Pressure. Pressure. Pressure.
One oppressive word with an overwhelming and incredible ability to make you feel it bearing down upon your very soul.
It can make you choose shorter paths just to bring things to a welcome end, it can cause you to make irrational decisions to spite your ex, it can make you do things completely out of context and character and it can lose you tens of thousands in your financial settlement.
So what’s the secret to coping with it and not cutting off your nose to spite your face? Truth is, there isn’t one simple solution, it’s a mixed recipe of physical actions with a high element of spiritual calm and mental focus on the fact that it will end.
Keep breathing gently, don’t lose your temper or your mind, be aware of your limits, don’t be frightened to ask for help from your doctor, friends of family, don’t entertain the word failure, don’t invite guilt over the threshold, keep your energy levels up by eating as well as you can cope with and shove a pin in the pressure bubbles that build up and protect yourself from the inevitable fall out; it will end.
There are lots of ways to feel mentally rid of your ex and as many to help you feel physically rid of them too.
Your skin is a precious covering of an incredible individual and you may not realise it, but you get a completely new one every 28 days or thereabouts.
You will undoubtedly have heard the song about washing that man right out of your hair. How about brushing him right off of your skin instead.
Seek out a nice natural bristle brush designed for dry skin brushing and with long slow strokes, brush your entire body one area at a time always in the direction of your heart. Take your time, this isn’t a process to be rushed.
As well as clearing away the old skin, you’ll help the new you to re-emerge from within feeling stimulated and ready to face the day; long live the power of ex-exfoliation…
For some, walking a solitary path to healing from a divorce, is the way forward. For others, sharing their experience and empathising with others who are at sea in the same boat, is the way to go.
If you feel you belong in the boat, it might be worth seeking out divorce recovery groups or workshops near you; there are lots and they seem to be quite a growing trend.
A quick search on the Internet will bring up Divorce Care (US) and Divorce Recovery Workshop (UK) – there are undoubtedly many more.
Alternatively, you could hop onto your local council website to see what you can uncover and if you struggle there, try your doctors surgery and ask to speak to somebody on the mental health or community team. If there’s anything in the immediate vicinity, they are likely to know about it.
Of course, if there isn’t anything ticking the box for you and you feel strong enough, why not be the one to start a group for like-minded souls? You might end up being your own best medicine.
Once you have separated from your spouse, don’t close your mind off to good things happening at some stage, with a new partner.
Stay focused on the future and whatever you do, don’t allow cynical friends to blur the positive version of your love life with their tales of home-grown doom and gloom, based on their Post-Divorce Book of Bad Experiences.
With one fell swoop of their tarred brush, the entire populace of potential new partners could be disapprovingly ring fenced, with you standing on the outside, rattling the barbed wire fence.
You could be wary of which side of the fence your friends are actually standing, you could try to analyse their motives for being so vocal about your life, or you could just say, ‘Oh stuff it!’ and enjoy a little bit of happy, it does you good!
As kind and thoughtful as you hope to be towards your children during a divorce, it is next to impossible not to cause them to feel a slice of angst, guilt or straightforward pain.
Their anguish doesn’t disappear as soon as the divorce is over either, there is an adjustment period to get through and that can be as long as the proverbial length of string.
If you try to justify your actions towards your ex to them, it can have a completely negative effect. Their age and maturity has nothing to do with their ability to process it either, it might simply be that they are fed up with the whole situation and sick of standing in your windtunnel with your divorce.
Let’s face it, you can’t blame them, you cannot blame them at all.
All you can do is try to be guided by them, treating them always with love, respect and as much open honesty as you feel you need to apply to their delicate ears.
Whatever you do decide to do, be prepared to be damned if you do and damned if you don’t; time heals.
If you’re struggling to turn your head off at the most unGodly of hours, why not consider turning something else on to help distract you.
There is a world full of 24-hour radio available, right at the edge of your fingertips if you have access to the Internet. With stations dedicated to every genre known to woman, plus others that niche on particular decades and others that focus on spoken interviews, stories and documentaries, you should easily be able to tailor match something to your mood at any time of the day.
TuneIn.com is an excellent source for said radio stations, it’s free, you can store your favourite ones easily and it’s a better alternative than reaching for a the TV remote, because you can doze off quite successfully with gentle radio tickling your earlobes.
It can be incredibly difficult to resist the urge to tell your ex precisely what you think of them, particularly when they are behaving like a complete and utter tit.
However, opening a line of futile dialogue is precisely that, futile and it may lead onto a vat full of stress that you probably don’t need.
How’s this for a cover solution; face paint, a nice thin brush and a private canvas, ie your forearm, tummy, thighs or elsewhere, could replace the spoken word and you can write whatever you like about them. This is a particularly useful preparation tip if you have to face them in a courtroom.
Only you know it’s there, it will wash off when you are ready and it can act like a bullet-proof membrane for difficult days, helping to keep their high irritations at bay.
What happens when you leave your spouse for a list of unpleasant behaviours and then before you have the time to draw breath, you find a letter on the doormat from a solicitor saying they are divorcing you.
Well, if you can step away from the anguish of the inequity that is undoubtedly woven into the situation, you’ll do yourself a favour.
Anybody that files for divorce has to write a godforsaken paragraph of reasons why this is the case and your ex may well have taken lyrical liberties with the freedom of the pen.
The bottom line is simple; if you were going to divorce them anyway, take my advice and take the petition on the chin. The only gains made by putting in a counter petition, are by solicitors!
Hold onto your money, bite onto your lip and get the wretched thing over and done with as soon as you possibly can.
I thoroughly enjoyed writing a piece for Poetry of Divorce: for Women entitled, ‘Ungroovy’.
It talks about the records and songs we play when we experience a break up and how torturous, yet necessary they are to listen to.
‘On go the records and round go the songs, with words dipped in poison on razor sharp prongs’. Oh, how true. Crying out our history is a very cathartic process and I think as significant songs play that you have old association with, memories are released, thoughts are evoked and even smells are remembered; they are ultimately all part of the healing process.
So, dig out those old CDs or tapes if you still have the equipment and embrace all that unfolds as you listen to them. There must have been some wonderful times buried right at the back. Smile, laugh, cry and remember.
Then move on with peace, love, melody and lyric.
It’s almost impossible to make an omelette without breaking a few eggs and if you are on the lead up to leaving, you will almost certainly be feeling palpable trepidation for what lies ahead.
If you believe you have done all you can to make things work and if you believe that you will be healthier, happier, calmer, safer or more, the other side of your relationship, then you have to trust your instinct and slowly and steadily, put one foot in front of the other and make it so.
The trouble is with trouble, is nobody wants it. If you get the ball rolling, you can put money on the fact that some will come a’calling.
Be strong. Think about how things are right now. Think about how your boundaries have been pushed. Think about waking up someday soon without the weight of angst bearing down on you. Think about the fact that it will end. Think about yourself. Think about your life.
Think about smiling again sometime soon. Think about cracking the first egg.