Dealing With Anxiety After Divorce

It happened suddenly when I was walking my dog - my heart raced painfully in my chest, I felt faint, and I struggled to breathe. I thought I was having a heart attack.

  • Surge of overwhelming panic
  • Feeling of losing control
  • Heart palpitations and chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Hyperventilation
  • Trembling and shaking
I ran to my doctor, who diagnosed an anxiety attack. He put me on Lexapro, which I took for 3 months. Friends told me that I appeared lethargic and not myself. Some friends, who had heretofore been put of by my forceful personality, found me "more pleasing."

More pleasing? Hell no! I had a reputation for being feisty, thankyouverymuch.

As soon as I felt that I could deal with the consequences of the end of my marriage, I weened myself off the drug. Instead, I found other more natural ways to deal with my worries:
  1. Forging new friendships
  2. Regular Exercise
  3. Pursuing new hobbies
  4. Gardening
  5. Immersing myself in meaningful work
  6. Helping others and rescuing a dog
  7. Counseling and support groups
  8. Self-help books
Since that initial episode I've experienced other manifestations of anxiety in the form of asthma attacks, hives, and eczema. Knowledge is a powerful healing tool. Each time I exhibited a new symptom, I looked up its cause and dealt with the problem naturally.

Exercise, diets, and friendships are powerful deterrents to the physical manifestations of depression and anxiety. I recommend these natural prescriptions over those dealt out by well-meaning medicine men, for natural means, while also addictive, work better than artificial, mind-numbing drugs.


Quickie Divorce said...

It is perfectly normal for a person to become anxious when they are going through a divorce or have recently had their divorce finalised.

Generally, the best way to recover from a divorce is indeed socialising and forming new friendships then, when you're ready, possibly a new relationship.

Anxiety disorders said...

Klonopin 2mg/Rivotril (Clonazepam) is used for the short-term relief of the symptoms of anxiety. It is used for certain types of seizures, specifically petit mal seizures, akinetic seizures, and myoclonus, as well as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. For these seizure disorders, clonazepam may use alone or together with other medications. Like all benzodiazepines, clonazepam can cause physical dependence.

CaliforniaDivorceForms.org said...

We really appreciate the great content you're providing on this blog, and wanted to show our support. We were sorry to read about your anxiety attack--that must have been very difficult. But at least others can now benefit from the good advice you can share having gone through it.

In his award-winning book, "Make Any Divorce Better" attorney Ed Sherman says:

"Healing starts with a lot of tiny changes in your daily habits. If you take charge of the little things, the big ones will soon fall in line. You should see it as a triumph when you learn to do for yourself the little things that you always depended on your spouse to do, or make decisions in areas where you always used to defer to your mate. Take pleasure in your new self-reliance when you learn to cook, take care of business, grow house plants, remember birthdays, mow the lawn, create an enjoyable living space, or keep the checkbook balanced. When you change your daily habits in the small ways, you are on your way up."

It sounds like you’ve mastered this concept well enough to move on with your life and reach out to help others. Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I just stumbled across your blog and I'm very glad. I have quickly been scanning some of your entries and feel I can connect with what you are going through; however, I am 61 and left a marriage after 39 years. I have totally uprooted myself and have left everything familiar behind me. I've gone from a 4 bedroom; 3 bath house to a one bedroom apt; relocated half way across the country; and now make approx $15,000 to $20,000 less than I did last year. I sometimes feel I have been spun around and dropped on my hand and landed in another country altogether. I miss my friends terribly and feel at age 61 that I am starting everything all over again!

Anonymous said...

Hi. I also appreciate your blog. I was divorced five years ago after a 27 year marriage. I still struggle with its absence and esp. miss my intact family during the holidays. I am the one who moved out tho three weeks later I asked to come back home. After 2 years of separation we were not able to get back together. I really so often regret moving out. I lost dozens of friends, a large family of inlaws, and many material things. I am soon to be 61. I too often feel like my life is over, that I will be alone forever. I too am an only child. I have many wonderful friends but they don't live close by, many of them. And I simply miss the love my ex used to feel for me. I truly regret losing it. I continue to try to build a new life though and not wallow in self-pity (tho this post doesn't sound like it :)) I simply have to move forward.

sustx said...

