The first place you can look for resources is at your local domestic violence organization. Unfortunately, many of these organizations are limiting their capacity (or closing their doors) due to budget constraints. But all DV organizations offer Resource & Referral information. Do an internet search for “Domestic Violence Organization [insert city here]”.
Alternatively, most city halls, human service departments, all police stations and some religious institutions offer similar resource information for your area. Law enforcement stations are required by law to have these referrals. Dialing 411, 911 non-emergency and 211 in many cities will connect you with someone who has information.
Along with information for DV organizations, city halls and human service departments can also provide information regarding food stamps and medical assistance. Some cities even offer cash assistance in the event that you’ve been locked out of your joint bank account or have no money at all. If you’ve never considered assistance please… set your pride to the left. Now is the time that you need help. You will not need it forever, and I suggest you let it go as soon as you’re stable. But this is just the beginning of your journey and there are long days ahead. Lift some of the burden by getting help.
The second thing I guarantee that you will need is counseling. Most DV organizations offer free counseling to clients; individual and/or group. I suggest enrolling in both types if you can. Counseling saved my life. Not only did I meet women who were in different stages of healing, I was provided with basic essentials (toothpaste, deodorant, etc), physical protection (an armed police officer stood watch at the entrance of the building) and a sense of community. Divorce puts your immediate family unit through the shredder. Friends will disappear. Church may shun you. Otherwise rational people you’ve known for years will become judgmental and say inane things. Everyone will suddenly be an expert on marriage. Genuine community cannot be undervalued during this time. A lifeline of people stronger than you, more experienced than you and who understand what you’re going through is waiting with open arms. Be open to the help, open to making new friends, and open to the possibilities of tomorrow.
Lastly, I know this is a big step. It is embarrassing. It is difficult to admit you need assistance. You will cry. There will be a massive burning lump in your throat. Don’t let that stop you from getting the help you need!