The pandemic has magnified mental health issues significantly this past year and adding divorce into the mix would be devastating to those just trying to cope. Whether you are experiencing mental illness for the first time or you have had pre-existing mental illness now is definitely not the time to consider separating. Given all the stresses that come with ‘long-covid’ like chronic isolation, financial challenges, children learning from home, increased anxiety, and many other uncertainties, there is too much happening to add divorce into the mix.
It’s all about your capacity for stress. I have spent over 20 years in the social service field and the last 11 years in my private practice. Today, I support individuals as they heal and move forward from divorce and separation. We all have a particular capacity for what we can deal with at any given time before we are overwhelmed or overloaded. Yet, when you add mental illness and the pandemic into your life, it limits your ability to cope with other stresses. Even the smaller ones.
Life during this pandemic has shaken up all aspects of our lives, to say the least, and it’s safe to say that most people have struggled to maintain a healthy emotional outlook and people with mental illness have struggled just that much more. Something that would affect an emotionally healthy person at a 3 or 4 could affect a person will mental illness at a 10 or higher. Everything is heightened.
For some, staying home with their significant other created the perfect bonding experience, while for others it only served as a catalyst to their existing strained relationships whereby they realized this is not the person they want to be married to. Perhaps through the pandemic, you noticed you don’t come together as a united front in a time of crisis, or maybe you recognized your values were very different. You may no longer be able to ignore that you don’t like or respect the person you are married to, and you may be exhausted by the amount of unreciprocated effort it takes to make it work. Divorce may be the answer for you, I’m just asking you to consider ‘not right now’.
Below are 3 glasses: a glass for a person living with mental illness, a glass with a person dealing with mental illness and the pandemic, and a glass showing a person with mental illness, the pandemic, and divorce. As you can see…it’s just too much to handle, it’s unbearable.
Almost 1 year into this pandemic, psychological distress has been and continues to be an overwhelming side effect. It is predicted that 16-28% of people will experience symptoms of anxiety and depression throughout this pandemic1. These numbers are staggering. It is also said that parents living with their children are 29 percent more likely to feel depressed (1). Our capacity and tolerance to deal with stress is quickly declining and this is affecting marriages. Lawyers are reporting a significant increase in divorce applications, in some cases more than double than what they are used to (2). This raises huge concerns for people living with mental illness. This is why I implore you to reconsider separating, just yet.
Taking The Future into Account
Just like a wedding, we need to also prepare and plan for a separation and divorce. This is no rush to separate. Imagine supporting your spouse so that you can leave your marriage in a way he or she are well supported. How can you help ensure your spouse will have a safety net so that as you pull away, they are set up to win? Ideally, both parties should consider their partner’s future and ensure both are in the best state possible to move forward, doing this would transform the experience of divorce. Divorce doesn’t have to ugly.
How Can you Take Care of Your Own Mental Health?
Since developing the Divorce Healing Blueprint, several years ago, I am honored to help people learn more about themselves and how they heal. Divorce is stressful and it is essential to minimize this stress as much as possible. Discovering your healing blueprint can provide you with a sense of control and clarity in your current circumstance. (https://www.duartecoaching.com/divorce-healing-blueprint)
*There are times when waiting is not recommended; in cases of domestic violence or if your children are at risk of violence it is essential that you leave immediately and reach out for professional support (Learn more: https://endingviolencecanada.org/).
Center of Addiction and Mental Health.2020. COVID-19 pandemic adversely affecting mental health of women and people with children. https://www.camh.ca/en/camh-news-and-stories/covid-19-pandemic-adversely-affecting-mental-health-of-women-and-people-with-children
BBC, The Life Project.2020. Why the pandemic is causing spikes in break-ups and divorces. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20201203-why-the-pandemic-is-causing-spikes-in-break-ups-and-divorces
I hope that you enjoyed this article!
Check out duartecoaching.com to learn more about my Divorce Recovery Coaching services.