This topic has got to be the starting point of this journey for me, so much of what has inspired me to do this has come from this moment, so it only feels fitting to get this bit out of the way, to pave the way for the rest of my journey. I have titled it the start of the end, but in reality it was the end that actually paved the way for this new start, that I didn’t know I needed so much.
In April and May of 2018 I experienced the worst 6 weeks of my life, or so I believed, where I had a self-proclaimed “mental breakdown.” Now it is worth saying that I have always always suffered with my mental health and in particular extreme high functioning anxiety, but usually there is a reason (as ridiculous as those reasons sometimes are) to justify and explain why I am feeling this way. However this time I could not pin point what was wrong, so therefore I could not “fix it”. I ended up bed bound majority of the time, watching friends on repeat and playing endless, mindless games on my phone – trying anything to distract myself from the inner turmoil that was going on in my head and watching my life pass me by. I dropped to 6 stone 2 and was essentially starving myself to death. I wasn’t honest about the severity of what was going on to either myself or to those around me, I buried my head and just thought if I keep ignoring this or trying to think it away it will go, I was wrong. But more on my mental health at a later date, this is not the blog for that. Essentially, I pulled myself out of my dark place and carried on with my life, wearing my new mental health scars with pride (kind of). I left that dark place and thought that’s it, I have encountered the lowest my life could possibly get and I got through it, the only way is up from here. I proudly skipped into the next chapter of my perfect life….
Fast forward 9 months and my real world fell apart, like properly fell apart. Now, for those of you who do not know I was married, emphasis on the word “was”. I never made it to my 2 year wedding anniversary, but was with the guy for 12 years. As I have said it is important for this process for me to start with the ending of my world, of what I thought was the ending of my life at the time, so sit back and let me tell you this dramatised story from married to divorcee over night.
*DISCLAIMER all the events in this story are true, even the really sad and really pathetic ones.
3 days after my 30th birthday out of the blue my husband told me he wasn’t happy with our relationship anymore, it was like someone had punched a hole clean through my heart, I was completely blind-sided by this and did not see it coming, at all, and I must add neither did anyone else.
I took on an onslaught of reasons why he was no longer happy, which felt like it lasted days and took away the small shreds of self-worth I had carefully built back over the last 9 months. The resounding reason for his unhappiness was me. I was so wrapped up in myself I had become blinded to anyone else’s feelings and presence, I saw no signs at all of him being unhappy, and I’m sure there were some, I just couldn’t see them because I was focusing on my own survival. I had blindly been on survival mode for 9 months, shutting off anyone and anything that could possibly rock my very unstable boat. After my breakdown, I felt I was made of tissue paper and I had become completely absorbed by me, what did I need? What could I do to make me happy? I had forgotten that there were 2 people in this relationship. Now it is important to point out that I am not excusing his behaviour at all, but over time I have realised that this time must have been incredibly difficult for him, I had no available space for him or his feelings and it must have been really hard to watch someone you once loved fade away, but the way he went about it was wrong, no question about it. It’s important in this process that I am completely honest and that means not blaming him 100% – maybe just 98%. I will also get onto this at a later date but at some point I will thank him for what he did, it set me free, it made me stronger and allowed me to find the person I once was who I hadn’t realised I had lost.
After this revelation we bumbled along for a few weeks, in some weird fog of knowing this was over but neither willing to make the cut, through fear of making a mistake, a wrong decision and inability to be able to go back and save it. How could you just turn your back on a 12 year relationship, a perfect relationship, or so everyone thought, myself included, without some sort of fight? He blamed me and my mental health a lot, and in turn so did I, how could I have acted like this and lost the man I loved with my whole heart for 12 years? God damn my mental health and anxious/over thinking brain for making me so unlovable. On a serious side note, this element of the break up hurt me more than anything else that happened along the way. Something which I felt immensely proud of and protective of was being used as a reason not to be with me. He could not see the strength I showed in pulling myself through it and getting better, which I did on my own and was the hardest battle I have ever fought. But for him the fact I went through it and could possibly go through it again in my life time was too much for him, I had become unlovable – and that hurt. But anyway I digress…
During this fog of inner torment, where I was living with this stranger who I no longer knew, we went on holiday to Vegas – to celebrate both our 30th birthdays, a holiday which quite frankly cost a bloody fortune and was the worst holiday of my entire life, “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” my arse! Firstly Vegas is really not for me, it’s too busy, too bright, too loud, too expensive and in the state I was in just way too much. And do you know what the surest sign that the world, as I knew it, was coming to an end whilst in sin city? It bloody snowed…in Vegas…in the desert…for our entire bloody holiday. I should have got straight back on the plane when we arrived and flown home, but in my broken mind this was my last chance to prove to my husband I was worth staying married to, worth not turning his back on, worth loving.
We tried to pretend everything was ok but it was so painfully obvious that it was not, I could feel the resentment between us, I became paranoid about him being on his phone.
SPOLIER ALERT this wasn’t me being paranoid, this was me being bloody right – stay tuned
This lasted the whole holiday. I would painstakingly get ready, every day and every night, spend longer on my make-up, wondering if he liked my hair better up or down, did I have too much make up on or not enough? Trying to make myself look more beautiful, seem more desirable, I was so sad but kept smiling despite the heartbreak I could feel. It was a waste of time, I knew his mind was already made up, he knew his mind was made up, but I was so desperate (I hate that word) to save my marriage.
I would have done anything – and I almost did do everything over the coming weeks and months, including losing myself to try and make a man love me who clearly did not anymore, but more on that later. I have always been so secure of myself and who I am, but suddenly I had lost this, I had no idea who I was and I lost my identity and my self-worth.
