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Divorce Threat Level: Elevated

September is National Suicide Prevention Month

The stability was completely gone in my marriage in its final few years and I felt like I was constantly riding a roller coaster. Periods of relative calm would turn into corkscrew drops when X would either move out or visit the divorce attorney du jour to have papers drawn up.

I don't do well with uncertainty. Oh, I'm fine with spontaneity in some situations, as in, "Why don't we go to out for dinner tonight," or, "What about Disneyland next month?" When the marriage itself took on spontaneous overtones, it was unbearable for me.

Envisioning a future together is a key component of marriage and this became increasingly impossible. Sometimes it got to the point where I couldn't even decide whether or not to shop a couple of months early for X's Christmas gifts. I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to read X's signals. Much like the Department of Homeland Security has colors to describe the risk of terrorist attack, I soon learned to assess the mood in the house, and gauge whether or not divorce was impending.

My stress level was entwined with the current threat status and my health and happiness suffered. I let it, of course. Happiness is a choice I could have made then on my own. I know that my personal happiness is and always was a choice and that in basing my feelings on X's actions, I gave away my power.

There were times during those years that I felt hopeless and depressed. There was only one time, during the actual divorce, when I considered ending it all. You could say that I elevated my suicide threat status to Severe. Funny thing was, at that point, the divorce was a complete certainty, and I could see that the roller coaster ride was finally coming to a stop. Obviously, that wasn't the certainty I was after.

I'd attached myself to an ideal of staying married to X, so much so that my very desire to live was dependent on it at that moment. I wasn't seeing any glimpses of my own stable, fulfilled life on the other side of the divorce because I couldn't focus on anything but the agonizing pain I was in.

I get it. If you are considering such a final solution, you just want the pain to stop.

A couple weeks after the divorce was final, I found out that the ideal that I had been attached to wasn't even real. X had already moved on by that day that would have been my last. If I had gone through with my idea it would have been because I was totally consumed with a belief in something that didn't even exist. Boy, the joke would have been on me.

Now, I make it a point to check in and ask myself a few questions around strongly held beliefs. Is this based on reality? Is there another angle from which to view this issue? If I changed my mind or my approach, what could I gain or lose? In other words, maybe I only have to die to self in order to transform and be open to different outcomes.

Certainly, some beliefs are worth fighting for. But don't be so consumed with getting a specific outcome that you'd rather die than live with a different one. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

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