August 8th: Reaching Out

Several years ago, I went through a very hard time in my life. Yet, instead of reaching out to others… I isolated. I stayed in my home. I wouldn’t get dressed. I wouldn’t call friends on the phone or return their calls. If people did get hold of me, I would come up with excuses not to speak with them. If they asked me out, I would do the same. I spent every waking moment focused on my troubles. I reached out to no one. I asked for no help. It was a behavior that was hurting me. As long as I isolated, I could dwell in my misery. I could replay over and over in my head what had happened, what I had done wrong, what I should have done. It was a horrible experience. It was like being imprisoned in my mind.

Over time, I was able to look at my behavior and see that I had been isolating. I knew, that if I walked through a hard time again, I would have to practice reaching out… I didn’t want to at first. During my divorce, I wanted to hide. I wanted to wallow in my pain. But… I did reach out. I made myself reach out. I exercised with friends. I talked about my problems with them over the phone. I sought out counselors and professionals to help me through my experience and I reached out to my family. It helped. When I broke down, they were there for me. They didn’t expect me to be stoic. They didn’t tell me to “Buck up, move on, get over it.” They listened. They offered support. They let me cry and they hugged and comforted me when words would no longer help.

It wasn’t easy to reach out, but it kept me from being a prisoner of my mind. Now, I know that when I feel like isolating, I need to take opposite action. I need to reach out. I need to let someone in. It is the only key to the prison I create for myself. “Dear God, help me to reach out to others in my time of pain. Guide me to the hands of kind friends, loving family, and caring professionals who will help me walk through my pain and release me from my prison of solitude.”

5 thoughts on “August 8th: Reaching Out

  1. This strikes a direct cord with me!!
    For the past 3 years I did nothing but sleep, eat, and go to work.
    Sad, gained weight, isolated myself, and made excuses for myself and my husband.
    I lived with my husband but it was like having a roommate and being in a vacuous situation.
    I was so ashamed of what I saw that was left of what used to be me.
    Very damaging.
    It was a hard adjustment once we actually lived separately and he then left the area.
    It has taken me six weeks to emerge from that pattern.
    Lost 20 pounds and still going.
    The divorce diet:-(
    I even had to communicate with my soon to be ex today and I felt a pit in my stomach but it wasn’t as big a deal as my mind can turn it into.
    I now see my friends and support is very much there.
    Major breakthrough this week.
    But, in order to keep moving on and not fall into what you described- and I’m fully capable of doing that- I have to start making my OWN plans rather than just reacting to what comes day to day.
    It’s a gift and a fear.
    Insomnia is now my greatest battle- trying to not wake at 3:00 with wheels turning and then trying to work all day. Ugh
    Thank you for discussing … So helpful!!!

    • YES! A Break through week! I LOVE hearing that… Patricia… up and down with weight and stress has been quite a struggle for me in my adult life… it is a constant learning process of how to deal with emotions and not comfort and self-medicate with food… VERY difficult to change old patterns that feel familiar… The divorce diet sucks but 20 pounds down? WELL DONE YOU! I walked and worked out quite a bit during that time in my divorce.. the place you are in now… it helped reduce my stress and my insomnia! Keep going!!!! You are getting there! πŸ™‚ D.

      • That’s the “catch 22” also — want to be at the gym and then the self-talk of I’m so tired kicks in. Will have to break through that — I’m hopeful that will combat the insomnia. Getting involved in a Yoga class and had no idea how strenuous and difficult! But should be a good challenge along with getting up and walking! I’m still making excuses to not exercise so I’m trying to “enlist” one of my buddies a few days / week. Thank you for being here.

  2. Buddy system sounds good! I had several friends that worked out with me during the divorce. My one friend had insomnia like me and we would walk miles through our neighborhoods at Midnight! πŸ™‚

  3. This is another post where I can learn and get a real wake up call reading it.
    I’ve been going to the gym solidly for a year now. I walk with friends every morning .
    I make sure I’m out doing something early evening at least two times a week during weekdays whether I’m tired from the workday or not.
    I had made excuses to hide from everyone. It didn’t help . A couple of my friends were so hurt until they understood what was going on.
    Isolating was bad medicine .
    I’m with you all the way .

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