Depression during divorce or breakup is one of the most difficult things to go through, next to mourning the loss of a loved one. In many ways, pain resulting from breakup is very similar to the pain of mourning death.
This blog post is written for those hurting due to divorce or breakup. We’ve all been there. You will be fine.
Divorce or breakup will leave you with a mix of terrible thoughts and feelings such as loss, guilt, pain, fear, sadness, doom, loneliness and many others.
Each person deals with divorce or breaking up with someone in different ways. You may feel you’re the only one in the world going through this horrendous pain of a relationship ending, but I assure you, you’re not alone.
I’m blessed to have the close friends and family I have. One person in particular, Tina, has been incredibly helpful. I am more solid today because of my close group of friends. Thanks to Matt, Gwen, Eric, Dave, Cecilia and my family as well.
These amazing people have been dropping me texts of wisdom, along with uplifting conversation over the phone and in person. It helps a lot to get different perspectives and encouragement, especially since they have been through similar situations.
I think back to all the nasty things I was told about myself by the one who should care about me the most. I’m realizing I’m better than that and she was wrong. That is hard to realize, trust me, especially when you have been hearing it for years.
Whether you believe it or not, everyone you see on the road, on tv, hear on the radio, or anywhere in the world, has problems. Everyone suffers from loneliness, financial issues, depression, etc. Everyone feels bad at one time or another. You may feel you’re the only one in the world to feel these things but you’re not.
When I was 24, my best friend was killed by a drunk driver. Don was 23 when he was killed, leaving behind a wife and 2 little boys. We met at an audition for music years before. Guitar players first and best friends soon after, we were inseparable. Words cannot describe the pain of knowing you’ll never speak to your best friend again. The worst part of that terrible night? I was on the phone with him moments before the drunk driver ran him over. We hung up and he died 20 minutes later while going for a walk. If only we had stayed on the phone 20 seconds longer or shorter, he would be here today. I carried that guilt for a few years.
Years later, a girlfriend at the time made life really difficult for me, and ultimately ended the relationship after finding someone else. That same week, a friend of mine died of a heart attack. He was 27, as was I. A week after that, the company I worked for had a massive layoff. A triple destruction mentally. That month was one of the worst of my life. I didn’t care if I lived or died to be honest. Time heals and it took weeks.
I vowed to never get close to anyone again. I needed to protect myself. People said you shouldn’t shut yourself away from others but I had no choice at the time. I’m incredibly strong but it was too much. I didn’t want to feel that insanity pain ever again. I remember walking in the rain for hours, late at night. That’s where my mind was. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, and was very much dead inside.
Fast forward years later, I’m currently married with 2 wonderful boys. Kids are unconditional love, along with your dogs or cats. I don’t believe there is a growing apart from your kids, as there can be with friends or a spouse.
I have been involved in a relationship that turned to marriage for over a decade. Sure, there are issues in every relationship, but this one had me thinking many times. I was always blamed, as the words were twisted to suit her story. If I had $1 for every time I said “that’s not what I said”, my house would be paid off.
She accused me of being verbally abusive, when, she was the one blaming me for everything. I started to question myself over time and I felt terrible most of the time. That’s the funny part. You don’t think they’re lies because the person who is supposed to care about you the most is saying these things to you. Why would someone who’s supposed to love you treat you so badly? I was always told I was the bad one.
The longer you stay with someone, the more comfortable you become, and the harder it is to leave. This is one reason women (and even men) stay in a relationship they shouldn’t be in…even if they’re beaten.
I have a handful of close friends. My coworkers know my work ethic. I go the extra mile and treat people well. These people understand me more than my spouse does. Sad.
My spouse is the only one who saw me in a bad light or had negative things to say about me. Very rarely did she mention anything good I did. Very rarely did she show an interest in what I was involved in. I’m not saying you need to have the same hobbies. I’m saying there was no input, even when I asked for it, even when I wanted help.
This all has a point to it….read on….
I tried speaking with her on why she doesn’t acknowledge what I do or have an interest in what I do. By the way, those things I do help put food on the table. Outside of my long day job, I work on 2 or 3 YouTube channels for extra income.
