Co-Parenting A Child On The Spectrum Maximizing Visitation With Your Asperger’s Child

Co-Parenting A Child On The Spectrum Maximizing Visitation With Your Asperger’s Child

Parenting may be one of the most difficult things one does in life. After giving birth to a child, we are not provided with an instruction manual. In fact, we are provided with minimal direction at all. When our child is one with special needs or is a child on the spectrum, additional attention and care are often required. Add in parents living in separate households due to a divorce and the efforts and considerations multiply.

Being responsible and acting in our children’s best interests, regardless of how we feel about an ex-spouse is crucial to the well-being of our children. With no perfect set of rules or step-by-step instructions it may not be easy, but by keeping in mind some general guidelines it is possible to create more positive outcomes for all.

Parenting Time With A Child On the Spectrum

  • The quantity and the quality of time spent with your child matters. Developing and maintaining a quality relationship with your child requires specific and regular time. However, it is not just the amount of time and when it occurs that matters, it is perhaps even more importantly, the quality of that time.
  • Our children need us to be not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Staying attuned to their needs and emotionally involved in what’s going on with them. Holding an interest in the many aspects of their lives and staying actively involved in their day-to-day routines.
  • During your parenting time, look to maintain and encourage existing relationships and routines with extended family members, friends, school, and other activities. It is important for your child as it adds to their feelings of security and sense of stability.
  • Do not involve your children in adult issues, nor use them as pawns or messengers in communication with your ex. Instead, stick with their normal routines and relationships, and shelter them from the problems and responsibilities of their parents.

Strive for Consistency

  • Since children with Asperger’s prefer routine and structure, working with your ex-spouse to maintain as much consistency between households will greatly benefit your child. While it’s not a must to maintain exact schedules, practices, and rules between households, the fewer deviations, the better it will be, especially with younger children. 
  • Differing perspectives and flexibility help children learn to act and adjust, but understanding they face similar sets of routines and expectations at each home is beneficial and less confusing for them.
  • A child on the spectrum typically does well with ‘rules’ and consistent ones for important things like schoolwork, hygiene, and dis-allowed activities, between households, will make it, so your kids don’t have to remember which set is for which home.
  • Additionally, similar systems of rewards for good behavior and consequences for broken rules, no matter under whose roof they occurred under are helpful. If your child earned extra computer time for good behavior or lost TV privileges for poor behaviors while with your ex, continue to uphold those rewards or consequences at your home, and your ex should do the same.

Stay Involved

  • Both parents need to be involved in all major decisions. Honest, open, and straightforward communication about your child’s well-being is essential. Your ex-spouse and you will need to set aside any differences between you to ensure you are acting in your child’s best interest.
  • You owe it to your child to take an active role in decisions affecting their physical and mental health, as well as their education and social learning.
  • Attend medical and health-related appointments together or alternate attending meetings, keeping the other informed about all discussions that took place with doctors, dentists, and therapists.
  • Let your child’s school and teachers know about your child’s living arrangements. Communicate with your ex about class schedules, homework, extracurricular activities, and friends. Attend parent-teacher conferences, IEP meetings, and school events to stay informed and involved. It’s important for you to participate in school matters and not rely on your ex to always keep you up-to-date.
  • Be on the lookout for signs of stress in your child. Anxiety and depression are quite common with kids on the spectrum. Healthy communication with your ex-spouse, as well as your child’s teachers and caregivers, will allow you all to address issues more quickly and easily if and when they arise.

Work Through Disagreements

  • You are divorced for a reason; thus it’s highly likely you will disagree with your ex sooner or later. To help you find resolution at these times, keep the following in mind.
  • Remain respectful and considerate, especially in front of the children. It will likely be very damaging for your child to witness the conflict between you parents. Continuous conflict is shown to damage a child’s well-being. Control your emotions and respectfully discontinue any volatile discussions with your ex until there is a more opportune time to talk.
  • To resolve any disagreements, continue discussions with your ex, without your child around, until you can reach an agreement. If you cannot do that alone, enlist the help of a mediator or therapist.
  • Pick your battles and compromise. Key issues or rules such as medical or educational matters are a must to work through but learn to compromise on things that aren’t as important to you, so you have the energy to stand your ground on the ones that are.

Find Support and Maintain Your Own Wellbeing

  • Take care of yourself so that you can take care of your child. Your child relies on you, and unless you take care of your own physical, emotional and mental health, you will not be able to care for them adequately.
  • Family, friends, and support groups are crucial in helping you deal with your emotions and uncomfortable feelings, such as anger, jealousy, or profound sadness. As you transition into your parenting role rely on your support system or look to more professional sources of support should you need it. Anger management programs, parenting classes, or formal group therapy sessions exist to help you work through difficult times and learn necessary skills to manage life healthily.
  • The needs of a child on the spectrum evolve. As your child grows, it is important that you continue to educate yourself about their changing needs. Talk with their health care providers, school administrators, teachers, and counselors to stay abreast of any resources available to help you meet them.
  • Your needs and those of your ex will likely also change as time goes on. Schedules may need to be adjusted as your child ages or progress through certain stages of development. Be prepared to alter or tailor parenting time to meet the needs of your child or the unique circumstances of the families in your or your ex-spouse’s household.

No matter what, keep the following important factors in mind: 1) your child needs as consistent of a schedule and routine as possible; 2) your child needs both a high quantity and a high-quality relationship with each parent, and 3) your child needs to be insulated from any adult parenting issues.

Communication is vital between you and your ex. While you may not have succeeded at it as a couple, it is an absolute requirement that you do so as divorced co-parents. Find a way to do it effectively and get help if you need. Your child deserves it.

Sources and Recommended Resources:

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A Modern Man’s Guide to Prenuptial Agreements Planning for the Best, Preparing for the Worst

A Modern Man’s Guide to Prenuptial Agreements Planning for the Best, Preparing for the Worst

Talking about prenuptial agreements may seem like the least romantic discussion to have with your bride to be in the weeks or months preceding the big wedding day. I get that. Who starts to plan for a divorce before even saying “I do?” The thought of mentioning the words to your starry-eyed lover may send shivers up your spine, but with more than half of marriages in our country ending in divorce, it may just be the smartest conversation you ever choose to have.

Prenuptial contracts aren’t just for celebrities and millionaires. They make sense for a lot of everyday couples, and they by no means increase your likelihood of getting a divorce.

What are Prenuptial Agreements?

Prenuptial agreements (commonly referred to as prenups) are legal contracts made by a couple before they get married covering the ownership of assets should the marriage end in divorce. Without an official prenuptial agreement, the state will determine who owns everything following the divorce, up to and sometimes including the property and assets you owned before you were marriedWho Needs a Prenuptial Agreement?

Couples all over the financial spectrum are turning to prenuptial agreements, and they are becoming increasingly popular. There are many situations that a marrying couple may benefit from a prenup. Here are just a few:

You have children from a previous marriage or relationship.
  • If this isn’t your first marriage or if you have children from another woman, you can use a prenup to spell out legally what those children will receive in the case of your death or divorce. Without that agreement in place, your spouse may be entitled to claim a large percent of your property which would leave your children with much less. If you have children from another woman, a prenuptial agreement may be the only way you can protect their inheritance.
You (or your fiancée) has debt.
  • Debt is an unfortunate reality for many people. Whether you or your fiancée is carrying debt from a previous marriage, college education or another reason, that debt could be at least partially transferred to you in a divorce. Prenuptial agreements protect you from your partner’s debt and vice versa.
You own a business.
  • Divorces can get messy when it comes to the division of a business. Your spouse may get rights to part of your business in the divorce, including the right to sell her portion to the highest bidder. Prenuptial agreements can lay out exactly what rights your spouse has to your business (if any) should your marriage fail.
You (or your spouse) sacrificed your career to support your partner.
  • If you or your future wife has chosen to give up or modify your career to support the other person, a prenuptial agreement can ensure that you (or your spouse) be compensated in a fair manner following a divorce.
You want to avoid arguments in the case of divorce.
  • We all know that divorces are commonplace, and we have all heard the horror stories that ensue when couples fight over money, property and other assets. Prenuptial agreements can help you avoid arguments and potentially lots of money and time in court by making these decisions before the start of heated divorce battles. A prenup can help you get back on your feet a lot quicker if a divorce occurs.

What Prenups DO NOT Cover

Prenups are for property issues in the case of divorce. They do not cover personal preference such as which partner will clean the toilet or pick the kids up from school. And if you try to include such items, the court may throw out your entire agreement. Requirements for prenuptial agreements vary from state to state, and you should always check with your local laws or with an attorney to make sure your prenup is valid.

In most states, a prenuptial agreement will not hold up in court if it:

1)      Encourages divorce or incentives divorce

2)      Waives right to alimony or spousal support

3)      Determines child custody or child support

4)      Was not officially agreed to by both spouses in writing

If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, you may want to speak with a family law attorney to make sure your agreement meets the letter of the law. There are many qualified attorneys in most areas, so take your time and find one that meets your needs.

