Take a look at any list of life’s most stressful events and you’ll find divorce or separation up near the top. Sure, some divorces are for the better but that most definitely does not mean it isn’t stressful. It’s a form of loss and that means you will grieve. All of this adds up to a high risk of depression.
Post-divorce depression is a very common situational disorder. This is not to say it has to expand into full-blown clinical depression — but it can. Therefore, it demands your full attention and a willingness to do some changing, adjusting, and adapting.
The Stress-Depression Connection
Studies have found that high levels of stress can increase a person’s risk of depression by tenfold. Thus, it should come as no surprise that divorced people display depression at a much higher rate than those in a relationship. Then, of course, you must factor in the possibility that you may have been dealing with some level of depression even before the divorce happened. In other words, stress can lead to depression and/or make it worse.
What Does Depression After A Divorce Look And Feel Like?
It’s not always easy to identify. After all, when going through a divorce, you will undoubtedly show signs and symptoms that can appear normal under the circumstances. What you want to watch for is if the symptoms like this do not lessen even when things have calmed a little:
- Fatigue and low energy — even if you’ve been sleeping more than usual
- Irritability that can escalate into outbursts of anger
- Withdrawal and social isolation
- Lack of concentration that borders on dissociation
- Frequent thoughts of death, dying, or suicide
What is crucial to remember is that you can snuggle with situational depression even though you’re relieved to be getting divorced.
How To Deal With Depression After A Divorce
Accept, Feel, & Connect
It’s not unusual, especially with men, for people to pretend all is well. Suppressed emotions, however, will surface in a negative way (like being depressed). So, let yourself feel what you need to feel, and don’t hesitate to talk about your emotions with people you trust. Keeping to yourself will typically increase the kind of rumination that fuels depression. So, even when you don’t want to talk about emotions, just being out and about with friends will have a positive impact.
Add Joy To Your Schedule
Make a list of activities that bring you happiness. It doesn’t have to be about extravagance. It could be riding your bike or getting a massage. What you put on your list is up to you. But, what’s not negotiable is the need to make these joyful moments happen on a regular basis. Also, since a divorce will bring about many changes to your routines, why not use this time to try something new?
Make Self-Care A Daily Reality
With so much change happening in your life, it can be quite calming to create your own rituals and patterns. A self-care regimen is an ideal step in that direction. It adds structure while enhancing your overall well-being. Self-care also serves as a reminder that you are absolutely worth the daily commitment to yourself.
- Commit to healthy choices in terms of what you eat and drink
- Establish and maintain steady sleep habits
- Get your body moving every day
- Practice stress management tactics like meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, and more
Through it all, never lose sight of the reality that depression can be a serious mental health condition. In the time period after a divorce, it only makes sense that you’d connect with an experienced therapist to learn more. Reach out to learn more about depression treatment.