Nothing prepares you for the breakdown of a marriage. Even if you knew things weren't right, the ensuing shock can still be quite traumatic even for the one who makes the decision. This can be a most debilitating time for you and you must call on family and friends for support. You need to be able to feel safe, stable and secure. Remember that you are not alone. Reach out and you will soon feel better. Take any assistance that is offered as you will need all your energy to deal with the emotional turmoil.
This stage is so intense that you may feel totally disoriented, unable to cope. But you will cope. You must. There is no choice about it, especially where there are children. They will also be feeling very emotional and confused and less able than you to express these feelings.
Reach out to them and explain that you are hurting but that you will soon feel better. Be as honest as you can with them without including upsetting details. Reassure them that they are loved by both parents and ask them how they are feeling. Excluding them, even at quite a young age, could be detrimental to them as they can detect how you are feeling. We have separate sections for Children and Teenagers.
Insomnia may be a problem, lack of appetite or overeating. Panic, rage and depression could alternate with feelings of elation, optimism and then just as suddenly swing back to an overwhelming mood of helplessness. This shock stage can last for a few days or many months. The important thing is to recognise it and know that it is unfortunately quite normal. Trust that these feelings will get weaker. You will recover.
Visit your G.P.
It could be helpful to have a chat to your G.P. Some temporary medication may be advised, especially if you are caring for children and unable to sleep. You will need to rest and take regular meals even if you can only manage milky drinks. This also may be a good time to notify schools and your employer.
Whilst recognising that this is a very natural phase, you should also realise that the danger is to get stuck with this feeling of numbness and perhaps denial. Feel the pain. It will get easier. Take it easy. Go slowly. Now is not the time for important decisions except for the necessary short-term ones. Try to be gentle.
Read more about shock in Mrs Jones'
column and see her article, 'Freeze one moment in time, 'about being
gentle below the poem.
'I Loved You' by Alexander Pushkin, translated by R. Mainwaring-Hewitt:
I loved you; even now I may confess,
Some embers of my love their fire retain;
But do not let it cause you more distress,
I do not want to sadden you again.
Hopeless and tongue-tied, yet I loved you dearly
With pangs the jealous and the timid know,
So tenderly I loved you, so sincerely,
I pray God grant another love you so.
There's a lot we can learn from our children even in these difficult times. They adapt and they continue the best they can as they know no other way. They have no other options. We should not only observe them but engage in their play, in their smiles and in their fun. Although we adults may be hurting and looking inwards, we must focus on our children.
Today I received some treatment from an Olympic physiotherapist although I shall only be a spectator for the 2012 Olympics but how exciting for the youth of today. My health is is not too good but how lovely to meet and spend an hour with one of the 'gentle people' as summed up below.
Gentleness is everywhere in your daily life: a sign that faith rules
through ordinary things: a smile, a nod, a hello, take care or how are
you? Gentleness is found in music, raising your children, your daily
work and thoughts. Even in this time of crisis, you don't have to look
far to see the campfires of gentle people. In this stressful episode
of your life, it may of course be very difficult to think of gentle
things and you can read about this in Emotions but look around you and
seek out the gentle people.
From G. Keillor
I mentioned my son who is away at University. How I miss this smiling young man but I have done my job; he has fled my apron strings and discovers with passion the world around him and often relates events to me. I feel very privileged. The physio said that if he could freeze one moment in time since the birth of his baby son, then he would be a happy man. And if I could relive my children's childhood, despite the horrible divorce, then I would be a very happy woman. Gratitude is very important in our lives. I give thanks for my children. Love your children and demonstrate this love in whatever circumstances you find yourselves. Childhood is short and regrets are long.