Perhaps you’re one of many Washington spouses who has determined that you’d rather move on in life without your partner than remain in an unhappy relationship. Making a decision to file for divorce doesn’t mean that the road ahead will be easy. Especially if you have children, this type of decision is naturally disruptive to daily life routines.

Even if you’re confident about the choices you’ve made, your divorce may still have a significant impact on your emotional and mental health. In fact, you might feel as though you are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If that’s the case, you are not alone in your struggle. Many spouses in Washington and throughout the country have experienced similar issues.

PTSD symptoms are often similar to divorce-related emotions

If you were to ask a clinical psychologist if divorce can cause PTSD, the most specific, professional assessment would be that it cannot. However, many psychologists agree that navigating divorce can cause emotional and mental distress that is similar to symptoms of PTSD. For instance, you may suffer flashbacks of past marital problems or severe anxiety as you worry about how your decision will affect your children’s lives.

You might feel so upset, depressed or anxious that you stop leaving your house after filing for divorce. Are you suffering from insomnia or lack of appetite? These are also symptoms that people often experience when they receive a PTSD diagnosis. It’s okay to admit if you’re struggling to cope, even if you’re the one who made the decision to file for divorce.

Coping with emotional and mental distress in a divorce

If your relationship with your ex is stressful, moving on in life after divorce can be challenging. Especially if he or she is causing trouble concerning child custody, alimony, property division or other issues. The sooner you resolve such matters, the better able to cope and adapt to a new lifestyle you and your children might be.

It’s a good idea to know where to seek additional support for specific issues, such as connecting with teachers and coaches to help your kids adjust while balancing school work with learning to live in two separate households. There are also family support groups in many communities to help parents and children process their feelings and come to terms with the life changes they experience because of divorce.