A few months ago, I went to a luncheon for the family law section of the Tarrant County Bar Association. By attending these luncheons, attorneys receive continuing education credits and a great lunch with not only their peers, but complimentary service providers like me. The topic of discussion for this particular luncheon was electronic medical records and how they might impact divorces.
What I found particularly interesting about the presentation was how much the presenter emphasized the difference between clinical depression and what I call situational depression (the kind that is often experienced in divorce). At first, I was a bit surprised that she would spend so much time doing this. But then I remembered that the popular idea of depression is that there's only one kind and that there's only one solution: immediately get a couple of prescriptions — one for the depression and one to be able to sleep at night.
In my profession as a divorce coach, I work with people experiencing situational depression all the time. The biggest difference between situational depression and clinical depression is that situational depression is caused by a loss like death or divorce. Most people going through divorce experience some degree of situational depression as part of the normal grieving process over all the losses the end of the marriage brings. If not dealt with appropriately, situational depression can linger for much longer than it needs to. I don't want that to happen to you. Because I want you to recover from your divorce depression as quickly as possible, here are my top 5 tips for how to deal with depression that's triggered by the loss of your marriage.
One of the first exercises I give to nearly every one of my divorce clients is to write a goodbye letter. In this exercise, you sit down with a pen and paper and write a letter of goodbye to everything and everyone that isn't the same now that you're divorcing. Some of the things you might want to say goodbye to are your role as spouse, the traditions you had of celebrating birthdays and holidays, and seeing your kids every day. Some of the people you may want to say goodbye to are your ex, your in-laws and your friends who aren't able to stand by your side during your major life transition.
Here's a good-bye letter based on one that a client wrote: