Archive for April 2014

This Is My Time

April 27, 2014

Now that all of the nasty viruses seem to have finally left our house, I am left with a To Do list a mile long.  Some things are divorce-related and others are just a part of life.

Right now I am getting by financially, but the reality is that I will need to get at least part time job within a year or two.  I think that I can squeak by on child support and maintenance (aka alimony) until then, but it’s going to be very hard for to get ahead of the game–build up savings, not accrue debt, and have money for fun– if I don’t eventually get a job.  I’m just trying to hold off for as long as I can because a) the income to cost of childcare ratio is probably not going to be very favorable, and b) I’m trying to keep the girls’ lives as consistent as possible for now, and me going back to work would be a major upheaval.

It’s been 11 years since I held a full-time job, and I know that the medical billing field has seen huge changes since I left.  If I had to get a job right this instant, my best bet would probably be to try to get a position at a daycare center.  (I do have almost 12 years of non-stop experience changing diapers.)  Then I could keep my little ones somewhat with me and get a discount on their care.  But I’m not sure that medical billing or child care is what I would really want to do.

I picked up a copy of What Color Is Your Parachute? at my local library, hoping for a little guidance about what to expect “out there” in the job-hunting world these days.  The book made two points that have really been rattling around in my brain a lot this past week.

1.  “There are ways we can define, at least to ourselves, what the meaning of this period of unemployment is, now.”

  • “These months have meaning because I am making this a Time for Thinking.”
  • “These months have meaning because I am making this a Time for Learning.”
  • “These months have meaning because I am making this a Time for Repairing.”
  • “These months have meaning because I am making this a Time for Growing.”

2.  The job-hunting method with the highest success rate (86%) is to do an inventory of yourself:  discerning which of your skills you most enjoy using, which work environments would make you most happy, and how to get where you want to be.

 

I really feel like God has been whispering these things in my ear over and over again the past few weeks.  It’s in this secular job-hunting book.  For the first time in months I glanced at the 10 Principles of Success advocated by Matthew Kelly, and the first one is self-knowledge.  Step 4 of Codependents Anonymous is to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves; I came across the Word document the other day where I began that work but never finished.  And then when I was reading Jen Fulwhiler’s e-book about how to follow your dreams while raising a large family, one of her first steps involves self analysis.

This is my time for thinking.  This is my time for learning–studying myself  and maybe seeking some further education or job training.  This is my time for repairing–repairing my home, repairing my kids, repairing relationships, and repairing myself (mentally, physically, and emotionally).  This is my time for growing–building new skills, overcoming some of my weaknesses and limitations, and striving even more towards holiness.

This is my time.

Closing a door in order to turn a corner…

April 6, 2014

I have turned a corner with my depression.  My Zoloft has kicked in, and I am sure it is at least partly responsible for the fact that I am sleeping better and have more energy.  But anti-depressants do not usually completely change one’s perspective.  Most people describe them as something that just gives you a little extra room to breathe while you cope with the things that are causing the depression.

However, there was a big issue at the root of my depression, and I couldn’t fully comprehend it until I closed the door on it.  And this is what has allowed me to turn the corner as much as the Zoloft.

I have probably been living with at least mild depression for about five years.  The intentional conception of my fourth child, now three-years-old, was a desperate attempt to find some sort of joy and hope in an otherwise joyless existence.  But about three or fourth months ago, I went off the deep end.  That’s where I still was when I wrote my last blog post, and at that point I had been on Zoloft for a few weeks already.

What was it that sent me over the edge into deep depression?  It was the realization that my husband and I could never and would never have a real sacramental marriage.  There were major issues in our relationship before we even got married, and things just got progressively worse over the years.  After two years of marital counseling and a team of professionals working with us individually and together, things were only getting mildly better in very superficial ways.  Then issues in the marriage started to really go off the rails again.

I was not eating because I kept a stomach ache all of the time.  For years I had stayed in a horrible situation because I knew how important it is for kids to live with their father, but then I began to be concerned that the positives of living with a father were being out-weighed by the poisonous environment that our dysfunctional marriage made.  I began to realize that a lot of the ways the kids were acting out was their way of processing the anger and tension between their father and me.

I spent my time trying to discern what the best thing would be to do for my kids, for my self, and in God’s eyes.  This last one really ate me up.  As a Catholic, I believe that marriage is until death do us part.  I certainly had my doubts about whether our marriage had ever met the standards for a sacramental marriage in God’s eyes, but I really wanted to make sure that I was not doing anything contrary to God’s will.  A consultation with a priest while on a retreat gave me clarity on that issue.

So, about two weeks ago I asked my husband to move out, and I filed for divorce.

The first few days I would wake up with a mild panic attack, but as I started to put things in order, I felt more at peace and knew that I had done the right thing.  The relief that the door was finally closing was palpable.  I began to really hope again for the first time in many years.  Not that I thought or think that everything is going to be easy or some sort of joy ride from now on, but I felt like a ten ton weight had finally been lifted off my shoulders.

I also began to realize that a big part of my depression was that I had been mourning my marriage the past few months.  The other part was because I hadn’t not know what to do going forward.  I did not know if I should try to continue to stick it out “for the kids” even though I knew it would never get better.  But by staying, I felt like I was physically and mentally killing myself.  But then my hand was kind of forced by circumstances beyond my control, and since I’ve walked away, I haven’t looked back or shed a tear once.

The next few months are not going to be easy.  I have a lot of hard decisions to make, and I can see sacrifices that my kids and I will have to make.  I truly believe, though, that it will all work out.  I have put my trust in God to guide me along this path, and He has already given me a wonderful support system of friends and family.  And He has given me strength and energy and hope.

I had to close a door in order to turn a corner.