Thank you for reaching out, I know it is not easy to ask for help, so you can pat yourself on the back for taking this step :) I am very sorry to read about your situation with your spouse. It seems like things might have turned out for the worse. The best thing to do while going through something like this is to focus on getting yourself in a better mindset, and also performing self0care/ this will increase your chances of getting through your divorce without excessive suffering. and perhaps even with a new mindset. Here are a few ways in which you can naturally start the healing process:
These techniques use your five senses or tangible objects — things you can touch — to help you move through distress.
1. Put your hands in water
Focus on the water’s temperature and how it feels on your fingertips, palms, and the backs of your hands. Does it feel the same in each part of your hand?
Use warm water first, then cold. Next, try cold water first, then warm. Does it feel different to switch from cold to warm water versus warm to cold?
2. Pick up or touch items near you
Are the things you touch soft or hard? Heavy or light? Warm or cool? Focus on the texture and color of each item. Challenge yourself to think of specific colors, such as crimson, burgundy, indigo, or turquoise, instead of simply red or blue.
3. Breathe deeply
Slowly inhale, then exhale. If it helps, you can say or think “in” and “out” with each breath. Feel each breath filling your lungs and note how it feels to push it back out.
4. Savor a food or drink
Take small bites or sips of a food or beverage you enjoy, letting yourself fully taste each bite. Think about how it tastes and smells and the flavors that linger on your tongue.
5. Take a short walk
Concentrate on your steps — you can even count them. Notice the rhythm of your footsteps and how it feels to put your foot on the ground and then lift it again.
6. Hold a piece of ice
What does it feel like at first? How long does it take to start melting? How does the sensation change when the ice begins to melt?
7. Savor a scent
Is there a fragrance that appeals to you? This might be a cup of tea, an herb or spice, a favorite soap, or a scented candle. Inhale the fragrance slowly and deeply and try to note its qualities (sweet, spicy, sharp, citrusy, and so on).
8. Move your body
Do a few exercises or stretches. You could try jumping jacks, jumping up and down, jumping rope, jogging in place, or stretching different muscle groups one by one.
Pay attention to how your body feels with each movement and when your hands or feet touch the floor or move through the air. How does the floor feel against your feet and hands? If you jump rope, listen to the sound of the rope in the air and when it hits the ground.
9. Listen to your surroundings
Take a few moments to listen to the noises around you. Do you hear birds? Dogs barking? Machinery or traffic? If you hear people talking, what are they saying? Do you recognize the language? Let the sounds wash over you and remind you where you are.
10. Feel your body
You can do this sitting or standing. Focus on how your body feels from head to toe, noticing each part.
Can you feel your hair on your shoulders or forehead? Glasses on your ears or nose? The weight of your shirt on your shoulders? Do your arms feel loose or stiff at your sides? Can you feel your heartbeat? Is it rapid or steady? Does your stomach feel full, or are you hungry? Are your legs crossed, or are your feet resting on the floor? Is your back straight?
Curl your fingers and wiggle your toes. Are you barefoot or in shoes? How does the floor feel against your feet?
11. Try the 5-4-3-2-1 method
Working backward from 5, use your senses to list things you notice around you. For example, you might start by listing five things you hear, then four things you see, then three things you can touch from where you’re sitting, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.
Make an effort to notice the little things you might not always pay attention to, such as the color of the flecks in the carpet or the hum of your computer.
These grounding exercises use mental distractions to help redirect your thoughts away from distressing feelings and back to the present.
12. Play a memory game
Look at a detailed photograph or picture (like a cityscape or other “busy” scene) for 5 to 10 seconds. Then, turn the photograph face-down and recreate the photograph in your mind, in as much detail as possible. Or, you can mentally list all the things you remember from the picture.
13. Think in categories
Choose one or two broad categories, such as “musical instruments,” “ice cream flavors,” “mammals,” or “baseball teams.” Take a minute or two to mentally list as many things from each category as you can.
14. Use math and numbers
Even if you aren’t a math person, numbers can help center you.
running through a times table in your head.
counting backward from 100
choosing a number and thinking of five ways you could make the number (6 + 11 = 17, 20 – 3 = 17, 8 × 2 + 1 = 17, etc.)
