Divorce Help: 10 tips for handling divorce depression: Where to go for help and how you can help yourself

HELP WITH DIVORCE DEPRESSION: Advice for those experiencing emotional turmoil after divorce – How do you cope? Where do you go for help?
When my beloved cat died this Summer, I was, and still am, overwhelmed with sadness. We weren’t married, obviously and this wasn’t a divorce. But I felt bereft, adrift, empty, cheated, maybe even a little bit angry. Angry at whom? Not sure. Just the Universe. For taking my love away. He’s a big loss in my life and it is the first time I can honestly say I know what it feels like to lose someone you love.
It made me think about divorce in a whole different context. I came to see that divorce must be a form of death, an end, that can be just as painful as when someone you love, or something you love, dies. And when that happens, many people can go into divorce depression that can last for months or longer. They need help handling their emotions and transitioning to a post-divorce life that is happy, peaceful and free.
For many people, depression is a natural consequence of divorce. For some people, divorce is a natural consequence of depression. But as one article I was reading about divorce and depression pointed out, with the latter, the connection is not always linear. It’s  not like someone is going to come in and say “my wife is depressed therefore I slept with her best friend.” Rather, it is a more circuitous path that leads to the adultery. A spouse becomes depressed and the other reaches for comfort in the arms of someone familiar and available; and this leads to a breakdown of the marriage. Or a spouse is depressed and the two just grow apart, stop talking to each other, stop doing things with each other, and the next thing you know, they are not bonded anymore. And then, boom. Divorce.
Whatever the reason for couples to make the decision to get a divorce, it is often very hard to deal with divorce emotionally, isn’t it? Of course, not everyone experiences this difficulty in making the transition, but many people do. They feel, literally, that someone has died and they go through this grieving process that leads to them feeling powerless, isolated and alone. They eventually could even begin to think self-destructively about things like suicide, drug use or other self-mutilation and destructive behavior.
It is a downward spiral that can often get worse before it gets better. What can a person do to combat depression after a divorce? There are a number of things. One is to seek the help of a psychiatrist if the problem is so overwhelming that thoughts of suicide and other self-destructive ideas become a recurring theme. But maybe it hasn’t reach the point of no return as yet. Well there are a number of little things that might help:
1. Take up a hobby like painting, reading, gardening, cooking.
2. Stay close to family and friends; seek their counsel, companionship and advice. 
3. Go out and meet new people; travel, take classes, volunteer, join groups or associations you are interested in.
4. Accept and admit the pain you are feeling about the divorce; try not to numb the pain but to sort of genuflect to it and own it. It hurts a lot less than if you fight what you are feeling.
5. Give yourself permission to be angry, saddened or whatever emotion you are feeling towards the ex; but don’t let your emotions run out of control and cause you to take any action that is self-destructive.
6. You were not perfect in the marriage; admit that to yourself. Journal and meditate and think through it till you no longer feel like a victim, but empowered by your own imperfections.
7. Find something to believe in spiritually and tap into it and follow it; and talk to your priest, clergy or other religious guide.
8. Start to plan a future you would love to have but you think may not be possible at the moment; dream about a new life that is your new dream life and put it to paper and write out the steps it will take to achieve it.
9. Throw out stuff from your past life that are reminding you of the past with your ex and that is taking up space but serves no useful purpose. Have a garage/tag sale, or just give things away. Shred other things and box those you can’t bear to part with.
10. Count your blessings; when you focus solely on your loss and what you don’t have, you can be very miserable. Try to think positively and remember all your blessings, even the little ones like the fact that you have two eyes and you can see; or you have two feet and you can walk. Some people don’t have that much and usually, they are very happy compared to the rest of the population. So focus on your blessings; or barring that, focus on something or someone other than yourself and your divorce.
Check out these links. I found some great tips here, here, and here.

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