How to Talk to your Future Spouse about a Prenup

No one likes to talk about divorce, especially before you even get married. You may be dreading the conversation with your bride to be, but it doesn’t have to lead to an argument. Here are a few tips to having a successful conversation regarding the decision whether to have a prenuptial agreement.

  • Start early. While you may not want to bring up the prenuptial agreement discussion on the same day you propose, don’t wait until the night before the wedding either. If you want a prenup, bring it up early. It may take some time to address and maneuver through the emotional and technical issues that come up. Take the pressure out by starting the process early.
  • Decide the terms of the prenup together. If you come to your spouse with a pre-drafted prenup, she may get defensive right away. Instead, treat the document like a collaboration so that both sides are on equal ground. After all, this is an opportunity to discuss what each person expects from the marriage.
  • Be honest. If there is something you want from the agreement, own up to it. By being honest, not only are you more likely to get what you want but you also choose to start your new marriage off with trust. Explain the history or your beliefs that make you want the specific terms you desire. The more transparency and honesty you portray, the smoother the process is likely to go.
  • Listen to your fiancee’s thoughts and concerns. Your partner will probably have a slightly different perspective than your own. Being open and truly sensitive to her needs will make the prenup process (and marriage as a whole) better. Listen with your heart and be creative about solutions to any disagreements.
  • Be flexible. Your life today may look a lot different than your life the day you choose to get a divorce. Make sure your prenup is flexible enough to account for anything that may happen in the future. For example, your spouse may give up her career to raise children or take over most of the business responsibility. Come up with terms in your prenup that allow for change.

A prenuptial agreement may be the last thing on your mind as you prepare for an upcoming marriage. These agreements tend to come with a negative connotation – as if you are giving up on your marriage before it even starts. However, divorce is a reality for more than 50% of marriages in America today, and prenuptial agreements are becoming more popular than ever.

Think of them as an insurance policy. You have it for protection, but you hope you never have to use it! In fact, discussing a prenuptial agreement is one way to start your marriage off with open communication. You never know – it may just put your marriage at better odds of never needing one!

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Emergency Roadside Kit For The Newly Single Dad How to Create Your Household Rules Post Divorce

Emergency Roadside Kit For The Newly Single Dad How to Create Your Household Rules Post Divorce

You’re now a newly single dad. What was once a two-parent household with a one set of rules is now two households and to say only your lifestyle has changed would be an understatement. Life post-divorce brings a new routine, new systems and new rules.  Adjustments will be made by both new households as the dust settles as life gets back to what will be the new normal.

Manage Your Single Dad Expectations 

Take a few extra steps ahead of time and be mindful of what may come to pass. Prepare yourself for emotionally charged events that could put you into a tailspin of guilt-induced decisions. You’re a single dad packing an emergency roadside kit to handle what lies ahead.  Let’s hope you don’t have to use it, but it’s nice to know you have a flare in the trunk should the need arise.

But Mom Said We Could. 

The age of your children will impact their ability to adapt to the fact that they now live in two sets of households with varying sets of rules. It will also impact the pitch and level of whininess with which their protest will be delivered. Save time and your eardrums by giving some thought to your rules, boundaries and abilities ahead of time. Communicate those rules to your kids with a tone of understanding and compassion. They’ve been through a major life event.  Knowing what they can expect from you and their new life will help them settle in more comfortably.

If you’re in a new house, it may be awhile before you allow their new friends to come in. If your work hours have changed, Saturday night sleepovers may be out of the question until things settle down. If you need some time to yourself, it may be lights out at 8 now instead of 9. Calmly, firmly and in a neutral setting, explain the new changes to your children at an age appropriate level. The younger the child, the less of an in-depth explanation is needed. Expect tears, exhaustion and allow yourself a heavy dose of patience as they, and you, adjust to your new routine.

The advantage of explaining the new rules to older children is that they have a better understanding of the divorce itself. They may have less difficult questions than the younger children as they have seen your marriage unravel. The potential downside to older children is their ability to verbalize their displeasure with varying levels of sarcasm, guilt and the occasional door slam. What flies as their mom’s house may not at yours.  It’s neither good nor bad, it’s just what’s so. Explain the logistics behind your decisions and they will be better suited to understand and come up with creative solutions that will help everyone’s new life run smoother.  They are your kids after all, allow them to surprise you with their brilliance and understanding.

Because I Said So. 

