Divorce or separation can be an incredibly distressing experience that may trigger feelings of depression in anyone. We are all humans and have encountered challenging moments in our lives when coping with stress. The end of a relationship can certainly be a source of stress, and it is crucial to acknowledge our emotions and take action if we sense that our stress levels are becoming unmanageable.
The prospect of divorce can be daunting, regardless of whether it was your choice or not. This shift towards the unfamiliar may lead to changes in mood, as well as feelings of depression and anxiety. To handle divorce and move past depression, grant yourself sufficient time to grieve and recover, seek support from loved ones or a trained therapist, and recognize the limitations of what you can and cannot manage.
Symptoms of Depression After Divorce
People who have gone through a divorce may exhibit depression symptoms, such as social withdrawal, health issues, and a decline in general well-being. Divorce or the end of a marriage involves a significant life shift, signifying a considerable loss of self-identity and future goals.
Their beliefs about divorce morality can also differ, and those who think it’s “wrong” to divorce may experience more psychological distress than those who do not hold this belief.
Here are some symptoms of depression following a divorce:
- decrease in appetite
- disinterest in previously enjoyed hobbies and activities
- difficulty sleeping or insomnia
- crying spells
- trouble concentrating
- feelings of hopelessness and negativity
- a decreased sense of self-worth, and
- even suicidal ideation or attempts.
To be diagnosed with depression, a minimum of five of these symptoms must be present.
Depression affects men and women in distinctive ways. Women may experience depression as sadness, feelings of worthlessness, and guilt, while men may have symptoms like irritability, sleep disturbance, binge drinking, or illegal substance consumption. Typically, women are more likely to experience depression following a divorce than men. Nonetheless, men are less likely to discuss their depression openly.
Managing Depression After Divorce
Coping with the stress of divorce is an emotional journey. It is possible that it will take some time for you to accept and move on from the situation. Allow yourself the necessary time to move through it at your own pace. Recognize that your emotions are valid, whether they are positive or negative, and avoid comparing them to the experiences of others.
Here are a few strategies for managing depression after divorce:
Live a healthier lifestyle.
Make your physical and mental health a priority, for it can help you feel better and more confident. Eating healthier food can improve your strength and concentration, which can help you stay on track with your goals. In addition, exercise can help in managing post-divorce emotions by lowering the risk of depression and alleviating existing symptoms. Thus, incorporating exercise into your routine may be beneficial for coping with depression after divorce.
Seek social support.
As you move forward in your life after divorce, it can be comforting to recognize that others are facing comparable challenges related to divorce. Participating in a support group can provide a secure space to sort out your emotions and reassure you that you’re not alone. Remember that seeking support is acceptable, and you may prefer to connect with others in-person or online via video calls. Allocating time to communicate with trusted friends or colleagues can help you process your feelings and begin the healing process.
Meeting people after a divorce is the last thing on your mind. It is normal to avoid dealing with questions and judgments from other people. But your life should not stop just because of a failed relationship, no matter how painful it is. You need to look after yourself first above anything else. Even though meeting new people can be exhausting, it could turn out to be a good idea to feel less lonely and sad. You do not have to go out every night to feel good. Set a date with a group of friends once or twice a month.
Give yourself time to heal.
It is important to remember that you do not have to rush your recovery after experiencing a significant life change or a traumatic event like a divorce. It is alright to take your time and acknowledge your emotions. If someone inquires about your well-being, it is acceptable to let them know that you are still in the process of healing. Attempting to speed up the process may lead to the suppression of negative emotions, causing them to resurface later.
Set new goals.
This phase of your life presents an opportunity for significant personal development and a chance to start over. You could consider using this chance to create a blueprint for your new life. You could explore new interests or even overhaul your profession. Establishing fresh goals can assist you in defining yourself as an individual and enhancing your self-confidence as you move forward.
When to See a Doctor
If you are experiencing difficulties being productive or getting out of bed on most days, it might be necessary to seek professional help. Therapy can assist individuals in developing healthy coping mechanisms and strategies to overcome depression following a divorce. This is particularly beneficial for anyone who is facing a difficult transition period.
Cognitive therapy is an approach that aims to address maladaptive patterns and can help you become more resilient to future bouts of depression. This type of therapy employs behavioral techniques to alter negative, automatic thoughts.
Psychotherapy with a therapist can be valuable for someone struggling with depression after a divorce, as it can provide them with coping strategies and techniques to counter negative self-talk.
If you have been experiencing symptoms of depression for more than two weeks, it’s advisable to schedule an appointment with your doctor. It can be helpful to bring along a friend for support when preparing for the appointment. Before going to the appointment, make a note of your primary symptoms and bring this list with you.
If you are looking for someone to help you manage your depression, visit Mindshift Psychological Services. You may check out their website to learn more about their different treatment programs. You may also contact them at (714) 584-9700 to schedule an appointment.