THE BLOG

Divorce Can Cause Mental Health Issues

24/04/2017 13:40 BST | Updated 24/04/2017 13:40 BST

Mental health has always been a bit of a taboo subject as it has in the past been associated with being crazy or needing to be locked away in a padded cell. However, the truth is that mental health is just another way of saying "emotional health" or "well-being".

It affects all of us during our lives as every time we go through a tough or challenging time, suffer a trauma, or endure a stressful situation, our mental health is affected. Common side effects of these difficult times will be feeling sad, anxious, scared or frightened. Some people can cope better than others and bounce back after a short period of time. However, for others it goes deeper and takes longer to recover, or they may become stuck with the negative emotions taking a strong hold over their life.

It is refreshing to hear Prince Harry and Prince William talk openly about their own mental health issues that have plagued them over the last 20 years, since the death of their mother. They are well respected young role models and are demonstrating that this can happen to anyone, no matter who you are.

Divorce is often referred to as the second most traumatic life experience after death of a loved one. It can rock the strongest of people to the core and turn your whole life upside down. So, it is hardly surprising that it can lead to mental health issues if the negative emotions and sudden challenges you find yourself having to cope with are not dealt with properly.

There are so many issues that will occupy your mind during a break-up including:

  • Heartbreak - the pain of losing a loved one and the fear of never being loved again
  • Betrayal - the broken promises
  • Conflict - the arguments over the split, money and children
  • Legal - learning how to work with a lawyer and deal with the huge amount of paperwork
  • Uncertainty - not knowing your financial situation, where you will be living, lifestyle changes
  • Negative emotions - sadness, depression, anxiety, stress, overwhelm are all common side effects
  • Parenting - learning to be a single parent, co-parenting and having to be strong when you feel weak
  • Career - managing a job or career when you have to make decisions, lead a team and be on form
  • Friends - finding out who your true friends are, disappointment as friends don't step up to support you or difficult choices as you must let them go

These are just some of the challenges that a break-up can cause as the ripple effect of your break-up affects the whole of your life. Some people find it easier to manage stress and have a natural ability to turn things around. However, this doesn't mean that they don't feel the pain, they are just more able to control their emotions and keep a positive outlook.

Other people will struggle to find a light at the end of the tunnel and will become all consumed with their negative emotions. This will negatively impact on their ability to manage in other areas of their life too. It is easy to become stuck and to believe that your life will never be the same again, especially if you don't have a good support system around you to help you find your way.

So, raising awareness of mental health issues is a great way to show people that it is ok to ask for help. You are not alone in your suffering and there are many other experiencing the same symptoms.

In fact, I created my break-up and divorce coaching programme having been through some dark times myself. The end of my relationship left me feeling alone, scared and frightened of what lay ahead. I was terrified I would never find love again or that I would never even feel happy again. My confidence and self-esteem was in tatters and I doubted my own ability to make simple decisions, yet alone the life changing ones that my lawyers were asking me to make daily. I felt my whole world was shattered and I had no idea how I would be able to piece it back together again.

But the good news is that it is possible. There are techniques and strategies you can use to help you grab back control over your life again and help you to get back on track. It's not always easy and that's why you take it step by step and one day at a time.

Please don't be afraid to ask for help and it is out there and you can feel happy again. Having been there myself I understand what it means to be struggling with mental health issues, but I can also say that you can get through it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and you can be happy again.