Photo credit: Alicia Mayorca Photography
I remember it all too well. I went from spending the Holidays with so many friends, loved ones and family and all the sudden, the same year I moved to Chicago, I found myself going through a divorce, being single for the first time since I was 15 years old and dealing with so many fears, anxiety, depression and desperate to find out who I was.
I was in the darkness for such a long time. Sad, dealing with abandonment issues, with no friends and no one to talk about what I was going through. It was so hard. So, believe me when I tell you that I know. I know what it’s like. I know how hard this time of the year can be. I’ve never felt so alone like I did 4-5 years ago, but somehow I’m here, I survived and so will you.
If I learned anything from those dark years, is that I’m so much stronger than I think I am. I never really had to deal with anything super bad until I was 27 years old, so I think I can consider myself lucky for that. But when things went south, everything fell apart, all at once and of course being in Chicago during the coldest Winter ever did not help at all. I was alone, with no job, no money, no plan, no idea about who I was, depressed, considered killing myself in several ways, lost all my friends and since I’m being fully transparent, showers were always optional…. It was horrible and just thinking about it right now makes me want to cry. However, I did have all the time in the world to think, which can be a bad thing, but it can also be good. Here are some of the things I did to slowly get out of the darkest place I’ve been in my life:
- Disconnect from social media: Social media can be draining, specially during the Holidays. If you are going through something hard, it might be hard to see everyone so cheerful and happy. This doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It’s perfectly normal. I was never really jealous or wishing harm to anyone, don’t get me wrong, but I felt devastated every time I saw everyone’s photos smiling and being happy while I was at home crying, a little stinky (LOL), broke and alone. So alone eating mac & cheese on my couch while watching Gilmore Girls. Back then I disconnected, right now I can tell you to mute most of the accounts you follow and only keep the ones that make you grow. For example if you believe in God, leave the ones that post prayers. If you are looking to grow, leave the inspirational ones or the enneagram ones. It’s up to you. Do what’s right for you.
- Consider volunteering: Helping others can be a great distraction and it can bring great satisfaction too. I love volunteering because it always puts things in perspective for me. It brings me down to earth and I just love serving others and making other people happy. If you go to Church, get involved with them, they always have amazing serving opportunities available. This is also a great way to meet and socialize with other people! I recommend volunteering all the time, but specially right now, if you are alone, I encourage you to go out there and make the world a better place.
- Connect with yourself: I know this one is a little cliche, but to get out of a dark place, it all starts with you. One day you just have to wake up and start doing little things that are good for you. It can be working out, reading a book, or even something as simple as finally taking a shower. Read about self grow. I can’t recommend learning about the Enneagram enough! (I’ll write a blog post soon with a ton of great resources). If you believe in God, pray. Connect with yourself through God. My life was forever changed during that hard season, because God became my #1 priority (still is). I had to do a lot of work within myself, a lot of healing and forgiveness. It took a long time, but it was worth it and it made me who I am today. It made me a better version of me. It made me the person that G fell in love with. You guys would not believe how mean, upset and unhappy I was 5 years ago. It feels liberating not being that person anymore.
- Find friends in your city: I lost all my friends after I got divorced. It’s a hard and complicated story to share, but that’s the short version. I was alone, and my sister Alicia who has always been my best friend, was still in Venezuela back then. I had other friends and of course family, but none of them were here in Chicago, so I had a hard time talking to someone face to face. Thankfully, Church saved me. I know God always has my back and looking back, he also did back then, because one day I went to Church and I met a couple of the closest friends I still have right now. I know how hard it is to make friends as you get older, but I promise, there are other people out there just like you trying to make new friends too. Download Bumble, I think they have an option if you are just looking to make friends. Also, I invite you tor read the comments in this post by Danielle Moss and also in this one. This one is the updated Holiday version, check it out here. Actually if you go to her blog and type ‘Find a friend in your city’ in the search bar, there are a ton of these posts with hundreds of comments from people in different cities all over the US. Find someone to connect with! Good friends and having someone to talk to, really makes all the difference.
- Get help: If you are having suicidal thoughts, if you feel like you can’t get out of this on your own, please get help. It’s a simple google search. I never really had to do this, but I was super close. Here are some of the things I found online: Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Help Guide if you are feeling suicidal or read about depression here. Maybe it’s not you, but a loved one who needs your help.
Never forget, that it all starts with you. It’s ok to be sad and to cry, but at some point you need to do something about it. Keep yourself busy, but with purpose. Don’t make yourself busy just so you don’t have to deal with the pain, this never works and it will make things worse.
Also, if you are in Chicago and need someone to talk I’m here. I mean that. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll schedule a coffee date. I’m a great listener and I mean this from the bottom of my heart. If you are alone and need someone to talk to, email me! I leave to Florida on Dec 30th until Jan 22nd, so please contact me before that. I promise anything we talk will be completely confidential, that’s why I’m sharing my email and not asking you to say something in the comments.
I’m sorry. If you decided to read the post because somehow you relate. I’m truly sorry you are going through something hard and feel alone during this time of the year. I know how hard it is. But I also know things get better. I promise. I know it’s cliché, but I know things do get better.
Sending you so much love and hope you find this post useful and that it makes you feel hopeful. Sometimes hope is all you need.
Thanks so much for stopping by!