Monday, April 25, 2011

The Aftermath

Have you ever had something replay itself over and over in your head so many times that after a while you feel like you are going to completely lose your mind if you don't stop thinking about it? After something like this happens you pretty much drive yourself mad trying to figure out what the heck actually just happened, despite the fact that you were physically there going through all of it. It’s like a surreal out-of-body experience that leaves you baffled as to how such utter disaster just unfolded. There are so many emotions going through your body all at once that you are unable to determine which of them needs to be met - which will ultimately leave you feeling like you may need to be institutionalized.

The morning after my world caved in and left my future pretty directionless, I woke up numb and quite groggy from the three sleeping pills I had taken the night before. I had taken them just to stop my brain from thinking and my heart from aching. I was still very much in shock about everything that had been revealed the day before. As I got ready for work that morning it didn’t even dawn on me how I was going to actually cope with going to the place where my husband’s love affair had started.

Can you believe that I actually went to work? Was I nuts to think that I was going to be able to function after what yesterday had done to me emotionally?!?! Not only did I go to work, so did Jesse. The only person not there that morning was Lauren. For Lauren, her last day was July 21st and she was never coming back. In fact she wasn’t leaving her house unsupervised until it was time to go to the airport to move back home.

In that sense most people aren’t as lucky as I was. It was a blessing for everyone that she wasn’t from around here and that her circumstances made it possible for her to return to her hometown. Some people who go through this may sometimes still have to see the person who slept with their spouse, but thankfully I don’t. My situation was complicated, (believe me, more complicated than you may realize) no matter what I will always know of her because of her connections to people who are still in my life. On the other hand I am lucky because I don’t have to be nervous about Jesse or I accidentally running into her at the local grocery store because she lives well over 1000 miles away.

As I walked into work that morning, you had better believe that people already knew what had happened or at least knew something had gone down. I still don’t know how everything got around so quickly or who started what, but my marriage was front page news at work and was likely the first gossip email/memo everyone saw as they got themselves ready for the day.

Being part of a work scandal is no fun, especially when it’s your marriage and integrity on the line. One story after another trickled its way up through the office. My friend Josh, who also worked with us, did his best to do damage control, but it was too late. The stories coming out of the warehouse where we worked were the most outrageous. There were stories filled with lies containing words like “pregnant” and “abortion.”


Three hours into work I realized I wasn’t getting anything done. I think I had downloaded about 3 orders in those three long hours (though I couldn’t tell you for sure since that day is a jumbled mess in my head). I knew I could no longer emotionally handle being at work.

I went in and talked to my direct supervisor to try to explain why I wasn’t being myself today and what had just happened so he wouldn't think I was just slacking off. But he already knew what had happened because of all the rumors. He told me how sorry he was that this happened and told me that I could take as much time as I needed. I was no use there… I needed to get things sorted out and put together so I could start processing all that had just happened.

I went directly to my friend Kerstin’s. There I processed a little more and cried my eyes out a ton more. After crying she encouraged me to get some reading materials to help me through this. I decided to go to Barnes and Noble to find any book that would help me get through this. The only book I could find which was also overwhelmingly recommended on Google was the book “After the Affair” by Judith Barnett.

This book? I could NOT put it down. For a girl who takes months to read one book, it only took me 5 days. It is the most in-depth account of how both the victim of an affair and the one who committed the affair feels and reacts to the unveiling of an affair. If you read any book while going through something like this… this one’s it. It is an amazing and very eye-opening read.

Later this week I will talk more about how I coped with some of the emotions and what things helped me get through some of the most difficult parts of healing, but I’m not going to candy-coat it for you. The first few months are HARD, probably the hardest you will ever have to go through! As each day passed I went through a million different emotions.

There were times I felt sad and depressed and wouldn’t want to talk to anyone. I had a complete loss of appetite, which added to making me irritable. I hated the weekends because I knew I would have to be around him. Every time I looked at him I thought of him and Lauren being together (in every way that could mean). Everything he said (in my mind) was a lie, even when he spoke complete truth. He tried and tried and tried, but I would not let him in because I was just so broken and so scared of being hurt again. Every time I passed a place I knew they had been, I would cringe. I felt sick all the time. I couldn’t sleep because I would just keep thinking.

There were moments of hope and breakthrough that allowed me to see some sun through the clouds. There were times of feeling completely out of control and slightly insane, which left me crying hysterically in the shower many nights. There was a lot of anger, hurt, resentment and bitterness. If I’m really going to be honest, the biggest emotion that manifested itself was anger. It was like I forgot everything that I had learned over the previous 4 months, it had all become null and void because of what he had done.

I would often be quite verbally abusive to Jesse, constantly threatening to give up on us. But when it came to saving face… for me, we were always just “working on it.” Still, I clung to the hope that things would just start getting better for me or that I would become okay with calling it quits. The first four months were unbearable. The fact of the matter was that I was still processing everything, and processing for me... can take a LONG time. I knew then that there were many different wounds that needed healing, and this was going to take a very, very LONG time to completely heal.

After the dramatic and emotional three-part series I wrote last week that recalled the day the affair came to light, I was not prepared for the emotional roller coaster it caused inside me. I had thought I had gotten to a place of complete peace with it, but I guess I wasn't totally there yet. I appreciated you all letting us slide on doing the questions this past Friday. We will be doing them this week. We have been so blessed by your comments and emails. They have been such an encouragement for us to keep this going. 

So we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.


Moments and Impressions said...

when our hearts are broken and in pieces... when there are all kinds of gaps and cracks ... that is when there is room for God and a bigger love to move in and fill in those empty places... making our hearts bigger.

I have heard something like this somewhere and reading this just brought it to mind.

Trina said...

So glad you had the weekend to rest and strengthen yourself to continue the series! God bless both of you!

More Than Words said...

Oh are so brave and strong to continue even though it has also become an emotional roller coaster. I am continuing to pray, my friend.

LeAnna said...

Just caught up on reading everything. Only Christ can mend it. Only Christ.
You know, a lot of the feelings you described bring back SO many memories of the first few days after my Hubby's brother took his life. His family was left feeling many of these raw emotions...

He makes all things beautiful...

Tiffany said...

I have finally had a day to sit down and catch up. Every time I open my blogger it is in a hurry and this was not something I wanted to read in a hurry! I am glad I was able to sit down today and read it all from the beginning. I am so amazed with your story. You are such a strong woman! You handled yourself better than anyone I can imagine! Your story is truly touching others. God is working through you both so much!

nomo wino daph said...

Finally had time to sit down and read the entirety.

(((HUGS))) and prayers to you sweetie.

May God bless you and wrap His loving hands around you.


Unknown said...

I can't imagine how hard it is for you and jesse to write this-I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we will be here to read your posts. You don't have to finnish the series in a month. When you are ready so will we!

Raven said...

Hey there! I'm so glad you commented on my blog because now I can read yours! I haven't yet gotten caught up on everything, but I did read your "about me" and love what I see. I too have two little boys and think it is very very important to raise them with morals and values and to be strong men of God. Excited to learn more about you all!!

I have a feeling you may be inspiring to me :)

Chicago Mom (Heather) said...

It's incredible that you were EVER able to forgive and move past this. Many people do not!

Karissa Patterson said...

I know you keep saying that you are lucky that you don't have to worry about running into her and I understand that completely. BUt I want to tell you I don't have that good fortune but God put together the most amazing thing for me to actually run into her the other day and it led to a very long talk with many tears... and huge burden has been lifted... I would love to talk to you directly or email you about it.