I came home from visiting my husband's family in Oct. and my husband of 30 years informed me that he had filed for divorce. We had agreed that we would divorce but not until AFTER our youngest graduated high school (6/2012) so the timing was a shock for me. I was a stay at home mom for 22 yrs. to 3 kids, one with a birth defect. I did work previously but am now struggling to find a full time job with health insurance. I wake up daily with my heart literally in my throat. I do believe that all will be fine but there are days that I am absolutely overwhelmed with the huge changes coming. Any suggestions on returning to the work force after raising kids? I do have 2 part time jobs but it's not enough to support myself and no benefits. Thanks.

Vic said...

sustx: I am so sorry to hear of your situation. The hardest part about divorce past middle age after being out of the workforceis the fear of not being able to find a job with benefits. I worked 3 jobs before I was offered a full time position. (My friends told me that I did not have the skills, and needed to go back to school, but I was determined.) I took the opportunity in one of my part time jobs to be creative and make myself indispensable, working overtime for free to create a database that would help them save time and reorganize the office more efficiently. My hard work paid off.

Now, after 11 years in the same job, I feel a bit trapped in my position, knowing that I will be hard pressed to find a similar situation with such a good salary somewhere else.

Keep plugging away. Use your contacts - friends helped me get my foot in the door. Also, update your resume and knowledge about computers and software, so that you feel comfortable with technology in any setting. This is so important and I cannot emphasize this enough. .
Good luck. Life does get better, but for a while you will be feeling enormous emotional (and physical) pain. - Vic

Vic said...

Hello Anonymouses,

You were brave to make the decisions you made, and although you miss so many aspects of your former lives (and miss your family and friends), I have learned to let go of the past. I miss my former sister- and brother-in-law, and the married couples we used to hang out with.

It took me years to get used to my reduced financial circumstances, to make new friends, and to find my way again.

Then one day I woke up and discovered that I was content. Life has become different, yes, but it is good again. I found a new passion and pursued it, perfecting my talents in that direction (no it was not a man!) And I found my work fulfilling.

My two dogs give me the daily companionship I crave, and a handful of new friends have become close and dear. This takes time.

Trust that your life will turn around. Trust that you will find happiness again!

Guy Chambliss said...


Kathryn said...

I watched my mom go through divorce and it's painful to see the twinkle in her eyes gone. She used to be so lively, especially when she sees us, her kids. However, dad's cheating and the divorce that followed broke her physically and mentally.

It's a good thing that we're all grown ups now.At least she no longer needs to pretend to be strong and fight for child support the same way that some of my friends did for their kids after the divorce.

family counseling said...

There are indeed a lot of people who are dealing with anxiety after going through a divorce. These facts that you have shared are truly helpful in coping with this condition. A lot of people in such situation are surely grateful of these insights. Thanks for sharing.

Quick Divorce UK said...

It is great that you are able to feature one of divorce's worst after effects – anxiety. Hopefully, a lot of ex-married couples can read and get a lot of medical tips from your very informative post.

Divorced men and dating said...

Dating after divorce shouldn't be something you dread. The whole point of dating is meeting new people, enjoying their company, and getting to know them, right?

Niccolo Alley said...

Really your post is really very good and I appreciate it. It’s hard to sort the good from the bad sometimes, but I think you’ve nailed it. combating depression

McKinley Irvin said...

I think these anxiety symptoms are very normal for people who have experienced a traumatic divorce. The effects of a divorce can be even more devastating for children who are longing for the absent parent.

Coping with the transition is much easier to manage when you have friends and family for support.

DUI evaluation said...

Divorce is definitely a difficult chapter in the lives of those involved and it is perfectly normal to be anxious and feel sorrowful during or after the divorce. However, it will not be healthy to hold on to such anguish. Letting go is always the best option one can do so that his or her life will not go to waste. This post you have shared is of great use. Thank you.