My health is suffering
Is this normal?

The stresses of divorce and separation can accentuate any pre-existing health problem and you must, therefore, take extra care of yourself. Your body may react in a variety of ways, ranging from slight to severe. You should never ignore any symptom or sign. Your vitality is very important and during this difficult stage in your life, it is bound to be affected. External stresses on any level may become so great that your body has difficulty in maintaining your usual standard of health. When your vitality is low, your susceptibility is high.

'Our natures are the physicians of our diseases.' Hippocrates.

Visit your G.P.
Your G.P would encourage you to pay him a visit and you could tell him about the changes in your family circumstances. This could therefore assist him in providing the care and support you need while establishing some comfort level for you. Children take as much as you are willing to give. They are not adults. Make some time for yourself. Be gentle and kind, especially if you are the sole carer.

Am I depressed?
Take a look at the different stages of shock, anger and grieving in Emotional Aid. Usually, these emotions are only temporary although they may return from time to time and no-one has the same pattern or period of time when dealing with these feelings.
These are the signs to look out for:

  • finding it difficult to carry out normal activities
  • finding no pleasure in your usual hobbies and everyday life
  • feeling tired all day
  • sleeping too much or too little
  • overeating or not eating enough
  • lacking in concentration
  • feeling restless and irritable
  • having no self-confidence
  • avoiding others
  • feeling guilty or worthless
  • feeling hopeless
  • thinking about suicide.

Contact the Samaritans day or night on 08457 90 90 90. Click here for their website

Text Samaritans on 07725 90 90 90 (UK) or 0872 60 90 90 (Republic of Ireland). They aim to get back to you very soon.

Friends and family
Sometimes our friends or family can talk us through these feelings but if you still recognise yourself in this list, please contact your G.P or ask a friend to do this for you. There is no need to bel alone and things will get better but you have to take the first step.

What can my G.P. do?
The important thing to remember about depression is that it is treatable by various methods. You may be prescribed an antidepressant which could help you to help yourself by giving you some power to make changes in your life. This could prevent the effects of a long period of depression.
You may, of course, still feel sad, but an antidepressant could get you back to the point where you are able to function and move forward. Talking therapies are also available. Reach out for help.

What can I do to help myself?

  • Be gentle on yourself. It will take some time to feel better.
  • Try to be with other people
  • Don't take on too much responsibility, ask for help. Let your solicitor know that you are experiencing depression; she will be used to this and will respond accordingly.
  • Break your tasks down into small ones. Always answer letters, particularly those from your solicitor or those requesting payment, even if only to acknowledge that you will get back to them. Try to provide the information that your solicitor needs. Hoarding correspondence, although natural, will only serve to delay your recovery.
  • Do a little exercise. You could reap the rewards of a small daily walk or swim or try out an exercise video. Try to keep moving.
  • Do not make any major decisions without consulting those closest to you or your legal adviser. You are vulnerable and should take extra care
  • Take each day at a time. You will improve but don't be put off by a bad day. The good days will win eventually.
  • Remember that you are experiencing a major life change. This will take time. Look back in Emotions for Further help.

"He who has health has hope; and he who has hope, has everything."

What's happening to my appetite?
You may find that you have lost your appetite or that you begin to comfort eat.
Either way, you could end up losing or gaining a few pounds. As with everything else in the divorce process, a sense of balance will eventually prevail. Try to eat sensibly, small amounts of food and milky drinks at regular intervals. Avoid too many sugary, refined foods as, although your glucose level will rise temporarily, your real energy levels will plummet. Try not to skip meals. If you have children, attempt to keep to a routine and eat as a family. Drink plenty of water and not too much alcohol.

Why am I sleeping all day and sometimes not at all?
It is natural for your sleep pattern to alter as you strive to adapt to a new routine. If you are caring for children, you may feel exhausted coping alone. No matter whether you consider that your partner did not do much to help in the home, some assistance or just physical presence would have been there.
Avoid eating a lot just before bedtime and don't drink too much alcohol; it won't solve your problems. Exercise is much better.

Living alone
If you are living alone and missing your children, remember that they will always be your children. Try to take care of yourself and be gentle. Seeking out others in your situation who could help you. Try Gingerbread/One Parent Families. See our sections for Parents and Emotions.

Putting yourself first
Perhaps normal household chores could take a backseat for a while as you get your energy levels up to normal. If someone is caring for your child to give you a break, try to use this time to relax, meet friends or just enjoy a long soak in the bath. Caring for them can sap your energy and your children will enjoy some time away from you. The house may seem strange without them but they still love you and will soon return.

Will I ever feel normal about sex?
Yes, you will. Unless you already have a new partner, you may not have thought about this. You may feel the need to be wanted now after your rejection but you are still vulnerable. You may behave in such a way you hadn't planned. No matter how old you are, think safe sex. Be prepared. (See FPA in our Further help section). Contraception needs to be used up to a woman's menopause - that is until she has not had a period or any bleeding for two years if under the age of fifty or one year if over fifty. Sex is a normal part of life and even if you think that no-one will ever love you again, the time will come when you are ready for a new relationship, to love and be loved. Keep your heart and mind open. (Read more about dating again in our Moving on section)

I feel so lethargic. What can I do?
Breathe deeply and slowly as the Barefoot Doctor tells us. Try to keep up with any normal exercise or take up a new form. What did you do when you were younger? Squash, netball or running? Give it a go. Join a club. Get out there. It is also a good way to meet new people, to grow. If you have young children, check out the local sports centre or club. Many offer crèche facilities. Or try swapping childcare with a friend. Sometimes people think that you do not need any help until you ask. Be sure to ask.
Try letting go of holding on. Get out there. Breathe deeply and freely as you attempt to let go of all the things that keep you immersed in this struggle. Yes, this is a terrible time but you have the opportunity to make the best of it.


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