Divorce and Mental Health: Staying Stable and Safe

Posted By Melissa A. Wilson || 27-Mar-2017

Going through a divorce, even one with amicable circumstances, can be frustrating, problematic, and disheartening. Multiple health surveys and studies have long since reported the negative effects divorce can have on one’s health, but what about the emotional and mental strain? Divorce can be life-altering, and separating from a partner can put a strain on the other aspects of your life that you counted on to remain stable. So, when you’re going through such a trying time, how do you hold yourself steady? There are a number of ways you can find emotional stability amid the turmoil of divorce. Allow yourself to process the changes in your life, evaluate your priorities, and keep yourself healthy. Being aware of your mental health can not only ease the divorce process, it can also keep you and your family safe.

Anticipate Changes and Find Stability

If you are going through a divorce or separation, you are bound to experience, at the very least, a few significant alterations to your life, and one of the healthiest things you can do is to prepare yourself for those changes and accept that they will happen. To ground yourself, establish a routine you can stick to. The Canadian Mental Health Association says that establishing a routine for yourself and your children can provide a sense of stability during an otherwise tumultuous time. Working out daily, or even going on a daily walk, can also help you. According to the American Psychological Association, regular exercise can normalize sleep, alleviate chronic depression, help to cope with stress, and provide a sense of accomplishment.

Besides establishing a stable routine, you should also regularly talk about what you’re going through. Choose a safe outlet or two, such as close friends, trusted family members, or see a professional therapist. There is no shame in seeking help, and sometimes speaking with someone with an outsider’s perspective can be helpful.

Make Yourself a Priority

Make time for things that make you happy. Pick up a dormant hobby or find something new that interests you. Learn to draw, take up yoga, sign up for a cooking class, or join a softball league at work. No matter what it may be, make a conscious decision to make time for yourself and your interests.

Know the Signs

You may have heard people say that going through a divorce is similar to grieving the loss of a loved one, and in some ways it is. According to an article in U.S. News, during a divorce you are predisposed to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Some signs of depression are feelings of sadness, loss of interest in normal activities, insomnia, lack of energy, changes in appetite, slowed thinking, trouble concentrating, and suicidal thoughts. If you experience these signs, seek help from your doctor or visit a therapist. There is no shame in asking for help, and there are many opportunities in nearly every community for private, affordable care for those who need it. Be aware of the signs of clinical depression not only to keep yourself healthy, but to keep an eye on the mental state of your spouse.

Be Aware of Your Spouse

Unfortunately, mental instability can happen all too frequently for couples undergoing the difficulties of a divorce. Look for the signs of depression in your partner, or be aware of any strange behavior that may put him or her at risk, because this could consequently affect you or your children. In some cases, mental health issues can lead to violence and should always be handled with caution and mindfulness. According to a study by the University of Minnesota, separated and divorced men and women represent the highest rates of homicides between intimate partners in the United States. Stay alert and report any strange behavior to trusted friends and family, or local outreaches in your community. If you ever feel unsafe, call the police and seek help immediately.

Some people may become angry and resentful during a divorce, and may blame their spouse for their unhappiness. If you ever experience any verbal or physical threats from your spouse, take immediate action to secure your own safety. Call for help, reach out to authorities, use legal means to restrict his or her access to you, and learn to defend yourself if the need should arise. Violence in a divorce is a serious, and sometimes life-threatening issue that everyone should be mindful of and prepared to handle.

If you are going through a divorce or separation, always remember that you are not alone. There are support groups you can join to talk to others in similar situations, family and friends who care for you, and trained professionals who want to help. Be proactive about your mental health during a divorce and make your wellbeing a priority.

Contact Advocate Law Firm, P.A. today if you are going through a divorce and need legal representation.

Categories: Divorce
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