Day 2: No Delusions

This morning began with a trip to my doctor’s office to discuss my current antidepressant.  A few months ago, I was forced – by insurance – to switch to a new brand.  My doctor chose Wellbutrin and I have given it a try.  But, 2 1/2 months in, I am unhappy with the results for a variety of reasons.  For starters, my anxiety is no better and I feel like I live in a fog.  There is more to the equation, but you get the drift.  Anyway, my doctor and I discussed it this morning and he has changed up my prescription so that I have to take a pill twice a day.  In addition, I am to stop taking my sleeping med because, apparently, the mix of the two can cause seizures.  Seizures!

I left his office with a sense of determination:  I am going to get healthy without these pills. I realize that going off medications is a serious matter, but I also realize that staying on them has the potential to do a lot of physical damage.  From seizures to loss of short term memory, the list of side effects is daunting.  I also realize that I have never been in such a good place in my life: I am happy.

At 34, I have some life experience under my belt, as well as the knowledge that life doesn’t always have to be roses and lollipops to be worth living. Even in the worst of circumstances, I can find something worth the effort of existence.  These elements, combined with an awesome network of friends and  a counselor who has seen fit to arm me with power over my own emotions, give me the confidence that I can work towards a new sense of wellness.

I have no delusions: I know that I am going to struggle.  But I also know that I have some great weapons to fight with in my back pocket.  So, I am going to try.  Today is day 2 without an antidepressant.  In fact, I haven’t taken my sleeping med in two days either because I suspicioned that it was the culprit causing the extreme drowsiness.  Withdrawals hit a bit today and I fought a nasty headache, but my spirits are high.  I’m feeling okay thus far.

Of course, time will tell. And, if crisis becomes evident, I will do what I must. But I have to give myself a shot now.  With the divorce finally over and life moving in a positive direction, I want to see if I can handle life without a chemical crutch.

 

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The Best Year Ever

2014 has arrived with style and, so far, it has been my best year ever.  I just found out today that, as of December 31, I am officially a single woman.  Finally!  My year had started off great, but the knowledge that I have been officially single for two days really made my year.

Needless to say, my girlfriends will be going out this weekend for some champagne and the shaking of my single tail feathers.  My god, I have waited for so long for this moment.

I knew from the beginning that something wasn’t right about us, but we loved each other and thought that was all you needed.  We were best friends who liked being together, and that was enough for the first five years.  But people do this weird thing called growing up.  At least I did.  And with that comes questions and insecurities and new ideas and, in a relationship like we had, this creates a rift.  A big one. I was always moving towards something, and I say something because I haven’t figured out just what it was.  Maybe it was me, a better and stronger version of myself was pulling me through the swamp.  Whatever it is/was, I’ve made it this far.

The incredible part of the finality is the peace.  I am simply overwhelmed by peace with myself, with my direction, with the manifestation of the decisions I made in the beginning of the journey called divorce.  I am one step closer to myself and the life I’ve always wanted, and I’m talking a Neil Armstrong type of step.  Baby, I have landed on the moon, and I’m gonna plant my flag and do a victory dance.   This is uncharted territory for me, and it’s scary and foreign and everyone is watching.  But, deep down inside, I know I’ve got this.   I have never been more sure of myself in my life. Never. 

So what now?  I figure I’ll dance a while and wait for that “something” to guide me in my next move.  It seems to have the GPS set for success, so I’ll let it drive the bus.  But until it’s time to get on board, you can find me right here:  Dancing. 

Say Something…

For starters, listen to this:  http://youtu.be/-2U0Ivkn2Ds

There are things no one warns you about when going through a divorce. No one tells you that, even after the papers are signed and life has begun moving along, there will be still and quiet moments of longing, of wondering why.  There will be a small voice within you, demanding an explanation.  “What did I do wrong?  How could he not love me?  Why does this hurt?”

For me, that little voice is the girl I was 13 years ago, the girl he married, the innocence.  She doesn’t understand and, now and then, she cries out and falls apart.  That little 20-year-old girl reaches out for her boy hero and begs him not to leave her. But all she finds is me, and I have to give her answers that I don’t have.   I am left with the duty of explaining the unexplainable.  This 33-year-old woman standing in a pile of shrapnel reaches out, takes the girl’s hand, and comforts her while she weeps from the fallout.

This song, for me, is the voice of my little girl.  “I’m feeling so small. It was over my head. I know nothing at all.”  But it is also the voice within me that grew for many years, that said to him “Say something, I’m giving up on you.”   I waited for years for him to say something.  Anything.  He was speechless.

And I screamed and acted out and made myself a fool.

Still, silence.

Then I realized, the silence meant something.

And I gave up.

That little girl may cry for a while, but I am stronger than her now.  And, one day, she will take my hand and walk with me.  She and I, we need each other. See, it’s her innocence that trusts and feels, and my intellect and life experience that tells me to think things through.  Now, please don’t think I’m schizophrenic.  I’m not. But I recognize that I have an emotional side that has tough moments in this process, and an intellectual side that has made sense of the war.  I think this is true for most women:  There is a life everyone sees, and then an internal dialogue with ourselves that we keep private and very guarded.   When we lose someone who has seen both of those sides, it is traumatic and soul-scarring.  And no matter how intellectual we try to be, our inner, fragile selves need an explanation.

