When my client Jane called me, her stress level was through the roof. “I feel like I’m irritable all the time. I can’t sleep so I’m too tired to exercise. It’s not just the divorce. My doctor offered something for anxiety but I’m not sure I like the idea of being medicated. Plus, I’m worried it could hurt my case.”
Jane’s sentiment isn’t unusual. Plenty of women (and men) are reluctant to take what they consider to be mood altering medication - whether it’s a daily dose of Prozac or something just “as needed” like Xanax. Their perception says: something must be wrong with me if I need medicine to handle my emotions. There are also concerns about how this might impact their divorce case. Will it be a mark against me? (The answer is no, as long as you follow your doctor’s orders and stay within the prescription limits).
I’m not a doctor and am not touting drugs. But I do know that your mental health is nothing to mess with – especially when you’re going through one of the most difficult life events like divorce. Did you know that divorce ranks #2 in terms of stressful events, only after death of a spouse?* So, if you find yourself regularly feeling off - whether just general malaise or full-on depression or anxiety, that’s understandable. It’s also not a healthy way to live. And if your mental state is affecting your ability to function in your everyday life, it’s time to consider your options.
There are plenty of ways to get out of your divorce funk and improve your mental state. Physical exercise, yoga, meditation, journaling, and therapy all have great benefits. And today natural mood enhancers - like supplements, CBD, and lavender oils - come in all shapes and sizes. Any of these might help you.
You might want to experiment to see which work best for you. And likely none of them are a quick fix either. It could take a few weeks of a combination of yoga, meditation, and supplements, for example, before you notice an improved state of mind.
But if you’ve tried those remedies for long enough and still don’t feel right, you might consider the pharmaceutical option. Ask your doctor for his or her opinion and think about taking the lowest dosage possible to see how you feel. There’s nothing “wrong” with you if you decide to take medication. Our goal isn’t to push you towards any particular course of action - but it is to make sure you’re taking care of your emotional needs.
This is just one piece of the total wellness pie. I’ve seen a lot of clients fail to do things that might improve their situation because they’re too concerned about being judged by others – or they’re judging themself. Divorce is hard enough. You’ve got to remember to take care of you, friend!
*The Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory