How an Ugly Divorce Can Affect Your Mental Health

How an Ugly Divorce Can Affect Your Mental Health

By Lisa RisnerNovember 16, 2021

Divorce is stressful at the best of times, but a messy divorce can make things much worse. Even if a divorce is the best option for you as a couple, there’s no denying that separating your life from a former spouse takes a lot of time and energy. Therefore, a reliable divorce mediation service is what you need.

Divorce mediation can help you get through a divorce more quickly and with less legal procedure, making things easier on you and any children you have.

Physical and Emotional Aspects of Divorce

The Stages of Grief

You may be familiar with the five stages of grief, which chart the grieving process as it cycles through various emotions. 

These stages also apply to divorce, which mental health professionals often characterize as a loss. It’s widely considered one of the most stressful potential events in a person’s life, and rightfully so.

The stages of grief are as follows:

  • Denial 
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance 

Passing through the various stages can cause a lot of inner turmoil and confusing feelings. It can be helpful to look at literature about grieving. It’s also comforting to know that acceptance is at the other end of the process. 

Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression are two very different mental health concerns, but they often show up together. After a significant event like divorce, they can start affecting your life in ways large and small.

Anxiety involves excessive nervousness, racing thoughts, and worrying. Anxious thoughts can circle around and around in your head, preventing you from relaxing or sleeping well. Feelings of fear can encroach upon your daily life.

Depression, on the other hand, often comes with fatigue, a lack of interest in everyday life, and pessimism. There are many other symptoms, however, and they can manifest differently in different people.

Some people are more prone to one than another, while others will experience both. While divorce can cause these mental health issues temporarily, many people bounce back. Others can experience occasional bouts of anxiety or depression throughout their lives.

Substance Abuse

Some individuals turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with the pain of divorce. Self-medicating can distract people from overwhelming emotions in the short term, but it can also cause long-term problems.

Escalating drug and alcohol use can lead to problems with your job, relationships other than your marriage, and even physical health issues.

Seeking a numb feeling or an escape from daily life can escalate from an unhealthy coping mechanism into substance abuse. Some studies have shown that divorced people, particularly men, have higher rates of substance abuse. 

Major Weight Gain or Loss

It’s common to see a significant change in weight after a divorce. Major disruptions to your life can complicate your relationship with food. People dealing with the stress of divorce can struggle to eat on a regular schedule.

For some people, it can take the form of overeating or binge eating. Others may lose their appetites and find it hard to eat enough food when under stress.

An eating disorder is a physical manifestation of mental health issues. The effects can be physical, however. Both undereating and overeating can have negative health effects. Sudden, major changes to your weight can be hard on your body. 

Children’s Well-being

In addition to having emotional impacts on the spouses involved, a long, ugly divorce can also affect your children’s mental and emotional health.

A lack of stability can cause confusion and anxiety for children as they adjust to a new lifestyle.

Messy divorces, especially those that take place publicly in court, can expose children to fighting between their parents. Court battles are stressful not just to the parents, but also to children, who can pick up on the tension between their parents.

Divorce doesn’t have to be hard on your children. If you prioritize them and avoid putting them in the middle of your arguments, you can make them feel loved and supported even through a divorce.

Taking Charge of Your Divorce and Mental Health

Though divorce can have plenty of negative mental health effects, not everyone will experience them to the same degree. It’s possible to work through feelings of stress or anger in a healthy manner.

By turning to your loved ones and practicing healthy coping mechanisms, you can get through divorce with a positive outlook.

If you’re struggling to manage your emotions, you may experience some of these mental health concerns or find yourself turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Counseling and therapy can help you cope with negative feelings brought about by divorce. Instead of suffering alone, you can turn to a mental health expert with experience helping others navigate their feelings.

Learning positive coping skills or even just having someone to talk to can significantly improve your mental health.

Taking your divorce to court can result in a messy divorce that causes stress for you, your ex-spouse, and your children. For many couples, mediation is a less painful alternative. 

The Benefits of Mediation

Divorce is hard no matter what, but you can make it easier for yourself by making sure you have as much control over the process as possible.

Mediation is an informal process led by someone trained in conflict resolution as well as legal matters. Instead of leaving yourself at the mercy of court scheduling, you can set up appointment times that work for you.

Mediation is a private affair, and it ends more quickly than a court trial because it all depends on you and your spouse to reach an agreement. Instead of turning to a judge to make decisions about your divorce, you can work them out together.

With our divorce mediation, Newport Beach couples can be sure to have a professional to help them understand the process of separating fairly. Our team is available to help you talk through your divorce and reach a settlement.

Divorce mediation often goes more smoothly than divorce trials. It is often easier to express your needs and argue for what you want when you are speaking directly with your spouse instead of dealing with a court system.

For an affordable divorce mediation service, contact us at the Divorce Mediation of California today!

369 San Miguel Dr #100, Newport Beach, 
CA 92660, USA
© 2024 Divorce Mediation of California, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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