15. Recite something
Think of a poem, song, or book passage you know by heart. Recite it quietly to yourself or in your head. If you say the words aloud, focus on the shape of each word on your lips and in your mouth. If you say the words in your head, visualize each word as you’d see it on a page.
16. Make yourself laugh
Make up a silly joke — the kind you’d find on a candy wrapper or popsicle stick.
You might also make yourself laugh by watching your favorite funny animal video, a clip from a comedian or TV show you enjoy, or anything else you know will make you laugh.
17. Use an anchoring phrase
This might be something like, “I’m Full Name. I’m X years old. I live in City, State. Today is Friday, June 3. It’s 10:04 in the morning. I’m sitting at my desk at work. There’s no one else in the room.”
You can expand on the phrase by adding details until you feel calm, such as, “It’s raining lightly, but I can still see the sun. It’s my break time. I’m thirsty, so I’m going to make a cup of tea.”
18. Visualize a daily task you enjoy or don’t mind doing
If you like doing laundry, for example, think about how you’d put away a finished load.
“The clothes feel warm coming out of the dryer. They’re soft and a little stiff at the same time. They feel light in the basket, even though they spill over the top. I’m spreading them out over the bed so they won’t wrinkle. I’m folding the towels first, shaking them out before folding them into halves, then thirds,” and so on.
19. Describe a common task
Think of an activity you do often or can do very well, such as making coffee, locking up your office, or tuning a guitar. Go through the process step-by-step, as if you’re giving someone else instructions on how to do it.
20. Imagine yourself leaving the painful feelings behind
gathering the emotions, balling them up, and putting them into a box
walking, swimming, biking, or jogging away from painful feelings
Imagine your thoughts as a song or TV show you dislike, changing the channel or turning down the volume — they’re still there, but you don’t have to listen to them.
21. Describe what’s around you
Spend a few minutes taking in your surroundings and noting what you see. Use all five senses to provide as much detail as possible. “This bench is red, but the bench over there is green. It’s warm under my jeans since I’m sitting in the sun. It feels rough, but there aren’t any splinters. The grass is yellow and dry. The air smells like smoke. I hear kids having fun and two dogs barking.”
You can use these techniques to comfort yourself in times of emotional distress. These exercises can help promote good feelings that may help the negative feelings fade or seem less overwhelming.
22. Picture the voice or face of someone you love
If you feel upset or distressed, visualize someone positive in your life. Imagine their face or think of what their voice sounds like. Imagine them telling you that the moment is tough, but that you’ll get through it.
23. Practice self-kindness
Repeat kind, compassionate phrases to yourself:
“You’re having a rough time, but you’ll make it through.”
“You’re strong, and you can move through this pain.”
“You’re trying hard, and you’re doing your best.”
Say it, either aloud or in your head, as many times as you need.
24. Sit with your pet
If you’re at home and have a pet, spend a few moments just sitting with them. If they’re of the furry variety, pet them, focusing on how their fur feels. Focus on their markings or unique characteristics. If you have a smaller pet you can hold, concentrate on how they feel in your hand.
Not at home? Think of your favorite things about your pet or how they would comfort you if they were there.
25. List favorites
List three favorite things in several different categories, such as foods, trees, songs, movies, books, places, and so on.
26. Visualize your favorite place
Think of your favorite place, whether it’s the home of a loved one or a foreign country. Use all of your senses to create a mental image. Think of the colors you see, sounds you hear, and sensations you feel on your skin.
Remember the last time you were there. Who were you with, if anyone? What did you do there? How did you feel?
27. Plan an activity
This might be something you do alone or with a friend or loved one. Think of what you’ll do and when. Maybe you’ll go to dinner, take a walk on the beach, see a movie you’ve been looking forward to, or visit a museum.
Focus on the details, such as what you’ll wear, when you’ll go, and how you’ll get there.
28. Touch something comforting
This could be your favorite blanket, a much-loved T-shirt, a smooth stone, a soft carpet, or anything that feels good to touch. Think about how it feels under your fingers or in your hand.
