Life After Divorce: Your Friends & Your Health
Divorce, for most people, is traumatic. Don’t do it alone. The intensity of loss during a divorce, the change, even the future, all create overwhelming emotions. Pay attention to your health, and have a reliable support group.
During divorce, depression and anxiety are high risk factors for women as well. The emotional impact of divorce, combined with the financial stress, can lead many women into greater levels of anxiety and depression. None of this has any positive impact on the rest of your body, and it becomes a dangerous catch-22: you can’t be happier until you are out of the marriage; you can’t overcome anxiety until you regain your financial stability; you can’t manage the depression until you feel less alone. It does get better, but the trick is balancing everything, and as research shows, it takes much longer for women to recover from the effects of divorce.
What can a girl do? There are ways to cope. First, visit your doctor. A physician who knows and understands that you are divorcing and the impact this can have on your health, can look for warning signs and get you the preventative medicine or strategies you need. Second, build that support group. Typically, women are a little better about discussing their feelings. Your insurance and gym membership might change or decline after a divorce, but a group of friends who encourage you and help you can bolster you during those times of high stress. Third, be sure you have the professional legal and, if possible, financial help you need. This sounds like a shameless plug, however, having an experienced attorney does take the pressure off at least in some ways: a good lawyer knows when to remind of you things like paperwork, will be looking for the best possible situation for you, and will have all the legal issues covered. In many cases, a good lawyer also knows who in town is the best therapist, the best CPA, the best realtor, etc.
Men tend to try to do everything alone as a show of their masculinity, but no man is an island, right? Men feel pressure to stay stoic, when emotionally they feel the same loss as their former spouses and children might. Studies show men who divorce are more likely to have some pretty serious health issues. Cancer, heart disease, alcoholism, and depression all top the list of concerns. These issues, largely, can be traced back to the psychological effects of divorce. Men aren’t robots. They do not have hearts of stone, however much an ex might insist. Repressing emotions or engaging in risky behaviors all can lead to health issues: depression, alcoholism, drug abuse. Guys, feel the feelings. You don’t have to pretend they aren’t there; you don’t have to find temporary fixes in order to be “manly.”
Even if the divorce is a relief, life still changes, grief and stress remain, and moving forward requires support and taking care of yourself. It’s about to get better. We’re here to help.