Ask a life coach

Ask a Life Coach: Divorce & Depression


Dear Jackie Lee,

I am going through a divorce and I am so depressed. I can barely function at work. I feel like I am just putting in time. I am so worried that I am going to lose my job and I need my pay. I don’t know how to get through this.

Please help,



Dear Sonia,

I am so sorry to hear about your struggles. Loss is hard and relationship loss is one of the toughest. You say you are depressed and worried about work. Please call your union representative and set up appointment with an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) counselor.

Your union rep will likely talk to you about your rights to sick leave and time off. Take advantage of this as you have suffered a loss and need time to mourn and heal. In the meantime here are some pieces of advice that many in your situation have found to be helpful. I would also recommend The Smart Divorce at:

If you need further assistance after counseling please contact your union representative to get my contact information and I will be glad to work with you to help get you back to work and to move on.

How to Pick Up the Pieces and Move Forward

Getting a divorce can be very emotional and trying to say the least, but getting the divorce is only half the battle. It is after the divorce is finalized that people face a newer set of challenges. Even if you are the one that initiated the divorce, starting out new and on your own can be tricky. And if you didn’t want the divorce, the emotional ups and downs of being single again can be painful. But there is light at the end of the tunnel and although getting rid of the negative aspects that have surrounded a difficult relationship might seem impossible, with a little bit of extra work you can get on with your life and move forward.

Letting Go is Crucial to Starting Again

In order to really begin anew, it is absolutely necessary that you make a conscious effort to release all the bad thoughts of the recent divorce. If you hold on to the negative feelings and emotions that up until the end of the marriage had been the impetus for getting through the divorce, you’ll stay stuck in that state of mind, making it nearly impossible to be happy again. Plainly stated, letting go is crucial to starting again. At this point of your life, there is no place for regrets or looking backwards. You made a choice at one time, which at the time seemed right and now that choice no longer serves you, so it’s time to let go. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn from the past, but you don’t have to repeat it. How you deal with all the past negativity will set the stage for your new life…a life of new love and a life of happiness.

Where Do You Begin? You Begin at the End

How you choose to handle the rest of your life is your choice. You can choose to accept the fact that both you and your partner made mistakes and now it’s time to move on or you can choose to be unhappy. The choice is yours. You can accept the fact that your marriage ended simply because you were no longer compatible or you can continuously live with remorse. Maybe you made a choice when you were very young. Maybe you married for some of the wrong reasons. Whatever the reason for the ending of the marriage, sitting around and blaming yourself or your ex partner is wasted energy. At this stage of the game, it doesn’t matter. Your goal now is to move forward and that can only happen when you put an end to the old life completely. Now of course, if there are children involved, you will still have to see your ex partner fairly often, but you can learn to let go of any of the emotional struggles. Having no attachments either to the good or to the bad will free you to move on.

Facing the Realities

Once you’re on your own, it may seem like it’s going to be difficult to start a new life, but if you just put one foot in front of the other, and do something every day that empowers you, before long, you’ll see things fall into place. It takes about 21 days to develop a new habit, so think of it as your journey into a new habit. If you find yourself thinking about the situation too much, stop and change the thought. It is true that what you think about constantly grows, so why not think about what you want, rather than what you don’t want. Fill your head with good thoughts rather than bad ones. In the long run, if you dwell on it, you’re the one that suffers, and if you’re miserable and unhappy, others won’t want to be with you.

Things to Consider As You Start Your New Life

  • Life is short, so why spend time in misery. Make up your mind that you’re going to have a good life.
  • While some people believe that marriage is supposed to be forever, we all change and grow: sometimes it’s simply time to move on.
  • One of the fastest ways of moving on is to accept responsibility for your life; choose to perceive it as though you chose it exactly as it is.
  • Take this time to work on yourself; read books, be with people that support you and take care of yourself physically.
  • Every person that grows will tell you they had to go through something painful to come out on the other side. As Kahlil Gibran, the famous author of The Prophet says: “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” Let the experience teach you.
  • Choose to accept that everything happens for a reason. Keeping that uppermost in mind will help you move forward.
  • Learn patience and acceptance. Rome wasn’t built in a day so be kind to yourself and acknowledge yourself as you take the important steps to your new life.
  • How you see your life is how it will be. If you see it as okay, it will be okay. If you see it as wonderful, it will be wonderful. If you choose to see it as awful…well guess what?
  • When that little negative voice inside starts giving you a hard time, turn it off. You can acknowledge it and thank it for supporting you, but tell it you want to be supported in a different way.
  • Give up being a victim. The marriage is over but now that means there’s something healthier and more fulfilling on the horizon.

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