If you have a favorite sweater, scarf, or pair of socks, put them on and spend a moment thinking about the sensation of the fabric on your skin.
29. List positive things
Write or mentally list four or five things in your life that bring you joy, visualizing each of them briefly.
30. Listen to music
Put on your favorite song, but pretend you’re listening to it for the first time. Focus on the melody and lyrics (if there are any). Does the song give you chills or create any other physical sensations? Pay attention to the parts that stand out most to you.
Another thing to keep in mind during this process that you are going through is the fact that something such as Seasonal Affective Disorder could also affect you in addition to everything else that you are experiencing. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of recurrent major depressive disorder in which episodes of depression occur during the same season each year. This condition is sometimes called the "winter blues," because the most common seasonal pattern is for depressive episodes to appear in the fall or winter and remit in the spring. Less commonly, SAD occurs as summer depression, typically beginning in the late spring or early summer and remitting in the fall. SAD may be related to changes in the amount of daylight a person receives.
To be diagnosed with SAD, an individual must meet the criteria for major depression coinciding with specific seasons for at least two years. The individual must experience seasonal depressions much more frequently than any non-seasonal depressions.
Not everyone with SAD has the same symptoms, but, according to the DSM-5, symptoms commonly associated with the winter blues include the following:
• Feelings of hopelessness and sadness
• Thoughts of suicide
• Hypersomnia or a tendency to oversleep
• A change in appetite, especially a craving for sweet or starchy foods
• Weight gain
• A heavy feeling in the arms or legs
• A drop in energy level
• Decreased physical activity
• Difficulty concentrating
• Increased sensitivity to social rejection
• Avoidance of social situations
Symptoms of summer SAD are:
• Poor appetite
• Weight loss
• Agitation and anxiety
• Either type of SAD may also include some of the symptoms that occur in major depression, such as feelings of guilt, a loss of interest or pleasure in activities previously enjoyed, ongoing feelings of hopelessness or helplessness, or physical problems such as headaches and stomach aches.
Symptoms of SAD tend to recur at about the same time every year. To be diagnosed with SAD, the mood changes should not be a direct result of obvious seasonal stressors (like being regularly unemployed during the winter). Usually, this form of depression is mild or moderate. However, some people experience severe symptoms that leave them unable to function in their daily lives. Seasonal Affective disorder can be misdiagnosed as hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, or a viral infection such as mononucleosis.
The cause for SAD is unknown. There is some evidence that it is related to the body's level of melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Darkness stimulates the production of melatonin, preparing the body for sleep. As the winter days get shorter and darker, melatonin production in the body increases, and people tend to feel sleepier and more lethargic.
Alternatively, people with SAD may have trouble regulating their levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that influences mood. Finally, research has suggested that people with SAD also may produce less Vitamin D in response to sunlight; vitamin D is believed to play a role in serotonin activity. Insufficiency of vitamin D is associated with clinically significant depression symptoms.
There are several factors known to increase an individual's chance of developing SAD. For example, SAD is more frequent in people who live far north or south of the equator. Additionally, people with a family history of other types of depression are more likely to develop SAD than people who do not have such a family history.
Treatment to alleviate the symptoms of SAD typically includes some combination of light therapy, vitamin D supplementation, antidepressant medication, and counseling. Because winter depression may be a reaction to lack of sunlight, broad-band light therapy is frequently used as a treatment option. This therapy involves exposure to bright artificial light that mimics outdoor light for some time in the morning. It requires the use of a lightbox or a light visor worn on the head like a cap. The individual either sits in front of the lightbox or wears a light visor for a certain length of time each day. Generally, light therapy takes between 30 and 60 minutes each day throughout the fall and winter. The exact amount of time varies with each individual. When light therapy is sufficient to reduce symptoms and to increase energy level, the individual continues to use it until enough daylight is available, typically in the springtime. Stopping light therapy too soon can result in a return of symptoms.
