Announcer: You’re listening to the overdivorce.com podcast with host Tom and Adrian, two guys swapping stories about getting over divorce.
[0:10] If you’re going through a painful divorce and are struggling with anger and anxiety, then you’ve found the right podcast. Hang with us for the next 30 minutes or so and we promise, you’ll gain useful insight and effective tips and techniques for getting over your divorce and rebuilding a better life.
Tom: [0:26] Welcome to the Over Divorce podcast. I’m Tom.
Adrian: [0:27] And I’m Adrian.
Tom: [0:29] What we have got on the old agenda for today’s show, Adrian?
Adrian: [0:32] Today, we are talking about the emotional roller coaster ride that everybody goes through when they get through a divorce.
Tom: [0:40] There are ups and downs.
Adrian: [0:41] The fun free ride that you get at the divorce amusement park.
Tom: [0:47] The e-ticket ride, as the older Floridians among us will know. Back in the day in Disney World, you had your various ticket grades, and the e-tickets were the Space Mountain and the Hearts of the Caribbean, I think, were the big, fancy rides then. I would say that this would definitely be an e-ticket for me, and, I imagine, for you as well.
Adrian: [1:09] I know we’ve talked about this a little bit before, but one of the hardest things, and one of the most insidious things about going through a divorce, is the ups and downs — the emotional waves, the emotional high points or low points. Being able to manage that and handle that and look at that objectively, without it taking you down, is an incredible challenge. It certainly was for me.
[1:39] One of the hardest parts is thinking that you’re OK and thinking you’re through it and you’re over things, and then having something come up and sneak up on you and rip you back down to a low point, and struggling to come back up, to right yourself.
Tom: [1:58] To me, it’s actually been the most difficult aspect of divorce. The depression piece is natural, and I think anyone that starts down the divorce road goes, “Well, it’s going to be depressing, I get that.” Like you said, the thinking you’re out of it, and you’re really not, and knowing that it’s coming back is hard.
[2:20] The point of today’s show, and the thing I would like people to take away from today’s show, is the idea that if you know it’s coming down again, you can face that when it happens. When you start teetering on the edge and you face the down run, I think it helps to know that you’ll come back out of it again and you’ll feel that energy. It’ll help you get along.
[2:45] When you get deep and dark, you can look up and go, “Yeah, I’m going to get out of it. It’s dynamic, it’s going to change. It’s not going to stay down here forever, even though it feels like it.”
[2:56] That, to me, was the hardest thing to really understand and know that I would get down and just feel like it was going to be that way forever. Or conversely, I’d feel up and feel like I was over it completely, only to discover neither of those cases is static. They change, and knowing it, I think, is half the battle.
[3:21] Knowing that you’re going to come out of either one, admittedly, it’s a lot worse feeling good and up and happy and knowing that you’re going to bump out again is worst than being in the dark and knowing that you’re going to come out of it again. That’s it. That’s the nature of what we’re going through. Right?
Adrian: [3:43] Yeah. One of the things that’s helped me see the high points and the low points, and that’s allowed me to gain some perspective on my emotional state as well as my mental state is doing meditation. Really, just keying in, stepping back, and looking at how my thoughts are coming and going, but not negative and positive, and not getting too attached to them, either way.
[4:14] Allowing me to see them flow in and out has given me some insight and some detachment to my emotional state. I’m really just getting into the meditation. I’ve been doing it for a couple of months now. I tried it out before, but I could see that as being a huge helpful tool to being able to cope with that, just knowing that your good feelings come and go, and the bad feelings come and go. And the thoughts, your crazy thoughts and images come and go. That’s just the way that your mind works. That’s just the way things are.
[4:51] Being able to get that perspective in your emotional state has been really helpful. I just wish I had had that tool when I was going through my dark moments, to have that perspective. I would encourage anybody to look at that. It’s not a religious thing. It’s more of a mindful thought process than anything else is. There is not in a culture or anything like that.
[5:18] There are some You Tube videos you can check out. I go to this place called “Headspace,” but I’m sure there are other resources out there that are free or cheap that I would encourage anybody to check out to really get a hold of your thoughts on your mind. That will give you a tool to help you managed the emotional roller coaster.
