Going through a divorce is not easy for anyone. It is okay to feel overwhelmed, sad, angry, disappointed or anything else that you feel. Your feelings are valid and normal. You do not have to cope with your struggles or the emotional toll that a divorce takes on you alone. Reach out for help. Connect with a therapist, friend or support group – and use these tips to address your mental health struggles more effectively during a divorce.
Recognize What You’re Feeling
Many negative emotions will likely come up during a divorce. A divorce is often referred to as the “death of love.” As such, it is normal to go through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The most important part is recognizing these emotions when they arise. This will allow you to address them and cope with them in a healthy, positive way.
Feeling negative emotions is normal and to be expected during a divorce. You may feel scared about your future, grief over the end of your significant relationship, anger and frustration with your spouse, loneliness, and many other emotions. They can make you feel uncomfortable or out of control of your life. Recognizing your feelings and taking the time to process them can help you feel more grounded and prepared to move forward.
Learn How to Manage Negative Emotions
The volatile emotions that are often associated with divorce can make the process more difficult even under the best of circumstances. Once you have learned how to recognize your negative feelings, learn how to manage them. For example, you should allow grief to occur. This is a natural reaction to the loss of your relationship. Your grieving process may involve shock, numbness, depression, denial and many other feelings. You may not be able to prevent or “fix” grief. Over time, however, your grief will start to become irrelevant to your daily life – allowing you to heal.
Get Professional Help
You may be able to cope with some mental health struggles on your own, such as by surrounding yourself with people who make you feel loved and supported. However, never hesitate to get professional help if you are dealing with strong negative feelings, thoughts and emotions. If you are feeling depressed or suicidal, seek help from a licensed therapist or psychiatrist. Many professionals specialize in divorce and can provide tools you can use to cope with your emotions and find a better place mentally. This may include the use of prescription medications to help alleviate severe symptoms of mental health disorders.
Choose to Focus on the Future
You have every right to grieve what you have lost and to feel many negative emotions during a divorce. Yet, at a certain point, you should be ready to move on with your life. This may require a conscious choice or effort on your part to focus on your future rather than the past. As you begin to overcome the grieving process, you will have more energy to dedicate to building the future that you want. Picture where you want to be and take actionable steps toward achieving your goals. Choose to see the end of your relationship as the beginning of your new life.
Have a Positive Mental Attitude
Remember that your divorce will not last forever, and that you are not only a product of your past. You have the power to shape your future – and you can do so with a positive mental attitude. Trust that good things are coming your way. In the meantime, surround yourself with people who support you, make you laugh and give off positive energy. This can help you combat feelings of loneliness and stress. Self-care such as listening to music, eating healthy meals, getting fresh air and exercise, and watching funny or inspirational movies can also help you take control of your mental health during a divorce.