A Sidebar: Mental Health

The last week was a pretty good one for me. ProsperUs released it’s baseline neighbourhood report, a report that I played a major role in drafting. I got to sit and talk to Paul Schmitz for a couple of hours. He has some great stories about the Obama’s that are pretty cool to hear. It was my parents birthdays at the end of July, I went and visited them at their cottage & despite some high water we had a great time. All in all, I have very few things to complain about.

A couple of months ago, I wrote about separation and divorce in our region, partially triggered by the fact that I am going through it. Near the end of that post, I briefly wrote about how it was impacting me personally in the hope that putting it out there, it might help move the grieving (?) process along. That process is still evolving and it was suggested that I put pen to paper and write out some of how I am feeling right now it might allow me to process and move forward. If I’m honest, I am feeling pretty shitty.

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My counselor compared separation/divorce to being similar to someone dying. Although not actually dead for all intensive purposes the relationship is. My ex and I have to cross paths for things like legal documents getting sorted and financial disclosures to occur but beyond pleasantries it’s kind of dead. But that doesn’t fix things.

For the first month there was a freedom (for a lack of a better word) of sorts that isn’t there in the passing of a loved one. I could cook what I want, do what I want, watch on Netflix what I want, playing video games etc. but that novelty wore off pretty fast. Coming home to an empty house, having no one to share a meal with, missing the dogs (she got the dogs and a plant just doesn’t work as well to cuddle with), losing that confident who I could confide frustrations and joys left a hole. There is a loneliness that I wasn’t expecting.

I have always been fine being alone. I don’t think it would surprise anyone to know that I wasn’t the popular kid in school. I didn’t have a massive circle of friends so being by myself wasn’t a big deal but it is different now. There is a hole that can’t easily be filled. I have friends who I can meet up with, talk to and spend time together which I appreciate but generally that costs money.

Now I am not hard done by, by any means but a pint here, a coffee there, an excursion or meal; good times by all but costs money and compounds some of the stress that I feel. A big piece of that stress is financial. I am more than happy to ensure that my ex. is made whole despite having been the “bread winner” in our household. I made a certain decisions like choosing to keep the house that are going to cost me in the short term as it means tens of thousands of dollars in unexpected debt. It feels like the last few years of my life have largely not happened financially.

The pace of separation process also creates a stress hangs over like a ticking clock that is dragging on, creating anxiety around my financial future. I have to reapply for all of the joint debt that we hold, potentially ask my parents to co-sign loans. They are happy to do it, but there is a pride that is hurt in asking. It also means that I delay spending, try and squirrel away money to hedge against an unknown future. Do I turn my now spare bedroom into an Airbnb?

That same feelings of stress crops up with some suggest I go and start dating again or just go all YOLO. How the fuck do I do that? Jump on Tinder and swipe right? I’ve come to realize that I haven’t taken a good individual photo in like 5 years. What do I put in my profile? “32 year old data nerd, recently separated…” I’m sure that will have the dates just lining up. It all seems so insurmountable, so I stay in.

This makes finding the motivation hard. Last year, a post of this length was a couple of hours to churn out. This has taken me days to write and not due to the content. There are a dozen half finish projects here and beyond, all the way from failing to keep weeds out of my garden, to blog post and breaking down the City’s infrastructure debt, to getting my runs in for marathon prep or just getting out of bed in the morning. It all hurts and leaves me wanting to lay on the couch in the fetal position and watch mindless TV.

This has led to big questions that I really wasn’t thinking about last year have started to emerge, questioning what do I deserve and want? Do I stay in Windsor, is there actually opportunity here for me? What will make me happy? At this point, I don’t know.

I recognize that my situation could be much worse and I am certainly not the only one currently or have gone through this. I’m not trying to paint a “woes me” picture, I am just sharing my story of where I am right now. I have been told by some that I am a leader, well there isn’t shame in sharing vulnerability as a leader. I get that overtime things will change, there is no going back, only forward and that time is on my side. But this is where I am today.

One thought on “A Sidebar: Mental Health

  1. This is where you are today. And we will meet you here, and sit with you. And go get a dog, life is too short not to have animals in your life. 🙂

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