A Slight Break in the Darkness

Not going to lie, this week has been an emotional roller coaster. Ex proposing to girlfriend – even though I’ve expected it for years, I didn’t know how I’d handle it – has been a little rough. Tuesday, I was in tears. Left me feeling so confused and emotional. I started doing a little research – apparently, there are “stages” that one goes through in this situation. I looked through, and see it made more sense of how I’m feeling:

  1. Shock. My shock was that he actually did it. I mean after being with her for – let’s pretend they’ve never broken up – four years. “Us” being done for three years. Him telling me he is never getting married again. Him talking so negatively about girlfriend. Yes, I was shocked. Monday, when I found out, I didn’t feel any emotions – I was actually numb. That was my shock.
  2. Jealousy. Yes. Jealous she got a better proposal – I’m sure a nicer ring, haha. Jealous that he gets the “family” life and I am still fucking alone and single as hell. Jealous that ex’s life is moving forward and I feel stuck. Except it’s not like I’m stuck in concrete. I’m stuck in quicksand. I try to get out and I get pulled back down, deeper than before.
  3. Anger. I am angry. I don’t who I’m angry at though. I’m hiding my sadness with anger. I went to work today and someone asked where my daughter was. I said with ex. They were very surprised because apparently they seen girlfriend’s “big announcement” on social media, and was surprised they would want my daughter around. WHAT?! FUCK YOU!! Apparently, my daughter didn’t even see girlfriend last night. Ex and girlfriend hid in the bedroom all evening. I’m angry that I have to send my daughter over there. Why can’t she stay with me? At least when I have her we visit or play games, something!! My daughter asks me each time if she has to go over there. It is so heartbreaking.
  4. Relief. I am ready for this stage. Apparently in this stage you are relieved that you are no longer with ex. He is no longer your problem. I’m so afraid that I will not hit stage for weeks, months, or even years. I know it being the holidays is going to make this so much harder. I’m alone for the holidays. All I can do is cry. I tried talking to my mother about it, and she changed the subject. I tried talking to a friend about it, and she changed the subject – think because she seen I was fighting back tears. I mean, I get my ex is toxic. I GET THAT. So why am I not relieved that he is going to marry girlfriend?!? Because I am afraid he will no longer financially support our daughter. I suddenly feel like second best. I know I’m the one that filed for divorce. I know I’m the one that finally said “enough” when I found out ex was with me and girlfriend. So, why do I feel like I am trash? Why do I feel like I’m not good enough? Why do I feel like I did back during the divorce and after I stopped seeing ex three years ago? Why can’t I realize there is nothing wrong with me – it’s him. It’s always been him. NOT ME.
  5. Strength. This stage talks about after being petty and angry; after all the emotional roller coaster is over you realize you are stronger than you ever thought you could be. This will be true – I know what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. However, as I’ve said so many times before, I’m tired of proving how strong I really am.
  6. Appreciation. You’ll appreciation life and where you are in life.

Of course, depending on which site or article you read there are other stages, but these are the ones I came across the most.

Writing this has been through tear-blurred vision with some pauses for complete and utterly break-down, hard sobbing. I know ex is not good for me. I seen him today – he didn’t even acknowledge me – I looked at him and didn’t find him attractive. I was hurt that girlfriend’s youngest kid was wearing a shirt of ex’s that he’d given me back in high school. I hope my soul mate is out there. I just hate that I’m still alone. I was faithful to ex – he was the cheater. Why do I get punished for my faithfulness by still being single? Why is it the man that never wanted to get married again is now engaged? Why is it the man that never wanted more kids – especially daughters – because he didn’t want to deal with hormones is engaged to a woman with three daughters? Why is it the man I was married to was a workaholic during our marriage, now takes vacation days all of the time?

Online dating hasn’t really helped this week. I had a zombie appear. He is now blocked. I get getting busy and not replying for a few hours or even until the next day. BUT it has been 14 days. Boy, please. I know what happened. He found another chick and when that didn’t work out, or he got a piece of ass, and then decided to make sure I was still on the back burner. I am worth more than being some guy’s Plan B. *block*

Positive thing with work – I got a fourth job. I am so excited about this one. Great pay. Could really open some doors. It will probably be after the holidays before I get to sign my contract and everything, but I’m still very excited.

 

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Focusing on the Positive

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So, yesterday was a very, very rough day. I think the fact that ex is now engaged finally absorbed in. I cried a bit. I pretty much ate my feelings, and probably everything else around. I think I gained 50lbs yesterday, alone. I don’t know why I needed to eat like that. I just needed to numb the feelings and thoughts about ex. So, mindless eating and then the discomfort of eating so much gave me the physical pain instead of the emotional pain. I’m stressed of what the future is going to bring. A friend asked if girlfriend – Okay, I know they are now “engaged” so she is not “girlfriend” but you know what, I’m sticking with calling her girlfriend – would take over finances and military benefits. Man, I hope not. I’m afraid my daughter is going to get the short end of the stick in this situation.

