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Finding peace in the pain

It has been 273 days since the night my husband came home and told me he wanted a divorce. That is 9 months since my whole world changed. This time line is kind of ironic, because at the time, we were trying to get pregnant. I thought we would be welcoming a new baby into the world by now, not waiting for our divorce decrees in the mail.

I have grown so much within these 9 months. I didn’t think I would survive the first 24 hours, or the first week, or even the first month. But here I am, alive, and doing better then I ever imagined.

I have grown as an individual immensely and grown with my faith. I spend a majority of my time thanking god for all the barriers that have been placed in my path, including this one. In the past, when the pain in my life has been dismal, I blamed god for what he was doing to me. It took some time, but I realize now that this is what god has done for me. I am thankful for the abundant strength that he has given me and all the blessings that have followed this event. I have literally rose up from the ashes and been made anew. God knew that my husband was not right for me, he knew that it was not a lasting marriage, so I believe he did this for me. He took me out of a toxic environment and away from someone who brought out the worst in me and allows me to instead be set free. But did not come without pain.

I have been through a lot in the last 8 years, this whole divorce thing was kind of just the icing on a cake with layers full of abandonment and death.

I don’t talk much about my mental health or my mental illness. And for someone who is such a strong advocate for the topic I shame myself for feeling embarrassed by parts of my story that are ugly but here I go:

When I was 19, I was diagnosed with mild depression and spent a week in an inpatient facility after events that i had been dealing with for years prior pulled me down so far that I could no longer pick myself up off the floor anymore. I took the pills they gave me and went to counseling, but I never put real effort into it. A few years later after Jeremy died, I ended up on a new set of prescriptions and back in counseling. This time, I tried really hard and made a lot of headway. But eventually I felt I didn’t need to take the medication anymore and stopped counseling. But I never truly got to a point where I felt I had resolved all the things I needed to work through. I was still sad, I was still angry and I assumed that’s how I’d always be, broken.

You see, over the years, I had gotten really good at pretending I was ok, even when I wasn’t. My body was giving me signs for years that EVERYTHING was just too much for me to handle alone. I got shingles, TMJ and migraines. But still I pushed it all down and kept trekking on. This was a great for all the people around me who I continued to please and make happy, but it broke my soul.

I was a miserable person, and in turn I made people around me miserable. I would lie to myself and just kept saying, after (insert event here) it will all get better. But it didn’t. I would have some peaceful moment where I felt happy, but that’s all they were, moments. In the grand scheme of things, I was unhappy with myself, with my life, with my spouse and sometimes even with my family.

I have spent a healthy amount of time in counseling over the past 9 months. After the initial shock wore off and I realized that I am better then this, I set to work. I have learned a great amount of coping skills and tools to counter the ugly things in life. Because let’s be honest, if life is all sunshine and butterflies, something is wrong.

But y’all, let me tell you. It is ok to admit that you are not ok! But most importantly…..

NOTHING IS WORTH LOSING YOUR PEACE OVER.

Let me say it louder for the people in the back.

NOTHING IS WORTH LOSING YOUR PEACE OVER!

And I had, somewhere between being a wife, a housekeeper, a grad student and a teacher, I had lost all my peace. Even more so, I was surrounded by toxic people, in a toxic environment. I very rarely had a moment that I got to feel the calm and happiness of the world, and when I did, like I said, it was only a moment.

With my new found coping techniques, getting out of my marriage and that house and learning to move on, I have learned some things.

1. It is extremely important to take time to do things that make you happy. I get massages and pedicures frequently now, because that’s what my body needs. I drink the coffee and I eat the food because life is too short to count calories all the time. I take trips and enjoy every free moment I had.

2. I spent a lot of time with my family. I have an fabulous family who I love dearly. For years, I pushed them away, as far away as I possibly could without causing upheaval, because they would have been the first ones to call me out on unhappiness, and I just wasn’t trying to deal with that. Although I was lying to myself, they would have seen right through the charade. I have had to do some explaining, but everyone is pretty been read into the chaos that was my life prior to December and their support has been nothing short of amazing.

3. Boundaries: boundaries are a concept I have spent almost half my life struggling with. I find it hard to tell people no, especially people I love. I also find it has to stick up for myself. Well those days are long gone! Boundaries are important so others know where you hard no’s are, and you need hard no’s in life. Without boundaries you are not solid. Put up your fences with your barbed wire and make it clear, I’m not taking your shit and if you cross my line then you’re going to be in for a rude awakening.

4. And the most important- God does not and will not let you drown. He brings the storms with good intention for what he plans for you when the sun begins to shine again. But it is up to you and only you to determine how you weather the storm. If you falter and choose to turn away from your faith and his love, then you have fallen off the bandwagon that’s following the path he’s trying to put you on. You can always jump back on the bandwagon, and he will happily give you a hand to pull you back up, but in the time it took you to get back on, you’ve lost precious time with him. Life just seems easier when you let God weather the storm with you. Trust the lord with your burdens. He is the prince of peace after all. When you trust the lord with your problems, you release them to him and in return he will fill your life with joy.

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