Tom: [5:39] It really is in my reading on it seems to be about that detachment, gaining that emotional detachment from the mood swing and kind of stepping back and going, “I’m down. This is just a part of the pattern, what are the cues that I’m taking, what caused it, what can I look for in order to get out of it.”
[6:01] I was reading about people who are trying to use behavioral method to overcome obsessive compulsive disorders. One of the things that they do is they put a rubber band on their wrist and when they start getting into that compulsive set, they’ll snap the rubber band around their wrists.
[6:20] It is interesting because I like to wonder about if that would work as I start to get into this triggers that cause me to get down, if I get a bill that’s unexpected or I lose something. We were kind of joking at the start of the show I lost my headphones.
[6:35] Typically, yeah, headphones are expensive and I was like…oh crap. I m going to have to figure out a way to either find those headphone or I’m going to have to spend money on some new headphone. These are the things that can trigger, to me, anyway, getting down. I start thinking about all the bills I have to pay, and I start thinking about my financial situation or will this ever change, and down the rat hole we go.
[6:59] But if there is something that can be done to stop it whether it’s a snap of a rubber band, whether it’s getting sneakers on and taking a run, playing my drum, grabbing the guitar. Anything that I can do to snap myself out of it, provided it’s not chemicals, [laughs] it’s probably a good thing.
[7:17] One of things we do is snapping of the rubber band often times for people is going to have a beer and then another beer and then another beer or other things. We’ve talked about this in prior episodes. The problem is it’s just not useful on a repetitive basis. It loses its efficacy over time. It loses its ability to help.
[7:40] You are back to square one and in some cases, you made it worst. Alcohol if you are trying to snap out of it with a few beers, you are on your way down and it’s going to take you down faster. Regardless of whether you have issue with alcohol are not, that’s what is going to happen. Pretty much anything else you might take, whether it’s prescribed for you or not.
[7:59] Take your medicine, if it’s prescribed for you and ultimately, there’s got to be other solutions. Behavioral solutions that prevent you from slipping down these wormholes where one bad thing happens and then it lead you to think about other things that makes you think about how shitty you situation is.
Adrian: [8:18] Yes, it could be a real downward spiral. Absolutely. I actually did the rubber band experiment. [laughs]
Tom: [8:24] Did it help? Did it work?
Adrian: [8:27] It was not a scientific study. I try it, I believe for about a month and it was effective. I had a nice big welt on my hand. I will snap it every time I was feeling bad feeling about my Ex or depressed. I tell you, I snap that thing 30 or 40 times a day.
[8:45] It starts to build up. It starts to hurt like hell and it really curve up your tendency to want to do that. I think it did helps a little bit. Like I said, it was not a scientific experiment but I do remember talking about my buddy about it and having him laugh. I think this dam thing is working. I think I’m actually curving.
[9:06] I m doing the [inaudible 09:08] response and I’m ringing this little bell and I’m stopping to get angry. I don’t know if the pain was replacing the depression, the anger but it did give me a little bit of relief and now I just have a tattoo size welt around my wrist that will last forever.
Tom: [9:24] Would you recommend it? Do I need to go out and get a rubber band?
Adrian: [9:27] I would try it. Try it. What the hell, try it and see if it works. I was flicking it every time that I felt like depressed and down. Probably at my bottom, I was looking for everything that will help me and I just remember. Like looking at my rubber band every time I felt bad again and now, I felt bad about self inflicting a little wound. [laughs]
[9:48] There was some crazy shit going on in there, but try it out.
Tom: [9:52] We’ve talked about this idea of feeling bad about feeling bad and you know and you kind of layering on top of layering. We’ve talk a little bit off mic about the first world problem syndrome, where I’ve got this issue, and it’s kind of problematic, then I go, “Yeah, but I don’t want for food, I don’t want for a roof over my head, the water coming out of the tap is clean, my kids are healthy,” all that sort of stuff.
[10:23] When you compare it to what people are facing, you look at it and go, “Yeah, why am I complaining? I have no right to complain.” You’ve got an interesting perspective on that.
Adrian: [10:33] It’s all about your hierarchical needs, Abraham Maslow talks a little bit about that, and how we go through these basic needs, it’s basically a pyramid of needs, the way he lays it out. I’m totally butchering his thesis, I think, but at the base of this pyramid are some fundamental needs. It’s like food, shelter, basic survival needs.
