Can an Ugly Divorce Cause PTSD?

Can an Ugly Divorce Cause PTSD?

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There is a wonderful article by Lisa Arends in the Huffington Post called "PTSD After Divorce." In it, she describes her own reaction to her divorce as something very similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As Independent also puts it, "it isn't just soldiers that get PTSD". If you feel like your shock, depression, anxiety, and panic-attacks triggered by your divorce have been going on for an inordinate amount of time, it's possible you may be suffering from something very similar to PTSD.

Divorce is stressful in the best of times, but under the worst of circumstances (cheating, lies, a very sudden and unanticipated split), PTSD after divorce has also been seen to be triggered. One Australian divorcee, Aaron Stevenson said, "You don't have to have fought in Afghanistan or got run over by a car to have PTSD; basically it's about having trauma and, in some way, feeling you're at risk". It happens as we desperately try to make it through the "brutal process" of an inevitable break-up.

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Take account of your feelings

Graine Mediation | PTSD after divorceLisa talks about how important it is to take account of your own feelings and reactions so that you'll be the best-equipped to speak to a doctor or therapist about the problem. It may seem counter-intuitive to you, after such a loss and shock, to spend more time thinking about how you're feeling. A natural inclination is to shove feelings to the back and numb up your exterior. This kind of bottling-up of emotions is ultimately harmful as they could begin to manifest themselves in detrimental ways. In addition to speaking to a therapist or doctor, she suggests yoga and meditation.

You don't need to be a prisoner of your own emotions--there is help, and things can get better. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that life only goes downhill after divorce. Uphill battles are hard but are sometimes the most worthwhile.

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Posted by Jane Baber, Mediation Assistant

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