Depression is a common mental health issue in Singapore, affecting more than 170,000 adults. It can be triggered with a relationship problem such as a divorce and individuals who are suffering from depression might not be aware of their own mental health due to the stressful procedures of a divorce and the many urgent issues after a divorce. This is especially true for divorced mothers who need to be strong for their children.
If you are picking your way through divorce right now and find yourself experiencing some or all of the following symptoms to some extent, try out our tips below or seek professional help to manage the depressive symptoms before it gets any worse.
- – Inability to sleep or sleeping a lot more than usual
- – Overeating or a total lack of appetite
- – Fatigue even though you have sleep at least 8 hours a day
- – Unusual aches and pains without reasons
- – Excessive alcohol consumption
- – Difficulty in concentrating on daily activities
- – Easily irritable; rouse to anger unreasonably
- – Anxiety or restlessness
- – Sense of guilt or worthlessness
- – Prolonged pessimism or indifference to life
- – Loss of interest in your hobbies or otherwise enjoyable activities
- – Persistent negative thoughts
- – Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
1) Write a Good-Bye Letter
There is power in the written word. When you pen down what you want to say good-bye to in a letter, you allow yourself to express all your hurt, sorrow and pain using the written word. At the same time, you are acknowledging to yourself that life is no longer the same as it used to be.
The things that you can say good-bye to include your role as a husband/wife, the traditions your family have for birthdays and anniversaries and living together in the same house. The people whom you need to say good-bye to include your ex-spouse, your in-laws, and the friends who did not stand by you during this difficult time of your life.
Writing this letter requires courage and will-power. Do it with thoughts of having a better life. This letter presents what you are truly grieving over and paves the way to recovery from the pain of divorce.
2) Write a Hello Letter
After letting go of the past, it is time for you to welcome new things and roles in your life. Write a hello letter to express your relief at what you do not have to deal with anymore and all the things that you are looking forward to do.
Some of these things could be the stuff that you have gave up doing for your ex-spouse, a peaceful night sleep without deafening snores, or arguing with your ex-spouse over everything. This hello letter is to help you focus on the positive in your new life, and what you can expect out of your new life. It is a start of your recovery journey as you pen down new hopes and dreams for yourself and how you would go about achieving them. You may redo this letter many times during your recovery as you discover new things to feel happy about.
3) Re-organise your Home
If you have retained your home from the divorce, start to clean out the house. One productive way to grieve the end of a marriage is to clean out the wardrobes and cabinets of your house that still contain your ex-spouse’s possessions. Replace the space with your own things to make it yours alone. You do not have to do it all at once, but you can do it progressively so that you can slowly come to a closure. Packing the things in a box helps you to put your sorrows and pain away one item at a time. You might find bittersweet memories as you packed. It is ok to cry over them, but remind yourself that they are memories now. You begin to acknowledge the end of your marriage and give new meanings to your new life.
4) Find your Support Group
It is common for divorcees to lack support. Reach out to your friends and family and seek help. There is nothing wrong with seeking help. If there is nobody close whom you can seek comfort from, look for divorce support groups near you. There are many such groups in Singapore. If you do not know where to start, you can start from a forum such as www.meetup.com/divorcesupportgrp/ where a group of divorced individuals band together for support and help.
5) Pay Attention to your Inner Conversation
It is normal for divorced individual to start blaming themselves for the failure of the marriage and to start piling guilt and unfair judgements on themselves. Pay attention to such toxic thoughts and stop them. Tell yourself that you choose to be happy every day. Think happy thoughts and give yourself all sort of positive, uplifting names such as Kind Jason or Loving Yvonne. Treat yourself well and pamper yourself with a visit to the salon, or a massage spa on a day when you feel extremely low.
The road to recovery could be slow and painful, but trust in yourself that you can do it. The best way to move forward is to put the past behind you and move forward slowly, one day at a time.