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Divorce Health Depression Stress Symptoms

Submitted By Benjamin Yates:

When a relationship ends, it’s not only your emotions that are affected ‘ your body and mind also show signs of stress and depression. Recognizing these symptoms is a big step towards looking after yourself. You’ll begin to cope better and feel more in control of your life.

If you are experiencing one, or more, of the following, you are suffering from stress or depression, or both:

  • lack of energy ‘ feeling lethargic, little interest in what’s going on, everything is an effort
  • insomnia and sleep disturbance ‘ unable to get to sleep, waking in the night, sleeping a great deal
  • food problems ‘ lack of appetite, hungry all the time.
  • feeling bloated – indigestion, constipation and/or diarrhoea
  • finding it hard to concentrate, remember things, make decisions
  • feeling sad, tearful, hopeless

Your Questions Answered

I can’t eat well because I’ve no appetite, what should I do?

Choose foods that are easy to digest so avoid rich or spicy foods for the time being. Go back to childhood. Find the foods that were comforting then ‘ cereals, rice pudding, mashed banana, scrambled egg on toast ‘ and eat them now. Eat soft foods that don’t require a lot of chewing. If you can’t face meat and two veg, try a bowl of soup with fresh bread. If you start to lose weight or frequently vomit after eating, see your doctor

What can my doctor do for me?

There are several ways your doctor can help you. First of all, it’s useful for your doctor to know what’s happened in your life, especially if there are children involved. Your doctor needs to know how you are feeling both physically and emotionally, so make a list of symptoms before you go. If your symptoms of stress and depression are severe or have lasted some time, you may be offered medication such as anti-depressants to help you cope better. Your doctor should also suggest some sessions of counselling or psychotherapy either within the practice or outside.

All I want to do is drink myself into oblivion. How can I get beyond this?

Drink can be a useful prop at times of stress and unhappiness but in excess it will simply make you feel more depressed. Try to avoid situations and places where it’s easy to drink too much. Stay away from people who encourage you to drink. Postpone the first drink of the day. Drink longer drinks ‘ beer instead of spirits ‘ drink more slowly. Have non alcohol or low alcohol alternatives to hand. Use other ways to relax.

I feel anxious all the time. What can I do?

A number of techniques can help you to relax and give you a bit of time out from your feelings of anxiety ‘ yoga, aromatherapy, massage, visualisation. If your anxiety has physical symptoms such as panic attacks or palpitations, see your doctor for advice.

Next Steps

  • Recognise that you are depressed or stressed.
  • Eat well even if you’re not hungry.
  • Take some exercise, even if you feel you have no energy.
  • Try relaxation even if you feel too depressed to do anything.
  • Visit your doctor if your symptoms of stress or depression persist for more than two weeks.

Need to Knows

  • Give yourself one treat a week ‘ a soothing massage, go to a sporting event
  • Use your friends ‘ if they offer help and support, accept gratefully
  • Have as much rest as you possibly can ‘ no need to sleep or even go to bed
  • Just do something different ‘ read a book, the newspaper, listen to music
  • Laugh a little ‘ go to a show, rent an hilarious movie, buy a comedy audio cassette

If you these symptoms continue for more than a fortnight, it’s a good idea to see your GP.

  • frequent headaches, muscle or joint pain, stomach pains
  • feelings of anxiety, panic, irritability
  • drinking, or smoking more than usual
  • feelings of anger, or aggression.

What you can do for yourself:

Try to eat well

Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables; protein from meat and fish or pulses; carbohydrates from bread, pasta and rice. These foods will give you more energy, boost levels of the chemicals, serotonin and noradrenaline, that affect mood and build up your immune system, so you can fight off illness.

  • Take some exercise. It helps reduce tension, you’ll sleep better and actually have more energy.
  • If you feel up to seeing other people, join a class for regular exercise (and a bit of social life).
  • Walk briskly round the block or park two or three times a week.
  • Do some simple stretches at home.
  • Use the stairs rather than the lift.
  • Walk or cycle rather than getting in the car.

Try relaxation

  • Take ten minutes out each day to sit or lie on the floor or bed.
  • Breathe deeply and slowly.
  • Breathe in positive thoughts and energy, breathe out pain and anger.
  • If you can’t empty your mind, listen to music or gaze intently at a flower, or lighted candle.

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