Things happen when you’re in shock. Things you don’t understand. Things that make you panic. That scare you, even terrify you.
The following things happened to me. Which I now understand are normal. I was lucky. One of my best friends is a psychologist – she helped me so so much and reassured me about what I was going through.
As this blog is about my journey (even though I don’t like that word!) then part of it is going over the emotions I have been going through. This is something I have only just been able to write about.
The only word I can find to describe what happened to me during the first few months after Alex left.
I couldn’t sit in our sitting room. I couldn’t go into any room other than the kitchen, our bedroom and – obviously – the bathroom!
So that’s were I lived. I spent hours in the smallest area I could squeeze myself into. I sat on the floor with my back against a radiator. I shivered with cold, I couldn’t get warm. I curled up into a ball, I huddled into a closed-in corner. And I did this for hours on end.
I closed myself in at the kitchen table. I built barriers around myself. Real physical barriers. Chairs – boxes – anything I could find. I kept my laptop in the kitchen so I didn’t have to go into other rooms.
I surrounded myself with pillows and cushions and hot water bottles in bed. I curled into a ball. I hugged my teddy bear. I hid.
I wanted to block out the world. Block out the pain. Block out my new reality. And I couldn’t.
Very interesting. This lasted for about a year. I would set off to see friends (or family) only to turn round and run for home. I would get as far as going to dinner only to run for the door as soon as the meal came to an end. Sometimes I would just cancel at the last moment.
And at the time I hated being in the house on my own. I loathed the loneliness and emptiness of the space.
I finally discovered that I could only cope if I was completely and totally in charge of my exit. I had to be totally up front with friends – I warned them I would bolt. I said I didn’t want to go out but would because I knew I had to and that I needed to be able to leave when I wanted to – even if that was mid-meal. Fortunately they understood! Then I made sure I always drove myself and I parked my car where I could escape easily. Once I had that security of ‘exit’ I found I didn’t bolt so often or so early!
I didn’t. Not for about six months. Don’t get me wrong I tried!
I tried not cooking and just eating salads and cooked meats – binned it!
I tried cooking – no – no good – binned it.
I then embarked on buying the most expensive ingredients I could as I knew it would really annoy me to waste the money. That didn’t work either. I could do the cooking bit – but then it just went straight in the bin.
Result – I lost loads of weight.
The answer was to graze. Eat almonds – which my great friend Annie gave me – and just nibble small amounts regardless of being hungry or not. Eating small – and I do mean small – amounts saved me!
Horror & Panic Attacks
These were scarily often – especially at the beginning. Mostly in the middle of the night when I couldn’t see how it was possible to cope with the horror of the hollow despair and live. When I actually ran out of words in the English language to describe how I felt. I literally screamed at the walls. I felt physically sick.
I didn’t believe I would ever come through this. The only thing that kept me facing another day is something I read many years ago. A very powerful statement said by a 2nd World War concentration camp female inmate to another, who wanted to take her own life
“If you take your life now you will never know the real outcome.” Both women survived the war.
After the shock subsides
Slowly you move into the next stage. It takes however long it takes. Each of us is different. Each situation is different. Every marriage is different so every break up is different.
So once you find the shock subsiding and you have given yourself all the time you need to grieve, then you may feel the need to get help.. No one can tell you how long it’s going to take. You are unique. I cried my heart out – solidly - for at least 12 months. I then wept on and off each and every day and nearly always between 3 and 5 am – for the next 8. I hope it’s not so bad for you.
And at any stage when you can’t stand it anymore -
Try anything and everything you think could help – don’t go it alone – there is help out there!
I spent ages on the internet googling all the wrong phrases in my search for my miracle cure.
Good if you find one you like. I failed to find one. But – to be fair – I didn’t look very hard. So not fair of me to say much.
This group runs 10 week courses and is definitely an organisation with integrity. They have groups all over the country. Click above to go to their web site
I found mine through the Internet.
This is the one that is ‘doing it for me’. Not an easy option. Not one I think I could have gone for 12 months ago. I am pretty sure I would have bolted. I have had to face up to the various versions of me. And some of them I have not liked. But the pain is worth the gain. Because if the gain is how I feel just now (Oct 2010) then it’s been worth it a million times over!
Dec 2010 – Actually I now wish I had found this option earlier. I wish I had been doing this last year rather than spending 18-20 months hanging on to the past. Because that way of thinking has become so ingrained in me, so natural, that it is taking a lot to shift it and I keep zooming back to it as my comfort zone (nasty as it is). But I am where I am. And the only way IS forward!