Overcoming Divorce and Separation
Some liken the emotions experienced after a divorce to those experienced when a loved one passes away. In many ways, this is a fair comparison, especially when the divorce was not amicable, or one party appears to have moved on far more quickly than their former partner.
Usually, by the time a divorce is finalised, a separating couple will have experienced a variety of emotions, from denial to anger, bargaining and even depression. This rollercoaster of emotions can take a toll on your mental health and, as a divorce takes at least six months to complete, by extending the grieving period.
Mental health and divorce
Many couples do not feel they can fully accept the situation until the divorce is finalised, arrangements for care of the children in place, their assets separated and finances settled. This process can take a long period of time and even small road bumps along the way can feel insurmountable. These can range from disagreements over child arrangements, to the need to reach agreement on the sale of the family home.
It is important, however, to recognise that whilst divorce finalises the separation of a couple and the end of their marriage, it does not mean that they will ever lose their shared experiences, memories and when they have children, a relationship of some form. For some, this recognition can help the healing process, whilst for others, it can exacerbate negative feelings.
Every person experiences grief in a different way and depending on the reason for the divorce, will experience a range of emotions which can adversely (or in some cases positively) impact their mental health. For those who are struggling with day to day life following a divorce, counselling  can often help to address feelings of guilt or grief and enable a person to begin to imagine, and plan for a future without their former partner.
Time is a healer
Although it may not feel like it at the time, divorce need not be the end of your life story. It is often the end of a chapter but as one chapter ends, so another begins. It is essential to take the time you need to process your feelings and emotions, and the length of time required will be different for every person.
It is important to avoid comparing your journey to that of anyone else but instead to create your own story. You may be tempted to set yourself goals and whilst this can motivate you to keep moving forward, there is a risk that it may also limit your opportunities.
Recognising that your mental health and divorce are intrinsically linked is important, so when you choose to set yourself goals, make them realistic and revisit them frequently to make sure that your goals are still relevant and achievable. Regularly succeeding will empower and motivate you, whilst failing to achieve an unsuitable or unattainable goal will have the opposite effect.
By prioritising your mental health, you will find a way through the fog of divorce and into a bright, and happy future.