A friend of mine has asked for some advice on dealing with the pain of separation. This is allegedly based on the bizarre assumption that with my experience of hindsight and the value of cumulative experience I have something to offer. I don’t really think I do, but just in case any of this resonates, I’m giving it a go anyway…
So here are some thoughts and (mainly) practical suggestions for anyone who find’s themselves in a similar situation to the one I was in ten years ago:-
HOW TO DEAL WITH THE PAIN OF SEPARATION
Resilience is key. Manage it day by day. Get yourself up and out of bed, wash your face (in cold water), clean your teeth, brush your hair, put your war paint on and tell your face in the mirror that “You Can Do This” then head out to face the world, one step at a time. “Just keep Swimming” as Dory said.
Expect highs and lows and don’t be surprised by them. Each day will bring a new set of feelings.
Exercise. Keep moving. It helps.
Get out into nature and remember to breathe.
Get enough sleep.
Eat well (but eat shitty unhealthy things that make you happy occasionally, because you’re sure as hell going to be losing weight through stress).
Don’t drink too much (but don’t beat yourself up when you do, just remember that you are now in charge of yourself!)
Hang out with your friends. Nurture them and talk to them. Stay connected and don’t ever be afraid to contact them – it reminds you that you are not alone. Some of them will let you down, but lots of them won’t.
When you’re angry, find a positive outlet – boxing, cycling, walking, dancing, anything. Don’t stoop to low levels and disappoint yourself.
Don’t catch an STD whilst trying to drown your sorrows. Don’t rely entirely on the internet for meeting new people – IRL is always better!
Manage your stress and learn to sit quietly and work out how to get to know yourself again. Take up yoga or Pilates, fishing or running, sewing or swimming – anything that helps you distract from your thoughts.
If you have children, hold them tight and keep a close eye on them. Protect them from all the shit, but be honest with them when necessary. They will know more than you think they know. But give yourself a bit of time away from them as well.
“Shit happens”…..very often it doesn’t make any sense, but it’s how you deal with the shit it that counts.
Retain the moral high ground whenever you can (so that means DON”T use their toothbrush to clean the loo).
Find a new purpose and try to look for positive reasons why being single for a while is a good thing, but keep talking to your partner if there is still hope and keep weighing up all the options. Write everything down if necessary.
Remain two steps ahead of the game if at all possible so that you are able to deal with the unexpected. There are only surprises when you haven’t seen it coming.
Take responsibility for your own happiness, be autonomous and try to identify with your deeper self.
Hug people – strangers if necessary.
Believe in second chances and forgiveness (if it’s not too much to ask) and try counselling (if it’s not too late).
Call me any time, day or night. I feel your pain. This too will pass (but I know you won’t believe me right now!).