First of all, stop trying to explain to yourself because there are no words.  Just cry, scream, laugh, feel.  Learn to let the emotions run through you.  I look around in our world and it seems everything has an explanation.  But I assure you, the emotional side of divorce is the exception.  No matter how you compartmentalize, organize, and prepare, emotions are going to seep through the cracks.  And you will only make it worse by hiding.

Do yourself a favor right now:  Play the video again. And again.  Listen close and close your eyes.  For five minutes just feel.  Fuck explanations and logic and any self-help book you may have read and just LET GO.  (That’s right, I said fuck). Acknowledge that you hurt, and that it’s okay.  FEELING IS OKAY.

Make the commitment to yourself to take a moment now and then and just feel.  Know that it will get easier with time, that you will never have an explanation, and that sometimes life defies logic.  Learn to accept yourself as temporarily broken.  I have.  And, in my brokenness, I have never felt more whole.

So, next time you hear your little voice demanding answers, say nothing.  But don’t give up on you.

All I Want for Christmas…

I discovered today, while walking through a large, high-end mall, that I need nothing for Christmas.  Absolutely nothing.  As I looked around at all the sparkling store fronts, it occurred to me that there was nothing in any of those stores that I needed or that could enrich my life.  Sure, I think there are many pretty things out there, from jewelry and dishes to cashmere sweaters.  But I see no benefit in filling my life with things.

That doesn’t mean my life is purposeless or empty.  On the contrary, my cup is overflowing. Now I know, you probably know what’s coming next: I’m going to launch into a speech about my wonderful friends and family and all of the “blessings” in my life.  Since you already know that speech, I won’t waste your time.  Just pretend I said all of that.

What I want to do is ask:  What do you need for Christmas?  I mean really need?

Spend some time with that question:  Take stock of your talents, your family and friends, and then your possessions. Be honest with yourself about your needs and why they are YOUR needs.  Once you’ve looked all of that over, I’d like to hear from you.  Send me a comment about a need you discovered in yourself, no matter its source.     It can be anything, from the need for approval to a pair of thick socks for your cold feet.  So, go ahead, take this little journey with me.

I’ll start:  This Christmas, I need the reassurance, within myself, that I have the gumption it takes to make my business successful.

It’s your turn…

At the Peak

newsFlagMountainI keep hoping I will sit down at my keyboard and bang out the words to something profound, something  groundbreaking on being single or an epiphany about the complicated feelings that go along with divorce.  But, in the mental space where I hover these days, words seem to escape me.  It isn’t that I’m broken or depressed or numb, I just can’t find the words for this middle space, this middle world where I’m making adjustments both physically and emotionally to the reality that I am now single.   I can’t muster words or anything remotely creative right now, and it’s making me a little frustrated.  And maybe that’s where I’m supposed to be.  Maybe, on the cusp of a breakthrough, it’s okay to be speechless.

Despite my creative frustrations in this new space of being, I am happy, and I don’t use that word lightly.  For me, happy is a complex emotion and an enigma.  Many people throw it around as a temporary thought, an emotion that passes a smile across the face and then disappears.  But in my circle of friends, when we talk about being happy, it is understood that happy is a soul-level emotion.  It is a deep-seated state of being that prevails even when everything is going wrong.  And now, for the first time in my life, I understand exactly how it feels.  The past couple of years have been an emotional hell, from admitting to myself that my marriage was over, to saying it out loud, to having the courage to do what I knew was right.  And now, as I stand near the top of this mountain of pain and look back at all the jagged edges and slippery footholds I have overcome, I can see that my quest for happiness was pretty rough, but I have arrived.  The question becomes, “What do I do now?”  My answer:  stake my flag in the peak and keep going.  I have arrived at happy, and that’s good enough for me.

A Night Out

The other night, I was invited to a concert at the local music club.  A guy friend from a couple years back texted that he had a ticket and wanted me to go.  So, I went.  I dressed up in my favorite skirt and black patent heels and met him at the front of the club.  We hung out and talked to one of the roadies for a while before the concert started, taking in the cluster of electronics that would make the concert possible.  I ran into a few other friends as well and chatted.  Once the concert started, we made our way to the third row standing.  From there, we watched the show and danced and laughed and had an incredible time.  Afterwards, we hung out and waited for the band with some other friends.  And the other ladies and I watched one particular security guard break down equipment and help pack up.  The guy was probably 6’3″ and his biceps were as big around as my waist.  No kidding.  He took his t-shirt off after a bit and was working in his white wife-beater, causing the ladies and me to drool profusely.  It was then that I realized there was such freedom in being able to ogle whomever, whenever, wherever.  There was freedom to talk to old friends, new friends, and strangers.  Being single suddenly became a lot of fun.  With my new found  freedom tucked in a safe place, I was home by midnight, having enjoyed the concert as well as the show after.

If I were to base my expectations of “singledom” on television shows, then I had the most boring and unsuccessful night ever.  The popular portrayal of the single life dictates that the only purpose for existence is to be actively seeking a mate, and having as much sex as possible until you find that one person that will make you whole.  And maybe that is the truth for some people.  But, from where I stand, I think it’s a line of bullshit.  There is nothing that a chat with your closest girlfriends and a naughty drawer can’t handle.  Ha.  That’s all a woman needs in life.  Truly.

So, ladies, don’t be discouraged if you aren’t living the bed-jumping, boy-humping, crazy single life you see on tv.  Enjoy your freedom and your space, talk to people, laugh, ogle, and don’t worry about meeting someone.   You have this moment to discover yourself… use it.