Divorce and the Public Eye — Celebrity Divorce

Brad and Angelina, Pratt and Faris, celebrity marriages and divorces seem to happen so often I think people forget that there’s still human emotions involved.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/16/entertainment/anna-faris-podcast/index.html

I always get a twinge of sadness when I hear about a celebrity couple that is getting divorced. The process sucks and I’ve never understood the public’s fascination with wanting to know “why”. When my marriage ended I pulled away from everything and I do mean everything with even a remote connection to my ex-wife. Having anyone ask me “why didn’t it work” would likely have sent me reeling. I can’t begin to fathom the constant onslaught that celebrities have to endure from the press, paparazzi and social media these days. We look for the salacious, the scandal, the tragic in the divorce process. Why, I have no idea. My usual worry when I hear about a celebrity going through divorce is are their kids ok, are they getting the help they need and is it a messy divorce. How do they frame their ex-spouse.

While I appreciate Anna Faris’ messages I think people need to remember that marriages fail for a myriad of reasons and that everyone’s circumstances are different. The only constant I’ve ever seen is that somewhere, somehow the communication broke down or the differences outweighed the common bonds and it was time to end the marriage. If you or someone you know is going through a divorce I hope that you are able to be there for them. You don’t need to bash the other spouse, you don’t even need to say much of anything. Keep them focused on the things that need to be done and the priorities legal, familial and emotional.

Cutting Off the Past/Divorce and Property

I’ve been pretty quiet the last few days. Between work and wrapping up real estate matters for my divorce it hasn’t been the best few days. Selling off a timeshare that my ex-wife and I had purchased when we were engaged has been a painful trip down memory lane.

I still have a few scant happy memories relating to our stay-cations there, but I also have painful memories just prior to us filing for divorce. It’s always a little weird having memories creep up from the last eight years. They don’t feel real for me anymore to be honest. More like that hazy feeling you get right after waking up and trying to remember a dream. I can’t picture the face of my ex-wife anymore, it’s always just a silhouette that I see, and there’s no voice, just murmur. I remember the sounds of water and kids playing, the smell of grilled steaks. That’s about it.

I shouldn’t really complain, the sale of our timeshare thus far has been fairly pain free but knowing that at one time we viewed it as an investment and something we would want to take our kids to makes everything very bittersweet.

While it sounds harsh, I admit, I do understand the logic in having a prenuptial agreement these days. Divorce can become a tangle of contention and he-said/she-said. To me nobody really wins in a divorce you just sort of go into the middle of the ring, throw punches at each other and retire to your corners until someone calls time.

I’ll be happy when the process is over, it will be on less thing tying us together. There’s still one large piece of real estate to be addressed but I don’t know how long that will take. The depression has been particularly strong in the last three weeks. To try and cope I’ve taken to upping my supplements, increasing my exercise (which I’ll be honest I was doing terrible at to begin with). Knowing the feeling of a depressive episode starting has been the principle gain from my time in therapy. “Solving” the issue isn’t quite there, I feel more like I’m muddling through. In truth, coping with clinical depression for me feels like a matter of survival. The rational side of me understands there’s underlying chemical reactions, behavioral patterns and learned responses all at work, but none of that knowledge makes dealing w/the weight, the anhedonia or the sadness any easier.

If you’re going through a similar in challenge in life find the small things with quickly attainable results, even if that thing is simple like “I want to take out the trash” as a goal. Achieving any degree of movement sometimes feels like enough victory to get you going to the next thing. I hope that as this timeshare sale closes, that will be another goal I’ll have achieved and one more step forward.

Memories, Fear and Post-Divorce Depression

When my grandfather’s mental state diminished I remember seeing the pain my family felt as his advancing Alzheimer’s and dementia took away who he was. My greatest fears include the loss my sight, death in general, and death of self, particularly in the form of memory loss.

Following my divorce I had to come face to face with a side effect of depression that sometimes feels just as painful as the anhedonia. The seven years I spent with my ex-wife started to fade after the first six month I left what was our home. Little by little, consciously or subconsciously I started to push the memories down or forget them outright. It’s been over a year since that process started and now I find I can barely see her face.

http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/depression-and-memory-loss#overview1

Depression has an impact on memory and sometimes the unsettling randomized loss or gaps I experience scare me half to death. Feeling like seven years of your life are simply gone is painful. The suppression in my case is very specific, isolated to those things relating to my ex and the marriage. The residual emotional currents are still there, sometimes I feel them as I wake up, like waking from a walking nightmare or a dream I can’t visualize. It’s weird to think that for me, I want nothing more than those echos to be gone so that I have no connection to those seven years.

