Reminded of the emotional rollercoaster

October 10, 2009

 Remember the pain and utter disorientation when you found out about the betrayal?  Remember forgetting that it was actually real, emotional rollercoasterfeeling content for a moment, then realizing it was indeed real and feeling the pain over again?

Remember repeating this cycle over and over and over?  Remember the high highs and low lows?

Remember falling asleep and waking up thinking that maybe your shattered life was just a bad dream… then realizing it wasn’t?

Remember hearing some inspiring input or teaching and then feeling good for a moment?  Thinking there just may be some hope of hanging onto what you were so afraid to lose?  Then only hours or days later, that hope fades and the despair and pain return?

Remember the anger? The fear? The embarrassment?

I do.  Not often anymore though.  Thank God.

But today, years after life turned around significantly, I saw a brief scene in a movie where a young lady had just found out she had been betrayed by her boyfriend who was now sleeping with a friend of hers.  She was hysterical.  A short while later, when the initial sting subsided, she resolved to live the best and happiest single life… just as her mother did.  But the resolve seemed only veneer-thin.  She sounded as if she were trying to convince herself that she was OK.

It so reminded me of the moments of reprieve when the pain and confusion subsided and the clouds felt like they began to break.  I began to think there might be hope.  Sometimes it would last for days.  Then, the clouds would start to move in again.  The sky slowly darkened and depression, pain, and despair moved in again.  “I knew the good feelings and hope wouldn’t last”, I would tell myself.

Unfortunately, for about 2 years, I was right.  The pain came and went.  I was on the rollercoaster.  For the first year, my separated wife did not even commit to whether or not she was going for divorce.  She kept the other man in the shadows.  We all suspected but had little proof.  It was torture.  Today, I momentarily relived this rollercoaster by seeing this scene in the movie.

Today, it seldom happens and if it does, it never lasts.  Today, when the dark clouds move in, I say, “Ok, fine.  But I know that this too will pass so I will just ride it out”.  Today, I re-direct my thoughts to gratitude for what I do have.  Today, I turn over my pain rather than try to fight it by myself.  Today, I get in the company of people who have travelled the journey before me and are willing to walk beside me when the clouds move in.

Man, was I a mess during those days.  My thinking was all wrong.  It led me to fixation with suicide.  So glad I never took a step farther.  So glad I made it through and can now carry the message of survival and recovery to others.

There was a day when I felt there was no future.  Today, I love the present and am hopeful of the future.

These little reminders help me see how far I have come since those dark days not too many years ago.





  1. Hey Chaz,

    Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog, I’m thrilled to discover yours. I really enjoyed the posts. In fact, I have a friend I’m going to send this to – he recently went through a divorce and I want him to know he’ll recover. Thanks for a great blog!


  2. Laura… no problem.

    One thing I determined in going through the complex circumstances of divorce and recovery was to make sure to pass along what was freely given to me.

    Life and growth is less about what flows TO us and more about what flows THROUGH us.

    Send your friend on by…. hopefully something useful for him here.

    See ya on the blogs.



  3. This reminds me of what my other always said to me… Fake it til you feel it. You know, when you are first faced with heartache and betrayal, it’s nearly impossible to truly just pick up and move on. Some days you just have to fake that you are okay and can make it through the day. You have to force the smile. But truly, eventually, those smiles become real.

  4. Band! Great to hear from you! Been a while.

    Yes, the step of faith that we take in participating in positive steps forward, even when we dont feel them can be huge.

    Just because our wounded, fickle, and often unreliable emotions dont want to come participate in moving through the pain and onto something new, doesnt mean the rest of our body and mind can’t.

    I remember sobering up and determining to do 90 AA meetings in 90 days. I would go to an early morning meeting every day so I could then work the rest of the day. My emotions did not want to go and an argument would invariably break out in my head.

    I eventually started speaking to my emotions and say, “Fine, you guys stay here and be depressed and self-pitying. The rest of us (body parts) are going to our meeting”.

    Never once did I end up regretting going to the meeting. And my emotions even got with it and enjoyed it too. Even though they usually argued all the way to the meeting room.

    I finally discovered what was described to me as “Living my way into a new way of feeling”.



  5. I think the mind has a natural tendency to heal itself over time. Scars are still there, but you can at least function better the more distance you get with time. Imagine if that weren’t the case. Yikes what a world it would be.

  6. Yes, time is a huge part of the equation of healing.

    I found also if I made sure to fill my time with activities and interests, it prevented me from dwelling on the past and reliving.

    Better yet, when the activities were self-improvement and healing, it helped all the more.

    I am convinced we can move through many more situations in life than we presume we can.