[10:57] As you go up into some higher needs, self actualization being at the top, in the middle, there are relationships and sex and so forth.
[11:08] As you go up that pyramid, when you lose one of the middle needs, it actually feels like a basic need is being taken away. When you lose the sex or a relationship, that security, it feels like you’re out in the cold without any shelter. It feels like you’re starving. It might seem like it’s a first world problem, but it doesn’t feel that way psychologically. It’s a little bit insidious.
Tom: [11:35] You find yourself layering guilt on top of the bad feeling that you have, so you’re doubling your pain. A friend of mine used to say, “Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving.” There are lots of reasons why you can find yourself driving yourself even further into the darkness by just going, “These feelings that I have are not legitimate,” or, “I need to get over it,” or, “I need to man up and get past it.”
[12:01] You do need to do that, but, interestingly, I think the takeaway, at least from us, is the way to man up and get through it is to recognize it, disconnect from it a little bit through exercise and meditation, focusing on the things that you’re doing right, and moving through those issues that you’re having and knowing that it’s not going to hurt like this forever.
[12:28] You’re going to get through it. You’re going to get past it. As we said in a past episode, guys have been going through this for a really long time. Even if you’ve been abandoned by your spouse, which is a relatively new phenomenon, you’re still with friends. There are lots of people who have gone through this, who are going through it, and who come out on the other side better for having faced down and met the challenge of the struggle.
Adrian: [12:58] You hit on two important things, as well, that I think are two useful tools, or two useful perspectives. That is the exercise perspective, and the social perspective. I don’t think those two things can be overemphasized enough in terms of tools and strategies that you can use to help you in these up and down moments.
[13:26] Exercise has been shown to be on par with the best prescription antidepressants out there, without a doubt. It doesn’t have to be a killer marathon kind of thing. It can be some brisk walking or jogging, jump rope. 15 to 20 minutes type of thing of sustained exercise has tremendous benefits in terms of releasing endorphins, getting your body moving and getting all those good brain chemicals kicking in to make you feel better — dopamine, et cetera.
[14:05] Really delving into that is key. That’s something that I lucked into doing more and more during my divorce. I hung up a heavy bag in my garage and worked on that, and that helped to a certain extent. [laughs]
Tom: [14:20] I think it’s a little embarrassing your ex’s picture was on it, though. I don’t think you really needed to do that, I don’t think that helped anybody.
Adrian: [laughs] [14:28] Taken to the extreme. Hiking worked for me. That was one thing that I embraced.
Tom: [14:36] Again, I don’t know why you put her picture on the bottom of your shoes. I think that’s just an excessive effort that wasn’t really required.
Tom: [14:48] The exercise certainly did help, in all seriousness. One of the big things that I learned with that, because I’m not really a big fan of exercise — because it hurts — I really found that choosing to exercise, rather than feeling like I had to exercise, was really helpful. We’ve talked about this a little bit, that little mind trick that says, “Just go up and walk. Just get up and put your stuff on and go outside for a few minutes. You don’t have to run. You don’t have to go the full distance. Just go a little bit. Get up and go outside.”
[15:27] That is a really effective trick. I know it sounds stupid. I’m hearing myself saying it, going, “Yeah, that really sounds stupid,” but I don’t know. It could just be me being crazy, but I found that starting is the trick.
[15:42] I actually read that in “Lifehacker,” about, if you’re having problems with motivation, if you’re having problems getting around to anything — and they were talking about it in the context of work — if you just start it, that is the real battle. Once you’ve started it, you’ll find that each next step becomes easier than the last.
[16:06] I look back at the podcast, and I think it was true of us doing this activity, Adrian. The first one was the hardest, don’t you think?
Adrian: [16:15] Yeah, absolutely. Things kind of gain momentum and develop. My grandfather had a great quote about that. His quote was, “A job started was half done.”
Tom: [16:27] I love that! I love idioms, and I hadn’t heard that one before. That’s great. Say that again, because I think that merits repeating.
