SHIFT HAPPENS | A Tranquilizing Divorce

If there is one thing that I am eternally grateful for, it’s the support and encouragement of my tranquilizers (aka Ativan). I am thankfully far from addicted (that would be another scary thing to add to my life), but they have certainly been by my side through many difficult situations in the last little while. I’ve never been a pill popper before and truthfully I’ve only taken maybe four or five throughout the whole new-baby- divorce-single-motherhood-and- move fiasco. However, they have definitely helped me keep my nerves in check and maybe even spared my ex-husband his life.

It all started when I had a rather demoralizing mediation session with my ex. The way it went, as most mediation sessions probably do go, I was groveling and he was being a barbarian. When it got to the point where I was begging for him to supply the diapers and he told me to go out and get a second job, I don’t know, something in me just snapped.  I saw red and envisioned  myself clawing at his eyeballs.

I was so out of control with rage, I just let loose. Right there in the hoity- toity Westmount  lawyer’s office, I repeatedly wished death on the father of my children, told the man who I used to love full heartedly that he was pure evil and that he does not deserve to have these two beautiful children.  It was a really really low point in my relationship with him.

Anyhow, I went home and cried to my parents (as most 35 year-old women do) and I told them that I am awful at negotiation, that my emotions always get in the way, that I cannot do this anymore, I can’t handle the stress and “I HATE MY LIFE !!!” Something about living with my parents makes me regress to my teenage emotional capacity. So, my mom, the ever practical problem solver that she is, did not merely suggest, but actually demanded that I take some of her Ativans to calm my nerves. Why does my 73 year old mother have a stash of Ativan?  Apparently, she is afraid of flying (who knew)? Let it be known that, initially I said, “Mom, would you stop pushing your pills on me! I can handle my stress with yoga and besides, I am breastfeeding, I can’t drug the baby.”

That night, I spoke to my lawyer friend and recapped the awful mediation session. He suggested, (with no hint from me) that for the next mediation session, I take a tranquilizer. He said that he didn’t care if I had to take pills; I MUST stay calm and leave my emotions at the door in order for me to be a successful negotiator.

The next mediation session rolled around and this time I was more stressed out about drugging myself than I was about the actual head to head with my ex. My mom said that she would only take half a pill and spit out the rest and that that was the perfect amount to take off her edge.  As I was driving to mediation, I stuck the pill under my tongue and let it dissolve. For a split second I was going to spit half out, but decided that I, unlike my mother, have some experience with drugging myself. And, thank G-d that I did, that mediation session was smooth sailing… “Yeah, you want me to live in poverty for the rest of my life as punishment for leaving you? No big woop, I can manage”.

Honestly, I have only taken the Ativan twice since then. Once when my son, who is sort of potty trained, had a wet poo all over the shag carpet upstairs in my childhood bedroom. (I know, too many details…but this is life. Well my life, at least.)  That was the same day that I finally dressed and dragged my two kids out of the house and went for a walk in the double stroller only to have my baby vomit all over himself and then start choking on said vomit. My hands were so cold that I could barely yank him out of the strap fast enough to start banging him on his back. Who the hell remembers what I learnt in that baby CPR class I took like a million years ago when I was pregnant with my first and did not have the slightest clue what it meant to have children. Luckily he was ok, but my nerves were shot.

The second time that I popped the pill was recently when I moved into my new apartment. It was moving day which is a nightmare for anybody under any circumstances. On that day, my mom woke up with her one yearly migraine which keeps her completely bed-ridden.   I was like…okay, mom I feel awful for you, but HOLY SHIT!!! Please not today. So, I did the move carrying a 24 pound baby in a carrier. I didn’t personally do the move, I hired people for that, however, I packed and agonized as I tried to create some order for my children in the bedlam.

Two weeks later, here we are in the new apartment! The place is awesome, we are settling in and to my surprise, I am actually managing. I can do it! There is food in the fridge, the kids get bathed, the house gets more or less cleaned and best of all…I am more or less drug free.