Depression takes a lot away from you, sometimes because you need to protect yourself, sometimes because part of you is running from something. Figuring out what I can still hold onto and what has to go has been one of the most difficult choices I’ve had to make.

When You Can’t Find The Words — Cathartic Music Video

April is quickly becoming one of my least favorite months. Besides tax time; which already sucks; it also marks the anniversary of my divorce. As my marriage ended I thought filing shortly around tax time would be a good choice, we’d have filed the last set of taxes we would need to jointly and then that was it.

All that doesn’t make April any easier though. Oddly I’ve been reluctant to listen to much in the way of music this month as often music triggers pretty strong memories for me. Gave it a whirl though, mostly listening to older rock tracks and I happened upon a band that I first listened to a few years ago on YouTube.

Preemptive warning — The lyrics to this song are not kind in the slightest but the emotion and anger are connecting with a part of me that I need to just sort of get out there. Stop here if you don’t feel this is your thing.

I Prevail/Love, Lust and Liars
http://iprevailband.com/

Sometimes you can’t find the words, and I appreciate that musicians are out there belting out finger numbing riffs and throaty emotion laden lyrics. The band’s name is also a reminder to me that I have to keep moving forward, so thanks I Prevail. If this track was something could relate to, please be sure to check the band’s site and considering supporting the band with a purchase (available on iTunes and Google Play)

 

 

 

Perspective and Priorities in Divorce

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/06/health/divorced-couple-photos-trnd/?iid=ob_homepage_deskrecommended_pool

I thought this was a really interesting article¬†as I’m a child of divorce myself. My folks separated in my teens and divorced right around my HS years. Their divorce wasn’t pleasant at all and honestly I can say that I don’t really have a relationship with my father. Seeing how this couple has tried to keep something of a family structure for their son was heart warming.

There’s a fairly common saying that you divorce spouses not children. Thankfully for me my ex and I didn’t conceive. Honest truth is I doubt I’d have been able to survive to even make it to therapy if we had children. One thing to lose a spouse, quite another to lose a spouse and children. I understand a bit better the extent to which my father likely experienced his own depression but I also realize that like my mother he made choices too.

I think it would be great if other divorced families tried to be as civil as the couple in the article. Even amid divorce you have to understand the need to prioritize things. The truth is divorce is a loss it isn’t a clean cut, there’s pain, there’s resentment that can creep into every word, every image. It isn’t easy but you have to work past it and focus on the the things you need to do over the things you want to do sometimes. Legal separation of assets, finances, liability, all those things are critical, but you must also not lose sense of things like insuring your kids aren’t caught in the cross fire.

Feelings of Toxicity — When You Dislike the You In the Mirror

One of the difficult things I’ve struggled with amid my divorce has been a sort of looping self-hate. It isn’t easy when you look at the failure of marriage and one of the immediate things you factor is yourself.

These days I look back and I feel very toxic, as though I was simply something that a spouse would want to get away from. The rational side of me understands that’s only part of the equation. There were many factors at work. Some that I contributed, some that she did. Knowing that however doesn’t make waking up and looking in the mirror any easier. It’s a weird feeling, wanting to avert your eyes from yourself.

Little by little I’ve tried to find ways to be comfortable in my own skin but that has been the longest road of all in this journey of recovery. There’s days I drift off the road and into the bramble, days I’d rather punch the mirror than go through my morning shave. Every day, a small step away from the things that happened, the things I can’t change to something I can try to change.

For anyone else staring down that insufferably long road, I know how you feel. Sometimes you just want to stop moving forward, stopping on the side and letting everything else pass you by. It’s the easiest route, but it doesn’t change anything to get stuck there. Every step, every day is a little progress to something different, even if you don’t see it now. Sounds like an over idealistic bit of drivel doesn’t it? I know, that sarcastic snap back is almost reflexive for me too but the idea isn’t wrong. If you’re having a hard time on the road right now, give it time. I’m not looking for fast changes any time soon myself but I’m going to keep trying to take those steps forward, because the alternatives don’t appeal much to me either.

Tax Time and Looking Back

You wouldn’t normally think of tax time as being a big trigger but this year for me at least, it is. It’s been almost a year since my divorce was final and having to see the name of my ex-wife on old-tax records hasn’t been an easy thing to get through.

Wish I could say “I’m doing great” but that would be disingenuous. The reality is “I’m surviving”. For now at least that’s the most important thing I can do. I rarely pick up a camera these days, I’m almost certain I won’t be doing portrait photography for the foreseeable future. Anhedonia and art doesn’t aren’t very conducive to one another.

