How My Divorce Saved My Life

by Venessa M. Perry

Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life - JK Rowlings

It was a relatively sunny, warm autumn day in October when my husband said he was leaving. It's funny how you know the end is near. For us the end was probably at the beginning of our marriage, but that's another story for another time. I was recovering from a major surgery and just starting to move around on my own again.  He waited until I could drive before he sprung on me that he couldn't do this anymore. The “this" was our relatively new marriage. I thought if I gave him some space and went away that we could work it out.  But when I left he didn’t ask me where I was going or when I was coming back. Truth is I knew that when I came back he would be gone. When I got back home, the closets and drawers were empty. It was as if he had never lived there. The only remnants of him were the pictures of us on the walls and the mantle of the fireplace. It was the loneliest feeling that I ever had.

 In the weeks that followed, I fell into despair. My heart was shattered. I didn’t know how to save myself.  A few days before Thanksgiving I was on the phone with my ex desperate for him to come home. He refused. So I did the only thing I could think of to get rid of the pain.  I swallowed a few sleeping pills washed down with some vodka and right before I lost consciousness, I heard a voice that I now know was God saying “No! Not yet!”
Somehow I arrived at the hospital. My ex had called EMS, and they came to the house; however, I have no recollection of answering the door and letting them in. The next thing I remember before waking up was being in the emergency room and looking down at myself on the table while the doctors put a tube down my throat and charcoal in my stomach. When I regained consciousness, I expected my husband to be there. He was not. Instead my mother and sister were there with tears in there eyes saying, “Please don’t do this. He isn’t worth it.” But the pain was so great that in that very moment death would have been better. Since my ex had left, I had been under the care of a doctor and I spoke to her after I came to. “What are you doing?" She asked me. "You’re in the medical field. If you really wanted to die, you know how many pills to take. So what do you really want?” 

After spending a night in the hospital for observation, I was released and allowed to go home.

In my deepest, darkest hour I learned that I matter. Rejection is never pretty. But it is temporary. It doesn’t matter how many people may come and go in life, you are still worthy of love.  

I learned that God is the source. Without a faith in something greater than yourself, you can’t get through trying times. 

Up until that happened, I felt I had to be strong for everything and everyone one. I didn’t have to be strong anymore. I could lean on other people. 
No matter how much you think you’re in control, you aren’t and it’s Ok. Life doesn’t always go according to plan. But its up to us to develop a new plan that adjusts to the new set of circumstances. 

When I think back on that day over ten years ago, I think about how the trajectory of my life changed in so many great ways. In the midst of great pain, I learned to be thankful. So while it sounds odd to say thank you for almost killing me, instead I say thank you for giving me a new life. 

Venessa M Perry is a psychologist, entrepreneur, coach and writer. She helps people and organizations navigate the complex world of life and to build healthy relationships. Visit her at, or follow her @vmperry6.

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