I carry around for a good long time. I don't know whether to grieve or hope. I don't know how to do anything in between.
I realize that I'm dealing with two major traumas at once and I am cutting myself slack for wanting to just crawl under the covers and avoid the world and all of it's cruelness at times. I also know that I always come back to a place of happiness and strength and I just have to be patient with myself and pay attention to my own needs.
I have planned a "Divorce Party" for myself in a couple of weeks. I'm hoping that celebrating my freedom with my friends, who I love so much and without whom I never would have made it through, will help me get to a place of being proud of everything I've done and to feel the freedom of being out of a bad marriage. If nothing else it will be an evening surrounded by people who love me and have supported me through my decisions and have lifted me up in the bad times, and will be here to celebrate the good ones with me too.
Friday I leave for my favorite place in the entire world, NYC, with one of my best friends. I'm hoping being in my very own "happy place" will pull me out of this lull or whatever it is. Four days of pure bliss and self-indulgence and enjoyment.
Until then I will just stay here under my covers I think. It feels safe for now.