My fifth and final tip for how to deal with depression resulting from divorce is to imagine the two of us are meeting for lunch one year from today. As we get seated, I can see that you’re doing great — much different from the person who was struggling with divorce depression. I say to you, “You look wonderful and I can tell you must be feeling great. What’s life like for you now?”
Really think about my question. What would you ideally like your life to be like one year from today? Write it all down and include all the details. Where will you be living? What type of work will you be doing? What will you be doing for fun? How will you be feeling? Include everything in as much detail as you can. In fact, the more detail you can include the better.
This exercise helps you set the stage for what’s next in your life. What’s next can be absolutely amazing and the more you are able to focus on creating exactly what it is you want from your life the sooner you’ll be able to stop grieving so deeply for what you’re losing.
Each of my 5 tips for how to deal with depression resulting from divorce is meant to build one on the other. Start with writing your goodbye letter. After you’ve had a chance to really grieve (aka cry or sob) over what you’re saying goodbye to, write your hello letter. Start noticing what is good about now. Then you’re ready to start hearing what you’re saying to yourself and make sure you turn up the volume on the kindness and support. Once you’ve got your internal dialog tuned to a positive note, you’ll want to be sure and take care of your need for casual human contact which could be as simple as giving and getting more hugs. Finally, when you can start to imagine how wonderful your life could be a year from now, start painting that picture and taking the steps to make it a reality. By the time you’ve completed all 5 of my tips, you’ll be well on your way to making the rest of your life the best of your life instead of being stuck in the quicksand of divorce depression.
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Write your goodbye letter. I know it may seem weird that I specified that you need to write this letter by hand, but for most people the act of writing helps with getting all the emotions out much more than typing away at a keyboard. Because I know you’ll want to get the most out of this experience as possible, please take some time when you won’t be interrupted or distracted and allow yourself to write your goodbye letter by hand.
After you’ve written your goodbye letter, read it to yourself and note where you might start to get over your grief. It’s often easiest to do this with the help of someone who can listen to you in silence. A professional can even help you figure out where you might want to start focusing attention to get over your grief.
When you’ve gotten all the information from your letter you can, you’ll probably want todestroy it. After my clients share their goodbye letter with me and we identify what where to start focusing our attention so they can more quickly get over their grief, I’ll suggest that they either shred or burn their goodbye letter. I do this because it’s a symbolic act of no longer allowing yourself to be bound by the grief you expressed in the letter and clears the way for you to write your hello letter.
Write your hello letter. The same rules for writing the goodbye letter apply to writing your hello letter. You’ll want to write your hello letter fairly soon after destroying your goodbye letter to start focusing your attention on the positive aspects of your life and set the stage for moving past your divorce depression as quickly as possible.
Continue with the rest of the tips as you feel ready and I know you’ll find yourself moving through the worst of your divorce depression more quickly.
This guest article from YourTango was written by Dr. Karen Finn and appeared as: How to Deal with Depression After Divorce: 5 Actionable Tips
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