Eight months after my separation it felt as if time had stood still. I still cried daily, felt an enormous amount of stress, and had seen no benefit in seeing a therapist once a week. I was exhausted from working two jobs (I had quit my third one during the summer) and maintaining my house. It was all becoming too much for me.
At my mother's urging, I went to a divorce support group at a nearby church. Six of us attended, two new people and four veterans. As the hour progressed, I sat there thinking, "What am I doing here?" One woman was in such crisis that she was bawling, literally unable to hold herself together. Others had been divorced for years, yet were still rehashing the same old stuff.
When it was my turn, I told my little tale of woe. Then five of us tried to help the bawler, whose situation was uncannily similar to mine, except that she'd been married for about six years. Her husband had left the same month that Bob left, seemingly out of the blue. Frankly, she was young and able bodied, and as far as I could tell, had her whole life in front of her.
She refused to listen to us when we suggested she get therapy (she had yet to see a counselor.) All she could say to my suggestions was, "But, but, but, but...." At the end of this short session, two people approached me saying they hoped I would join the group. Join? No way! These people had demonstrated that no matter how painful my life felt at the time, I was actually doing ok.
I don't know what happened to the bawler. Sure, I felt sympathy for her as she was feeling real pain, but I had a hard enough time coping with my own situation. As for the other four women? Hopefully, they were able to help that young bawler, because I believe that's what support groups are all about. Perhaps this was all that poor young woman could afford.
As for me, I had turned a corner. I felt stronger, knowing that I was moving through the stages of disbelief, anger, and grief at the right pace. For the first time I realized that my therapy sessions were working. Not only was this a real eye opener, it lay the foundation for some tough, but helpful counseling sessions in the next few months.
Illustration from http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/s/support_group.asp