Taking care of yourself after separation and divorce.
Major changes in relationships, such as separation and divorce can be a trigger for depression after separation and divorce. That’s why it’s important to consider the mental health impacts of such circumstances to avoid more significant problems in the future including:
- the risks and impact of depression on separating parents
- the importance of looking after yourself
- where to go for help.
Separation can be a tough time. Parents who are separating face big challenges in their life, such as:
- moving houses
- spending more or less time with their children
- feeling lonely or overwhelmed
- having less money to spend.
They may also go through stages of feeling angry, guilty, lonely or uncertain about the future.
Taking care of yourself is critical – for you – and for those around you.
Get through the tough times.
There are a number of simple things you can do to help get through the difficult times.
- Get into a new routine – Put aside enough times to manage new household and childcare arrangements.
- Get support – identify friends, family and support groups.
- Stay healthy – eat healthy n meals, exercise regularly, get a good night’s sleep and avoid drugs and alcohol. This will help both physical fitness and mental health significantly.
- Learn to manage stress – simple things, like keeping a diary of feelings and practicing breathing and muscle relaxation techniques can help.
- Take time out – make an effort to participate in enjoyable activities.
What is depression?
Sometimes it can be difficult to know whether you are just feeling down because of all the life changes, or you have symptoms of depression after separation and divorce. On average, one in eight men and one in five women will experience depression at some point in life and this can become exacerbated during times of prolonged conflict and stress.
You may be depressed if for more than TWO WEEKS you have:
- Felt sad, down or miserable most of the time.
- Lost interest or pleasure in most of your usual activities
If the answer is YES to either of these questions, seek help. If the answer is NO to either of these questions, it is unlikely that you have a depressive illness. Seek professional help earlier rather than later.
- Lost or gained a lot of weight OR had a decrease or increase in appetite.
- Had disturbed sleep.
- Felt slowed down, restless or excessively busy.
- Been tired or had no energy.
- Feel worthless OR Felt excessively guilty OR Felt guilty about things you should not feel guilty about.
- Had poor concentration OR Had difficulties thinking OR Been very indecisive.
- Have recurrent thoughts of death.
Add up the number and consider help if the number is on the higher scale. It’s important to note that the score will provide only a rough guide as to whether someone has depression after separation and divorce. If you have answered yes to five or more of these statements, you should consult a health professional urgently. One leading source is beyondblue.org
If you are feeling uneasy about looming legal action and/ or the matter of formal separation and child support matters or property disputes, then seek advice from a qualified and experienced Mackay Family Lawyer today.
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