Søstrene Grene Christmas 2021 collection drops tomorrow and it’s all our cosy winter dreams come true
Søstrene Grene Christmas 2021 collection drops tomorrow and it’s all our cosy winter dreams come...

Megan Burns

Convenient, reusable cleansing cloths that will make you ditch make-up wipes for good
Convenient, reusable cleansing cloths that will make you ditch make-up wipes for good

Holly O'Neill

4 easy ways to support your brain function
4 easy ways to support your brain function

IMAGE

Sea swimming essentials every first-timer should have on their list
Sea swimming essentials every first-timer should have on their list

Sarah Finnan

These 4 key products will save your dry skin this winter
These 4 key products will save your dry skin this winter

Jennifer McShane

Toastie of the town: 9 of the best, meltiest cheese toasties in Dublin
Toastie of the town: 9 of the best, meltiest cheese toasties in Dublin

Ali Dunworth

How to create an eco-friendly winter flower arrangement (that doesn’t look dead)
How to create an eco-friendly winter flower arrangement (that doesn’t look dead)

Lauren Heskin

The trailer for Paul Mescal’s new movie with Olivia Colman is here and it looks creepy good
The trailer for Paul Mescal’s new movie with Olivia Colman is here and it looks...

Lauren Heskin

‘I was raised by a single mam. Everything that she did was for us’: Singer Soulé on who inspired her new music
‘I was raised by a single mam. Everything that she did was for us’: Singer...

Sarah Finnan

3 old cottages that are brimming with potential for under €100,000
3 old cottages that are brimming with potential for under €100,000

Megan Burns

Image / Editorial

Things Fall Apart: I pushed through the fear and came out stronger


by Lia Hynes
11th Mar 2019
Things Fall Apart: I pushed through the fear and came out stronger

When Liadan Hynes’ marriage fell apart she had to work on adjusting to the new reality. In her weekly column, Things Fall Apart she explores the myriad ways a person can find their way back to themselves…


For six months after my marriage fell apart, I had a sore throat that I could not shift. Nothing major, it wasn’t going to stop me in my tracks. More slow me down – a low lying irritation.

It was an outward sign that my defences were down, my resources challenged to maximum capacity. When you are pushed to the limit, you are less able to fight off such things. More vulnerable to them.

It’s normal to feel this way

“I know what it’s like, you’re doing everything to keep body and soul together,” a colleague said to me out of the blue one day. She had gone through the same thing years before. And I realised she was right. So much effort goes into keeping the show on the road that you succumb to things you might have formerly not even noticed yourself batting off.

It’s the same with the invisible stuff. There is a reason why people in the throes of fresh grief often succumb to depression, or feel overcome regularly with anger so scary they simply do not know how to handle it. Or anxiety. The fear.

Related: Just because I’m a single parent, doesn’t mean I’m alone

When something like separation, or any of life’s major crises, happens, an amorphous cloud of fear can hover above you, just waiting for the inevitable crack in the armour of your well being. Waiting to find somewhere to settle.

It does not even require a crisis to create the cloud. Anything that pushes you to your limits. I’ve seen it happen to friends who are pregnant. The extreme anxiety that sets in when so much is at stake, when any sense of control over one’s life disappears.

Irrational fears

Separated, you are remaking your life, so things that were a given are now thrown up in the air. Finances. The future. The amorphous cloud of anxiety sees the break in your defences and seeps in.

Makes you worry about things you might never have even considered before. Things that are irrational to even bother over.

I worried about how I would manage the steep, uncarpeted stairs in my house when I’m older. Like, decades from now.

Related: Why Edna O’Brien is the original brave, Irish woman

As if this was a concern that was previously sorted by being married. As if a spouse would have simply thrown me over his shoulder and carried me down, when mobility became challenged.  As if one seventy-year-old carrying the other up and down the stairs was ever going to be a good idea. Reality isn’t necessarily a factor in anxiety.

Because this is not real, this kind of fear. The kind you didn’t previously feel. It is simply a symptom of the pressure you are under. Nobody has control of their future, whatever their circumstances. You will make it work. Buy a StairMaster, move house, whatever is needed.

Fear can make you stronger

But the things is, when you are faced with fears and you simply have to push through, what you come to realise, is that the thing about fear, is that it can make you stronger.

It can, in fact, be a launch pad, of sorts. I’m not sure that there is a way of making this point without using the sentence face the fear and do it anyway. If you do something from a place of fear, how much stronger are you afterwards, for having done it, fear and all, than from just doing something that takes little out of you?

Related: I’m learning new ways to manage my stress

For a single mother, if you have parented a child on your own throughout nights when they are sick, faced into living without another adult, the new unknown of the future, done all those things you never thought you would have to, then you are simply that much stronger afterwards.

You had no choice but to do the things that before might have made you fearful. And in fact, they make you stronger.

Speaking from experience

You’ll notice it when you come to do things that formerly would have been too terrifying to contemplate, but now you take in your stride. Last weekend, I gave an after-dinner speech, my first time public speaking. The kind of thing even the thought of would formerly have brought me out in a cold sweat. And it did not bother me. Sure, five minutes beforehand I got nervous. But previously, I would simply have turned down the offer.

So you don’t fear the visible, or the invisible stuff, any more. You don’t fear doing things, because what you have got through was far more daunting. And you don’t fear the scary emotions anymore, because you have got through sadness, and know it passes.

Photo by Lukasz Dziegel on Unsplash


More like this:
  • If your marriage is ending and your world has fallen apart, this letter’s for you… here.
  • I’ve cracked the code to weekends as a single parent… here.

Also Read

Things Fall Apart: I pushed through the fear and came out stronger
EDITORIAL
Sarah Harding’s heartbroken mum announces the singer’s death aged just 39

Sarah Harding has died at the age of just 39, her heartbroken mother revealed today. The Girls Aloud star had...

By Amanda Cassidy

Things Fall Apart: I pushed through the fear and came out stronger
EDITORIAL
Attending multiple weddings this year? How to save money as a guest

These days, going to a wedding is the equivalent of going on a short holiday in terms of cost. From...

By Jennifer McShane

Things Fall Apart: I pushed through the fear and came out stronger
premium EDITORIAL
Business Club members get your complimentary tickets to The IMAGE Business Summit 2021

Don’t miss this year’s IMAGE Business Summit, with an expert line-up, skills masterclasses, keynote addresses and more.Back by popular demand,...

By Shayna Sappington

Things Fall Apart: I pushed through the fear and came out stronger
EDITORIAL
Trinity Tales: ‘Front Square was her garden, and the city was her playground’

Annie Gatling, now Colleran, knew Trinity College was for her when she saw Front Gate from the top storey of...

By Amanda Cassidy

Things Fall Apart: I pushed through the fear and came out stronger
EDITORIAL
How to let go of toxic people, and the signs to recognise

By Niamh Ennis

Things Fall Apart: I pushed through the fear and came out stronger
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost, but you need the right equipment, and a lot of...

By Amanda Kavanagh

Things Fall Apart: I pushed through the fear and came out stronger
EDITORIAL
8 easy ways to keep your brain healthy that you can do right now

Your brain health is just as important as that of the rest of your body, says psychologist and neuroscientist Dr...

By IMAGE