To think about

To think about

The name of the blog

"It was never just an affair" needs to be in quotations, because it was something my ex-husband said to me early on in the break-up. I guess he thought it might make me feel better to know it wasn't just a fling per say, it was real love? It didn't make me feel better. Him ending the affair and being willing to work on the marriage would have made me feel better.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Peace, Joy, and General Okayness

“Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth 
Because I’m happy 
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you want to do …” 
- Pharrell Williams

I just had a short little cry lasting under five minutes over an email exchange between M and I to facilitate the transfer of money from him to me to pay for the next instalment of the legal fees that will end our marriage. He got back from me three emails: my response with some different payment plans, an email I had sent earlier this week telling my lawyer to proceed which I forwarded to him, and lastly, an email that said simply “I find this whole business sad and distasteful.” Which I do; no one is winning in my divorce except the lawyers involved.  And my crying has prompted me to actually start writing in the blank text document I opened and titled over a week ago.

This article is about validating my journey to happiness for myself, and sharing with you dear reader, that your happiness is coming. If you are in early days, dark days, are angry and hurt, feel the loneliness and despair I felt until recently, if you have thought of ending your life because the pain and the journey are overwhelming to you, as it was to me for many months, and if you simply cannot imagine a life in which you will be happy again, please hear me: you will be. A few friends and my psychologist told me the same thing, and I didn’t believe them, so I don’t expect you to believe me. All I can do is encourage you to read my journey that I have been so brutally honest about, and believe each of those posts as being my mind frame at the time, and then believe this post in the same way. 

My happiness has been a long time coming, hard fought for, and I believe with all my heart I alone have done the work to create the loving and safe space I now live in. I was blessed to have many friends and supports along the way: pointing me to the right book, taking me for walks in nature, listening to me cry and ask the unanswerable questions, and distracting me when that was what I needed. I hope you have that same support system in place. It is likely requirement number one during your healing journey. Please consider me a support to you. If you reach out to me, you will get a response back (

I have been blessed, so far, to be financially cared for by my ex which has allowed me to make my healing my number one priority. Money has provided the funds for the countless massages I went for, the many books I bought, the many ill-advised escape mechanisms I utilized, the travel I ran to so I could escape reality, the travel I am about to embark on to really find and hear myself, and be with myself exclusively for a month, and everything else I did that gave me a ray of hope. 

If finances are tight for you, utilize your library. Search the internet for the millions of good resources out there. On my site I have links to the websites, blogs, and books I have used. I will also list my top TED talks for finding happiness, acceptance, self-esteem and peace at the end of this article that you can access for free, and watch as many times as needed. 

In October, four months after the break-up when I hit my rock bottom, I created a healing plan, which I followed pretty faithfully for months. When I stopped following it religiously, I felt those affects. Please read that over and create your individualized plan. 

I cannot speak highly enough of relaxation exercises and meditation. The free app I use to meditate before I go to bed every night is called Simply Being. I promise you, if you give that app 20 minutes of your day, every day for a month, you will feel more peaceful. There are many free online guided mediations available.  

A gratitude journal will take just five minutes of your day but will clearly illustrate in black and white why living is worth it even on your worst days. 

Take yourself on dates to do the things that matter to you and provide you enjoyment. 

Find massage schools in your area to treat yourself to compassionate human touch in the absence of a relationship. In Canada, there is a company called Spa Pure ( that is incredibly reasonable, and in both Canada and the United States there is a company called Hand and Stone Massage that offers membership to make the prices more reasonable ( 

I am on anti-depressants, and had been for almost a year prior to the break-up due to the depression and anxiety I had experienced within my previous employment. I am not suggesting or advocating for the use of anti-depressants, but I do recommend you keep an open mind and heart to all avenues of support, and have honest communication about your reactions to the grief process with your family Doctor. Reactionary depression to betrayal, separation and divorce are very common (approximately 60%)  and perfectly normal. 

If you are at all impatient like I am, or just drowning in the exhaustion of getting through your days, I want to share with you what is happening for me right now, and roughly what my time frame for healing has looked like so far. Between February 9-16th I strung together not only a solid week of happiness, but I was the happiest I had been in years. I finally got to that mystical place where I wasn’t lonely despite spending almost all of my time alone, I was comfortable with myself, I felt joy just to be alive, I was forward thinking to goals I want to achieve, and I felt a great sense of compassion towards myself. I was finally getting the automated responses I had been working towards in place. If a negative thought came into my mind, it was quickly followed by a challenging or loving thought. My brain was finally becoming conditioned to treating me the way my friends have treated me, and the way I aspire to treat my friends. Even on the days I don’t feel joyful, my baseline mood is significantly elevated and more stable than in prior months. 

