3 Tips on How to Deal With Divorce and Depression
Depression can be debilitating, and it can permeate every part of your life. Just getting out of bed to go to work can be a major undertaking if you’re struggling with depression. Divorce can trigger a major depressive episode that may seem endless when you’re in it.
When you’re going through a divorce, you’re dealing with grief. Except instead of the death of a person, you’re dealing with the death of a life. You have to let go of the future you planned, the lifestyle you lived, and the family you created. It’s even harder if you’re not the person who initiated the divorce. Usually the person who initiated the divorce has had time to think about it for a while, plan an exit, and mourn the life he or she lived. But the other person, who may have been taken by surprise, will have to go through those feelings, plus the shock of learning that the relationship wasn’t going as well as he or she thought. The situation is exacerbated further if your partner is keeping your child from you or is trying to turn your child against you, leading you to feel the loss of both a spouse and a child. It’s a heart-wrenching feeling and one that causes feelings of anger, sadness, and depression.
As much as you’d like to bury yourself under the covers and sleep until spring, you can’t. Your kids depend on you to keep fighting for what is right, so you have to put one foot in front of the other and make it happen.
The following are some tips on how to deal with divorce and depression.
Keep communication open
It may be difficult, but you will have to communicate with your ex-spouse in ways that you might not have been able to do so before. However, due to your ex-spouse’s malicious ways, it is best that you keep a paper trail of all communications both with your ex and your children so that nothing can be wrongly held against you. Try not to let interactions devolve into a fight, which will only add more stress and pain for your children. Speak clearly and calmly, and if it starts to become a battle, say something like, “I will speak to you about this later, when we are both calm,” and hang up. Keep trying to communicate. If communicating with your ex is too painful or just downright impossible, stay in touch with your children as much as possible via letters, emails, cards, phone calls, texts, or video chat.
Keep the focus on the children
Children take divorce very hard and often feel it’s their own fault. The fact that you are being kept from seeing your child makes it impossible for you to be able to remind them that absolutely nothing is their fault. Keep going, and let the future of being reunited propel you forward. Consider keeping a journal of all the things going on in your life so that you can share it with them once this horrible separation has passed. Show up to scheduled pick-ups even though you know deep down they won’t be there. Make it a point to never speak negatively of your ex-spouse in front of anyone, especially your children. In everything you do, show that you have the interest of your child at heart, and let cool heads prevail. You might feel like lashing out, or leaving a voicemail really letting them have it, but keep your focus on what is most important — your children.
Keep self-care in check
Your mind is consumed with your mission to once again be reunited with your family, and in doing so you may find that your emotions are all over the place. Continue to take care of yourself by eating right, including introducing mood-boosting foods to your diet like avocados, wild salmon, kale, and spinach. Find ways to exercise regularly as well. Many people find that a smartwatch can help them achieve their fitness goals and monitor progress. You can shield your device with a protective covering to ensure it doesn’t get damaged. You should also seek support for your mental health via a therapist, counselor, or trained coach like Wendi Schuller.
Don’t let yourself feel guilty for continuing to pursue happiness. You need to be the best version of yourself you can be for your children, and actively implementing self-care into your life is a great way to do so. It can also be a healthy distraction from the pain you are feeling, and serve as an outlet for the mixed up bottle of emotions.
Remember that any major loss is going to be difficult, but you can do this. Practice self-care and allow yourself some time to grieve. Keep the vision of a brighter future for you and your family at the forefront at all times to motivate you on those days when all hope seems lost, because it isn’t.
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