Depression after divorce
Most people experience some degree of depression after divorce. Depression is common:
- If you were not the person seeking the divorce. Realizing a marriage is over when you thought it wasn’t – is extremely upsetting.
- If you sought the divorce. It’s common to be depressed after divorce too if you filed for the divorce. You may be depressed because you waited too long to file for divorce. The divorce process itself can take months or years which makes it hard to cope. You may be upset because you were forced to take charge and end the marriage.
- If you have children. You’re likely to be depressed even when both parents want the divorce – because you know your children will be upset.
- Even when the issues of equitable distribution of property, custody, child support, and alimony are resolved through mediation or other amicable means. Negotiating a settlement involves a lot of tension. Depression is a natural consequence of any type of dispute resolution.
It’s common to be depressed after divorce because a divorce is an admission that your relationship didn’t work out – that you’ll need to start new with other romantic partners.
There are different names for depression and different degrees of depression. You may suffer from clinical depression. Doctors may say you have an adjustment disorder. Former spouses may be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What are the signs of depression?
Some of the signs of depression according to Healthline.com include:
- Avoiding conversations with family members
- Not being interested in social activities or physical exercise
- Not being able to concentrate
- A lack of confidence
- Not performing routine daily tasks like brushing your teeth or not eating a healthy diet
- Feeling sad
- Difficulty sleeping and feeling tired
- Feeling pessimist
- Thoughts of suicide
- Feeling guilty
- Drinking too much or relying on drugs or medications
If you have some of these symptoms, there is hope. Many spouses do make appointments with a psychologist for themselves if they are experiencing severe depression after divorce. Feeling depressed after divorce is also common for children. Psychologists can help children too.
Possible treatments if you’re feeling depressed after divorce
Your doctors may prescribe more than just therapy treatments if you’re feeling depressed after divorce. They may prescribe medications such as antidepressants. Your healthcare provider may suggest massage therapy, yoga, an exercise class, meditation, or other relaxation therapies.
Support groups with other divorced spouses can help.
Personal suggestions for coping with depression after divorce
Survive Divorce recommends some of the following strategies if you’re depressed after divorce:
- Understand that you’re not alone. It’s natural to go through emotional ups and downs after a divorce. Time is a great healer. If you can’t shake the doldrums though, then seeking professional help should be considered if you’re feeling post-divorce depression.
- It’s natural to grieve. It’s natural to cry and to feel like you’d like to punch a hole in the Cannonball Express. Being upset over the end of the relationship and feeling that you can’t move forward are common feelings of depression after divorce.
- Eat nutritiously. Everyone devours a box of chocolate-chip cookies or other junk food treats after a divorce. Movies and TV shows regularly show ex-spouse eating bowls of ice-cream. To move forward though and to shake the blues – you should focus on eating your vegetables and make sure you don’t overeat. There are plenty of recipe books to get you started on a healthy diet.
- Exercise. There’s an old saying – a sound mind in a sound body. Exercising takes your mind off your troubles. Exercise also helps protect against obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health disorders. According to Survive Divorce, “high intensity exercise releases endorphins” which can help your body recover. “Low intensity exercise spurs the release of proteins called neurotrophic or growth factors. These cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections, resulting in improved brain function that makes you feel better.” Start slowly and work yourself up into a regular routine. Be sure to consult with your physician.
- Take steps to sleep well. Try to go to bed the same time each night if you’re feeling depressed after divorce. Read or drink some warm tea. Try to avoid too much computer or TV time – so you can relax your mind – before you go to bed.
- Socialize. It’s important to connect with family, friends, coworkers, and yes – new people. Connect online and as the pandemic is being controlled – engage in personal activities with other people.
- Treat yourself. Plan to try something new or something you’ve always wanted to do.
Other suggestions if you’re feeling hopeless after divorce include:
- Helping others is a way to help yourself. It’s important to accept help from friends and family too.
- Writing down your thoughts in a journal is a good way to clear your head.
- Try to remember – your life is ahead of you, not behind you.
- Don’t rush into new relationships until you’re ready.
- Don’t over focus on things you can’t control.
At DeTorres & DeGeorge Family Law, our divorce lawyers understand the trauma of divorce and feeling depressed after divorce. We work to amicably resolve divorce disputes, in part, because amicable resolutions generally help both spouses move forward with their lives. We are ready to litigate disputes to protect your financial and emotional well-being. To speak with an experienced family lawyer who understands the legal and practice sides of divorce, call us at 908-691-2104 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Clinton and Morristown.