New Beginnings

I am writing this lines from Bulgaria, in my new apartment. After 13 years, my marriage ended a month ago. It has been a bumpy ride...

New Beginnings

It's been a long time since my last post. A lot has happened since then. My life has turned completely upside down, and I have decided to start writing again. Writing, or composing (anything creative really) has always been my way of dealing with things.

So What's Going On?

My marriage came to an end a month ago. The last three years had been difficult for us. The business was demanding more and more time from both of us, and I started to suffer from depression and anxiety. Of course, there were also other considerations. Traveling was not something that my husband wanted to continue on doing, also due to other personal circumstances. I was so consumed by my own mental health issues that I didn't do a good job being there and talking about our goals and where we wanted to be next.

Working together in such a stressful scenario didn't help at all, of course. We decided to give us a couple of weeks apart to think about our marriage and what we wanted to do. I took some time off and traveled to Bulgaria, the last place where I remember being happy. He embarked in a cool project called "Dancing Latitudes", organizing a trip for digital nomads and entrepreneurs from Lisbon to Tallinn.

Those two weeks served me to understand that I loved him and I wanted to be with him, no matter what. Unfortunately, his conclusion was the exact opposite, and so, after thirteen years together, our paths split.

The Ordeal

That was a complete shock for me. I loved him with all my heart (and I still do). He was THE person. I imagined us growing old together, buying a house, selling the business one day, and spending the rest of our lives just enjoying each other's company.

We are in good terms (there was no drama or anything), but I knew I could not continue on living with him for a long time, it was too much for my sanity. We were there, together, like nothing had happened. We would have breakfast together, sometimes go for a walk together. I so desperately wanted to embrace him and tell him how much I loved him, that everything was going to be alright, and ... Well, beg him to be together again.

So I came back to Bulgaria. I was in "Fight or flight" mode, and I wasn't very lucky when I landed in Sofia. It was Sofia's worst June heat wave on record. It was HOT. I got into an old apartment that had a very old bad bed, no mosquito screens, and no AC. I am allergic to mosquitos, so having the windows open was not an option. As a result, I wasn't able to sleep at all, and I had to ask my friends here to let me sleep in their apartment until I was able to find a new place.

I remember it now as a nightmare. I could not even feel secure and comfortable to process what was happening to me.

A Place To Mourn

Fortunately, I was able to find a new apartment in the center, more modern, and even cheaper than the previous one. There I was able to finally get a good night of sleep.

I have bought some stuff from Ikea and Jysk, and I am waiting for my stuff to arrive from Lisbon. I've always been proud of not having any material needs or attachment to physical belongings. However, when we landed in Lisbon, I committed to stop traveling (in an attempt to save my marriage), and so I bought a digital piano to be able to play and compose again, and my father made a beautiful studio desk for the piano. I simply could not let that stuff there.

Bringing it here was also a stressful experience. There are no many couriers that will transport a desk and a huge digital piano from one point of Europe to the other, and it wasn't cheap. Fortunately, it seems I'll have everything here in a couple of days. Fingers crossed.

Now that I am no longer in survival mode, and I have an apartment where I can be comfortable, the bottom of Maslow's pyramid is covered, and I can finally focus on mourning.

The Business

Fortunately, I have been able to delegate some of my responsibilities in other members of my team. Until very recently, I've been the full-time CEO and CTO of Companio, apart from acting as a developer for the challenging stuff (AI and automation). That's a lot to handle if you are a happy and fulfilled person, but trying to keep up that pace while going through a marriage break-up and moving to a new country is simply too much.

I promoted the most senior engineer of my team to IT Manager. He will be taking care of the day-to-day operations of the IT department. He is a great engineer, and has proven that he will be an amazing CTO. He is smart, resourceful and has the business acumen that engineers typically lack. I am just so grateful that he accepted this position with such energy and enthusiasm.

We also hired a VA to take care of all that small administrative tasks that, together, take a lot of your time.

That will allow me to focus on my CEO duties. And more immediately, be able to stop when I feel so overwhelmed I cannot even breathe.

I am happy I was able to do these changes, because I could not have been able to deal with all that I'm going through while working as a full-time CEO, CTO and developer for Companio. Now I wonder why I didn't do these changes before, and if it would have changed something.

Impact On My Mental Health

For the last three years, I embarked on an hectic race to "fix things". I knew our business was killing our marriage (not to mention my mental health).

And so I tried frantically to disengage us from the company, working extra to prepare all kinds of financial reports, finding M&A brokers, generating reports, meeting potential stakeholders, optimizing processes to make sure the business was not tied to the founders... I devoted all my energy to that, it became an obsession for me. "I can fix this", I used to repeat to myself.

It felt like driving a train at full speed, trying to reach the destination before the train breaks down in pieces, and then hearing a screeching sound, looking back and seeing the train shattered in pieces, and being alone, looking back from the engine room of the driver's carriage...

I can't stop thinking what I did wrong, or what I could have done better. Perhaps if I hadn't done this or that, or if I had said this or that, things would have been different. Not knowing that is killing me.

Feeling Like A Ghost

Today I feel like a ghost. I wake up, make up breakfast, and eat it. I work. I go to the gym. I even have friends here and have dinner with them or a beer from time to time. They are helping me a lot. But I still feel like a ghost.

I feel empty. Devoid of a purpose. I don't know why I keep on doing these things, why I wake up every day and keep on with my life. I guess I do it because there's no other alternative. But all these things, the world around me, has no meaning for me anymore. I jumped off the train.

I still love him. I've been told that I just need time and I will stop loving him with time. But a part of me completely rejects the idea of not loving him, and it is utterly scared of the mere idea of not loving him anymore.

That part still hopes that one day, by means of a miracle, he'll miss me, and we will be together and happy again, like we used to. And I feel like that hope is kind of dangerous, but in a way it keeps me alive.


I'd like to finish this post with a bright conclusion. A ray of hope in the darkness. Something that would hint at a happier future.

But I only see darkness right now. I just miss him so much, and I know I need to accept what is happening and start over, but I simply can't. Having friends here helps. Talking to my family helps too (even if they don't necessarily know how to help me). Meditation and mindfulness have managed to bring some stability and steadiness to my mind, but can't help me calm down my broken heart. Stoicism has helped me look at my emotions as simply that, emotions that will pass, and understand that I can only control how I react to what's happening to me. But that alone does not make the pain go away either.

Maybe I just need time...

Writing has always been a great therapy for me, so I will try to write more regularly.