"Men and women whose marriage has broken up have a higher risk of being
depressed than people who remained with their spouse, according to a
new study. However, men appear to take the separation harder."
Statistics Canada has gotten substantial coverage of one of the most important surveys I've taken notice in a long, long while. The title is "Marital Breakdown and Subsequent Depression"
and it highlights a very significant trend I've noticed in my own life and others I've known through various forums.
"Men aged 20 to 64 who had divorced or separated were six times more
likely to report an episode of depression than were men who remained
Women who had undergone a marital break-up were 3.5 times more
likely to have had a bout of depression than were their counterparts
who were still in a relationship."
Guys, I hear ya and I've been with you. I took a big hit when I separated and it reverberates through my life still. I hope it makes me smarter and more resilient, but some days I presume it only makes me wary to repeat the same ol' mistake once again. Not that I don't find new mistakes I can use to fill in the gaps.
"Research has suggested that for men the loss of custody or a change in
parental responsibilities is one of the most stressful aspects of a
break-up. According to the analysis of NPHS data, 34% of men, compared
with 3% of women, whose relationship ended experienced the departure of
children from their household."
I certainly consider the "change in parental responsibilities" (to use their words) as the single most stressful point of my life, let alone my separation. The abject failure of the legal system to, so far, be able to provide a reduction in that stressload by realizing a more fair alternative is one of my priorities I wish governments and legislation would address as soon as possible.
Sometimes I take flack for being too personal here, but damn it, this is an important finding and if the courts and the parliament doesn't take notice we need to shove it down their throats. Get the judges and politicians better at addressing all the parties concerns, and make better avenues available that don't involve lawyers and thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of dollars of fees!
And everyone, men and women alike, when you endure separation from your partner, be aware that you are at higher risk of depression. Other pressures will arise - financial, lack of social support and a whole plethora of issues which will be personal to you. The best defence is to try to reduce the pressures - try to find amiable solutions, resist the urge to "win" and play zero-sum-games with your formal partner, and talk to your good friends and find new friends who have experienced separation before who can steer you through the quagmires and pitfalls and help you come out of separation as a stronger and more complete person. Then
go offer support for someone you know that may have experienced a separation.
The study also gives us hope:
"The study found that most people who experienced depression in the
post-relationship period were no longer depressed four years after the
break-up. But for a sizeable minority, depression remained a problem."
If you're going through it, I empathize with you. I've been there myself and it's a hard fight to battle out of a depression. Talk to your doctor, talk to your friends or post an anonymous comment at then end of this entry right here. Just don't give up, don't stop trying to be a better person and never, never, not ever give up on being a parent to your children if you have them.
I really believe that the process of falling in love is also the purpose of falling in love. Some of us are blessed that we get it right the first time round. Others have to learn from our own mistakes, but at the end we can find the happiness we seek. Each person we meet has a lesson for us, if we're willing to listen. Sometimes we don't want to hear the lessons, but we always need to learn.