27th Aug 2020

Divorce and the Impact of Depression

By Hannah Greene

In this blog, FLiP associate Hannah Greene reflects on her recent podcast with psychotherapist Christopher Mills on the impact of depression on divorce


Lots of people experience some form of depression during or after their family breakdown. The end of a relationship can make you feel as though you don’t have the level of control in your life that you are used to, and a feeling of loss of control can be a catalyst for depression.

Recently I sat down with the well-regarded psychotherapist, Christopher Mills to discuss how to cope with depression and divorce. You can listen to our podcast here.

There are countless definitions of depression. But in general depression is typified by low mood, loss of interest in things you used to enjoy, and feelings of hopelessness. It can affect your focus and it can make it difficult for you to feel confident that you can make decisions.

Depression can be a natural part of the bereavement process and the end of a marriage or a long term relationship is undoubtedly a type of bereavement. Some people of course suffer from a more long term clinical depression. The break-down of a relationship can be a traumatic experience and it’s often comforting to know that other people have experienced a similar situation to you.

How to cope with divorce/decision making with depression?

Unfortunately there is not a “one size fits all” list of answers, and different people will find different things which help them to cope. From both Chris and my experiences with clients, however, we identified a few pointers:

  • Your support network

It is really important to have a support network.

It’s really easy to feel like you are alone and no one understands what you are going through. This often leads to pushing people away. Do remember that your friends and loved ones care about you and just as you have been there for them in difficult times, so they will be there for you in yours.

  • Have someone to sit alongside you

Chris and I discussed the importance of having someone who can sit alongside you, and understand what you’re going through.

Sometimes it’s even more helpful to be able to speak to someone outside of your bubble who is able to understand what you are going through. We often don’t feel like we have space to talk about ourselves without judgement or partiality, but there are many professionals who can help with this. These include life coaches, couples counsellors and individual therapists. If you would like to hear a bit more about the different types of support, this is something Chris discusses in more detail in our podcast.

  • Take things one day at a time

The divorce process can involve what feels like an onerous amount of work, especially if you are within the court process. Sometimes filling out your financial disclosure can feel completely overwhelming. Try breaking tasks up into manageable sized chunks and doing a bit at a time if this works better for you.

  • Find the right lawyer for you

It’s worth taking time when you are looking for a lawyer to find someone empathetic who you feel understands your situation well. Remember that you are going to this person because you are looking to them for help. It’s really important when you choose your lawyer you find someone you feel is a good fit for you.

I was recently contacted by a client who had a very emotionally difficult divorce. My client wanted to let me know that after all the dust had settled he is now happy and settled into his new life.  When you are getting divorced it can feel like there is no ending point, but do remember that, however long it takes to get there, there will be a resolution.

Listen to the podcast here, also available on Google, Apple Podcasts and Spotify

Contact FLiP for advice about your divorce or separation