Research has shown that out of 49 life events, divorce is the second most stressful experience of a person’s life. The only thing more stressful is the death of a spouse. Getting the right support while in the divorce process is crucial to a person’s mental health and the ability to make good decisions.
Help from a Licensed Mental Health Professional
Going through the divorce process can be a lonely experience. There can be highs and lows like you have never experienced. You may be angry, perhaps feeling devastated and overwhelmed, while at the same time trying to put on a somewhat happy face for your children, friends, and family.
Even if you are close to your family and friends, it can be difficult to talk with them because they may be biased and take sides. You might say something negative about your soon-to-be ex-spouse when angry. Then, when there is progress dealing with your spouse, you may regret what you said. Your family is still left with the negative information that was shared and it is difficult to go back and erase that.
One of the options that you can consider is to talk to a licensed mental health professional. You have the freedom to say anything you feel like saying without filtering what you say or how you say it. You can express anxiety, anger, depression. You can talk about how overwhelmed you are feeling and your worries about your future.
A therapist can pick up on clues that a friend may not. For example, a counselor can tell the difference between normal grieving and depression that is destabilizing. The therapist can differentiate between normal anxiety and more serious, debilitating situations. The therapist can also help you develop coping strategies as you navigate this phase of your life.
Therapists can make referrals for a medication evaluation by a physician. Medication does not have to be a permanent solution but may help get you through a difficult time.
Tools to Use That May Help During Divorce
You probably are aware of tools that are recommended for assisting you through a difficult time, but when you are overwhelmed with stress, you may not think of using them. Some suggestions include:
- Watch what you eat. When stressed, some people overeat, others forget about eating. Some people binge. Focus on a healthy diet.
- Exercise. Even getting a minimum amount of exercise every day helps clear the mind and reduce stress.
- Relaxation. A few minutes of deep breathing, meditation or prayer can have a calming effect.
- Get involved with a support group for divorcing people. It is important not to isolate. You may find a group through your church, through your insurance company, or recommendations from your counselor.
Getting help for the stress you feel during your divorce is important for your own sense of well-being and vitally important if there are children involved. You can learn how to help your children with the stress they are experiencing during the restructuring of their family.
For more information about easing the stress of divorce, please contact Betsey Williams, M.S., LMFT by clicking here betseywilliams.com
This article was originally published on Collaborative Divorce California.