Are You Experiencing Divorce Stress and Divorce Anxiety?…
It’s no secret that divorce is stressful. In fact, it’s considered the second most stressful event you can experience in life, topped only by the death of a loved one. With divorce being such a big stressor, it’s common for those going through one to experience some anxiety.
The anxiety that comes along with divorce is two-fold.
One part comes from the known stressors- things you know must be done but can still be overwhelming. You know a divorce is going to be costly. You know you’re going to have to start a new life. You know you’re going to have to make decisions about the marital home and child custody and your financial future.
The second part of divorce anxiety is the unknown stressors- things that are up in the air. This is particularly troubling if you choose a litigated divorce and leave decisions about your future in the hands of a judge. Some of these unknown stressors may be how you divide your assets and debts, how your children will cope with the divorce, and if the final settlement be fair.
The type of stress isn’t what necessarily causes the anxiety.
The length of time your body and mind endure the stress is the real culprit. Human beings, much like other mammals, are not built to withstand chronic stress. The stress response that occurs in mammals is meant to protect us from acute stress when we are in danger, not the chronic stress that comes from a traumatic life event like a divorce. To make things even harder on us, human beings have something other mammals do not have- the ability to make up scenarios in our heads. These scenarios- however made up- can play over and over again in our heads until we start to believe them to be true. With all of that known and unknown chronic stress, coupled with the made-up scenarios in our heads, it’s no wonder why so many divorcees suffer from anxiety.
You might be wondering how exactly divorce anxiety can show up, and whether or not you’re actually experiencing it.
Some of the symptoms to watch out for include:
- Chest tightness
- Feeling short of breath
- Sweating or chills
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Tingling or numbness, particularly in the extremities
- Feeling nauseous
- Lack of appetite
- Feeling isolated
- Easily irritated/mood swings
- Feeling restless/difficulty sleeping
These are just some of the symptoms you might experience with divorce anxiety. If you are exhibiting any of the symptoms above, it’s best to speak with your doctor or therapist about how you’re feeling. Seeking help early on can help keep the symptoms from worsening and taking over your life.
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