I certainly don’t need approval or anyone to tell me my work is good. I don’t like fake anything. I’m black and white honest. Feedback is nice, good or bad, as it helps someone progress. It’s important to support the person you love.
She told me, “You need to be in the spotlight and have everyone tell you how good you are at what you do.” That statement confused and hurt because it couldn’t be further from the truth as to who I am. She doesn’t know me, even after all these years.
She mocked my feelings, saying, “look at me, my feelings are hurt, I have feelings, poor me.” She made faces as she said this, as if she was in 2nd grade. This was hard to hear. It was at that moment I realized this is not the person I should be with. I felt it deep inside. I felt another piece of armor applied as another wall was put up, separating me from the insults. I started to close up, not wanting to talk, and buried myself in my work.
You will feel it deep inside when enough is enough.
I hate attention and tend to lead a private life. In fact, I used to be in bands, playing guitar, and hated being on stage. I was so nervous. I hated the spotlight, literally and figuratively. I don’t care to talk about myself much. I’m pretty private unless someone really takes interest and I’m close to them.
My spouse accused me of doing things I was not doing and had a long history of twisting my words. Her thoughts were not justified.
Here are some examples of the insanity I dealt with:
- Take a shower after work because I walk 2 miles from the job to the train. I’m sweaty and want to get clean, but she thought I had something to hide. I never gave her a reason to believe this. How do you defend yourself against something you aren’t doing? She told me her girl magazines said that’s what showers after work mean. So now I’m a statistic.
- She saw me driving around the park a few minutes after work. I was listening to a song and wanted to hear the end of it. I know I’m the only one who does that. I know that sounds odd. She accused me of being on the phone with someone and there was nothing I could say to convince her otherwise. In fact, she yelled at me saying she wanted a divorce as soon as I got home.
- While taking out the trash, I entered the house the same time she entered the kitchen. She asked what I was doing and who I was talking to in the garage? I was talking to no one. I was putting trash on the curb. She demanded to know who I was talking to. I was literally outside for maybe 5 minutes. Once again, defending myself against things that don’t exist.
- I never knew if texts from her were going to be normal or accusatory. My first thought would be, “what did I do now?” I’ve never given her reason to doubt me.
Fast forward to the last 3 months of 2018. Daily arguing.
I wanted to talk about us and she refused, ignoring me like I was a ghost. She kept silent for minutes at a time. Did you know that’s a form of verbal abuse? It is. Other times she put words in my mouth or rearranged words to suit her, saying again, I’m verbally abusing her. This was normal life. No talking. Was she aware of what she was doing? Was I the crazy one? This is known as gas lighting. Look it up. Gas lighting is manipulative emotional abuse.
Then, 3am on new years day, 2019, it came to a head. She attacked me. I didn’t lay a hand on her and never have. I never defended myself when she got out of control and threw things or attacked. I noticed what really fueled her is when her emotions started to surface. She couldn’t handle them and got more upset at me.
That night, she threw things at me, bashed pots on the counter and knocked me to the ground. I sustained injuries. The kids were asleep upstairs and later told me they heard the racket. Wonderful. This isn’t the first time they witnessed an attack.
I called the police. I wanted someone to talk to her. I was tired of the mental crap and arguing, and now the attack. 4 police officers and 3 squad cars showed up within minutes. After a thorough investigation of about 90 minutes, they took her away after seeing my injuries. The officers said, “this no longer concerns you. This is now between the state and her.”
Domestic violence is a huge issue with incredibly strict laws. The court has placed an order of protection where she is not to contact me or come near the house for 2.5 months…until her court date. It could be longer until this is done. This is for my protection. I couldn’t stop the order of protection against my spouse if I wanted to. I can’t drop domestic violence charges if I wanted to. It’s out of my hands, as domestic violence is very strict. Funny thing is, she blames me for this happening to her.
My spouse has threatened divorce every 6 months for years but never followed through with it. Many people get divorced because they’re tired of being threatened with divorce. This is a form of verbal abuse. You should never threaten divorce to get an upper hand in arguing.
Adjusting to life after a divorce or breakup can take anywhere from a few weeks to many years. During that time, you will experience a range of emotions. You may also be more susceptible to certain conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and various physical conditions.
CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO SERIES ON YOUTUBE THAT HELPED ME A LOT!
