I clearly recall thinking that I didn’t want to live because my life was never going to improve. I had this thought 10 years ago, just after my ex left me for another woman. My life was in shambles. We had been married for 22 years and they had not been happy years. I hung in there, knowing he didn’t love me, didn’t want me, didn’t accept me, didn’t approve of me, thought I was defective, was embarrassed by me…you get the picture. It had been that way since the first year. Yet I stayed. Because I believed I had to. It was the “good Christian wife” thing to do. But I also believed God would, at some point, give him a love for me. And I believed that by the time we reached the late autumn, early winter stage of life, God would surely give us the marriage I had always dreamed of. Staying in that environment took a huge toll on me. I died inside until I was so numb, I wasn’t sure I was still alive. I was desperately unhappy. I withdrew more and more. Which, certainly, didn’t help the relationship. I tried to stop the death of my soul. I tried to keep going through the motions, believing that in doing so, I would come back to life. But it wasn’t working. Still, the divorce, him leaving me for someone else, was a massive and deadly blow. It hurt so deeply, I found myself in a place where I had no hope. I could see 10 years down the road. Clearly. I KNEW I was doomed. That it would never get better. No one would ever love a screwed up, old, not pretty, not fun, nearly dead person like me. And I didn’t want to be alone. Not at this stage in life. It wasn’t worth the pain…why keep going when you know you are on a path that is miserable and certain to bring you anguish and unhappiness?
Then it got worse.
I lost my job a little over a year after the divorce. Alone. No income. The economy had tanked and it took me almost 2 years to find another position. I cashed in my retirement fund. Went through my meager savings. Started living on credit cards. Amassed debt at an alarming rate.
Then my dog died. She had been with me for 10 years of her 12 year life. She was a rescue and we had a connection that was deep and strong. She gave me a reason to keep living. And with that reason gone, with my life decimated, being isolated and unwanted, I attempted suicide. This was 3 years after my divorce, just before Christmas. I was angry when my attempt failed. Very angry. I had even less of a reason to live, but, it seemed, no way out.
I had a friend who cared. She bought me another dog. In spite of the fact I told her I didn’t want one. She insisted. When I got her (Zoe), I didn’t want to bond with her, but I did. So, I reluctantly decided I had to keep getting up every morning. For her. And I have. For almost 7 more years. Seven more empty years.
But my vision 10 years ago, while not perfect, was eerily accurate. I was under 50 then, and in spite of my feelings of hopelessness, I felt there was a very remote chance that something miraculous could happen and I just might, if the miracle was huge, find myself in a positive relationship. A partnership…a loving partnership. It was the desire of my heart (still is). I hadn’t been in counseling that long at that point, so I believed it could, maybe, possibly help. If I could heal, maybe I could become a person someone could love. But in my heart of hearts, I feared it wasn’t true. Feared I would still be alone 10 years out. Feared and dreaded it. And because the odds were so stacked against me, my inclination was to cut my losses and exit.
Unfortunately, exiting proved to not be as easy as it sounds.
I didn’t know how bad it could get. Back then, I paid all my bills. I had a small amount of savings to fall back on, a retirement plan, a little padding in my checkbook. I didn’t agonize over what I was going to do when I had to replace my 14 year old car because it was only 4 years old then. I didn’t feel terror over what I would do if anything breaks…air conditioner, alarm system, dishwasher, car, whatever…because I had money to fall back on and these things were pretty new. Then I lost my job. Took 2 years to find another. Worked for a 5 year span, then lost my job again. This time, it took 6 months to get another. Making a lot less. I was out of money. Once you’re in credit card debt, it’s nearly impossible to get out because the fees are so huge. I am $30,000 in the hole. It happened just trying to make ends meet. To pay for a few surgeries that couldn’t be put off (emergency hysterectomy, tumor removed from breast – everything precancerous), to get groceries so I could eat, to pay vet bills. Now, I lay awake in terror of the day I know is coming when I can no longer pay the minimum payment. When I can’t make house payments. When I’m out of options. I’m totally terrified. The anxiety is crippling.
And who is going to love someone who is depressed, terrified, crippled by anxiety and $30,000 in debt. Plus I’m borderline old, still no fun, not pretty…and not healed. I stuck with the counseling for over a decade, but it didn’t bring wholeness. So I’m a broken mess. And people don’t love broken messes. Especially men. They don’t want baggage. And they want someone way younger than they are. They want someone who laughs easily and is warm and funny and fun and gorgeous. In short, not me.
My chances of remaining alone for the rest of my life are truly astronomical.
I saw it 10 years ago. I looked into the future and said, “You know what…I don’t want to go there.” I tried to end it to spare myself the stress and struggle. That expense went on the old credit card too.
It is horrifying to find myself right where I thought I would be on that day so long ago. Only it’s worse. I’m still so alone. So isolated. In debt. Underemployed. No meaning in my life beyond my dogs. No connections / deep friendships. No meaningful relationships. Because of my insurance changing at my new job, I no longer have a counselor. No money. No life. No joy. No excitement. No wonder. Completely out of hope.
I’m looking ahead at the next 10 years and I’m getting a really bad feeling about where this is going. It’s not looking good. Not at all.