Expert-led Q+As on dealing with divorce and anxiety
THE DOCTOR SAYS…
AIT’S EASY TO BECOME stressed and angry during a divorce, regardless of what caused the end of the marriage. There can be issues related to child custody, the pressure of ensuring that your kids adapt as seamlessly as possible, unanticipated financial realities, new living arrangements and the challenges of dating.
In the new age of social media, there is the near-impossible task of preventing status updates and pictures of social events with shared friends that can set the tone of your day if you let it – and that’s for the remotely amicable separations. Add infidelity, abuse or financial mismanagement to the situation and it’s easy to understand how quickly one can become overwhelmed.
The key to staying grounded during this difficult time is to make sure that you take care of yourself. It can be easy to lose sight of your own needs during an inordinate amount of change. Make sure to get enough rest, eat properly, exercise regularly and build a good support group- around you. This support can come from friends and family, but if that isn’t an option, look for support groups or seek counselling.
As key as it is to find good coping strategies, avoiding bad ones is equally important. Drugs and alcohol can seem like quick fixes, but this type of behaviour can spiral out of control quite quickly. It’s also important to avoid destructive interactions with your ex – something that can become easy to do online. Remember that these interactions live forever, and you don’t want a permanent memorial of what is usually a temporary emotional state.
That doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to be angry, sad, jealous or lonely. All of these emotions are perfectly normal, and it’s OK to feel out of control and overwhelmed. Give yourself permission to feel and perhaps even grieve. What isn’t possible, though, is to control another person’s behaviour, and that may be something you need to let go of to move on.
Eventually, you will achieve closure and embrace the changes in your life. If, after some time, that isn’t happening, you may need to seek professional help, and it’s important to not be afraid to ask for it. There isn’t a right way to experience this type of upheaval, but remember to be kind to yourself, take time to have fun and embrace a future full of possibilities.
AS KEY AS IT IS TO FIND GOOD COPING STRATEGIES, AVOIDING BAD ONES IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT.