What to Do if Divorce Sets Off a Mental Health Crisis in You or Your Ex?

Divorce can bring on a host of emotions, from relief to frustration to bittersweet happiness. Sometimes these emotions can barrel over you with the force of a large truck, leaving you feeling unable to cope with neither the divorce nor the world. What to do when a mental health crisis in divorce strikes? Take a look at these four tips.

Seek peer support.

You are not alone in this divorce. You are not alone in your feelings. Over 746,000 couples divorce in the U.S. every year, and every single one of them is going through their own emotional journey. Seek out people who have been in a similar situation and who will understand the complexity of your emotions and give you the encouragement and care you need. Many cities and towns offer in-person divorce support groups, and if none are available, then look for one online.

Get professional help.

Sometimes having a caring support group isn’t enough. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist to help you through this period. Trying to go it alone can aggravate your problems and cause adverse effects to compound, such as experiencing difficulties at work or developing physical health problems.

How do you know when it’s time to talk to a professional? According to the American Psychiatric Association, you should seek pro help if:

  • you’re experiencing dramatic sleep or appetite changes
  • you’re no longer taking pleasure in activities that you previously enjoyed
  • you’re having serious problems with concentration, memory, or logical thought
  • you feel disconnected from yourself and the world around you, as if living in a dream
  • you have rapid or dramatic shifts in emotion or depressed feelings.

You might also seek therapy if you can’t stop thinking or talking about the divorce, your ex, or your marriage.  If you have thoughts of suicide, call a suicide hotline immediately.  Someone is always there to talk to you.

Engage in Self-Care

Divorce is an enormous emotional challenge–you’re not exaggerating things–and you need to be especially compassionate and gentle with yourself during this period. Eating healthy and doing exercise, even just daily walks, are crucial to helping you maintain mental balance during this time. But don’t be afraid to think a little bigger.

Brainstorm several activities that might help you feel more emotionally stable, even if they don’t seem feasible. Would spending time with a good friend or family member soothe your spirit? Would a long walk on the beach help? Would it bring peace to have a simple evening at home alone, just listening to music or reading?  Would taking those piano lessons you’ve always dreamed of help? Write it all down.

Next, consider how you can make some of these things happen. Brainstorm solutions as many potential solutions that you can think of. Can you find a babysitter to watch the kids for a night or weekend? If you don’t have time or money to visit a good friend, can they come to see you? Take an action that gets you moving, even if you don’t think it’ll help. Then take note of how you feel afterward–maybe you’ll find it brought some light after all.

Stay Off Social Media

 Social media has its advantages, but too much exposure to it may damage your mental health. Studies have shown that people who spend less time on social media tend to show fewer symptoms of depression and loneliness. It’s no surprise why: seeing pictures of seemingly happy families or people looking their best can lead you to believe that everyone is having a more “successful” life than you. In an emotionally fragile state, you may not be able to see that social media is full of smoke and mirrors. You don’t know who is struggling in real life. Better to log off and steer clear until your feelings stabilize.

What if your ex is the one suffering the crisis?

If your ex appears to be suffering a mental crisis, you may want to gently guide them toward divorce support or therapy resources or ask a mutual friend to do so. Even if you’re hesitant to get involved because you want to separate yourself emotionally from your ex and their feelings, keep in mind that their mental health can negatively affect your kids’ lives or disrupt your divorce proceedings. Most of the time, both of you need to be in a good mental place to truly move on.

We Can Help You

If you are suffering from a mental health crisis because of divorce, we can help you.
We maintain a list of mental health professionals that can certainly guide you through this challenging time. Reach out to Miller Law Group for more information, or call us at (914) 256-8997.


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