Adrian: [16:35] His quote was, “A job started was half done.” Just the act of starting, it carries so much momentum just to start something. If you can just follow through on that, it really will push you in the right direction. This is especially true when you’re feeling depressed, and you’re in this funk, and you’re feeling like, “I can’t do anything, I can’t get out of bed, I can barely listen to this stupid podcast, I just want to unplug and check out.”
[17:10] That’s when you have to pull it together and do something small. It doesn’t have to be big, but move forward.
Tom: [17:17] What a perfect opportunity to bring up the book. The e-book. It’s free. All you need to do is put in your email address, the e-book downloads. There it is and you can read it anywhere. The whole point of the e-book was to give you small things that you can do in 60 seconds that can help change the course of your life in terms of starting good habits.
[17:47] We’re not saying that the book is necessarily going to change your life. The point of the book is very much, as we talked about early in the podcast, is try it. You put the rubber band on your wrist and it gives you nothing but a welt. OK, but you tried it and you started something and now, you are going to find something else.
[18:06] We purposefully put 60 things into this book because the same thing doesn’t work for everybody. We talk about the stuff that works for us on this podcast. There is stuff that works for other people that’s entirely different. We are not experts. We’re information collectors and we both had the same issue and felt like there wasn’t anything out there to help.
[18:33] This idea of starting a job and being halfway finished I think is really, really relevant to downloading this book, and having a look at it and finding the one or two things that works for you.
[18:48] Something in the 60 things that we’ve collected is bound to speak with you. They all are not going to speak to you. Some of them are going to seem downright silly. There is an Eastern tradition that teaches that…yeah, the thing that seems the silliest is probably the thing that’s going to work the best for you. So keep that in mind as you are thumbing through and you are laughing at us for being crazy for collecting some of the stuff.
Adrian: [19:09] Yeah, that’s definitely a great resource I think for somebody to check out and tap into. Like most of the stuff that we talk about, if it’s useful and it works, try it out. If it’s giving you results, great, use it, incorporate it. If it doesn’t, throw it away. Keep an open mind and try things that may be outside of your comfort zone.
[19:28] The last one I wanted to kind of key up on that I think is also crucial in terms of helping through the tumultuous times is your social life. That’s a big thing that changes in divorce is, at least in my divorce was my ex planned and orchestrated a lot of our social activities. I was not used to going out and being social, going out to dinner or going out by myself and starting a new social network was pretty tough.
[20:02] I think going out and finding new friends and building up a new social network is crucial to not only to helping you through the divorce but kind of long-term happiness. Having good social bonds is critical to having long-term happiness. It’s like exercise. It’s one of those crucial pieces that you need to really think about and focus in on.
[20:24] One of the things that you can do is go to your local restaurant or local pub and kind of make it your own. Find a place that you like that’s close by, tip heavily, and really claim that as your spot, so people know you are there and they like you and you don’t have go there and spend a fortune but just go there. It’s good to tip on the first couple of times and people will remember that.
[20:50] The wait staff will remember that and you’ll get preferential treatment and smiles and people won’t spit in your hamburgers. There are a lot of benefits to that.
Tom: [21:00] Yeah, I think we mentioned this in the last episode about the idea of going and getting two dollar bills. James Alchler or Achler, it’s awful that I can’t pronounce that guy’s name. I am going to have to write him a letter and say like, “Dude, mentioning you on this podcast but can’t say your name right,” but he talks about going to get two dollar bills so the staff will remember you.
[21:27] I had a client that’s a bar restaurant, has a number of them around the country, and yeah, tips are important. I will tell you that yeah, two dollar bills cash tips are much appreciated because they go unreported and even more so now because almost everybody pays with credit cards. So even if you just bring enough cash to tip and you don’t bother with the two dollar bills, but you just bring cash for tip and you tip out of cash, man, they are going to remember you, particularly if you do it a couple of times.
[22:00] It’s interesting because the going out and making that new social network I think is a really powerful tip. But I also think it’s super hard. We talked about the idea of just putting on your exercise clothes and just committing to going outside and nothing else being sort of the hack to get you out and actually to get doing it. What is the start? What did you do to start making those friends besides throwing your cash around?