After that glorious week I crashed a bit, but not to any devastating depths. It could have been a boy situation, hormones, any number of things, but what I accept is that those seven days I had were glorious, and if I got there once, I would get back there again. I also recognized that I was reacting to outside stimuli; that I was in control of my reactions. I was no longer frustrated by the fact I was up and down; rather, I completely and peacefully accepted it as part of the process. And I did get my happiness back again, about two weeks later. I strung together another week of bliss and joy. A week of being happy to be alive, feeling honoured for my opportunities and friendships, and excited to engage in that big old world we live in. When I came down from that fantastic week or so, I didn’t drop as low as I had the month before, and I didn’t stay as low for as long. Within about four or five days I felt the upswing again. And no, I do not think I am bipolar, but thanks for your care and concern.  

This has been the cycle of grief for months now. In the beginning, I got no break at all. I was constantly in the midst of a low-grade panic attack for at least six to eight weeks after the disclosure. There was very little break from actively crying, or just lying around obsessed with my situation for months. And when I moved out of our home into an apartment by myself and cut off all contact with M, I hit rock bottom around the four month mark. I was borderline suicidal for a few weeks. That was the point in which I created my healing plan and started working it hard, daily. By working hard I mean I was dedicating hours a day to those activities; they became my priority. Then I started getting breaks: one good day, followed by however many bad. That eventually shifted to two good days, followed by however many bad. I don’t doubt it actually started with mere minutes in those early months, and later, mere hours, but those breaks in grieving passed so quickly I barely noticed them. It wasn’t until I got full days that I realized my obsessive anguish was releasing its morbid grip. October 14, 2013, a full four months and 10 days post-disclosure was the first day I noted that I had not cried once. I had created my healing plan and started working it on October 9, 2013, five days prior.

I crashed hard at Christmas; in fact, I started winding myself up about my first Christmas alone in late November, and this is the first time I am writing to acknowledge what happened. Despite my best efforts to prepare myself for either receiving an email from M at Christmas, or there being no contact at all, I was not prepared for what I did get from M, and I reacted horribly. I cried any moment I was alone for the next three days, barely kept it together when in the company of others, and certainly felt nothing even close to joy or happiness during those days. And then I got angry, finally. 

I spent most of January processing my anger towards M. When I released the anger, I seemed to have opened the space for joy and love. When M contacted me in early February on my birthday, I had no reaction whatsoever.  Of course, he didn’t drop any bombshells which helped, I was with friends in Las Vegas which considerably helped, and there was another man texting me happy birthday. I was determined to make Valentine's Day a great day about loving myself, so I booked myself a massage well in advance, and I bought myself flowers. And in late February, I didn’t even realize it would have been our wedding anniversary that day until bedtime when I wrote the date in my gratitude journal. I was shocked when I realized I had gotten through the last big hurdle without even noticing. I made it through the most volatile of dates that could trigger me, with nary a reaction. That accomplishment has done more for my self-esteem than perhaps any other single event in the last nine months. I encourage you to find your moments of victory and celebrate them. 

I started my blog on October 25, 2013, and this has been one of my greatest sources of joy, achievement, pride, catharsis, and reason to get up in the morning. I feel a responsibility to my readers that grounds me in truth and compassion, and motivates me to write. I encourage you to find your version of a blog. 

Will a day ever come that I am happy about the spectacular fashion in which my marriage crashed and burned, or the fact that I will have experienced a second failed marriage by the age of 41? Probably not; in fact, I fully expect to be sad about the end of this relationship and M’s absence from my life for the rest of my days, when I allow myself to think about it. However, I fully expect to make peace with these aspects of my story. They are a part of my experience here on earth; they do not define me wholly as a person. I fully anticipate feeling great joy, peace, contentment, love and general gratitude and happiness with my life despite what transpired between M and I.   

Must watch TED talks for healing:

Amy Cuddy - Social Psychologist - Your body language shapes who you are
Brene Brown - Vulnerability Researcher -  Listening to shame, and The power of vulnerability
Jane McGonigal - Game Designer - The game that can give you 10 extra years of life
Matt Cutts - Technologist - Try something new for 30 days
Kelly McGonigal - Health Psychologist - How to make stress your friend
Helen Fisher - Anthropologist -  The brain in love, and Why we love, why we cheat
Amy Webb - Digital Stategist - How I hacked online dating
Esther Peral - Sex Therapist - The secret to desire in a long-term relationship

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