If going through separation and then divorce with a toddler and severe depression isn’t enough to live with, the divorce you suffer from family, friends, and work colleagues is enough to send anyone into complete darkness, into a vast maze where there is no escape, over a cliff that plunges you down a rock face forever, where the presence of that Black Dog is relentless, punishing, and unforgiving, he is not a play mate, a pet, he is your worst enemy.
I experienced separation in 2004, a year or so later I was divorced from the man as an 18 year old I fell in love with, in love with the first male who wanted to date and be with me, the man who would father my little boy, and who would subject me to endless pain, abuse, and punishment. He was a cheater, a physical abuser, a mental tormentor, and a control freak who didn’t trust me, respect me, nor as time would tell really truly just love me. He wanted the best of both worlds – a family, and a wife who was at his beck and call, and a single man if that’s what you call him who wanted the affection of women from pubs to brothels. The endless trail of women he cheated on me were advertised to me every night when he would wake me to tell me of his exploits. I now know that despite his words he was never sorry, but proud that he had such success and was able to torture me constantly with his dark misadventures.
The day I kicked my husband out I found out he paid a brothel for sex, I also found out that he was dating someone who now turns out to be his wife.
The greatest impact apart from separating from the man who is meant to be your husband for life was the loss of family and friends because I separated and because I had depression and that started the walls around me to collapse and for the power of loneliness to encapsulate my every being. My family was neither religious nor cultural, therefore the construct of marriage was just that marriage. There was no strict affiliation to marriage or its requirement to be a lifetime commitment, but the day I separated was the day that I was no longer good enough to be a part of their family, apparently a husband cheating on you, abusing you physically and mentally were not sufficient factors to cause separation. My label of being the black sheep of the family grew, and my world of support how little it was shrank to near nothing. In a time of considerable hurt, and separation became the loneliest time of my life.
I was divorced from my own flesh and bone.
I soon learnt that divorce and depression combined was also a significant factor in driving friends away, those that were ‘our’ friends didn’t want to know me, those that were ‘my’ friends were driven away after my first trip to the ED after a cutting episode that my work colleagues saw and decided I should go to hospital.
I was effectively divorced not just from my husband, but from family and friends.
What came was the loneliest time of my life when family who are meant to stick by you no matter what, and people who I thought were friends all abandoned me, because I decided that a cheater, and abuser shouldn’t have a place in my life. After 15 years of cheating, hurt and abuse was too much and I needed to escape an unhappy marriage. But as my husband often said to me “if you don’t have me, you have nobody”, how true he was.
Parts of my storey are very confronting and some may find upsetting, if you find yourself upset and depressed I encourage you to ring Lifeline on 13 11 14 or BeyondBlue on 1300 224636.