How Andrea Binks’ Divorce Changed Her Life for the Better
I thought I had everything figured out. I was married to my best friend, had two beautiful sons that were kind, loving and funny and had a great job that I loved too- Life was great. How wrong could I be but how right could it all turn out in the end.
It was a Thursday morning and I was busily cleaning my house to welcome my husband home after a week away when my phone pinged with a text. A text that I will never forget. Suddenly everything I thought about my life was turned upside down. My husband loved another woman!! WHAT!!! WHO?? HOW!! Of course, he denied it- made up a whole heap of lies surrounding the text but I couldn’t bear it. I begged him to tell me the truth. I had been working as a presenter on a shopping channel for many years and in the same year that I found out about my husband’s affair, the channel I was working for closed down, my dog had to be rehomed, my mum found out she had breast cancer and just the year before I had lost my dearly wanted third child through miscarriage. All I could think was what had I done to deserve such awfulness.
At first, we tried to save our marriage through counseling but things had changed and we agreed that it wasn’t going to work. This, of course, is the very condensed version of the pain and torture I experienced from not just his words and actions towards me but that of my own mind and here is where my story starts and what I want to focus on in this blog post.
During this time my own mind was such an enemy to me. Negative thoughts filled my head almost every minute of every day- What was wrong with me? Was I not pretty enough? No one else will want to be with me. I am such an awful person to live with. It was constant. I remember crying myself to sleep, waking up thinking it was all a dream then realizing it was actually my reality and crying all over again. I felt so unbelievably lost. I had always been such a strong person (I thought) yet everything I thought I knew was gone. Suddenly there was no security, no familiarity and I had no idea who I was or what I wanted
My divorce process eventually took just shy of five years to complete and I endured some of the toughest experiences of my life to date. Following a completely harrowing experience at the hands of my ex-husbands lies I decided to stop playing and start fighting through the courts for my freedom and stability for my children.
I spent many a day crying and even the smallest of things could set my emotions rolling down a hill. I wanted the pain to be over, I wanted to feel happy again, I wanted my life back, but I knew I didn’t want what I had previously had- talk about confused. That’s when I found counseling.
At first, I had started looking for a new career, ways to make an income to support my boys and me as a single-parent family. I felt like I needed to make enough money to cover ‘two parents’ instead of just one and that was hard. Through looking for a new start- a change of direction- and more income I realized that I wanted to help others. I wanted to be able to help my children navigate their way around a painful family breakup and also help other people going through similar experiences to what I had avoided all the mistakes I had made. If I could help just one person avoid all the pain then my life would have meaning again.
So, I decided I wanted to retrain to become a counselor. Although I had visited counselors a few times in the past, they had never amounted to anything. I guess I just wasn’t ready to make a change back then. Now things were different. I discovered that I needed to complete a BA Hons degree in Integrative Counselling before I could find work in this area and begin helping people. Retrain? As a mature student? Write an essay? Well, that’s another blog post all in itself. I also discovered that I needed to have my own counseling- this put me off at first as I had a preconceived idea of what counseling was for. Again, how wrong could I be?
Through my own studies, own counseling sessions and self-reflection I am now a completely different person to who I always thought I was as a wife. I had been with my ex-husband for 20 years and I fully believe I lost myself during that time. Luckily through my horrendous divorce, I have rediscovered ‘me’ and learned to love ‘me’ again too and for that, I am truly thankful.
Self-love is so important. I am so glad that self-love is now accepted as the norm rather than being a dirty word. Being able to look after you and your needs is just as important as looking after someone else’s needs even your children’s because if you aren’t ok then who is going to take care of them. Self-reflection can really help on your journey to self-love too. Simple things like writing a journal can really help you to look at how your mind is behaving and how you can make changes for the better. Writing things down can really relieve stress too. Just putting pen to paper can put a completely different perspective on situations and allow you that thinking time to really know your true emotions. Too often during my divorce, I would rush into my responses and when your emotions are at their highest this really isn’t wise. Now I try to wait before I make a reply so I can be sure my emotions have well and truly settled back down.
I also thoroughly recommend talking therapies. I am a talker- I will talk to pretty much anyone and am lucky to have shared my story with many of my friends BUT it’s not the same as seeking professional help from a trained therapist. They will offer you a safe place to be able to explore your own emotions without any kind of pre-determined judgment. If you do choose to seek a counselor then I highly recommend finding one that has completed their training, is a member of a professional body and also one that you connect with as the therapeutic relationship between you ‘the client’ and them ‘the counselor’ is quite possibly the most important aspect of all.
If you do choose to seek therapy I wish you all the best in your search and hope you will follow me for more advice on talking therapies and tips for all thing’s ‘wellbeing’
I am a single mummy to two gorgeous boys. I work as a presenter, a teacher of dance and drama and I am studying to become an integrative counselor. I run ‘The Well-being Woman’ which is a safe place for people to come to for tips, advice, interviews, and inspiration on all things ‘wellbeing’