How to Cope with Feeling Depressed When Going Through A Divorce

Are you going through a divorce and wondering if you will ever stop feeling depressed, so overwhelmed by everything that is going on?

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Divorce is hell – everything that was familiar in your life is changing and it is devastating. Keeping your spirits up for the kids, trying to focus on work and wondering what the hell you are going to cook for dinner just feels like more than you can bear some days.

I get it. I have been there.

But I am also here to tell you that you can and will get through your divorce even if you are feeling depressed. Let me help!

#1 – Nest.

When I was going through a divorce, I met a woman who had been through one the previous year. Because I had never gone through a divorce before, I had no idea how to cope. Lucky for me, she was able to help because she had been just been through it.

I had moved out of our family home and had found a rental.  I had left my things at our house so that it would look good when we tried to sell it. My new friend told me, in no uncertain terms, that I had to get my things and bring them to my new house.

For women, when we are going through a hard time, our surroundings are very important. It has something to do with the nesting instinct that is very primal. Women want their space to be a comforting, happy place. 

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So, what did I do? I had my things moved to my rental and I filled our family home with furniture from a house staging company. And did it make a difference? Oh yes, it did. Being surrounded by my furniture, by my pictures, sleeping in my bed with my bed linens, seeing the little things that I had accumulated over the years on the shelves all gave me such a sense of comfort.  My life was so confusing because of all the change but coming home to my things provided me more comfort than I can even explain.

#2 – Get support.

For many women, going through divorce is very embarrassing. It feels like failure on so many levels. And because it is so, we often try to go with alone. We think we can tough it out and get through it and that we will be just fine.

But the reality is is that we all need support when we go through this very difficult period. We have never been divorced before and we have no idea what we’re doing and it’s very important that we align ourselves with people who are informed and supportive.

What kind of people? For me, my friend who had been through a divorce was a huge source of information and support. She could look back on her divorce and talk to me about her successes and her failures so as I went through my divorce process I knew what to look out for.

I also found myself a therapist who I talked to every week. I really felt like I was the biggest loser on the planet because my husband decided he didn’t want be with me anymore and she was incredibly helpful, pointing out that divorces don’t happen because one person didn’t do something right but that there are two people in marriage and both share responsibility for the good and the bad.

Someone else who really helped me when I was going through my divorce was my massage therapist. My husband left me right after my youngest child went off to school so I was left completely alone. For the first time in 18 years, I wasn’t being touched regularly. So, I indulged and got a massage once a week for three months. Having somebody touch me for 60 minutes a week significantly help me get through these very turbulent times.

And, finally, I got myself a lawyer. She was able to walk me through the reality of getting a divorce and what being divorced would look like. And how much it would cost. Information for me is very powerful. It makes me feel like I have some control of my outcome. Talking to her gave me the clarity I needed to be able to move forward confidently.

#3 – Make a plan for the future.

After talking to my lawyer, I realized that, for the rest of my life, I was going to have to take care of myself. I was scared out of my mind.

I had been mostly a stay-at-home mom for 20 years and all of a sudden I was going to be responsible for taking care of myself financially, for doing my own taxes, for finding healthcare and for figuring out how to fix things that broke in my house. I was very overwhelmed and didn’t know how I was going to handle it.

So I started to think about where I wanted to live, what I wanted my life to look like, what I wanted to do now that I was on my own. I realized that, while being alone was scary, it was also give me a certain amount of freedom. For the first time in 20 years, I could live the way I wanted to live. Realizing that really helped me cope with feeling depressed because for 20 years I had been unhappy and I knew that now I was in charge of fixing my unhappiness.

Next, I made plan. I came up with a list of things that I was going to need to consider for my future and I came up with a list of people who could support me when I needed support. I found myself a financial planner. I found myself a CPA to help me with my taxes. I found myself a handyman who could help me with those things around the house that I couldn’t take care of myself.

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Mitzi Bockmann
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.
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