Why I Decided Not to Kill Myself
by Kent Philpott
(Author’s note: Carla was a participant in our Divorce Recovery and Loss Workshop in the mid 1990s. She attended two workshops, each eight weeks long, back to back, volunteered as a small group facilitator, and showed up sporadically for a couple years after that, which is a typical pattern. She now works in the mental health field.)
It’s funny that in my situation I was the one who left; I was the dumper. Quickly, too quickly, I jumped into a rebound relationship, and when that one came to its inevitable end, I crashed. I felt the full force of being alone in the world and was not prepared for it.
I left my marriage because of emotional and verbal abuse. I left because my twenty year marriage was actually a combat zone. The issue was his desire to control me and my passive compliance. Eventually, I no longer cared if the wolves came and gnawed the flesh off my bones. I just had to go.
When I woke up alone in the world, I saw no hope for my future. I was sure I would die alone, but only after many years of suffering. I was depressed, and I began to think about suicide. I remembered something from the recovery workshop—90% of the people who go through divorce seriously consider ending it all.
At that point it was helpful to me that I had children, college age, and I didn’t want to scare them. I was motivated to get myself together for them. The other sense I had was that somehow things were as bad as they were going to get and that I might at least try and see what would happen if I tried to make it better. I can’t really explain it better than that.
Slowly I started reaching out. I went to therapy, Alanon, and divorce recovery workshop. I read books on relationship addiction and on why women stay too long in abusive situations. I worked the Twelve Steps of Alanon for family members of alcoholics. I opened myself up to positive feedback and let others tell me good things about myself. I learned to pray and meditate. I embraced nature and beauty wherever I could find it. I complimented strangers. I said yes when I was invited into a women’s group through Alanon. I volunteered at our local abused women’s shelter. I started living a life I had never lived before. I learned that I belonged in the world for the first time. I sponsored other women in Alanon, and I became a facilitator at the divorce recovery workshop. I went to graduate school and got my masters degree in psychology.
Now I am actually grateful for the dark days, because I saw at that point that I had nothing more to lose, and I just starting taking small steps toward making it a little better. And I have never looked back.
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