Dealing With Divorce 
(While Managing
Your Mental Illness)

Dealing with divorce is tough.

 The stress that comes with a divorce can lead to enough emotional turmoil and strain that some individuals experience breakdowns. 

However, for individuals already trying to cope with mental illness, divorce can be even more difficult. People dealing with mental illness must work to manage and cope with the illness they are experiencing, while dealing with all the stress a divorce brings as well.


If you are going through a divorce while trying to cope of mental illness, several strategies can be used to deal with the extra stress a divorce brings. Try using the following strategies as you struggle to cope with both mental illness and divorce.

Six Healthy Strategies for Coping
With Divorce and Mental Illness

Strategy #1 – Pay Attention to Your Emotional Well-Being

As you are dealing with divorce, it is essential to make sure you pay attention to your emotional well-being. Stay in tune with the emotions you are feeling instead of bottling up your feelings. Expect to feel anger, confusion, fear and other emotions. Due to the circumstances you are going through, all of these emotions are normal.


Strategy #2 – Avoid Taking Action on Dark Emotions

Although you may be experiencing many dark emotions while dealing with divorce and mental illness, it is important to avoid taking action on these dark emotions. It is important to guard against taking unstable actions based upon those emotions. If you begin feeling as if these emotions are controlling you or that they are driving you to negative actions, make sure you get help. A mental health professional can help, so seek that help immediately, even if you have to head to the emergency room to get it.


Strategy #3 – Take Time to Detach

When dealing with the divorce feels like too much, try to take a bit of time to detach from the situation for a bit. This can help you to avoid ruminating and the dark emotions that may come with rumination. You may need a couple days off work or a day to yourself to catch a break and clear your head.


Strategy #4 – Avoid Isolating Yourself

Of course, while it is fine to take some time to detach from the situation you are going through, it is important to avoid isolating yourself. 

Human contact is essential.

You need someone to talk to, although you probably should avoid seeing your spouse, since that may result in even more stressful conflict.

If you must talk with your spouse due to the divorce proceedings, only agree to do so if your spouse promises to stay calm during the conversation.

If anger erupts or fighting begins, stop the conversation and suggest that you try the discussion again later.

Avoid more conflict, even if it requires you to walk away from a conversation.


Strategy #5 – Put a Positive Spin on the Situation

Instead of viewing your divorce negatively, try to put a positive spin on the situation. Realize that problems and dysfunction within your marriage led to the divorce, so moving on is a good thing. Although dealing with divorce seems difficult now, it is an opportunity that will allow you to explore more of your own interests, such as new hobbies, traveling or other endeavors you have always wanted to try.


Strategy #6 – Never Stop Seeing Your Therapist or Taking Medications

Although going through the divorce can bring plenty of frustration, do not allow this to make you stop seeing your therapist. You should never stop taking your medications for mental illness. Both your therapist and your medications are essential as you go through this difficult time.


The pain of a divorce may make you feel like isolating yourself and shutting off your emotions. However, responding in this way emotionally may make your mental illness worse, leading to disaster. Use these strategies for dealing with divorce, ensuring that you do so in a way that will not exacerbate your mental illness.

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