Week 4 – (14 October 2011) was the week I started to journal my thoughts and feelings. Up until then I had felt the pain and I had felt the distress but had not been able to fathom out how to deal with it. This week I started writing everything down in my journal. All my feelings of my hurt and pain. I wrote down how I was thinking and what I was doing. I found it helped a lot.
I was trying very hard to focus on positive things to give me hope for the future. By writing them down I was able to believe that a positive way forward could be found, even if it was still too painful to actually act on those plans. I also wrote down a lot of negative things. This was a way of acknowledging those negative thoughts and feelings without them overwhelming me and allowing them to take over my life. Acknowledging is one small step away from accepting and once you accept something is real then you can face it – whatever it is – and begin to let go of it or learn to deal with it and move on. If you do not accept that something is real, then you can remain stuck in a paralyzed state forever. I did not want to stay in that place. I found that I was able to get all my sad, mad, and bad feelings down on paper and then I could close my journal for the day, rid myself of those feelings, and carry on with life.
After a time of writing all this down I began to I acknowledge that this process – coming to terms with this separation and getting divorced – was a transition from ‘we’ to ‘me’. It was not the way my life would be in the future. It was a process I was passing through, dealing with all the emotional aspects of the separation while at the same time restructuring all aspects of my life – where I would live, what I would do, fathoming out what my financial position would be. None of these would be easy but by acknowledging it was a transition, a process to get through, I was able to start tackling one factor at a time and examining each of those in turn before making any rash decisions. Writing it all down helped me to plan through that process.
I took this as an opportunity to think about exactly what I wanted for my life, for me. Never before had I had such an opportunity to rediscover myself and define what I wanted for myself. I wrote down all my ideas. I tried to look at the opportunity of what presented to me, rather than the negatives. In the early days, I focused on my short-term daily life – rather than my long-term plans. I wrote these all down. I could have whatever I wanted for dinner, I could watch whatever I wanted to on TV, or not watch TV at all if I did not feel like it. I could run into someone down the street and talk to them for an hour – or not at all. I could listen to the music that I wanted to listen to. I could read, I could write, I could do puzzles or go for a walk if and when I wanted to for as long as I liked. Some of these things I did not start to do straight away but writing them down helped me resolve that I could do them if and when I wanted to. Later on I would think about some of the bigger issues in my life.
I took time for reflection. If I had a negative thought or feeling, I wrote it down and tried to replace it with a positive thought or feeling or action. This was difficult at times but it did work in putting me in a better frame of mind. Whilst I tried to resolve in my mind ‘what went wrong’ I tried to not beat myself up about it and dwell on it. I wrote some things down which helped me to acknowledge some aspects of what happened and then I let it go.
I leaned on others. I poured my heart out to my family and closest friends. It helped to know that there are people there for me. If what someone said to me helped, I wrote this down in my journal. Gradually, I was able to cope more on my own.
If I had to make a decision, I stopped and made sure that I was in a good frame of mind before deciding on it or acting on it. In fact I thought everything through more slowly than normal. I gave myself that luxury of taking my time. I wrote down my decisions. When things became overwhelming, I paused, wrote down everything that was bothering me and then went through them all one step at a time, then picked just one of those out to start on.
It was almost as if my journal was replacing the soul-mate that I was missing; that one person who you would normally pour your heart out to; that one person who you would normally discuss the days events with at the end of the day. Now that person was gone and there was a huge void.
My journal started to fill in that void and become my most trusted confidante.