How do I get over depression and guilt after divorce?
Posted: September 4, 2017
Nicole Myers, MS, LPC
Divorce is a decision that impacts nearly all areas of our lives. It affects our financial status, where we live, who we spend time with and how we plan for our future, among other things. Divorce is a huge change and an ending to a part of our lives. Change can be very frightening and cause us much anxiety as we now face uncertainty about the future and unfulfilled expectations. There is loss of companionship, hopes, dreams and plans. Worse, we are half of the pair that made decisions which ultimately led to divorce. No wonder we feel depression and guilt after divorce, even when the marriage was unhealthy.
Getting over grief and depression after divorce is a process. This means it takes time, effort and is not usually a straightforward path. You might feel happy and strong one day and depressed and overwhelmed the next. Ask for help and let those who are willing help you. Talk about your grief and loss. Talking to caring, and sometimes trained professional, others will help you process your reactions to divorce. Identify who is in your support network: people who you can count on to listen or offer support in other ways and you feel better after time with them than before. Stay away from people who are eager to hear the painful details of your divorce but don't help you feel better, time with these people will actually make you feel worse. Accept your feelings as your own. You may experience unusually intense and uncomfortable feelings; shock, sadness, hurt and anger to name a few. Denying we are feeling something only makes it harder to move forward with our lives as we refuse to acknowledge that which needs to be dealt with.
Gather information about the divorce process, knowledge is power. Feeling powerful reduces depression. You can also increase your feelings of power by taking real-life steps to finalize the divorce. Some of these steps might include hiring a lawyer, completely separating your finances from your ex-spouse and starting a new home. That being said, give yourself a break, such a huge change in one's life can be overwhelming. You will need to give yourself permission to be less energetic than your usual self for a period of time. Things that normally make you happy might not have as much impact as they normally do. Then, begin the process of focusing on the future and your new reality after divorce. Your new reality might not be what you thought it would be; it is still yours to create.
*Disclaimer: The materials provided in this article are for informational purposes only. Use of and access to this article or any of the links contained within the article or website do not create a relationship between the author and the user or browser. We are professionals that have been trained and have experience in assisting individuals going through a divorce. We are not lawyers and do not provide legal advice.