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"For we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not of ourselves."

Why I Decided Not to Kill Myself

by Kent Philpott

Ophelia

Chapter 2:

Carla’s Story

(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.


If anyone would like to contribute a story, please email it to me. Your real name will not be used and any details that might reveal your identity will be altered. kentphilpott@comcast.net

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Last Update: 2012-10-20 10:59