Can Going Through A Divorce Make You "Crazy"?


           A couple of weeks ago, Stacy Ferguson, aka the singer Fergie, belted out an alternative rendition of the the National Anthem at the 2018 NBA All-star game.  Her sultry, jazzy performance left players and audience watchers at home dumbstruck.  Memes and GIFs of the 42 year-old well-known former lead talent behind the group Black Eyed Peas were quick and merciless.  This follows her crashing the stage twice at an awards show in December, speaking in a non-sensical, stream-of-consciousness speech, announcing that she was going to win an Academy Award, among other strange mentions.

            These questionable actions took place shortly after she and her soon-to-be-ex, actor Josh Duhamel announced their separation and divorce after eight years of marriage and one young son.  Several news outlets began to wonder if the stress of her impending divorce had caused the talented personality to crumble a bit emotionally.

            It begs the question that arises frequently during the process of divorce: “Am I going crazy?”

            Family law attorneys are all too familiar with the emotional stress their clients undergo as do therapists attempting to help women through divorce.

            But here’s the good news: Women—and men—don’t “go crazy” during a divorce but the emotional loss, fears, anger, uncertainty, and pain may make one feel like they’ve lost their emotional footing. 

            The stages of grief and loss—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance—grab one in waves and aren’t linear.  You may feel that it can’t possibly be true that you’re going through a divorce, followed by unbearable sadness at that reckoning, then anger that it is truly happening, make bargains with God, yourself and anyone who will listen, and then accept that your divorce is fact.  But this happens over and over in either quick or slow succession in any order your emotions need at the time.  The feeling is crazy-making but it is a normal part of the process.  It may happen for weeks, months or years.  It may stop and start.  It may ramp up and recede.  But know this: you are not crazy; you’re a normal person going through non-normal pain.

            Don’t try to avoid the feelings.  What you resist persists.  Understand that your feelings are alright and they are just information.  Valuable information for you to look at and digest.  They are there to help you move forward in your life in a healthy way.  Welcome the feelings, acknowledge them, learn from them and then let them go without judgement or attachment.

            Divorce is a process, not an event.  It doesn’t define you as a person or your worthiness of future love and fulfillment.

Jill Murray