A divorce is an event that leaves a couple's lives permanently altered. Some of the changes are positive, bringing a deep sense of relief. However, women, especially, often experience a severe psychological and emotional toll.
Whether their lives change for better or for worse, it's extremely common for women to struggle with emotional trauma after divorce. This could include feelings of failure, sadness and loneliness, and oftentimes, women even struggle with depression or anxiety.
If these feelings seem to overwhelm you, remember, you are not alone. We will discuss some of the common psychological effects of divorce and how you can find the help you need to move forward with your life.
Psychological and Emotional Effects of Divorce
Divorce impacts women in significant ways. Not only does it involve a huge adjustment to the way you live your everyday life, but most women experience strong psychological side effects. These are completely normal, and you should never feel that just because you're struggling emotionally that you are not coping with the divorce.
Some of the most common psychological and emotional effects experienced by women after a divorce include:
- Grief: Divorce is not completely unlike experiencing a death. The loss of this important relationship is a significant event, and many women go through some or all of the stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining and depression before they can come to a place of acceptance. People react to loss in different ways, so not every woman experiences all these stages or in this order. But it's okay to grieve the loss of your marriage.
- Guilt: This is an extremely common feeling many women who go through a divorce experience. Whether you initiated it or not, you could feel at fault for not working harder to make the marriage work, especially if you have children.
- Rejection and isolation: Whether real or perceived, many women feel rejected by their social group. Maybe you're embarrassed about the divorce, and you don't know how to discuss your feelings or fears. Some women endure alienation from those who didn't approve of the divorce and lose their support network. Whether truly rejected or not, these situations could cause you to withdraw and isolate yourself.
Depression and Anxiety After Divorce
The devastation and uncertainty that accompany divorce can give rise to both depression and anxiety. Whether or not you have a previous history with these mental health issues, the severe stress of divorce can cause overwhelming feelings that are often hard to deal with. These psychological disorders can take many forms, but you should be aware of the signs and symptoms that accompany them so that you can seek help from a mental health professional if needed.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression After Divorce
A deep sense of sadness is common after going through a divorce. After all, the future you imagined and hoped for is suddenly gone. If these feelings of unhappiness persist, though, you may be struggling with depression. Studies indicate that women are more likely to experience depression sometime in the three years following their divorce.
Some signs that could suggest you have depression include:
- Low self-esteem and feeling worthless
- Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Thoughts of suicide
Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety After Divorce
When the future is uncertain, and your security is in doubt, feelings of anxiety are normal. Divorce brings about many changes and problems that women have to confront, especially for those who relied on the financial support of their spouse. You're now faced with the sole responsibility of figuring everything out for yourself and your family. It's no wonder that some women develop anxiety symptoms after their divorce.
Some indicators of anxiety include:
- Panic attacks
- Sweats or chills
- Chest pain
- Tingling or numbness in extremities
- Nausea or abdominal issues
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
It's Okay to Ask for Help
If you've been severely impacted by your divorce, don't try to cope alone. It's okay to ask for help. Brookhaven Retreat is a women's only facility located in the foothills of Tennessee's Smoky Mountains. Our private and discreet facility provides a safe environment for you to come to terms with the psychological and emotional effects of your marriage ending and recover.
We invite you to contact us today to find out how we can help you heal during this difficult time.