Feeling low after a divorce? Has the emotional weight of the last few months caught up with you? The onset of depression after a divorce is a common experience shared equally between partners. While depression may show itself in different ways, professionals agree that most partners experience some symptoms of depression after a divorce is finalized.
The divorce process is tedious, time-consuming, and monetarily painful. Adding in children complicates life after divorce even further. Not only are you grieving the loss of the relationship, but your entire family must adjust to new routines.
Depression At A Glance
Depression symptoms often coincide with significant life changes, like divorce. Look out for the following signs if they last more than a few weeks:
- Depressed mood
- Loss of interest/pleasure
- Weight fluctuation
- Sleep disturbances
- Decreased concentration
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Thoughts of death or dying
Adding the layer of divorce onto depression may also induce feelings of grief, including:
While these symptoms may be challenging to experience, depression tied to divorce is often situationally bound. This means that if you don’t have a history of depression, it is likely that you will bounce back with adequate support and coping skills. To aid in your recovery, give a few of these a try:
Spend a few extra hours with your family each week. After a few weeks, you will need less time. Of course, if your chosen family is your primary support, then stick with them. While friendships may need to sort themselves out after a divorce, family is a safe bet for distraction and support.
Activity and routine can help pass the time. Check out a local yoga studio or gym. Try going to a few classes each week. Bonus points if you try a new way of movement or challenge yourself to a spontaneous new workout. Even going for a short walk can help you feel better.
Time outside releases feel-good hormones and helps to reset our internal clock. Try and get early sun on your face and take a moment to see a sunset once a week. This will help balance your melatonin levels, a precursor to serotonin production.
Let Yourself Grieve
Just let it all out. Grief takes a toll on the body and mind when it has nowhere to go. Try using a journal to get everything out when it comes to mind. Also, give yourself a timed daily session to let the grief pour out.
Look to the Sun
Vitamin D is a massive benefit for those who experience depression. Get some sunlight throughout the day. Talk with your doctor about measuring your Vitamin D levels to see if you need a supplement. Follow your doctor’s advice on all things Vitamin D related.
At the end of the day, a divorce robs you of support. Even if your partner was not there for you emotionally, they held a proxy role in your life. Without that role, you may isolate yourself, another hallmark of depression. Combat this at the beginning by enlisting a therapist or a support group. Many people navigate the murky waters of divorce, and support groups often have a wealth of knowledge to share.
For the next two weeks, try two of these coping skills above. Allow yourself to feel all of the feelings from your divorce. And don’t lose sight of this enormous shift. Divorce is a world-shaking experience. If you start to have suicidal thoughts or your symptoms last for more than a few weeks, enlist the help of a therapist. Our office is here to answer any questions about divorce counseling, so don’t hesitate to reach out soon.