  7. Hi Chaz, while I can’t relate to your exact scenario, the rollercoaster image brings up pertinent thoughts….

    During our 8am meeting this morning I started thinking of “emotional maintenance” as it relates to the ripples-from-a-pebble-in-a-pond cliche…specifically, choosing to take advantage of the days when the future seems bright to save up the strength they bring for the days that are nothing but bleak. It sounds too simple….along the lines of a terrible Hallmark card….and it is, BUT some things are so simple they escape what we feel like at times is a god-like intellect and an ability to problem solve our way out of anything. Whatever the disease, be it depression, addiction, etc., it will continue to confound the wisest man.

    Over time, unless we are vigilant and constantly growing spiritually, our big brains miss enough little ripples to bring the tsunami…..the rollercoaster. And the confounding thing is we can never track it back to one solitary moment or action….so the hell with it, anger reigns supreme. For me it’s never the current joblessness, regrets over family relationships or any of the biggies that win out over me. It’s usually something as simple as yesterday afternoon when I was putting together a stupid bookshelf, and that one event could have sent me to the liquor store. BUT things had been piling up for a couple of days…a recruiter hadn’t called back when I expected them to, I missed a noon meeting I usually attend, and I had one doozy of a drinking dream the night before. I had not been doing simple maintenance on the days when the depression seemed so “easy” to avoid…when those days come I generally forget about doing any work on my personal inventory. And within a few days, a cheap fiberboard bookshelf nearly derails me….and how many times in my life would I have let it begin the exact same cycle over again?

    Anyway, not exactly what you were talking about, but similar. The visual you chose just kind of screamed at me. I hate rollercoasters. Don’t mind clowns, but I HATE rollercoasters.

    Have a great weekend,

  8. Ya Jerry… I relate to what you describe too.

    I see it as us starting with a cup of emotional energy. We spill a little out here and a little out there on things that may not be necessary. So we dont necessarily have any left for the things in life we want to spend the energy on.

    Then, if we do not replenish it through whatever means we need to… such as a meeting of what have you. We are all the more drained and then some small thing in our life serves as the final straw and we blow up.

    We have no energy to face this otherwise small annoyance or minor inconvenience. Un-refilled, we have allowed our thought to visit places and spend energy that is not necessary… this can be worry, resentment, regret, envy, fear…. whatever.

    The process of recovery for me is the retraining of how and where to spend emotional energy. And to distinguish it from the wasted uses of it.

    Thanks for stopping in.



  9. You might could relate to my other blog:

  10. Tried to check out your link but it came up mega huge on my screen. Not sure if wordopress problem or my system. Will try again later time.



  11. wow. been there done THAT.

    just found you today via
    unsaved loved ones.

    looking forward to reading more.

  12. Hey Leslie…. so you’ve been hyjacked by your emotions too? Dragged uphill then let to free-fall. And all felt largely beyond your control?

    Man… so many of us never even had to leave the freakin house to go on a wild ride.

    It just seems to happen when we get ambushed by some major life event like a betrayal, loss, injury, whatever.

    People always talked about it and I never could understand what it really was they were saying… and why they couldnt just “chill out” or “get a grip”.

    Yet when we go through emotional trauma… it is like an emotional concussion… we dont think straight, we dont see straight, and we can be all over the map. Not unlike getting knocked in the head physically… just this is on the emotional level.

    Thanks for contributing to the dialogue. More to come.



  13. Chaz… I’m so delighted to find your blog! i know this experience very well in just the way you describe. I still vividly remember waking up (every morning!!?!), with that moment of relief of realizing, Ahhhhh…it was all just a horrible dream..and then the reality punching me in the gut all over again. No, the nightmare was/is the reality. Amazing how we can do this daily, in spite of the fact that sleep itself is rare and seldom deep during this ridiculously painful process.
    Bless you for your efforts, for sharing your experiences, and for your commitment to growing from it. It’s heartbreaking and inspiring all at once, my friend. Peace…

  14. Thanks Lost…. and thanks for stopping by.

    Ya, those days were something else werent they? The overwhelming anxiety is what I remember. Then, occasionally, for some unknown reason, it would fade for a short period and I would get hopeful that I finally turned a corner. Then it would return. And down and dark I went. This is the roller-coaster as I experienced it.

    So glad to say that the ups and down diminished over time. Time and effort in reworking my thinking patterns were the keys for me. And the result was a lessening of the pain and cycles.

    And eventually… today… the hell-period is a fading memory. And in some cases, I can even laugh at how I was and how ridiculous things were and still are.

    I swear, there is enough material for a sit-com in my experience with betrayal and loss. The way I acted, the way others acted.

    So glad to make it to a point where I could be happy in today. Today is a day that everyone said would arrive but I never really believed them.

    I hope others who feel as hopeless and out of control as I did can gain some small amount of hope that one day, their situation will get better too. of this I am convinced.



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