This week I read an article at Yahoo! Shine titled Demi Moore: Hospitalized: Can Divorce Make You Sick? Of course, divorce can make you sick! Stress plays a major role in our physical health, and divorce is the second most stressful life event one can experience after the death of a spouse, according to the Homes and Rahe Stress Scale. On the other hand, I have talked with many clients who find the stress from a break up longer lasting because it includes rejection and the possibility of running into that person again. Loss of appetite and not eating are common after any break up. Many find sleep evasive as well. The strong emotional reaction can be physically exhausting, too.
Any time that we are stressed our immune system takes a hit, our digestion takes a hit, and our body is flooded with adrenaline which can have a variety of dangerous results. It was when I learned how adrenaline impacts our veins and arteries and increases the risk for blockage and heart attack that I stubbornly determined to control my stress. Perhaps it is because I am a therapist, but it seems that many people focus on the mental and emotional impact of stress, more than the physical impact of stress, which can have long term consequences. When dealing with daily stressors, it is essential to recover from the adrenaline response because most of the time “fight or flight” is not a helpful option whether you have a deadline, a complaining customer, or an argument with a spouse.
Demi is in the midst of one of the most stressful life events any of us can experience. The media makes it difficult for her to hide from it. Most people who go through a divorce question themselves and their ability to maintain a relationship; but those who have gone through it more than once tend to do this even more. While Demi is in the midst of divorcing Ashton Kutcher, she is probably remembering her divorce from Bruce Willis as well. She is parenting teenagers. I am not at all surprised that Demi is having health concerns at the moment. Now is not the time to be promoting rumors about eating disorders or substance abuse. Demi is a strong woman. She will come through this, but we could all be more compassionate for how hard this may be for her, even if she was the one who chose to end the marriage.
If you are also going through a divorce, you can focus on staying healthy throughout the experience by trying to eat fresh, pure foods rather than the sweet, fatty foods you might be craving; staying physically active; sleeping 8-10 hours per night; allowing supportive friends to distract you; and talking with a mentor or counselor about all the doubts and fears you may be experiencing. You may also want to read Manage Stress With Simple Relaxation Techniques.