Don’t panic. It’s the author’s simple message today.
Panic takes us away from the peace and quiet of recovery, she explains. There is almost always a moment to breathe deep and restore our peace.
Today’s reading reminds me of something I used to tell the children: “Bad things happen when we panic.” It was my way of trying to instill within them this very principle–panic causes us to lose our heads. And when we aren’t thinking clearly, we do not make choices that restore peace and quiet confidence. No, when we panic, we exacerbate the situation. It goes from bad to worse, and can become dangerous.
I’ve panicked. I’ve been driven by panic. I’ve “done crazy” in the midst of panic.
How ironic that we often do not follow our own advice.
In many ways, I feel like I’ve existed in panic since my divorce. I remember how abandoned and bereft I felt when, on the day our divorce was final, my ex-husband dropped me from his insurance policy. I was officially on my own should I get sick or injured.
I remember how panicked I felt when I learned my partner was talking to another woman, telling her how sexy a picture of her casserole was. And I remember how I panicked when I learned he had a date with “26” after our breakup.
I remember how I panicked when I learned his ex-wife had been working on her cooking skills, something he often complained about when they were married. Surely, he was going to find out and yearn to be back with her. All because of the Instant Pot. When I expressed this fear to him, he roared with laughter.
It’s humorous now, but it was a very real concern of mine and launched a frenzied effort to improve my cooking skills that caused more stress, more mess, and more expense than it was worth.
I think when a divorce occurs, a type of post-divorce amnesia kicks in.
You forget who you were pre-divorce, and forage for pieces of normal in the aftermath.
Simply put, you panic.
But at some point, life stabilizes. You find your footing, and a new normal, and suddenly that which was forgotten in post-divorce amnesia starts to be remembered. As if you’re meeting yourself for the first time again. Oh yes, I remember I used to enjoy doing that.
Only recently do I feel the fog lifting. It started with the impetus to send out Christmas cards this year–something I loved doing pre-divorce.
And most recently, it was suddenly remembering that I used to enjoy keeping a wall calendar, as well as a drawer full of stationary to send letters, notes, and cards to loved ones.
Oh, yeah. I did do that. And I enjoyed it. A lot.
Part of breaking through this post-divorce amnesia is giving yourself permission to remember, and even more so, giving yourself permission to do something you once loved to do…again. Not because it restores a semblance of the life you used to have, or because it will ‘right’ the ‘wrongs’ you caused or had done to you.
No, you give yourself permission because it’s something you enjoy doing. It’s a part of you, and by taking up these things again it’s part of the restoration of a whole you.
I stocked up on stationary, and began gathering family birthdays and addresses. Whether my letters and cards will be appreciated is not my business. Sending them makes me feel connected to those I love. And that connection is something I deeply miss.