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Coping with divorce and depression

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Stowe Services

Marriage break-ups can often be followed by periods of depression and anxiety for divorcing husbands and wives.

And no wonder. The end of a long-term relationship can spark a range of emotions and fears for the future. It is important to remember that this is completely normal. You will have good days and bad days, just as everyone else does.

Below, we have detailed five tips that will help you to build resilience to navigate the process of separation. And remember, marriage takes two, and if one person is unhappy the other will suffer. Try to shift your thinking from “it’s the end of the world” to “it’s the beginning of the new.”

Feel your feelings

Feeling emotions helps you deal with them. It’s completely natural to feel sad, disappointed, angry, scared… sometimes all in one hour. Do not shy away from them. Burying these feelings leads to bitterness and you will not move forward. Don’t carry the undealt negative emotions into the next stage of your life.

Stop thinking you are a failure

Divorce can rock your self-esteem and self-worth.  Whatever the circumstances, you will ask yourself, what went wrong? Was it my fault? Am I not good enough? However, remember this is your bruised confidence talking. Of course, your self-esteem takes a hit when a relationship ends, but the way to fill the hole left by divorce is through acceptance of and kindness to yourself.  Learn to believe in you again.

Surround yourself with support

Identify your support network and talk to them.  This is the best way to stop yourself from becoming isolated. Connect with friends and family who are supportive and boost your mood. This is not the time for judgement. Often people who have been through a break-up themselves and know what you are going through can offer useful advice.

If you prefer to talk to people you do not know, then seek out a counsellor or local support group. There is a list of useful contact numbers at the end of this article.

Meet a new side of you

You are no less by being single. You are just not part of a couple which is okay.  Often, in a long-term relationship, you can lose a part of your identity which is normal, but you were your own person before and you will be again. Think about what you like doing but stopped because married life took over. Return to them again, or think about what you have always wanted to do and give it a try.

Be kind to yourself

Take time to do something purely for you. Think about what you enjoy, such as a long walk, a soak in the bath, get out running, practice yoga, read a book or bake for friends and family. Also, remember to cover the basics: eat well, get plenty of sleep and rest when you need to.

Getting help for depression

If you’re struggling with the emotional aspects of separation and are concerned about depression and anxiety there are some useful contacts below. Please do seek professional help and support.

Mind Information, advice and support on all aspects of mental health

0300 123 3393

NHS Provides information on what depression is, its causes, how to spot the signs, where to get help, and treatment.

Samaritans Provides confidential emotional support for those experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including suicidal feelings.

116 123 (Freephone number)

SANE A national helpline offering emotional support and information to anyone affected by mental illness.

0300 304 7000

Hopeline UK Non-judgmental support and advice for children and people under the age of 35 who are experiencing thoughts of suicide.

Call: 0800 068 41 41 / Text: 0778 620 9697

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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As the UK's largest family law firm we understand that every case is personal.


  1. Helen Dudden says:

    I do feel there should be more help for those suffering with any form of depression. Divorce and anger, is not a good combination for anyone. I’m concerned about children who can be caught up in very difficult situations.
    This has, and does produce a serious concern.

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