Monday, April 23, 2007

So Your Marriage Has Turned To....

If you are current going or have been through a divorce, then this clip should make you laugh. It's a segment of the Gary Shandling Show in which Hank, Gary's sidekick, hits "rock bottom" from his divorce. He's self destructive, self-pitying, self-absorbed, and self-loathing to the point where he says "he wants to end this!" Artie, the show's producer, responds by giving Hank some tough love to help bring him back from the brink and to his senses.

At one point or another, some of us have been here (ok, well, not quite here but in a position where we felt the bottom of our life with the balls of our feet). Everything's impossible. Nothing is clear. Focus is a memory, and "self-pity on the rocks" is the only drink in the 'fridge.

In these moments, it is the love, support, and encouragement of the people around of that help break the self-defeating cycles we trap ourselves in. Something to remember is that "encouragement", though, can wear many faces. In this case, it's a 9mm Beretta (watch the clip).

So if you find yourself feeling like this, talk about it. With everyone. Your lawyer. Your accountant. Your family and friends. Random people. Literally, everyone. Be passionate and emotional when you tell your story. Tell them how "sorry" you are, how "bad" you feel, and how "tough" life is right now for you. Eventually, one of two things are going to happen:
  1. You will get tired of feeling like this. At some point, you will realize that the pity monster carries a heavy price tag. The reality is that depression carries a significant cost health wise (have you ever been depressed and felt good or energetic?). This point of recognition is different for everyone, and hopefully you hit it sooner than later. You should, though, hit it.
  2. Your audience will get tired of hearing your story, and seeing you feel like this. It is a critical mass, of sorts. Your friends and family will, at some point, question or challenge you to get your life back on track and to end your depressing, self-defeating behavior. Now, remember this when they do: they have probably let you wallow for months in your "reality of pity and self-doubt". Don't fight it; don't reject it. Embrace it with a "thank you."

Everyone is different, but if you have gone through a divorce or are currently experiencing one then these feelings should be familiar to you. Hopefully you have enough support around you to work through this with friends. It takes courage to try and change your life, because with that there is an acknowledgement that you can fail. Fear of failure can be paralyzing. Remember, though -- you are not alone, tomorrow is another day, and your experiences do not define you.

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