Depression following divorce can occur with other behaviors, such as:
Ignoring responsibilities or avoiding family and friends
Performing poorly at work due to a lack of focus
Severe fatigue due to mental exhaustion
Body aches and pains such and pinched nerves
Talking to a counselor who can recommend a course of action or a support network of close friends or family will definitely help.
Symptoms of depression:
Most people associate sadness with depression. Sadness is only one of several symptoms of depression. Other symptoms common in clinical and situational depression include:
Loss of appetite
Loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed and hobbies
Trouble sleeping or insomnia
Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism, as well as a lost sense of worthiness
Suicidal thoughts and even attempts
A diagnosis of depression requires that at least five of the above symptoms be present.
Men and women experience depression differently. Depression in women often manifests as sadness, worthlessness and guilt. The symptoms of depression in men range from irritability and difficulty sleeping to binge drinking or using drugs. In general, women are more likely to experience depression after divorce than men. Men are less likely to talk openly about their depression. This varies from person to person of course.
As for me, I have started smoking cigarettes again, having quit cold 10 years ago. I know it’s bad and I will stop. Right now it helps clear my head.
When to see a doctor when depressed
If you’re having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). It can be easier to open up about your feelings to a non-judgmental person who you don’t know over the phone than to a person you do know. This person can help you get past the thought of giving up.
Call your doctor to schedule an appointment if you have the symptoms of depression for more than two weeks. When preparing for your appointment, bring a friend along if you need support. Write down your main symptoms and bring this list with you. Also, write down any medication or supplements you take.
Your doctor may prescribe:
Alternative treatments, such as acupuncture or massage therapy
Relaxation techniques such as yoga or a sports class
Talk to your doctor, but also friends and family members, especially those who know your spouse or significant other.
Divorce affects more than just the couple. It affects the children and your family network and friends. Having a support network as you go through this process is important.
I have been told not to stay in a relationship for the kids. You don’t want your kids seeing arguing or physical attacks. This will stay with them forever. It will hurt them and confuse them, but a separation will bring peace to you and the kids over time.
A lot of people say to stay in a relationship because of the kids. From what I have learned from others, this is wrong. Kids are resilient and you don’t want them subjected to fighting. Yes, lives will change, along with living arrangements, but in the end, it’s for the best if things can’t be resolved.
You’ll have many feelings and processing them will take a lot of energy. Mental stress will leave you feeling more tired than usual.
Here are some tips for getting on a path to recovery after a breakup:
Write in a journal. It’s good practice to write down your thoughts. Don’t hold back. If you need closure of some kind, consider writing a letter to your ex as another way to purge your feelings. You don’t have to send the letter to them. Just getting thoughts or pain out on paper will help you immensely. DON’T HOLD BACK! SAY EXACTLY WHAT YOU FEEL EVEN IF IT IS JUST RAMBLING ENDLESSLY. You will be amazed at how well writing your feelings on paper helps. Paper and pen or pencil works better than typing by the way.
Make things disappear!
This really works. Get a large box and put everything in it that reminds you of your EX! I don’t care what it is….it goes in the box! I put pictures, picture frames, long sleeve shirts, shorts, the hoody you wore, the toaster you picked out together, you get the idea. I don’t care what it is, it goes in the box if it remotely reminds you of that person. Once done, your room will be clean and you will feel really good. TRY IT! I opened the box a couple years later and felt no pain associated with the items. In fact, I forgot all about the box.
Exercise even when you don’t feel like it. Research shows that between 20 to 40 minutes of brisk walking three times per week helps to ease the symptoms of depression.
You may be drawn to comfort foods or alcohol more than usual. Keep healthy foods around. Rather than having unhealthy foods or alcohol, treat yourself to wholesome snacks, such as dark chocolate.
Pamper yourself by taking a long, uninterrupted bath or watching a feel-good movie. If you have children, arrange for an hour or two of babysitting so that you can have the time to do this.
You may have less energy during this period of adjustment. If people offer to help you with preparing meals, watching your children, or household chores, say yes. You can return the favor later.
Being around people may be the last thing you want to do, but it can help you cope with any emotions you’re having. Spend time with people who can provide a listening ear but who are also willing to help change your state of mind when necessary.
