Ever notice how the most interesting and famous people in the world have been through some of the worst situations in life? You often hear stories of awful early childhood abuse, neglect, drug use, death, disease... and yet there they are on television talking to a rapt audience hanging on their every word. They reminisce fondly about failure after failure. They talk about that crucial life moment where they were juuuuust about to hang it up, but decided to give it one more try. You hear something like "I had $3 in my pocket and I was three months overdue on my rent... then my parents died. I had nothing left to lose." They're stripped of everything. All they're left with is their passion. Their craft. Their calling. Then things finally turned around. The fog lifted. Things clicked.
Finding out your wife is living a double life is about as traumatic as you can get for a man. It rocks the foundation of your reality. You may not have had a horrible childhood or a long history of abuse, but you're not out of the woods by a long shot. It's as is the gods of chaos have been snoozing away for years... then you went and did one little stupid thing and they woke up angry and vengeful. They're pissed and they're going to give you a taste of reality. They're surprised that they overlooked you all these years. You slipped through the cracks. They have to make up for lost time. They pluck you from your comfortable sofa/cubicle/soccer field/pizza party existence and thrust you into a dark cave with an angry dragon.
Hitting rock bottom is a gift. STARTING OVER IS A GIFT. The dragon is a gift. Not everyone gets a chance to strip away their ego and rebuild. Not everyone gets the gift of realizing what they are truly capable of. The best version of the gift is when you have NO CHOICE but to fight your way out. You turn around and the cave opening has been closed off. The only way out is through the dragon. There's no "I'll just watch Netflix today".
This "no turning back" moment is when men find out what they're made of. For many of us, we realize that we're made of one part man, and three parts blubbering girl. The more self-aware among us realize that we're not that good at truly coping with the really bad stuff. We've dealt with death and loss in our life and came out relatively unscathed... but this.. this is different. This is an altered version of reality we're dealing with. This is a BIG test of our fortitude, and for many of us our initial grade is an F minus. It's a true litmus test for our mental health. Thankfully we get several tries at it. We can fall again and again. Remember, nobody gives a shit.
This is the beginning of the powerful ego flush. This is when we start to realize that life as we know it extends beyond our flesh and bone. It extends beyond that which we have created in our minds. The barriers of anxiety and fear we have put up have protected us but also blinded us to truths. To get a quick glimpse of the ugliest of reality is nothing short of traumatic. It's a genuine look into a different world. A different state of BEING. We didn't quite realize what life was capable of... nobody told us these things (yes they did, we just weren't listening).
We've been ego-centric for far too long.
You've hit rock bottom? Don't know what to do now? Feel like dying?
GOOD. I'm excited for you.
Now real living begins. Get on with it, my friend. Get help. You're not alone and never have been. Wake the fuck up and get with the program and realize that every little moment you have is a gift. Earn it.
"What about my ex?", you ask? What about her? She's an illusion. What and who you thought she was never existed to begin with. She is as much of a creation as that imaginary friend you had as a kid. Both were constructed in much the same way and both have the same effect on your mental well being: whatever effect you want them to have.
You have much bigger fish to fry now. You have dragons to slay. Missions to complete. A job to do. It doesn't matter HOW you got here, now you're here. When the dust settles and you walk out of the cave with the virgin under one arm, the dragon head under the other and gold in your pockets... you'll start to see things as they are. Then you realize you got another dragon to slay, and another, and another... It doesn't end. And you don't want it to. If it does end, that means you've veered off the path and started swimming in your own virtual reality again.
Don't do it.