Adrian: [laughs] [22:31] Right. First, you need to have like six or seven cocktails before you go out. That’s always a good start. No, I think the thing that I would do is I would go and I would eat at the bar actually. And there is this pub that’s walking distance from my house. I would go and sit down at the bar and inevitably, I would sit down next to somebody or somebody would sit down next to me and you started up a conversation.
[22:58] You don’t have to go there really with the intent of I am going to talk to 10 people or anything like that. Just go there and have dinner at the bar. At the very least the bartender is going to talk to you and going to engage you in some way. But don’t make it a big thing, just go there and you don’t have to drink at the bar.
[23:17] I’ve got a friend of mine who doesn’t drink and just goes and sits at the bar, has dinner and we’d hang out and whatever. It’s no big deal.
[23:24] I think just taking that little step of, and even if you want to do a pre-step is just kind of looking around and finding out what’s nearby, what are some good places that you can go to, that you can kind of hang out and establish as your own.
Tom: [23:37] I love that. I love the little step of being spend 60 second on Yelp and figure out where you are going to do this. Don’t go, don’t make the move yet, but take the baby step of, even if it’s just downloading Yelp if you don’t have Yelp on your mobile device, download it, and then look at the places that you might like to go.
[24:01] Make sure there is a bar. If you have committed to not drinking alcohol, congratulations, that’s awesome, but still eat at the bar.
[24:08] I will tell you, having worked in marketing for this bar and restaurant for almost 12 years that insiders who have been there for the longest time who have made a career out of the bar and restaurant business will tell you, always eat at the bar. It’s totally the insider thing to do. If you’ve never sort of been, eat at the bar, I don’t know, bartenders yeah….bartenders might give you a funny look and that might not be their favorite thing but the food is always better at the bar. And that’s what the pros do.
[24:39] It’s a pro insider tip, take that and if you are still feeling tender and you don’t really want to go out, just make a plan about when you are ready to go out where you are going to go, and what your place is going to be. Maybe it’s a little time placed around the corner, or maybe it’s a mile or two away or maybe if you are living outside of the major metropolitan area, maybe you don’t have a lot of choices.
[25:01] Maybe it is that one place but I think one of the things is interesting, Adrian, you live in a fairly small town Vermont, I live in a relatively big city in Atlanta, but both places it’s the same thing. So yeah, if you feel like you are from a small knit community, I think there are actually some advantages of kind of going out and staking your territory, right?
Adrian: [25:25] Absolutely. It’s I think it’s just the effort of going out there and putting yourself out there and being social and connecting with other human beings because the danger is the isolation and staying inside. That was something that I struggled with. It’s forcing myself really to kind of go out there when I didn’t want to.
[25:43] It’s much easier if I can just hold up and eat nachos and chill out and not have to deal with anybody because I wasn’t up to it. But the funny thing is once I got there inevitably, I would feel better even if I didn’t really talk to anybody or engage, they would just come out and feeling lighter. Like, “OK, that was a good move.”
Tom: [26:02] Yeah, I think it’s an excellent move and I think if you just can’t get yourself to do it, you just kind of feel like a kid, can’t leave, then just take the next step which is picking a place. Just do it. Pick a place, no harm, no foul, and then commit later to go in there. But wait I think your find is, Adrian has verified this wisdom holds true. A job started is half finished with respect to going out and meeting people, finding that place is really important.
[26:31] We’ve really reached the limits of our 30 minutes. It’s time for you to help us to what’s coming on next time, Adrian. What we’ve got?
Adrian: [26:41] So next time we are going to be talking about how to engage with your soon to be ex, and talking about smart ways to communicate with them, through the divorce process leading up through the separation and divorce and how to engage with them in the best way possible.
Tom: [27:03] Yeah, that’s going to be awesome because much like art of finding your love episode, I am pretty much clueless about how to do that. I am looking forward to walking through it and seeing what I could pick up. Until we do that, I’m Tom.
Adrian: [27:19] And I’m Adrian.
Tom: [27:20] Thanks for listening.
Announcer: [27:21] Thanks for listening to the overdivorce.com podcast with Adrian and Tom. The opinions expressed are theirs alone. They are not professionals. Join us next time anyway. It’ll be good for you. Visit overdivorce.com to get your free divorce recovery guide and get some fantastic resources on making a better life.
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