Unmoored: Emotional Free Fall After Divorce

Brock and I watched the movie Gravity several months ago.

Unusually for me, it gave me nightmares. Recurring nightmares.

Several times a month, I would wake up after dreaming of myself in Sandra Bullock’s position – untethered, floating freely through space. Although my body was safely on the bed, my heart would be racing as though I was in mortal danger and it took several minutes for my brain to accept the idea that I was not alone and unmoored.

And that’s really the root of the nightmare, isn’t it?

My fears have nothing at all to do with being lost in space and everything to do with being lost in life.

In those early days, I struggled to find the words to explain how I was feeling. Nothing seemed strong enough. Encompassing enough. But one word kept floating to the surface.


With the receipt of that text, my ties to most everything in my life had been severed. Those things that defined me, anchored me, were gone and I felt like I was floating uncontrollably away from myself. It was a panicky helpless feeling as my attempts to get back to myself seemed to occur in the dead space of a vacuum. I felt detached with a limited life support system and my oxygen quickly running out.

And in so many ways, that feeling of being unmoored was the scariest of all of the post-divorce emotions.

Because you have to fully let go of what you know in order to grasp on to your future.

I wasn’t free-floating for long. I started to feel anchored once my clothes were placed in the dresser in my friend’s spare bedroom, where I would spend the next year. Another tie came when my mom purchased a gym membership for me and that facility became my home away from my-home-for-a-year. School started up again and even though it was a stressful year due to administration, if felt reassuring to be back in the classroom, even as I answered to a name I no longer identified with. Yoga reconnected body and mind and I learned how to breathe again on a soft carpet on a therapist’s floor. Pen went to paper, and I started to explore the emotions that were within, the anger especially giving me purpose.

I realized only recently that some of the unmoored feeling persisted for quite some time. It was only this past spring, when I tucked plants into the soil in my yard (in an area that feels like home) with a ring again on my finger that I realized I felt anchored again. Not settled, but relaxed into where I want to be with anchors of my choosing.

After divorce, some people find they enjoy the freedom that comes from being unmoored; they design their new life with minimal ties and restraints to allow maximum flexibility. Others crave the feeling that comes from multiple ties to people and places, giving a sense of security and belonging.

Being unmoored alters you. It helps to build your confidence in your ability to survive. It carries a freedom that may frighten or awaken. It confirms who your true friends are and alerts you to the ones that need to be jettisoned. It whispers truths about you and your desires, uncluttered by the wishes of your ex. It’s a moment in time. A flash of clarity with clutter removed.

Because in free fall, you have no limits.

Related: Take Me to the Other Side

Only possibility.

Thank you for sharing!

9 thoughts on “Unmoored: Emotional Free Fall After Divorce

  1. Excellent post. I think i like being unmoored. Im getting used to it. Thanks, that was a great analogy to how you feel after a split.

  2. Really fantastic post, Lisa.

    I’ve always thought about it like an unanchored ship at sea. You just float. And some days are calm and beautiful. Others, stormy and terrifying.

    And if you’re strong enough to survive, life will, sooner or later, deliver you to solid ground again. A new world to explore.

    It absolutely was the scariest part of divorce, and even after 20 or so months, it probably still is.

    Good boat, though. Kind of like your’s. Everything’s going to be okay.

    Happy New Year to you and yours.

  3. Carrie Reimer – I think everyone at one time or another thinks, "If I only knew then what I know now." I share my life experiences in hopes a few less people have to look back and want a "do over". Through my Lady Witha Truck blog I have spent over 10 years sharing my experiences while being in an abusive relationship with a man I consider to be a narcissist/psychopath and through my other blog, Reimer Reason I share lessons learned throughout the 60+ years of my life. No experience is a waste as long as you learn from it and if I can save someone else from making the same mistakes I made, then it makes it all worth while. I am an expert on my life, not yours, my opinions are my own, not yours, and I enjoy open respectful communication on most topics. If I don't have an answer I will research it until I do. I have a sweetheart of a dog named Stella, an 8 year old Pitbull, Mastiff cross. I am artistic, enjoy bringing new life to antiques, gardening, refurbishing and repurposing other people's "garbage", reading, writing and being outside in nature. I have a 38 year old son who I am extremely proud of and a 10 yr old granddaughter I don't see near enough. I live on welfare disability after a lifetime of working full time because I have heart failure. I have gone from being a homeowner and landlord to being homeless and living in my car and now live in a 34' 5th wheel RV trailer that I am fixing up, bought by my brother and mother. I believe life would be far less stressful, and drama filled if we all just lived honest to our core self and listened to our gut. I have found inner peace, something I didn't think truly existed. It isn't what most people think it is.
    Carrie Reimer says:

    Lisa I nominated you for an award, the post is here http://ladywithatruck.com/2014/12/29/16042/ No need to fulfill the rules of the nomination I just wanted to list the blogs I think people should visit and yours is one of the 12. I think it is fitting as it is the Inspiring Blogger award.

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