When used properly, light therapy has few side effects. The side effects that do arise include eyestrain, headache, fatigue, and irritability. Inability to sleep can occur if light therapy is administered too late in the day. People with bipolar disorder, skin that is sensitive to light, or medical conditions that make their eyes vulnerable to light damage may not be good candidates for light therapy. When light therapy does not improve symptoms within a few days, then medication and behavioral therapies such as CBT may be introduced. In some cases, light therapy can be used in combination with one or all of these therapies.
Self-care is an important part of treatment. For those with SAD, it is important to:
• Monitor mood and energy level
• Take advantage of available sunlight
• Plan pleasurable activities for the winter season
• Plan physical activities
• Approach the winter season with a positive attitude
• When symptoms develop seek help sooner rather than later.
People with SAD experience mood changes and symptoms similar to depression. The symptoms usually occur during the fall and winter months when there is less sunlight and usually improve with the arrival of spring. The most difficult months for people with SAD in the United States tend to be January and February. While it is much less common, some people experience SAD in the summer. SAD is more than just “winter blues.” The symptoms can be distressing and overwhelming and can interfere with daily functioning. However, it can be treated. About 5 percent of adults in the world reportedly experience SAD and it typically lasts about 40 percent of the year. It is more common among women than men.
SAD has been linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in winter. As seasons change, people experience a shift in their biological internal clock or a circadian rhythm that can cause them to be out of step with their daily schedule. SAD is more common in people living far from the equator where there are fewer daylight hours in the winter. Common symptoms of SAD include fatigue, even with too much sleep, and weight gain associated with overeating and carbohydrate cravings. SAD symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include many symptoms similar to major depression. SAD can be effectively treated in several ways, including light therapy, antidepressant medications, talk therapy, or some combination of these. While symptoms will generally improve on their own with the change of season, symptoms can improve more quickly with treatment.
Light therapy involves sitting in front of a light therapy box that emits a very bright light (and filters out harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays). It usually requires 20 minutes or more per day, typically first thing in the morning, during the winter months. Most people see some improvements from light therapy within one or two weeks of beginning treatment. To maintain the benefits and prevent relapse, treatment is usually continued through the winter. Because of the anticipated return of symptoms in late fall, some people may begin light therapy in early fall to prevent symptoms. Talk therapy, particularly cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), can effectively treat SAD. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the type of antidepressant most commonly used to treat SAD.
For some people, increased exposure to sunlight can help improve symptoms of SAD. For example, spending time outside or arranging your home or office so that you are exposed to a window during the day. (However, exposure to UV light from the sun can increase your risk of skin cancer, and you should talk with your doctor about risks and benefits.) Taking care of your general health and wellness can also help—regular exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, and staying active and connected (such as volunteering, participating in group activities, and getting together with friends and family) can help.
If you feel you have symptoms of SAD, seek the help of a trained medical professional. Just as with other forms of depression, it is important to make sure there is no other medical condition causing symptoms. SAD can be misdiagnosed in the presence of hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, infectious mononucleosis, and other viral infections, so proper evaluation is key. A mental health professional can diagnose the condition and discuss therapy options. With the right treatment, SAD can be a manageable condition.
As the days get shorter during the winter months some people find that their mood worsens along with the weather. These “winter blues” leave many feeling gloomy, lacking energy and motivation in the days that lack sunshine, and feeling better on the brighter days. Some, however, are intensely affected by the seasonal changes and may experience a more severe form of the winter blues. For them, the winter months bring on a clinical depression called “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or SAD. Those who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder find themselves feeling sad, anxious, and hopeless. They may be easily irritated, feel restless and have trouble sleeping or sleep too much. SAD often causes a decreased level of energy along with a loss of interest and joy from the activities that were previously enjoyed. Changes in weight, difficulty concentrating, decision making, and remembering details are also common symptoms of SAD.
People suffering from SAD experience the same symptoms as the traditional Depression, but throughout the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. SAD affects people in northern latitude climates, where the winters are usually long and dark, with a greater percentage of those affected being young women. Seasonal Affective Disorder is commonly treated with light therapy, in which the affected person is exposed to bright light in the morning to make up for the lack of natural sunlight. Natural sunlight causes the brain to establish a normal day/night cycle; the lack of natural sunlight in the winter months causes a shift in this cycle that is thought to cause SAD. Light therapy works to readjust the body’s sleep/wake cycle in hopes to reverse the depression.
