Anyone who has gone through a divorce knows how difficult and stressful it can be. In fact, according to the Holmes-Rahe scale, a commonly used assessment for measuring stress, divorce is the second most stressful life event for adults. Only the death of a spouse beats out the trauma of divorce. Marital separation comes in just after divorce as the third-most stressful life happening.
A marital breakup can leave you in severe emotional pain, whether you wanted the divorce or not. Some people have even compared the pain to a feeling of grief, which isn’t surprising because, in effect, you are grieving the loss of the relationship. The person you once vowed to spend your life with is no longer there to love and support you. Your vision and expectations for the rest of your life have been upended, and it isn’t unusual that the feelings of despair can be overwhelming.
If you have children together, your stress may be exponentially amplified. In addition to dealing with your own feelings, you have to worry about your children and how they are handling the breakup. You may be fighting with the other parent about childcare responsibilities and related issues. There is only so much a person can take before their emotional and even physical health is affected.
How Serious Stress Negatively Affects the Mind and Body
Divorce is life changing. Your day-to-day routines are impacted. You may have new money worries. Relationships with family and friends can become uncomfortable, or even antagonistic if sides are being chosen. Disputes with your former spouse over child custody and visitation, property division, alimony and child support can leave you reeling emotionally. As your life turns upside down, it’s not surprising that your emotional and even your physical health can suffer.
Stress can cause headaches, sleeplessness, overeating, upset stomach, chest pain and other symptoms. Stress that is unchecked may lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and other serious physical health problems, according to the Mayo Clinic, which is ranked as one of the country’s top hospitals. Emotionally, divorce and family law problems can cause irritability, anger, sadness, depression, feelings of hopelessness and many more mental health concerns.
Coping with Stress during Divorce
Here are some tips for coping with stress during divorce and separation from Mental Health America, a nationwide non-profit organization that promotes mental health:
- Don’t go it alone. Talk to supportive family and friends about your feelings.
- Take care of yourself. Try to eat well and get regular exercise.
- Explore your interests. Enjoy life by taking up a new activity or hobby or reconnecting with an old one or getting involved in something you’ve always wanted to do.
- Avoid arguing with your spouse or former spouse. If a conversation takes an argumentative turn, calmly suggest speaking at another time, then hang up the phone or walk away.
- Consider joining a divorce support group in your area. It can be helpful to speak with other people who are going through the same thing.
If you are having trouble coping on your own, reach out to a mental health professional. There is no shame or weakness in admitting that you need help. In fact, it takes great strength to ask for help because you are admitting that a problem is too big for you to handle alone. When your physical and emotional well-being are potentially at stake, especially if you are sinking into depression or have turned to alcohol or drugs, seeking professional assistance is the smartest thing you can do for yourself and your family.
Alcohol and Drug Use Due to Divorce
Alcoholism and drug addiction are closely linked to stress. When people going through divorce and its related issues turn to alcohol or prescription or illegal drugs to help them get through this difficult period, they often end up with even more problems. The pain of divorce can also cause relapses in people who have struggled with alcohol abuse and drug addiction in the past but who, until their marriage fell apart, had successfully put these addictions behind them. Sometimes the anger and stress of the situation, fueled by drugs or alcohol, can lead to incidents of domestic violence, compounding an already traumatic time in life. If this happens to you, you could find yourself in jail and potentially losing custody or visitation rights with your children.
When you are having trouble effectively coping with stress in spite of all your best efforts, whether or not you are also relying on alcohol or drugs to get through your days, talk to a mental health provider. If you need legal help for your difficult divorce or other legal issues that have arisen due to divorce, speak to a New Jersey family law attorney.
Finding Professional Help for Emotional Health Challenges
There are many mental health providers in New Jersey and New York, including in Bergen County and Hackensack. To find one that is right for you, check with your health insurance company or your company’s employee assistance program, if they offer one. You can also try asking your physician for a referral or reach out to your clergyperson.
Additionally, here are some state and national resources you can turn to for assistance in finding mental health and addiction services:
- Bergen County Division of Mental Health Services
- Bergen County Department of Health Services Office of Alcohol and Drug Dependency
- Mental Health Association in New Jersey
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Helpline (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
- American Psychological Association psychologist locator
Our supportive family law attorneys can also help you by locating divorce support groups and other resources in the Hackensack area. Reach out to us for comprehensive legal services when you are going through a divorce.
Reach Out to Our Hackensack Family Lawyers for Compassionate Legal Support
When you know that you have knowledgeable and experienced legal support on your side during divorce and its related problems, your emotional anxiety, and consequently your stress level, may be reduced. At Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC, you can rely on us to treat your case with the professional and compassionate care that it deserves. We will be staunch advocates for you and your children throughout your divorce. Our Bergen County law firm can be reached at (201) 880-9770. Don’t hesitate to reach out when you need legal help.
We are not only attorneys—we are also people who have undergone stress in our own lives and understand how harmful it can be. We want to help you get through this difficult time and go on to a healthy and happy future.