Dealing with Anxiety after Divorce

Life has its anxious moments already; public speaking, meeting deadlines, searching for work, getting stuck in traffic, just to name a few. In my life, it is evident that divorce leads to additional anxiety. I would find myself sitting in my car and the anxiousness to get home was overwhelming. In all honesty, it is hard to explain. My heart would race and pound, and my breathing would become shallow for what seemed like no apparent reason.

I wasn’t much of a worrier until after my divorce. Now I had plenty to worry about. Can I survive off one income, will I make a good dad, will I ever find love again, how will I do it all alone, and WHY did this happen? All these things, and more, would make me feel keyed up and unable to relax. At times it would come and go, and at times it would be constant. It could go on for days. I just couldn’t let something go.

I’d have terrible sleeping problems. There were many times I’d wake up wired in the middle of the night. I had trouble concentrating, even reading a book. If the anxiety goes unchecked, it can interfere with your life and even your health. A certain amount of anxiety can be expected after divorce. There are so many things that are constantly changing and learning to live life alone again does have its challenges. But if you think that the problems you are having are more severe than they should be or that you are worrying too much you may be developing what is known as generalized anxiety disorder.

Individuals with this disorder go through the day filled with excessive worry and tension even though there is no reason for it. They anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about health issues, money, family problems, or difficulties at work. Sometimes the thought of simply getting through the day brings on anxiety. So how do you know if this is you?

Generalized anxiety disorder is diagnosed when a person worries excessively about a variety of everyday problems for at least 6 months. People with generalized anxiety disorder can’t seem to get rid of their concerns, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants. They can’t relax, startle easily, and have difficulty concentrating. Often they have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Physical symptoms that often accompany the anxiety include fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, nausea, lightheadedness, having to go to the bathroom frequently, feeling out of breath, and hot flashes.

When their anxiety level is mild, people with a generalized anxiety disorder can function socially and hold down a job. Although they don’t avoid certain situations as a result of their disorder, people with a generalized anxiety disorder can have difficulty carrying out the simplest daily activities if their anxiety is severe.

Of course, there is help for you if you feel you may be suffering from anxiety. There are prescription drugs that can be prescribed by your doctor which they are very happy to do these days. There are also natural remedies that can help alleviate anxiety such as herbal oils and sprays. I particularly enjoy lavender oil and spray an herbal mist in my car while driving. Counseling is an option as well, and sometimes when we can talk about our fears and concerns, we can let them go.

Whatever you decide it is important not to let things go on too long before taking action. God has big plans for you, and you don’t want to be stuck, spinning your wheels, when life has more to offer than what you are currently experiencing.

One Reply to “Dealing with Anxiety after Divorce”

  1. Denise Hildreth Jones has written a staggering journal of the first year following the loss of her marriage. Here’s a peek from “Flying Solo: A Journey of Divorce, Healing and a Very Present God:”

    “What do you wear to get divorced? That’s the only thing that kept running through my mind…. Today I was looking for something that could be thrown away. Today I was choosing an outfit that I would never wear again, because it wasn’t an event I would want to remember.”

    For a longer excerpt:

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