Throughout our time together, including the holiday there was a huge elephant in the room, it sat there between us all the time, on the sofa, during dinner, out for drinks, seeing friends, it was even sat between us on the plane, smashing shit up as we went along, leaving a trail of destruction everywhere we went. I thought the elephant was my mental health – I was paranoid, desperate, needy.
However late on our last night in Vegas, after too much alcohol, alone in a cheap (but extortionately expensive) dark Vegas hotel room, 6000 miles from home, sitting on the floor, with my husband passed out in bed I found out the elephant was actually another woman.
This feeling is one of the hardest to explain. I always say I knew the moment he told me he wasn’t happy that there was someone else in our relationship. I had become suspicious of his phone and do you know what? I was right. I sat on the floor and I went through his phone, I know this in itself is bad and an invasion of his privacy but I knew if I didn’t find it out for myself, in that very moment, I would never find out the truth and would subsequently go my whole life blaming myself for the failure of my marriage and I was not prepared to do this. I knew the truth would hurt but I also knew
The truth would set me free
So there I was finally with the truth in my hands and I felt a mix of unbelievable heartache and relief – I knew I wasn’t crazy, I knew this wasn’t just me!
So now what?
I sat on that floor for an hour with his phone in my hand, reading and re-reading messages and sending them to myself – I felt I needed evidence. I then got up, took my rings off and left them in the bathroom accompanied by a very badly written note (It is safe to say I have watched too many movies including moments like this) My poignant note read: “maybe you should give these to your new girlfriend, I know the truth you prick, this is over!” – compelling right? I then took my bag and left the hotel room. If this moment was played out in a film there would be an empowering piece of music playing in the background, synchronised with the door slam and my footsteps walking away from my life.
Round of applause
However it is worth pointing out it was 2am in the morning, I was in Las Vegas and not due to fly home until the next night and I hadn’t even packed my suitcase so I wasn’t actually going anywhere, it just felt very dramatic to do it at that moment. I was fully aware I had to endure a 12 hour flight home with this man.
Unlike the blockbuster movie this sounds like, I ended up sitting outside in the gardens at the Flamingo hotel, looking at the flamingos and smoking about 20 cigarettes. I rang my only 2 friends who knew what had happened between the 2 of us up to this point in turn and told them everything, going between the 2 of them for about 2 hours. I have never ever felt so alone in my whole life. They were outraged, upset and just as shocked as I was. They told me they would pay for me to get an earlier flight home and told me to tell the hotel so they would move me. But, as much as I wanted to escape and to run away – I knew this was only the beginning and I had to face this situation, I couldn’t hide from it and get someone else to sort it out for me. I was torn between confronting him then, waiting until the morning, or more ridiculously trying to wait until we were back in England (that was never going to happen.)
I just wanted to go home, I wanted my mum more than I have ever wanted or needed her in my whole life, but I had to pull on my big girl knickers and do this on my own, I had to confront the man I loved about this.
So, I returned to my hotel room, and despite the advice from my friend to
“Punch him in the face repeatedly until he wakes up”
I put my rings back on and crept into my side of the bed and lay there motionless looking at the man I loved and trying to comprehend how the life I had lovingly built for 12 years was about to end. I knew there was absolutely no way back from this but for a few hours I wanted to pretend, in the darkness of that room, that everything was how it once was and had been for 12 years. It is safe to say I did not sleep, not even for one moment, I just allowed all the thoughts to swim around my mind and paralyze my body, whilst trying to comprehend how I was going to tell people, my friends and family, what was going on – how do you word that?
As I said earlier no one knew what was happening, I had only told 2 of my friends, and only told them because I knew their husbands knew, so I assumed they knew, if it wasn’t for that reason I would have kept it completely to myself, suffering alone and in silence. That is what brought the biggest lump to my throat in that moment, how was I going to tell people? How was I going to break their view on this “perfect” man who they had trusted to love their friend? How was I going to tell my parents that the man they entrusted me to, to love me for ever, had been seeing someone else? Although this turmoil was going on inside me, on the outside I was a fountain of calm.
When he eventually woke up, about 6am, that calm feeling ended and I launched into my attack, it only lasted moments, there was screaming, tears, denial, he lied straight to my face – even with the proof in my hands – at points I think I believed him, or at least wanted to. He eventually realised it was pointless and admitted (without actually saying the words) that this person was someone more than a friend (you don’t go to the extent he went to to hide the messages from a friend). After this frenzied attack he left the room to get some breakfast – how incredibly normal, probably an opportunity for him to do some damage control. And I was left, once again, alone in this hotel room (which I now hated) covered in theoretical blood from this fight. Blood which clung to my skin for months and months. The feeling of loneliness is something I am going to keep coming back to, it was a feeling I have never really felt before and eventually has become a feeling I have added to my personal amour.
In the next 36 hours, stuck in Vegas I felt like I was holding my breath. From the minute I found those messages to the minute I got home to the safety of my mums house I felt like I was holding my breath. Lets just say that elephant in the room grew bigger and bigger and eventually felt like it was suffocating me. As you can imagine the experience of those hours was pretty damn horrific, if I thought the fog I felt at the start of this was bad it was nothing compared to this, this time the fog was laced with poison and was slowly killing me, well the old me at least. The hope I once had that the fog would eventually lift was gone and I suddenly realised that once this new fog lifted my life and myself would never be the same – at this point I didn’t realise this end would actually be the start of my life, which I was unaware I needed.
This is just the start of my journey into becoming a divorcee, tune in to the next blog to hear all about the wonderful journey home and the first few days and weeks of my new life.