Divorce is one of the most stressful life changing events that a person may ever experience in a lifetime. It rates right up there with death of a spouse. Whatever the circumstances divorce will most often cause a volcano of emotions to erupt inside of you. There are just so many thoughts, emotions, and feelings that rise to the surface. Anger, fear, heartache, helplessness, sadness, loss, guilt, worthlessness and even powerlessness. When these thoughts, emotions, and feelings linger on you are usually diagnosed by your physician with depression. Everyone’s experience with depression is different. Here are some of the things I experienced myself when I was going through seperation and filing for divorce.
I dreaded going to bed at night because I didn’t want to wake up to another day. Was scared, felt isolated and all alone. I often had insomnia was exhausted and would stay up crying all night. Would awake thinking that I was just having a bad dream and this couldn’t really be my life. Did not want to get out of bed in the morning and play the scenario over again in my mind. The thought of food made me sick and I had no appetite. There was this terrible pain in my heart and right in the pit of my stomach that stayed for about a month. My mind was in a fog. I walked around in a state of shock for three weeks. Could only deal with things in the moment and one thing at a time. A lot of screaming, crying, and trying to dumb the pain with drinking wine at night. My thinking was slower and so were my movements. I felt as though I had fallen into a deep dark hole and couldn’t climb out.
Fortunately for me I knew I needed to see my doctor and get help. My doctor put me on medication to help with the depression and also gave me a sleeping pill to take short term. I had found a Licensed Social Worker that counseled people going through divorce and scheduled an appointment. After three appointments I had not made any progress and had determined that the three hours was a waste of time and money. In fact I felt, I might as well be talking to my mom, sisters, or friends. Having someone that just agreed with me wasn’t what I needed. It was just keeping me stuck there in that deep dark hole.
Next my son referred me to a Hypnotist that was a friend of his. So after talking to my doctor I decided to schedule an appointment. Needless to say she did help me bring a few things to the surface but there were things I held back because of her friendship with my son. Our brains are so powerful and it is so important that we find the right coaches and counselors that are trained specifically to work with people going through divorce. I was in so much pain as my ex-husband had just left me for a much younger woman. They had been involved for many months. The choice was made for me and there was nothing to go back to. Thirty years of marriage gone just like that! The rug was literally pulled out from under my life. Having someone that was professionally trained to coach me through every aspect of divorce would have been priceless.
Although, never once did the thought of suicide enter my mind. I think as a mother and a grandmother at the time I just had too much to live for. My children and my family are my life. Parker my oldest grandson was two at the time and I had babysit him from the time he was a newborn. So our bond was so very close. Ironically my marriage was ending but God was about to bless me with two new grandchildren. Madison Dawn was born on September 9, 2014 and Benjamin John was born on September 11th, 2014. My divorce was final October 8, 2014. From that point on I moved forward with my life and never looked back. I have always looked at it like a new beginning. How many people get the chance to start life over again? It is so true that sometimes the universe, God, higher power, or whatever you believe in will do what we cannot or will not do for ourselves. That’s what happened to me. God took me out of an unhealthy marriage because he had a bigger plan for my life. So fortunately for me suicide never crossed my mind.
However unfortunately that is not always the case recently famous designer Kate Spade took her life as a result of suicide. Andy Spade, her husband said Kate had battled depression and anxiety for many years. Law enforcement revealed that Kate had become severely depressed in her last days because Andy had wanted a divorce and Kate had not. The couple were not living together at the time of her death and were separated for ten months. It is heartbreaking to think that a woman that seemed to have so much going for her in life would choose to end her life this way.
After doing some research on divorce and suicide I found The National Institute for Healthcare Research in Rockville, M.D. Their research indicates that divorced people are three times more likely to commit suicide as people who are married. Divorce ranks as the number one factor linked with suicide rates in major U.S. cities. Statistics also show that women are more likely to attempt suicide but men are more likely to succeed.
DANGER SIGNS TO WATCH FOR POSTED FROM NATIONAL INSTITUE HEALTHCARE RESEARCH
Here are some signs that a person may be thinking of suicide:
Giving away prized possessions. Speaking in an unusual way about deep feelings for a person, or particularly a succession of people. Increased drug or alcohol use. Sleeping too much or too little. Withdrawing from friends. Withdrawing from social activities. Making out a will, making funeral arrangements, etc. Loss of interest in personal appearance. Risky behaviors and thrill-seeking. Dwelling on death or suicide in poetry, music, art or creative writing. Paradoxically, a suddenly elevated mood (sometimes people actually cheer up when they’ve made up their mind to kill themselves, as if a burden has been lifted.)
Also be aware of the words a suicidal person may use. I think it’s time to end it all. I think I may just check out. I don’t think I can take this anymore. Life isn’t worthwhile or life isn’t worth living anymore. Life stinks and I’m tired of it. I sometimes just want to die. Sometimes I just want to sleep forever. They’ll be sorry when I’m gone. I’m so worthless. I think the pain will be over soon. Life is more complicated for everybody because of me.
Obviously many of these thoughts and behaviors may occur in people who may not be suicidal but may be dealing with depression. If you or someone you know is suicidal or have thoughts about killing yourself, please reach out for professional help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. They can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.
The end of a marriage is comparable to the pain and heartbreak of losing a loved one. It is the death of a marriage and you must allow yourself time to grief the loss. You are mourning the loss of hopes, dreams, family, and friends. You may feel lonely and frightened. Starting life over can be challenging. There may be the fear that you will never fine love again. This is a time you may question who you were and who you are now.
The truth is it takes time to heal and there is simply no fast fix. You must be patient and give yourself time. Right now you are exactly where you are supposed to be at this place and time. There are simply no accidents or coincidences in this lifetime. Underneath your heart is still beating and it is still full of love. No matter how you feel now you will heal and your life will continue.
However if you are experiencing symptoms of depression and they are not going away you should consult your doctor. Never be ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help. We are all gloriously human and need help and support at times in our lives. Remember these feeling are probably just temporary.
Divorce can open a world of new opportunities. It’s time to reevaluate where you are in your life and where you want to from here. You deserve to heal from the hurt and pain and be free from the negative emotions of the past. There is a new life waiting just for you. Your divorce can be life-changing. It will not always be easy. You will have to do the self-work and self-care to get there. The first step is investing in yourself!
As a CDC Certified Divorce & Life Coach I can help you step into your best self, create a life that you love, and heal from the pain.
Schedule your complimentary consultation today at LeslieWelchDivorceCoach.com or call 770-790-8392.