Post-divorce mental health


Staff member
Well, divorce has been pretty crappy. I'm trying to stay positive. It's been 6 months since she gave me the initial petition. I got really depressed for a long time. Well depressed-er. Went to a therapist, which seemed just about useless to me. All I did was talk, and there was very little guidance or direction from the therapist. She barely said a word. I understand a lot of this kind of therapy is about opening up, but seriously, I could've said the same stuff to a friend or a brick wall with the same level of feedback. What was the point? Anyway. I started to feel better, and then I discovered a new treat. Anxiety. Just out of nowhere, with no direct cause, it just constantly felt like the night before Christmas when I was a kid. Like I was expecting something to happen. Not necessarily something negative, but something. It just wouldn't go away, either. It was very physical, too. Racing heart, pumping adrenaline, etc. No amount of controlled breathing, exercising, or meditation would make it go away. I finally went to the doctor who put me on beta blockers and an SSRI. I don't really feel like the SSRI is doing much. I've been on one before several times, and I always hated them. Because sure, they take away the depression--but with a hand grenade. It takes away everything else, too, and makes me feel blank. But this time, I don't even get that. Feels like nothing. The beta blocker helped a lot, but it's a short term thing, and it makes it hard to exercise. I did it under control for a while, but recently it's been back again. No trigger again. Nothing particular. It's just there. Not as bad as before, but I just wish I could identify a cause so that I could fix it.
I'm sorry, that's rough.

I don't know what you know about therapy, but google 'types' of therapy and see if one appeals to you. Then google therapists (or ask yours) who specialize in that. For example, I get nowhere with CBT but I find psychoanalysts very helpful. There's narrative therapy, etc. Many do more than one. As for the drugs... I know it's almost herculean to keep weaning yourself on and off drugs until you find one that helps, but after literal years, I finally found the antidepressant that works without crippling me in other ways. Hopefully there is something out there for you, too.
I have found that self improvement is the only thing that seems to help my depression since my separation and the alienation attempts my ex is using on my daughter.
Working out, doing hobbies with a physical result (crafting or painting minis), or just learning new skills. It's not perfect and when I slip on a workout or something I go right back to being depressed. But it does give some glimpses of sun in the cloudy darkness.
You might need to find the right med for anxiety. Mine is Cymbalta (the generic, duloxetine) which is an SRNI and it has worked pretty well for me with barely any side effects.

I do recognize the anxiety you describe. It is not linked to anything and you start looking for a cause that isn't there. Eventually you can recognize it for what it is, which itself helps.

There is something out there that will work to lessen the anxiety. It might mean a different therapist or a different med or a change in your life. However, a big part of your social life was ripped away. Lack of an active social network is linked to all kinds of mental health issues, from depression to drug use. Don't take that massive loss lightly. You can't fill it with a med or with therapy. Those things can help, but they won't serve as a replacement.
My hair ended up falling out, random bouts of anxiety, and a real mean streak for a while. It takes time and energy and faith (however you want to find that). Happy to provide more conversation on this.
And a shout out to @Jay who was the best friend a guy could have during this terrible time in my life.
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