After divorce, so much of your life has changed. Your old life is no longer and your new life is, well, uncharted. For some that can be exciting, but for others it can be scary as hell.
Since women file for divorce nearly 70% of the time, I was surprised to learn that after divorce, women often feel a greater loss and tend to get more depressed than men. According to healthcommunities.com, women’s brains produce less serotonin and more cortisol than men which contributes to depression. Then of course mood swings strike when women are in menopause which intensify the incidence for depression.
I suppose since women put so much effort into being wives and mothers that when it ends it is crushing even if they wanted it. Relationships are a woman’s priority, as are their children, and attachment and loss preoccupies their brains much more so than in men.
I know I initiated my divorce and though I didn’t experience depression, I did feel the loss of the family unit. After divorce, we are left with so many “what ifs” and “should haves”, in particular when we have children. The guilt can be paralyzing and immobilize you with doubt and fear. Without realizing it the guilt parlays into negative self-talk that can then lead to depression.
There are signs of depression to be on the lookout for, which include: sadness, unexplained exhaustion, irritability, guilt, feeling insignificant, feelings of emptiness, difficulty concentrating and remembering details, insomnia or excessive sleeping, overeating or loss of appetite, and a general feeling of malaise or suicidal thoughts. If you have been suffering from any of these symptoms please visit your doctor and discuss with him or her. This is not something to ignore or be ashamed of, it is something to get taken care of. It is okay to ask for help!
Until you get professional help, depression from divorce will color everything and everyone in your life. The vibrancy of life will appear dull and the load will feel heavier every day.
Getting a thorough check-up from your doctor is essential, but there are other ways to start the healing process that you can begin right away:
1. Be thankful for what you do have. Sometimes a good way to get back on track and start to feel better is to identify things to be grateful for. No matter how horrible we may feel we can always find something we appreciate in our life.
2. Change your focus. Whenever you catch yourself dwelling or putting yourself down, turn it round. Happiness is a result of a decision to be happy and your emotions and feelings are created by your thoughts. It’s good to remember that unhappiness cannot exist on its own. It occurs because of thoughts, which can be changed. In fact, a simple smile can actually help change your mood and relieve stress.
3. Accept your new reality. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I know of women who do not accept the divorce and believe that their husbands are going to wake up and realize that they mistakenly threw them away for the younger, sexier version of themselves. That is very likely not going to happen and if it did, would you really want the SOB back after he dumped you for someone else? Aside from that, acceptance is the key to moving on with your own life. If you are constantly looking in the rear view mirror it’s hard to see and appreciate what is right in front of you.
4. Create a network of support. Its time start relying on those who love you, such as friends and family. They want to help and you need to keep yourself from isolating. Isolating only increases the chance of getting depressed.
5. Meditate and/or do yoga. I cannot stress enough how much mediation and yoga help the mind and body in healing. It takes the focus away from your thoughts and brings your attention to the breath. Plus, it helps clear away the toxins –ahem, thoughts of the ex—in your life.
6. Find your passion. This cannot be emphasized enough. If you find something, anything that makes you feel excited, then you MUST do it! Anything that can take you out of yourself and your mindset, will do wonders for your heart and soul. And isn’t it about time?
Feeling better after divorce and moving on from the pain is a choice, but first you have to make sure you see a doctor if you find yourself delving into the deep. Though it is painful to go through, you can and will find happiness again.
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