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The Remarried Life


Oct 23, 2018

Brian Mayer talks about his own battles with depression during his divorce and how he overcame this.  It took several years and many trials and errors but learn how he finally worked through his issues.  Everyone is different and divorce will look different for everyone so learn to discover what works for you.  We hope you are inspired by today’s message.  For more information and additional resources please visit our website at http://www.theremarriedlife.com

Today's Goodies

  • Today we are going to be talking about depression and divorce.  Unfortunately for most people these two things go together like peanut butter and jelly.  It is difficult to avoid some depression during this tumultuous life event.  In fact researchers say next to the death of a spouse that divorce is the most stressful thing that you will ever go through. 
  • I wanted to share a little about what I went through and the dark hole I found myself in for several years.  I am not going to get into the details surrounding my divorce, like who did what, and who was responsible for what because that no longer matters.  It happened about 20 years ago and certainly time has healed all of that, so at least for me those things are no longer relevant.  However, let’s just say as I look back indeed there was much on both sides that we could have done better to not lead us down that path. 
  • Again though this is a story about my journey.  Don’t worry though there won’t be anything you hear that will be alarming or difficult for any age to hear. 
  • You often hear that even things as big as divorce and no matter how long ago they happened, still seem clear and vivid.  For me this is not so, as this time has become somewhat hazy to me as like an impressionistic painting where it is hard to see clearly the details.  In fact if I do ever think about this time or how I felt it is as if I am describing someone else or the events of a movie I am seeing on the screen. 
  • This big thing for me when the separation and divorce started to unfold, is that a wave of depression certainly crashed over me.  It’s like when waves keep hitting you are you go from being completely submerged to getting small moments of breath.  But it’s like they aren’t enough.  At some points you begin to expect the waves, and even the small moments of breath no longer feel good because you know they are just momentarily. 
  • While I never contemplated suicide, I certainly had days where I didn’t have the energy or desire to do much.  In fact there was one occasion in the evening where I was by myself, and I turned off all the lights in the house, laid in bed with the covers over my head.  All the while my mind kept flashing backward and forward.  I would replay all the negative events of the past and then look forward through the lens of despair. 
  • I remember the days of feeling like a zombie.  It was as if I was two people.  One was working hard to making my brain work, making me talk, making me work, making me take care of my daughter.  The other was making me have only energy to lie down, making me ruminate over past mistakes and the gloomy future ahead.  These two battled quite often.  When I was around others, the one that would make me engage would win out.  When I was alone, it was the one that said I needed sit and think would win out.  What a draining and difficult time this was. 
  • I remember on days alone I would rifle through old pictures of my family thinking about what was and what could have been.  It was strange but while there would be a quick pick me up of endorphins by seeing these happy photos, the despair would quickly set in and then I would end up feeling worse. One thing I have never done in my life are illegal drugs so I can’t comprehend addiction like that however, from what I have read and understand in some ways my brain was acting and functioning just like this when I would look at these old photos.  A huge high but only briefly and then a long and hard low would follow. 
  • I would like to tell you that this went on for just days.  However, it didn’t just go on for days, it didn’t go on for just weeks, it didn’t just go on for months, it went on in force for probably at least 3 years and if I really think about it a 4th year was kind of a transition out.  A long and hard road indeed.
  • For some there may be a magical moment when it all comes into place and everything makes sense.  For me it was not this way.  It was a roller coaster ride of emotions over those years for sure.  The grief process seemed to slow to crawl many times and I often wondered if I would ever get out. 
  • I am going to tell you some things that helped me and so as you listen certainly think about these things and think about what might help you.
    • First, I did turn back to God toward the end of my marriage.  From age 15 or so to around 28, I did not step foot in a church nor even so much as think about opening the Bible.  I probably prayed during this time, but indeed it was probably a lot of selfish prayers and getting angry at God for what I thought he was doing to me.  I would like to say the immediately that my bad feelings went away, they did not.  I recently heard that when you pray God says “Yes, No, or Grow.”  At this time he was saying “Grow.”
    • Socially engaging with others as part of a small group that met on Friday nights.  The ironic thing about this group is that they were all married couples except for me.  However, they made me feel welcome and at home.  For a brief couple of hours I could partially put aside my feelings about my life and focus on something else. 
    • I physically moved from Ohio to Florida.  This is a long story and could take another podcast episode to talk through but this one ultimately helped me a great deal.  I think the sunshine helped me mentally and physically and then just getting away to a new environment also helped.  They often say that running from your trouble doesn’t work but in my case it did. 
    • For a short time, I did go through counseling and took medication to help with the depression.  This indeed helped for a time and if you have depression that it sticking and won’t go away I would encourage to highly consider these options.  Of course I am not a doctor and would ask that you consult one.  I once had someone tell me that we take medicine for all kind of physical ailments, and so our brain is an organ just like any other that may need help from time to time and there are medicines that can do just that. 
    • While this is tough, making sure to get involved by volunteering at different functions is important.  I never did fully dive into something like this permanently, but I would do things on occasion that maybe were sponsored by work when it came to cancer fundraising and different events like that.  It was a help to me to know that in spite of the difficulties I was going through mentally and emotionally that I could still help others. 
  • Honestly, today’s episode was hard.  Really I probably didn’t give you as good a picture as I would like regarding how deeply despaired I was.  If this is something you are going through right now, I can promise you that as Galatians 6:9-11 says, “ Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” 
  • It may not seem like it now, but there is a hope and future laid out for you.  Sometimes we have to spend quite awhile in the valley while we are growing and working through this.   However, as I have said before if the pain becomes to great you must seek help.  If you situation is dire and you feel you have no hope please call the National Suicide Prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 
  • Don’t give up.  You are going to ultimately do something to help someone else right where you are today.  I am living proof that this can happen.  Had I not gone through what I did, you would not be listening to my voice right now with this great desire to help you my fellow friend walk through divorce. 

 Resources:

  • None Mentioned.

Thanks For Listening!

  • With so many things that take time in our lives, I more grateful than you know that you took time to listen to this podcast episode. 
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As always remember that marriage is not something you have, it is something you do.  Talk to you next week unless you are binge listening in the future in which case I will talk to you in about a minute!  Take care.