In addition to light therapy, more evidence is showing that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), effective treatment for depression, is also effective in treating SAD. Research by Dr. CBT for SAD involves a structured approach throughout the winter. The therapist helps teach the client techniques and strategies to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and implement healthy behaviors to counteract the symptoms of SAD. A lot of current events might be taking a toll on your mood these days: a global pandemic, reoccurring lock-downs, time away from your loved ones, an array of contextual events, you name it. The abundance of sullen causation makes it hard to pinpoint the actual root of your gloomy mood.
But if you’re experiencing recurrent mood swings during the darker winter months each year, it’s likely that you suffer from the seasonal affective disorder, or also known as SAD. As Mind explains: It’s like having your portable black cloud.’ A form of depression, SAD is mainly associated with the winter months, and no one is immune to it. SAD can affect not only your personal life but also your relationship. If you find yourself struggling to maintain a steady relationship flow, SAD might be the one to blame.
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. Usually, SAD occurs during the winter months when the bad weather, shorter days, and lack of vibrant social life can affect you. Nevertheless, SAD can also happen in spring and summer when the seasons change. The most common symptoms include persistent low mood, apathy, low energy, irritation, feelings of sadness or guilt, cravings for carbs, and weight gain. So, what can cause seasonal affective disorder? Of course, several factors play a role in your dismal mood, but the primary ones include insufficient daylight, disrupted body clock, and high levels of melatonin.
Lack of sufficient daylight
Light influences a part of your brain called the hypothalamus. This part controls your sleep, mood, and sex drive, and when the light is insufficient, these functions start to slow down and eventually stop. Some people need more daylight to perform these functions, while others are the opposite. The latter can experience disruption of these functions when it’s too bright, causing SAD in the spring and summer.
Disrupted body clock
Your body has its internal clock, which is in sync with the daylight and the times of the day. Daylight guides your body when to perform certain functions, primarily sleep. When your sleep pattern is disrupted, it can cause SAD.
High levels of melatonin
When it gets dark, your body produces a hormone called melatonin, responsible for getting your body ready to sleep. But when the darkness is more prevalent than the light, people with SAD are likely to produce higher melatonin levels during the winter, which can make them more lethargic.
The seasonal affective disorder can not only impact your mood and personal life, but it can also affect your relationship. Think about it, when you’re feeling blue and don’t have the energy even to brush your teeth, the last thing you want to do is be proactive in your relationship. Going on dates, communicating your feelings, and being in the throes of passion all seem like a lot of hard work you’re not ready to complete. Here are a few of the reasons why your relationship might be put on the side bench while you deal with SAD.
Communication is key to sustaining a connection. But when SAD strikes, your willingness to communicate with your partner can be minimal, if not non-existent. You’re naturally drawn to isolating yourself and snuggling up in a cozy blanket where your negative thought patterns can prevail. When you attempt to communicate with your significant other, you might find it difficult to articulate your feelings and keep your attention, which is counterproductive to active listening. Not only that, but you’re also prone to irritation during this time, so verbal disputes are not to be ruled out.
Lack of sex drive
Licensed clinical marriage and family therapists says:’If you’re experiencing loss of pleasure or loss of interest in activities that can make date nights or the sexual side of the relationship difficult to keep up with as well.’ Because of the never-ending spree of negative thoughts, your body finds it hard to relax, get aroused, and indulge in pleasurable experiences. Not having sex can strain your bond a little bit. Even if you have sex, you might still find it hard to orgasm because your mind is constantly wandering. This can make your partner insecure or guilty. Moreover, due to genetics, a person is more likely to have SAD if a close relative is affected, including your partner. Your unmotivated daily habits can become contagious to your significant other. The sofa life for couples can seem way too appealing, but it’s also dangerous for your mental health, so make sure you uplift each other’s spirits to avoid going into a deep depression.
I hope this was helpful, and please do not hesitate to reach out for more help, and have a wonderful day :)