Today, I’d like to introduce you to Terry who writes the blog, Scribblings of a Soccer Mom. Terry’s first marriage ended more than three years ago after she and her husband had been together for fifteen years. She was thirty-five then and their two children – a girl and a boy – were eleven and nine. Both Terry and her ex are remarried now.
At age twenty-seven, Terry was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and was in constant pain. She has also struggled off and on with depression. After her divorce, she made a concentrated effort to get healthy. Here’s Terry:
[contemplate1] I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have friends, locally, and I didn’t have any family local, so I decided to go out and make friends and get a job. I think making friends, having good, supportive girlfriends made a lot of difference in how I overall felt, and the depression.
I don’t think I realized I was depressed when I was married. I think it came and went because I had struggled with it, with postpartum depression, after my son was born, so it sort of came and went. I would realize I wasn’t happy, but I would blame it on being in pain because it’s sort of hard to be happy when you’re in pain all the time, so it’s almost a chicken and egg. I don’t really know which one came first, pain or the depression, and that just adds up. I didn’t take very good care of myself mentally and physically toward the end of the marriage.
After we separated I started walking, getting out. I started talking to people more often, answering any friend that asked me to do anything. I would say “yes, sure” if I could, if I didn’t have the kids. I joined a softball team of people I didn’t know, and made even more friends that way. I started to branch out and I think it helped that I didn’t have that overwhelming mental weight of the marriage not feeling right anymore.
I had a sleep study about a month before the separation actually happened and they noticed that I didn’t get into the deep sleep because I constantly moved, and that’s what kept me awake. They said I had restless leg, so I have this medication I take every night at bedtime, and I have now for almost three full years. I swear that’s probably made the biggest difference in my life, just getting good sleep.
I don’t think I could have become so as healthy as I am now if I’d stayed married because I wasn’t able to see past a lot of stuff that was going on between him and I, to see myself. I don’t think I would have made such an effort to get well if I didn’t have to. I was very complacent at that time with accepting that I wasn’t going to do anything.
Terry’s situation is a good example of how we can get into a rut and accept that that is how it’s going to be. The cloud that surrounds us prevents us from seeing that change is possible. Terry points out the chicken and egg situation between her pain and happiness. There’s also a chicken and egg situation between the state of her marriage and taking care of herself. The two are linked and intertwined, hard to separate. When part of the mental burden is removed, energy is freed up to feed your creativity, to start being the best person you can be.
Back when my kids were very small, I had my corporate job. Once the kiddies were tucked up into bed, I would sign on to the corporate email and wade through my inbox for a couple of hours. I knew there were money issues and role issues between me and my spouse but between looking after the kids, running the household and keeping myself afloat at work, I didn’t have the energy to confront them. And I didn’t really know how to. So I left them unattended apart from the periodic blow up every few months and like an unattended garden, they grew like weeds.
I look back now and sometimes wonder how things would have been different if I had confronted the issues. Then I have to remind myself there are no do-overs but I am who I am today because of the path I’ve taken, I can only learn from my past and use it to create my future.
Photo credit: rainbowbeth