It is common, these days, to take a prescribed anti-depressant while going through a major life transition; divorce being one of those transitions. With the rushed pace of today’s life and the need to resume daily responsibilities, taking time to grieve and recover is not a luxury most of us can afford so it is often muffled by the use of prescription drugs. While it is sometimes necessary to lean on medications as a temporary crutch, Helen Fisher, Ph.D.’s concern is in my opinion, valid.
We tend to cover our divorce story in a plain brown wrapper, and in doing so, we force ourselves to internalize the emotional toll. In stressful situations, our bodies produce , cortisol, the fight or flight hormone. If we are under constant stress, we create chronic stress. When we are under chronic stress we are susceptible of developing an imbalance of serotonin, resulting in depression. Dr. Fisher’s video illustrates the domino effect of relying on SSRI’s to mask the emotions that effect our decisions We may indeed be learning to become less attached and less romantic. What a shame.
Dr. Fisher’s video provides important information to consider if you are on an anti-depressant. I have been on antidepressants in my past, and used them to help me through stressful times, such as divorce and the death of loved ones. However, what I know is that it did impair my ability to feel…yes, I didn’t feel depressed, but I noticed that I didn’t “feel” anything…I felt disconnected. I recognized this and talked to my Doctor about it and we worked out a plan to titrate myself off the medications as I worked through the stress with a counselor and practiced better self-care. At a later time, when I took on a new job and was in the beginning stages of training, another tragedy struck our family, and I chose to take antidepressants, knowing the effects they would have on my ability to feel. During this time, I planned to “ease” into the grief, and go off the antidepressants within a few months. Still, postponing grief may have been inappropriate…that year, in particular, I experienced weight gain and other health issues. I believe our bodies respond when we don’t allow for emotional expression.
As a Celebrant, I work with people to create ceremony that marks life’s rites of passage. As a society, we don’t give proper recognition to the process of divorce as a major life transition, or, rite of passage. As a person who has experienced divorce, I know I felt pressured to move forward in life without a “pause” in my work or other duties that life brings. I believe there is a craving for validation about the difficult journey of divorce…it’s not the easy way out, but most times, the only way.
A Divorce Ceremony allows for the telling of the journey and provides a bridge to a new life. The planning of a ceremony is healing in itself. Through sharing and telling of the pleasure and pain while honoring the love that once was, sets up the release for what could have been. Vows to the self, thoughtfully created, become a personal mission statement, and in speaking those vows to a few chosen witnesses, one confirms the intention to live a better life. Words spoken aloud seem to gain power and with that new statement of faith, one becomes charged to follow through with the intended statements. To be blessed and accepted in a new social state gives a sense of closure and rebirth. A divorce ceremony becomes the right of passage that allows one to cross the bridge from married to single. Consider giving time to grief and process …perhaps pass on the pill.
Have you ever spent countless days thinking, “If only…? (You fill in the blank) then I’d be happy?” If only he would…if only she would…if only my job…if only I would win that lottery, then I would….and on and on.
With the blanket of gloom that seems to be spread over the economy, it seems finding happiness is ever eluding mainstream America. But perhaps happiness is present more than we know…we may be in the habit of choosing lack instead of realizing the daily opportunities we have to allow happiness to enter our lives. And, by taking in a dose of happiness, we may find ourselves spreading that happiness to those we love.
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” Buddha
While cold calling a the New Tacoma Cemetery to market my Funeral Officiant Services, (no pun intended) I experienced the most delightful conversation with the receptionist, Linda, a compassionate woman who warmly greets callers who wish to make arrangements for their dearly departed. She was so helpful and freely offered suggestions on who I should contact for possible business in performing funerals and memorials. I felt like I’d made a new friend and left with a smile on my face.
An unexpected warm day (for our winter) landed in Tacoma on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Ruston Way was filled with walkers enjoying the break from the normal wind and rain. I was there and was amazed at the number of people and dogs taking in a breath of fresh air. Again, I found myself smiling…could this be happiness? That same morning I enjoyed coffee at Starbucks with a new friend I met at a Saturday morning networking coffee that meets the 2nd Saturday of each month at the Mandolin Cafe. We shared insights on life and love as we learned about each other’s businesses. We both agreed that it is important to bring relationship back into business…our transactions have become so impersonal with the INTERNET that I believe we are craving that human contact that now slips into cyberspace.
My point is that life moves on no matter what the circumstances of your divorce or break up. Sometimes after divorce, people become isolated because of the dynamics in the family structure and the fallout that spreads to in-laws and friends. Perhaps it’s a good time to create new bonds with new people, and renew bonds with friends who have been forgotten. Look for opportunities to connect with people in new ways. Find a group that involves an activity you enjoy…or an activity you would like to explore. Not only will you find ways to expand your interests, you might expand your social networks and in doing so, increase the potential for happiness. Within those connections are smiles waiting to be given and received. Even though things could be better, I’ll bet they are better than we realize and we may find that happiness happens in a blink of the eye.
As a Life Coach, I have assisted others in moving forward to realize goals that seemed, at first, overwhelming. By focusing on Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time specific steps, my clients gain confidence and they experience an increase in their motivation as they remove the barriers that kept them from achieving their goals.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a half priced, introductory strategy session to experience coaching for yourself.