During your separation and for a while after your divorce is final, you may experience frightening feelings of disorientation. Anxiety can be so generalized, you can’t even put your finger on the exact cause. It feels like your brain is going to fly apart, and you might feel lost and confused most if not all of the time. Mental concentration is only a vague memory. Last year you could read a book and enjoy it. Now you read the same opening paragraph 17 times, and still have no idea what it said.
That’s not just scary. It’s terrifying! The normally capable person is suddenly incapable. You feel crazy and stupid, and the worst part is that you think you may feel that way forever. At the same time, you’re expected to hold a job, take care of the children, house, car, and possibly your parents. And you will soon be flying single again.
But there is good news: it’s only temporary!
When the stress hormones finally begin to recede and your life regains some definition, you’ll find you’re suddenly able to read whole pages at a time and to drive all the way to your friend’s house without getting lost.
One of the reasons this temporary confusion is so debilitating is that it pops up at the most unexpected times, and it can be so bizarre. You might get sandbagged at the check out counter of the grocery store as I [Linda Senn] did.
I’d negotiated the aisles of the store, following my list, and concentrating on the job at hand. It all came apart when I handed the checker my plastic card, and she asked if it was to be debit or charge.
At that moment her words made no more sense to me than if she’d spoken in Sanskrit. I remember looking at her with great intensity, maybe thinking I could find some explanation in her eyes. But of course her real expectation was some kind of answer from me! At that point I felt a little foolish and vaguely light-headed. I asked her to repeat the choices. I still didn’t know what she was talking about, but I did know that (at that time) I didn’t charge my groceries, so I opted for choice #1 – debit. Surely I must have entered a PIN number, but my automatic pilot evidently took over that chore.
I left the store with a cart full of groceries, and not the slightest idea of what “debit” meant or how they would get my money to pay for those groceries.
During your crazy period, remember to be as kind and gentle with yourself as you would be with a dear friend who was going through the same emotional turmoil. Gravity and sanity will both return to normal by and by.