I’ve focused on trying to find activities that I can still sink my teeth into and those have been admittedly few and far between. My only real hope is that come April the last of the legal and financial matters will be done with and I can focus purely on working on myself and my future. It’s a long road but I’m turning the first major corner I hope.

The Least Fun Anniversary

There’s some anniversaries you look forward to, then there are those you dread. Next month will make a full year since my divorce was finalized. To say I was in a low place during the process would be an understatement and while I’m not out of the woods by any stretch I think I’m better prepared to deal with the things that need to happen to get better these days.

The last few days I felt the onset of a depressive episode forming and tried to cut it off at the pass so to speak. I dropped my sugar and red meat intake, I began eating more oatmeal and fruit. In a previous post I likened depression to seeing an oncoming train. The metaphor has a bit of another layer that I thought about recently. While you might be able to side-step the tracks, there’s still the force of the train going past (wind, noise etc) that you still have to deal with. The same can be said (at least for me) to what happens when an episode hits. I may not be able to avoid all the affects but I’m able to keep myself from sinking too far and lessening the symptoms.

During a conversation with a friend we discussed the somewhat rough feeling of the extra burden of knowing when an episode is coming and the cognitive processes and work effort to not let it harm you. While most folks only periodically need to reflect as much, those of us prone to depression/anxiety are on almost constant watch. There’s a mental drain that comes from that vigilance that I’m still trying to reconcile.

Be it S.A.D. or other things that are triggering an episode for you, don’t lose heart, don’t give in. Every bit of fighting it helps.

Physical Signs of a Depressive Episode

In one of my last posts I mentioned feeling the physical onset of a depressive episode and how I’ve tried to stem the tide when that happens. Diet has helped considerably (less sugars, more vegetables and yogurt/oatmeal). Exercise has been a bit harder to come by as it’s been stormy these last few days.

The most difficult part of trying to counteract the early onset of an episode is that you literally want to do exactly the opposite of what your body is telling you. Fighting insomnia for days on end, having nightmares every night, I feel the urge to sleep longer and longer to make up for lost sleep. That doesn’t really fix the problem though, and has it’s own host of side effects.

Several stress factors have weighed on me heavily. April will mark one year since my divorce and while some things have improved for me through therapy the road ahead is still a long one. There are still a few legal matters to tend to which I am worried about, most of which I can’t change at all. Work stress is always there, that’s perhaps the one constant. Fighting to keep my health level from back-sliding and feeling unhappy with my stalling progress. Rationally I understand that I have to find ways to work through each of them in my own way but emotionally the pressures and strain take their toll on a daily basis.

I’ve taken to target shooting more as the focus allows me to step out of my own mind for a bit and focus on the task at hand. Some of it is muscle memory and regimented discipline as safety while at the range is paramount to me. There’s still also a sense of fun that helps me unwind. It isn’t a hobby I’d recommend for everyone struggling with depression or other forms of mental health, but find that thing which let’s you step away from the negative things affecting you when you can.

The Difficulty of Valentine’s as a Divorcee

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and for me it will be a doubly difficult time. Besides being the second Valentine’s since my marriage ended, I recently lost an aunt to cancer. A lot things as a result have weighed on my mind.

Being single and without someone is hard enough on Valentine’s Day for anyone, for me it’s a painful shot back to a different time of my life. I’ve tried my best to keep busy, reading, the gun range, anything to keep myself engaged in other matters. In many ways I suppose I gravitated immediately towards anti-Valentine’s things such as catching a very non-romantic movie (John Wick 2), reading various sci-fi novels such as Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse) and Netflix binge watching with shows I hadn’t considered before such as Canadian mystery/drama series Murdoch Mysteries.

http://www.refinery29.com/2017/02/139949/single-on-valentines-day-depression

A lot has been written upon the subject and admittedly most of the suggestions tend towards treating the day as just any other and letting it go past. My first Valentine’s post-marriage occurred in the midst of my divorce. She had moved on and was with someone, making the whole prospect of Valentine’s day that much more unpleasant for me. I buried myself in work and the tasks I needed to address. This time around work isn’t the best option in terms of distraction and so I endeavor to find other releases. Each person has to find something to anchor themselves with. The one thing I can speak upon is that the activity should be something beneficial and not something of a more vice like nature (no drinking to excess etc).

If you find yourself having a difficult time, speak to your health care provider or mental health professional, find something that can engage you and remember to care about yourself as best you can. Hang in there and remember it is a day, one that will pass in due course.