Getting divorced sucks. Especially when you have kids. My parents were married 46 years when my dad died and being married and sticking it out is what I knew. I married someone who was eventually diagnosed as bi-polar. She stopped taking her medicine when our daughter was five and there was no way I could have her living with our daughter and myself.
There were issues on both sides. It’s never entirely one person’s fault, but the up and down mood swings was too much to handle. What made it really tough on me was that I still had feelings for her. It wasn’t like there were big issues we were fighting about. It was all about her illness and the inability to function properly when she wasn’t taking her medicine.
I loved her, but I couldn’t be with her and that made it hard. Divorce is tough when the two people have zero love for each other, but it may be tougher when one of the couple doesn’t really want it to be over. There was no doubt in my mind that it needed to be over, but I didn’t really want this to be how it ended.
I ended up with full custody of my daughter and did what any good dad would do. I put on a happy face and made the best of the situation publicly, but inside I was a mess. I knew there was nothing I could do about it, yet I constantly second-guessed myself. When my ex took her medicine, everything was great, but I couldn’t force her to take her pill everyday.
Everyone deals with things in a different way. My way was to pull away from my friends and my family. I needed to keep my mind off it, so I started working more hours. By “more hours” I mean “too many hours”. I poured myself into work and internalized everything. When you’re working 70 hours a week and don’t let anything out, you become a time bomb. I ended up in the ER one night with my BP 245/160.
I was alienating myself from the very people I should be turning to and spending more time with. My friends were calling and asking to do things, but I blew them off every time. I was feeling like my life was in complete chaos. There was not a doubt in my mind about doing the right thing for my daughter, but I felt as if I was losing control.
I avoided dealing with my problem by working too much, but the problem didn’t go away. It only grew. My stress and constantly being burned out was affecting my health and my attitude, plus my friends were starting to get irritated and on my case. This sucked.
I don’t care how much you want the divorce or if divorce is the last thing you ever thought about, it’s going to be rough on you. You have to find someone to talk to—a friend, a counselor, the homeless guy at the park. Anyone will do. If you internalize everything you’ll end up in a bed at the ER with a doctor pouring nitro glycerin down your throat as the nurse asks about your living will. That way isn’t pleasant. Take my word for it.