If I get therapy is the Court going to hold it against me?
Let’s face it: divorce sucks. It hurts. It is the death of your marriage. Its common for people to grieve, get depressed, suffer from anxiety and or get really angry during their divorce. For the sake of this post, I am discussing depression, anxiety and grieving incident to a divorce, not mental health problems like schizophrenia.
Depression is the most common emotion most people have as they are going through a divorce. Depression is not simply crying and feeling sad all the time. Instead, signs can include a lack of appetite, lack of energy, inability to sleep, lack of interest in formerly pleasurable things, and simply feeling flat. I am not a therapist, but if that describes you, you may need to talk to a therapist or your doctor.
Anxiety is also very common. Anxiety can lead to feeling fatigued, being irritable and an inability to concentrate. Sometimes it manifests itself by causing a person to have uncontrollable, racing thoughts, setting the person on edge until they feel like they cannot breathe and their chest is going to explode. If the first sounds like you, you should talk to a doctor or a therapist about your feelings. If the second describes you, you may need to seek emergency help.
Finally, it is pretty common for people to grieve during a divorce. Commonly, grieving people are angry, feel empty and lack an appetite. They may spend time thinking “what if” or trying to win back their soon-to-be-ex. If its over, then very rarely does an attempt to win back the other person work. If this describes you, again, you may want to talk to your doctor or seek the help of a therapist.
If you have children and exhibit these signs without getting help, you are setting an example to them that your feelings do not matter. You are showing them that you do not deserve happiness. It might also show that you are unwilling to seek proper medical care for yourself. The question that begins to form is that if a parent is unwilling to take care of themselves, then how can they care for a child.
As a general rule, what you say to your therapist is confidential. Therapy is supposed to be a place where you can explore your emotions without being judged and without fear that your records will become part of your case.
It takes effort to obtain therapist’s records and have them brought to Court anyway. Actually, it takes a lot of effort and the lawyer has to inform the Court why the records are so vital that they need to be part of the case. Considering that the only reason for divorce in Illinois is irreconcilable differences, and mental health is not a factor used to decide the division of things, the Court will probably say no anyway.
When is a person’s mental health part of a case? Well, if they make it a part of their case. If they will not seek help and it affects their care of a child, no different than a person who refuses to take their prescribed medications and gets too ill to care for their child. So if you need to talk to someone, do not let your divorce stand in your way. Set the example for your children that your health includes your mental health, that its ok to need to see a therapist, and that you matter too.
In summary, if you are struggling with depression, anxiety or grieving during your divorce, take care of yourself by getting help. There are many ways to get help, it is confidential and it will help you get to your better place.
Besides, I am not trained as a mental health professional. What I am trained to do is help you with the legal side of the divorce. I can help you move on in a way where you have the financial ability to still have a therapist. If you are ready to get divorced, reach out to my office.