Depression, Single Mama

Surviving the Crisis

When my life came crashing down last summer, I went into my now very familiar Crisis Mode. I was in shock. I was in incredible pain and absolute disbelief. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself or how to get through the day. It occured to me later to write down the things that helped, so that maybe I could share it and help someone else.

This is a picture from right in the middle of that time. It’s raw. It’s difficult for me to look at. I still feel that pain, and I can recognize the heart break and disbelief in my eyes.

I want to be clear, when I talk about the things that got me through this crisis, I’m not talking about the things that “fixed” anything. I’m talking about the little things that kept me afloat when all I wanted to do was drown. I’m still working on getting out of the water.

Mindless Distraction. I needed something to take me out of the moment, especially when I found everything to be really overwhelming. Fluffy silly beach reads, funny shows that I could pick up and drop in a second, youtube makeup tutorials, and one that truly got my head out of the moment, a ridiculous bubble popping phone game app. Bubble Witch 3 was my personal favourite. Requires enough focus to get your mind off of the badness, while being simple and silly enough not to require too much attention or effort. Get it here for Android and here for Apple.

Support System. This is the time to shine that bat signal, call in your girls, your family, whoever you can trust and be honest with. You need to tell someone what’s going on and don’t sugar coat it. You need someone who can check in on you, get you out into the world again, or bring you food when you just want to cry. I also found it to be very empowering to join Single Mom and divorced parents groups on facebook so that I could hear from people who knew what I was going through.

Motivation and Understanding. I found it incredibly helpful to read up on the process, to see related quotations and to listen to podcasts related to what I was going through. I saved a ton of motivational quotations on pinterest (My boards can be found here , here and here). I also completely fell in love with Alone: A Love Story, a CBC podcast. Retweet, share to your stories, post lyrics. Whatever you need to do to feel understood and heard.

Music Soothes the Soul, music has always been a major factor in every single one of my life events, good and bad. This was no different. I found that some days I wanted to sob uncontrollably to the soundtrack of my heartbreak. Other days, I wanted Lizzo to build me back up. Sometimes, I needed hard rock to work through my anger. I got myself a spotify account and made playlists for my needs. I have a Ouch Feels playlist, an Empower playlist, a playlist of soothing faves, an Angsty playlist when I want to scream EFF YOU JERK. It truly helps. I will say that sometimes you need to avoid certain songs to feel ok, and that fine. I still can’t listen to any of “Our Songs”.

It’s Ok to be A Cliche. There are so many cliches about getting through the crisis of a breakup. I lived so many of them. Some of them helped, some of them didn’t, but I found comfort in trying. I got a piercing, I dyed my hair, I got a tattoo, I gained weight and then loss some and then stopped caring, I dated, I had casual fun, I drank, I ate, I did what I wanted, when I wanted. I needed to take some time to spoil myself, to take care of myself and to be reckless for a bit. So long as you have good people around you to keep you from going too far, and you don’t hurt anyone or yourself, have fun. On the other side of the coin, it’s ok to cry, to spend time alone, to be angry, to be sad, to let things go a bit. Just remember that you have a life to live, and as tempting as it is to get lost in the fun or the sad, it will do more harm than good. Moderation, my friends. Moderation.

Alright friends, that’s it for now. I have a kid to play with and some lunch to make. I hope this post helps someone get through the initial crisis so that you can start working towards healing. I have more to add, but perhaps I’ll save that for next time.

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