The Resiliency of the Human Spirit
Over the past 26 years of practicing family law, I have witnessed many clients walk into my office looking torn, broken and in complete despair. The pain in a person's heart and soul seems to ooze out of their pores. The energy of their pain is palpable. It is not easy to be witness to so much pain and sadness. The human spirit, however, is resilient. And as time goes by, as the process moves forward and IF the client is doing what he/she needs to do to take care of himself or herself, the wounds start to heal. The torn and broken pieces start to be put back together, and despair is replaced with HOPE! While this may be a s-l-o-w process - it can and does happen. The transformation is incredible to witness. The client, once broken and despairing, months later appears happy and healthy. The difference in appearance is truly astonishing. I went through this sort of metamorphosis myself, never thinking I would recover and be happy again - not thinking it was possible. However, I know it is! Through personal and professional experiences, I have experienced it and seen it, over and over. There is always hope that tomorrow may be better. The pain will subside. A new normal will emerge. There is ALWAYS hope!
There is so much fear, anger and denial surrounding the idea of a family being torn apart by divorce. It is my belief that the only way to get through this awful and frightening time is to face whatever issues are before you and deal with them. Do not ignore the problems. This will only keep you stuck in the muck of the nasty emotions. Life is meant to be lived with joy and happiness. I know that I ignored many of my problems by self-medicating in the usual ways: retail and alcohol therapy. Buying a new outfit helped to ease the pain I was feeling, but only for a moment and then the credit card bill showed up in the mail! Drinking a little bit too much wine at night certainly helped to numb my pain, but again only for a period of time. When I allowed myself to feel the pain and progress to healing, these two types of "therapy" were thrown out with the trash!
Another very sad way I have seen many deal with this pain is what is often referred to as "The Divorce Diet" - I went on that diet as well! Not a good way to lose weight. I have met many clients who tell me they lost 20, 30 and even 40 pounds in a very short period of time. Have you ever noticed when you go to the doctor one of the questions you are asked is "have you had a lot of weight gain or loss in a short period of time?" This is because this sort of extreme is not good and is a signal that something is wrong! I certainly understand how difficult it is to eat when you are going through so much stress. So many of my family and friends were concerned about me and my weight loss - I just could not eat - there was no desire. At one point I was so weak I had to rest midway up the staircase. Being on the Divorce Diet can be dangerous. Depriving your body of the nutrients it needs will not help you to heal. We all need the fuel that food provides!
I believe that there is always hope! We see it every day in the world - the light is sometime hard to see through the darkness of the negativity that seems so pervasive. It is important to be gentle with yourself as you go through the process of a divorce. Find the support that you need - support is different for everyone. Some may find it in their church, support groups, retreats or in traditional therapy. You will not find the support that is needed at the bottom of a bottle of wine or beer, nor will you find it at the mall. There is help out there - you just need to ask.
Being gentle with yourself is also really important! Do not beat yourself up over the manner in which you have treated yourself or others through this process. Learning to forgive yourself and others and learning to apologize for your mistakes is paramount to the healing process. There is hope, and healing from this process can happen.
After all, the human spirit is very resilient!