Luckily, there were a few good things to focus on. My daughter brought home progress reports. Her lowest grade is a 95%. It’s funny, at the beginning of the school year, she was so worried about taking AP courses – in both of her AP courses she has over a 100%. Last night, she had a Beta Club ceremony where she got welcomed into the organization. That is a major accomplishment. I was so proud of her. Me, being a mom and a photographer, took several photographs. Also me, being me, I decided to share that moment with ex. I sent him two pictures, since he is out of state again. One was of our daughter with her certificate and the other was of the entire group. He responded very quickly, “that’s cool.” Stupidly, I expected him to be more excited – Awesome! Tell her great job! – or to even send her a message, or better yet call her, to tell her congratulations.

Emotional.

**TRIGGER WARNING**

 

Today’s post is an emotional one. It is a possible trigger for some. However, it is one of those issues that cannot and should not be ignored. Maybe today’s post will help you or someone you know.

I was going through some old boxes. I found my old poetry and drawings. I have not looked at stuff in close to ten years. My heart stopped for a second. I remembered what my poetry was like – I may not remember word for word – but I do remember pieces of different poems.

I used my poetry as a way to let my emotions out. Instead of keeping a journal, I would write poems. I would draw pictures.

I opened my sketch book. I read one poem and tears began to sting my eyes. I started looking at the drawings. I started to feel sick to my stomach. The first drawing I seen was a picture of a female sitting with her face buried in her hands. She is crying. Her body is bruised and bloody. Another drawing is a full-length self portrait. Funny thing is I look exactly the same now. However, the drawing had dark red “x” marking out parts of me. It included words to describe myself – all negative and hateful. The final drawing I looked at, before I had to close the book, was a suicide drawing.

The drawings were gorgeous – I can tell I had spent a lot of time and effort into them. I don’t draw any more, and when I do my drawings are cute and colorful. I don’t spend hours and days on a single drawing. Instead, I spend a few minutes. Drawing now is quality time with my kid.

I don’t write poetry anymore. I remember after having my daughter, trying to write and I couldn’t. I had spent years writing these dark, depressing poems and after I had her I just wanted joy and happiness.

I am debating on sharing some of my poetry on here. I have not decided yet.

If I do share my poetry, or even drawings, maybe it will continue to help the healing process. Maybe it will help someone else out there.

On the other hand, it is triggering. I would hate to give someone ideas of ways to harm them self. Ironically, I got the idea of burning myself after watching a movie on TV. I had been cutting myself for years. I watched a movie on TV and the character also self-injured, and I got an idea for another method.

First off, I want to make it clear that people who suffer from eating disorders and/or self-injuring behaviors are not attention seekers. Don’t think that. And please don’t not do anything because you think you are giving them the attention they are seeking. Through my lifetime, so many people knew what I was doing but they looked the other way for whatever reason. Maybe they were scared. Maybe they thought it was a phase. Maybe they were afraid if they talked to me about it then I would get worse. Maybe they honestly did not know what I was doing, but they knew something was wrong.

Second, if you do try to step in and help be prepared for them to be hateful and to push you away. This is a self-defense tactic. They will say they are fine. They will say they don’t want help or need help. Please be persistent!! I had a couple of people tell me I need to eat, or ask when was the last time I ate. I had one tell me not to cut because she was afraid that I would cut too deep. However, they were not persistent. These are habits, they are hard to break. It takes support to stop. One thing I can say positive about my ex-husband was he was persistent. I remember one time him even following me into the bathroom when I was going to purge. I couldn’t do it in front of him. Now, granted he did not understand why I did it – eating disorders or the self-injury – but he was there. He handled it wrong – telling me it was “crazy” behavior. But I had someone there. I had that support. I did want that support. I needed that support.

Third, know what to look for and how to start the conversation. Eating disorders – some common signs are obviously change in weight. Also, look for going to the toilet after eating. Turning the sink or shower on while in the bathroom. Cuts or marks on the knuckles. Playing with food – cutting it into small pieces, pushing it around the plate. Self-injury – wearing long sleeves or pants, even when the weather is hot. Also, watch for a change in behavior and mood.

So, you notice a sign but what do you say? Honestly, just open the conversation by saying something like “are you okay?” or “do you want to talk?” I didn’t have anyone start the conversation with me. Remember to listen. Don’t judge. Don’t think that if you talk about it then it is going to make it worse. It is when you try to stop them or prevent them from doing it is when the behaviors get worse.

Now, I am not an expert or trained in any of this. This is information from my own personal experience. I know what it is like to suffer from both eating disorders and self-injuring. I know what happened in my experiences. I know what I wished others had done, but didn’t. I also know what my triggers were.

I know it was a personal choice to start – at the time it felt like my only choice. It was also a personal choice to stop. It is a personal choice daily not to fall back into old habits. I have to look at my scars daily. I have to keep my scars covered because I am ashamed and embarrassed. I have to fight my issue with food daily. I have to relive what it is like to live with hunger pains daily and I remember what I felt like being a teenager and going days without eating. I have to remember I am a role model for my daughter. I have to show her how to have a positive relationship with food, and a positive self-image/ self-esteem.

If you know someone who needs help, talk to them. If you are able to relate to any of this, please find a trusted person and talk to them.