As I encounter or deeply dive into resources that are helping me to navigate separation and learning to live as a single woman in my 50s, I will post resources that have provided emotional help, laughter, and even practical advice. None of these are affiliates, I receive no compensation, they’re just things I have come across along the way. And nothing helps more than therapy.
In my experience, the resources at BetterHelp.com have been lifesaving during the pandemic. It took three tries, but I found a therapist I really connect with, I don’t have to commute, I am able to talk to her from my comfortable, safe spot. My home. It’s great for me because I am an introvert and highly stressed by the vulnerability of sitting within a few feet of another human being as I collapse into a blubbering mess. The screen is a bit of a buffer. But you might do better in a face-to-face. If you have health insurance, please take advantage of that! But if you don’t, seek therapy anyway. There are resources. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says,
“While effective for treating anxiety disorders, cognitive-behavioral therapy, usually known as CBT, can be expensive, sometimes costing $100 or more per hour. Some therapists or clinics offer therapy on a sliding scale, which means that charges fluctuate based on income. Ask about a sliding scale or other payment options when you call or visit for a consultation.”
Navigating a spouse coming out is no easy feat. Honestly, there’s not a lot out there for those who are going through it, in my experience most of the support (both formally in the way of networks, books, websites, as well as just where most people’s sympathy seems to land) goes to the gay spouse who’s been in the closet, rather than the straight spouse who feels betrayed and somewhat lost. I found the Straight Spouse Network through a friend’s referral. The network immediately connected me with a local support group that is meeting online until the pandemic is under control. There’s also a book called The Other Side of the Closet by Amity Pierce Buxton and a podcast.
I am a huge Brene Brown acolyte, and was excited to see that there’s a tenth anniversary edition. She wrote it after her own spiritual crisis, and incorporates what she learned amidst that unraveling with what her shame research taught her about what our spirits need to live abundant lives. This book is eminently readable, the chapters, structured as ten guideposts, are short and easy to read while you’re grabbing a quick bite or riding the train to work (when we start doing things like that again). It’s available all over, of course, I encourage you to see if you can find it at an indy bookseller. It’s also available on Audible, if you love audiobooks, and Brene’ herself reads it.
I have found Brene’ Brown’s Unlocking Us podcast to be a balm for my soul while my life is unmade. Here’s the thing about her: she speaks with tremendous wisdom leavened with a healthy dose of joy. Her podcasts are interspersed with her frequent, raucous laugh. It’s hard not to feel lifted after an hour. She has guests who share life experiences as well as learnings based on their professional work; there are occasional episodes when she just turns on the mic alone in the studio and shares truth that comes from years of her own wisdom gained the hard way: life’s rough knocks and diligent research. For those walking the path of change and sometime loneliness, it’s essential listening. It’s my go-to. Available on Spotify.