Occasionally, when I’m feeling particularly down or confused or frustrated, or sometimes when I just randomly burst into tears for no evident reason (like last night when I started sobbing uncontrollably because I wanted to go “home” to my own bed, my own couch, my own shower…) I Google things about divorce to see if my response is normal, or if I’m finally developing that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder I’ve been working so hard towards.

Most of the “advice” suggests that my behavior and responses are “normal” (whatever “normal” is…), but I discover after reading dozens of these “advice” articles, that none of it rings true… It’s all hollow and meaningless.

I think the problem is that these articles written by “experts” with PhD’s in Psychology or Master’s in Social Work or employment as talking heads (e.g. Dr. Phil, Dr. Dobson, that weird lady on OWN with the name I can’t pronounce… Iyanla or something?) aren’t written from the perspective of someone who has actually experienced any of the things they’re advising on. They can talk about the stages of grief, give tips on how to “recover”, make helpful suggestions and offer inspirational quotes… but none of it means anything if the person giving the advice doesn’t know where you’re coming from in the first place.

That’s why all my fellow divorce` bloggers have been a lifeline for me. They get it. They’ve gone through it or are going through it. They can relate and commiserate and offer insight and advice that all the other so-called experts can’t. In this arena, we are the experts.

I think this is also why I occasionally bristle at all the advice being thrown my way from well-meaning friends and family who insist I need to do this, or that, or the other thing. I need to find a counselor. I need to request more spousal support. I need to find an attorney. I need to find full time work. I need to move into my own place. I need to stay where I am. They know how I should heal and where and when and with whom. It. Is. Maddening. And I realize they mean well, but I want to scream, “Once you find yourself in my shoes, then you can advise me on how to proceed. Until then, just offer your support and encouragement and shut up about the rest of it.” Not that I don’t appreciate all the love and concern… I do… I just don’t need it in the form of advice.

Maybe the next time I need advice or insight, I won’t Google anything or call up my happily married friends and family. I’ll just come here. Because you guys get it. And for that, I am so very thankful.


2 thoughts on “Lifeline

  1. Jana says:

    I also get bristle-ly (is that a word?) when people offer me unsolicited advice. I’m pretty intelligent and know what I need to do. I’m already doing some of it – and some of it I may do when I finally get to the point that I can handle it – and some of it I’m going to ignore because you (people who are giving me advice) have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

    PS – just Friday I went and saw my psychiatrist (not to be confused with my therapist – I have a whole arsenal of mental health professionals at this point). I was concerned about the “doing OK and then falling apart” thing that has been going on…for weeks, and weeks, and months. I wondered if my meds weren’t working and I was clinically depressed – or if this was just situational and “normal” for someone going through this kind of crap. He basically told me that it was normal – I’m grieving and it will take time…perhaps a long time…to totally process it. He did say that, as time goes on, the periods between the freak outs should get longer and longer – so there is that. I guess I’m just too impatient for my own good.


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