Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is often linked to military conflict and abuse. If you ask anyone who’s been through a rough divorce, life is never really the same. Yet most people don’t recognize PTSD after divorce as a legitimate issue, which makes it really hard on those suffering.
I’ve seen this first-hand. Divorce can seriously sever relationships with the people around you and even the people you meet in the future.
Take my best friend Jim. I’ve known him since the days you could wear sweatbands and still look cool. He divorced his wife in 2017 and although he manages much better nowadays, I still see the signs of PTSD after divorce.
Medically speaking, the American Psychiatric Association define PTSD as a disorder “that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event”.
What I want to draw attention to is the question of what exactly constitutes a traumatic event? This is important because if there’s anything I’d like for you to take out of this piece is how to know when it’s time to ask for help.
The signs of PTSD after divorce can vary. There is no standard list for PTSD after divorce symptoms- trust me I’ve tried to look for one. Those experiencing PTSD, or signs, could be experiencing negative thoughts or feelings which makes them want to isolate themselves.
Jim has always been a bubbly person. Everyone knew him or wanted to know him. He never needed to confide in me, he was a man for himself. But I started to realize that he went through long periods of not talking to anyone or making the effort to meet his friends and family. This was unlike him and I knew he needed help.
I tried doing some research to learn how to empathize. The Good Men Project was my go-to website. I’d spend hours trying to find a description of my friend’s behavior and quickly realized that divorce for men is often a different experience- a traumatic one.
How did I help?
Like the average man in America, my favorite place is the bar. It’s where I knew Jim would be most comfortable, and himself.
So, I started a ‘Saturday Bar Day’. First, it was just me and Jim, but slowly, I got our friends involved. Being with friends, you learn how to find yourself again and slowly but surely, Jim got his confidence back and began opening up to the idea of dating again.
I am in no way a doctor! I just want to raise awareness on something I think isn’t talked about enough.
Please speak to a professional if you’re struggling.
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