Sleep, although it’s hard to
Depression increases the risk of insomnia and insomnia, in turn, increases your risk for depression. If you have trouble falling asleep, adopt a night routine that will help calm your body and mind, such as having a cup of chamomile tea, taking a bath or shower before bed, or reading a book. Avoid using electronic screens because they can prevent you from settling to sleep.
YouTube is loaded with funny videos of whatever you can imagine. This will help a lot so please do it.
You’ll have many feelings and thoughts to process after a divorce, separation or any breakup. You can get through it and find a new normal without your spouse. Setting small goals every day helps. In the beginning, the feelings of emptiness are overwhelming. You will doubt your actions, feel like a loser and wonder if you will ever find anyone else again. Everything thinks this. You may feel worthless, not attractive or not fun. Remember, you weren’t feeling like this when times were good. Why are you feeling that way now? It’s because you’re in a bad spot and alone. It’s not your fault. Your self esteem has taken a hit and you firmly believe you’re the only one in the world who’s been where you are now. Nothing can be further from the truth. Millions of people throughout history were where you are now. People in the future will be where you are now.
I know you don’t feel like doing anything but you need to keep moving. I play guitar and I didn’t want to at all. I forced myself to play and it helped. Involve yourself in things you love.
Another thing you can do, if you have time and the experience, is to get a puppy or kitten. Animals will love you unconditional and provide company. They are amazing.
I went on the porch many nights and gazed out over nothing, while smoking cigarettes. At that place I talked to God, as I do, and that made me feel a lot better after about 20 minutes.
For now, focus on you. Enjoy the silence. Enjoy not fighting or arguing. Enjoy your friends and family and loved ones. I know you miss that person, or maybe you miss the daily routine, but there are also things to enjoy, such as the no fighting part. More than likely you just miss someone being there physically.
GET A SUPPORT GROUP!
Your friends and family are the closest to you. You will find who is closest to you through this process of divorce or breakup. Realize your friends and family may not know what to tell you. I have been told they want to check up on me but don’t want to hurt me by bringing it up. It won’t hurt me. It helps to hear they care.
You are never alone even if you feel like you are
If someone left you for someone else, that really sucks! Trust me. My brother told me long ago that if you hate the person who took your significant other from you, the best revenge you can get is to let that person have your EX. Maybe that made you smile. In the end, if they left you for someone else, you deserve better. If they left you because they always find fault with you or you can never do anything right or they accuse you of things you’re not doing….you need to think things over. That’s not love.
It has taken some time for me to realize I’m a good person. A really good person. People value me at work. I’m the go to person if anyone has issues or they need to talk. I go the extra mile, am always driven and research to find the resolution to problems I have. That could be anything from fixing the furnace to the car to the washing machine. I’m always doing and finding ways to make things work. The person I was with didn’t seem to appreciate that. Instead, I got accused of doing things I wasn’t doing. I’m mentally beat. I tried to fix it, as that’s what I do, but you can’t fix people, especially if they aren’t willing to listen.
Isn’t it weird that the person who says nasty false things about you is the person you wind up believing and getting hurt by the most? How could 50 people value you, but that one person says hurtful things and that’s what you pay attention to most? Stupid how that works. It’s called being in a comfort zone.
Not giving up is the most important thing. On the days when nothing seems to work, remind yourself that you’re worth it. Make that your starting point for the days to come.
I hope this write-up didn’t bore you. I hope it helped you. It will take time. I know a handful of people who’ve gone through divorce. It’s rough. If you have just one person you can lean on, it will make things so much better for you. Luckily I have that.
I have heard from many people that you can always make more money but you can never get back more time. It’s a rough decision but you are here for a limited time on earth. If you’re unhappy, change it. If the person you were with doesn’t want to be with you or talk things out, it’s not your fault. Don’t dwell on the WHAT IF’s. Don’t dwell on depression. Depression will kill you mentally or physically. Stress will kill you mentally and physically.
By all means, cry as much as you need to. Do what you need to do. I’m doing so much better than expected mainly due to my awesome support group.
Hopefully this has helped.
GOOD LUCK! Any questions let me know!
THANKS FOR READING!
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