One of the worst things that I have come to face this summer while dealing with the pending divorce is that I have completely lost who I am. I have come to realize that I have absolutely no idea who I am as a person. I know what I am and was – a mother, a wife, a caregiver, a maid, an accountant, etc. But as for who I am, I’m at a complete loss. For so long now I have been so focused on the family and making sure everyone else is ok that I have let myself go on a few different levels.
I remember who I used to be. I was fun and funny. I was a volunteer and loved to help other people. I cared more about my appearance. Not to the point of vanity, but I would wear makeup and try to look nice. I took pride in my home. It wasn’t perfect but it was comfortable and warm. I thoroughly enjoyed creating and crafting things for other people. I had dreams about where I wanted to go and things I wanted to do and accomplish.
It seems as though over the past few years I’ve let my depression and life in general strip me of my identity. I’ve given in to the negative thoughts of “whatever – it doesn’t matter anyway.” As I talked about in my last post, Back to School, I’m using the start of the school year to try to change. I’m trying to be a better person for myself and my kids.
My first approach to this is to simply get active. Motivation is at an all time low lately and I need to work on moving more. Whether it’s keeping up with my yoga and basic household chores or starting a new project – I need to get moving. Again – as I mentioned in “Back to School,” I’ve rekindled my involvement in the FlyLady movement. There is now a full schedule of daily, weekly and monthly chores posted on the bulletin board above my desk to use as a reference as well as a daily schedule. Even if everything doesn’t get done, I at least have a goal to work toward.
The next step in getting my life back together again for me is getting more help with Ryland. I’m planning on doing a whole other article on finding resources for special needs adults, so I won’t go into much detail here. The point is that I’ve been working to find respite care and other in-home resources that will help me take care of him better so that I can take better care of myself. With finding an in-home care team I’m hoping to learn better techniques when dealing with him, his care and routines. Hopefully, too, it will broaden his scope of activities outside the home. He lives a very sheltered life right now. Doctor visits, therapies, school and the occasional trip to the grocery store is basically the extent of him leaving the house unless we do something special. I’ve been trying to think of different things we can do as a family on some weekends that are cheap or don’t cost anything at all. It can be challenging to find something that will engage Ryland while keeping him somewhat inside his comfort zone. He’s sensitive to heat so can’t be outside too long on a warm day. Being around too many people can overload him. The more hands on deck to help with him the better.
Along with getting more help with Ry, I am hoping that I will be able to get out of the house more myself and actually have a social life. At this point I literally have no friends that I hang out with or even stay in regular contact with close by and rarely get out of the house to do more than family shopping or medical appointments. Lately I have been reminded several times just how isolated from people I am and it crushes me. The problem here is where do I want to go and what do I want to participate in. I can’t drink at all, so anything that relates to alcohol – wine tastings, bars, etc. – are out. I have been thinking of volunteering somewhere but again – where. I have lost all sense of what interests me. This has been on my mind for months and I am still at a loss as to what to do with myself. I have ventured out to bingo and trivia nights at local restaurants, but I want something a little more publicly engaging than that.
With the impending divorce and not knowing how I will be able to take care of myself in my retirement years, I have also looked into going back to school online which is terrifying for me. I’m nearly 50 years old and attempting to start a totally new life is daunting. I’m not in my 20s anymore and my brain doesn’t work the same way it did back then. I am praying for the best and am trying to pump myself up to believe that I am fully capable of getting back on the education train. It is going to happen whether I end up believing or not. It’s something I feel I must do. But there again I have come into complications dealing with what I want to study. I had thought that I had decided on an English degree concentrating on writing and editing, but the more I think about it the more unsure I am that it is what will truly make me happy. Finding employment online is the ultimate goal as I will probably be unable to work outside the home with Ry. Most of what I have found through my preliminary research shows me that editing and proofreading is freelance work and doesn’t pay very well– even with a degree. Not to mention the cost of school that will probably end up consisting of student loans that I’m not at all sure I’ll be able to pay back. It is all a little overwhelming to think about. And I do tend to think a lot when it comes down to it.
The absolute biggest challenge I have in all of this is regaining my self-worth. My self-esteem has been in the toilet for a while now because of the loss of my sense of self. In forcing myself to do all these things I am hoping that the self-esteem will work its way back naturally. I miss myself. I miss being happy and feeling somewhat complete. I miss feeling like I have purpose and meaning. Hopefully, if I can accomplish all the things I’ve talked about here I will find her again and can be better than I ever was.