in search of Divorce Advice: STRUGGLING WITH DIVORCE DEPRESSION WHEN WILL I GET TO A POINT OF ACCEPTANCE?
Question: Will Divorce Depression last forever? How Can I get past this feeling of loss?
Answer: by Marion TD Lewis filed in Divorce Advice/Q&A
Well, giving divorce advice often calls on me to wear many hats and one of those hats is that of a shrink. Even when I practiced law as a divorce attorney in New York, clients expected a lot of emotional support from me and not just help dividing up their assets. It is very sensitive and it is very tough because obviously, I am not a shrink and I am probably the last person to be dispensing advice that requires the expertise of professional shrinks – especially on this topic.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let me try to tackle this question about divorce depression as best I can. Many people struggle with depression after divorce and they often need help dealing with this depression.
I would think divorce depression like a lot of other bouts of depression – which tend not to be a whole lot of fun – is tough on the person going through it. We have all been less than happy at one point or another in our lives. But with divorce depression, there is a specific catalyst for it – the divorce – but the result is the same: you feel crappy and unhappy; you feel worthless and useless and hopeless; you are crying and you are sad and you are moping and you can’t get out of bed and you feel heavy and you don’t want to eat and you have this awful sense of emptiness inside as if the sun will never come out again. You just can’t deal. You can’t cope. You don’t think you ever will.
This could actually reach really deep and seriously, you may need professional intervention from experts because you could be clinically depressed and need medication or to be monitored. So this could be serious and should not be taken lightly.
If it is just a basic bout of this mental menace, though, then you just have to accept that this is a process you are going through and is going to take time. That is to say that you are not going to just be able to ACCEPT the divorce right away. This was your marriage, your happily ever after, your life. OK? And it fell apart. OK? Of course you are sad about it. And me or anybody telling you how to achieve ACCEPTANCE right away is getting ahead of ourselves because so much has to happen in between before this wound heals.
You are going to feel ALONE and you are going to blame yourself and your spouse and you are going to feel like nobody will ever love you again and you are going to doubt you were ever loved in the first place. You will throw yourself a pity party.
This will pass.
Then you are going to feel this RAGE and anger that, hey, this person actually left me. This person abandoned me and our marriage and our commitment and left me with these kids (or took your kids as the case may be) and cheated me out of my fair share of our economic partnership and I am MAD AS HELL and I am not going to take it anymore! You may even find yourself thinking that you want your REVENGE against this person and you start to plot ways to get your vengeance known and felt. (I would advise you not to act on any of these feelings, by the way).
This too will pass.
You will find yourself going back and forth with these stages of GRIEF for the end of your marriage. Sometimes you may even fantasize about a reconciliation and think to yourself “if only I had done such and such” or “maybe he will come back and I will get a second chance.” Then you will realize that it is really over and the divorce depression will start to really sink in. It will just take a grip and you begin to feel afraid it will never let go.
This too will pass.
But the stages of divorce depression could take a while to work themselves out in your mind. Meanwhile there are probably going to be PHYSICAL evidence of your depression such as weight gain or weight loss or looking “ravaged” or just smoking or drinking too much and doing too little exercise.
But one day, this too will pass and you will wake up and realize “oh my gosh, the sun came out today!”
And it will be the beginning of your ACCEPTANCE of your marriage having ended and time to move on with the rest of your life and the rest of your living.
So my divorce advice for divorce depression is: GIVE IT TIME and also take it step by step; day by day. And see a professional if you can. There is no shame in getting help if you need it.