Have you heard that come out of your own mouth yet? If not, just wait. It’s only a matter of time. And you know what? You’re damn right. You know why? Because at the end of the day, you’re the adult. What you say, goes. Period. I cannot stress this point enough. Yes, you are a divorced single dad. Yes, you have put your children through a life event that likely hurt them. Yes, you are likely carrying some guilt along with that, no matter how good your intentions were or what potentially hellish situation you left behind in the hopes of a better life without your ex.

Do not, I repeat, do not, allow a spinout by letting guilt control your new life and the decisions you make surrounding your children.

You are doing the best you can and that’s all anyone can ask for. Remind yourself of that fact on a daily basis and you will avoid tremendous amounts of unnecessary, battery-draining guilt.  There will be times when the answer is no and it will stay that way, regardless of the methods of persuasion on behalf of the brilliant and understanding fruit of your looms.

Stay Out of the Pit 

Keep your hands firmly at the ten and two position and avoid the possibility of allowing your children to pit one parent against the other, run rampant or be bought just because your marriage didn’t go the way you planned. When they get older they’ll understand, once they have your degree of life experience. At their age and with their vantage point of life, they simply cannot. Remember that and stand firm in your decisions. You are the adult. You’re in the driver’s seat

Remember that this is an adjustment period for everyone involved. At the end of what will surely be a long day in the not so distant future, pour yourself an extra glass of patience.  You’re learning. You’re new to this whole single dad thing but you’ll get the hang of it. You’ll be a kick-ass single parent and you’ll hit your stride again very soon. Go easy on yourself in the meantime. And go easy on the kids too. Just remember, you’re the driver. You’re in control. Oh, and send up a flare if you need to.

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A Man’s Guide to Creative Ways to Show Affection 8 Ways Without Using the “L” Word

A Man’s Guide to Creative Ways to Show Affection 8 Ways Without Using the “L” Word

Affection.  A term often defined with the word “love” in the mix. That can be intimidating (and maybe a total turnoff) for newly divorced men who are opening themselves up to the idea of another relationship. Here’s the thing: if you’ve found someone you like and care for, it’s time to let her know, and affectionate gestures are just the ticket. Below are eight creative ideas for ways to show affection, without using the “L” word.

Every single, and spoken for, woman I’ve talked to has expressed the same sentiments about being shown affection: “yes, it matters” and “it’s the little things” (I couldn’t agree more!). That’s right! It’s all about the small gestures, and the more creative, the better. Extravagant trips overseas, with luxury hotels, car service, and five-star restaurants is not the expectation. What is expected is that a woman isn’t left wondering how she stands with regards to your level of interest in her.

Ways to Show Affection Without Spending a Dime

Maybe the divorce, and your new way of ‘doing life’ has resulted in a tight financial situation. Never fear! There are ways to show affection without any additional strain on your bank account. Honestly, some of these suggestions came from single women noted as the most memorable gestures they’ve ever experienced.

ONE:  A well-timed text message that indicates you’re thinking of her

Seems simple enough. You might even be wondering how this could even count as an affectionate gesture. The key is that the message is unexpected, and the intention is just to let her know you were thinking of her. Period.

A friend of mine was on a mission of personal growth, and part of that plan included a rigorous workout every morning that required her to be up at 4:00 am.  She started seeing a guy she felt an immediate connection with, and it was easy to lose track of time. One evening ran especially long, and she lamented over her early morning alarm as she said goodnight. She was floored when, early the next morning, her phone dinged with a message of encouragement from this guy. Not only was his message well timed and said all the right things BUT he had set his alarm to be up as early as she had to be, just so he could send this message. Despite the lack of sleep, she found extra pep in her step that lasted her the whole week through.

TWO: An offer to help with something around her house (or with her vehicle)

Women like to assert their independence, and many will learn to be a Jane of many trades (thank you, YouTube) to maintain that badge of honor. But just because a woman can function independently, doesn’t mean that she always wants to do everything on her own.

Keep your eyes and ears open for things that she might need help with. Maybe her garbage disposal needs to be swapped out, or the drain in her tub is draining slowly and needs attention. Maybe she’s mentioned her vehicle needs an oil change. Trust me, there’s a YouTube tutorial for all of it, and even if it takes her three hours, she’ll figure out a way to tackle the task. This is your opportunity to be her knight in shining armor, saving her the time, and effort on something that you might be able to address in half (or a quarter) of the time.

Show up on a Saturday morning to mow her lawn. If it snowed the night before, head over to shovel her walk and clear that mound of snow off her car. Seriously, gentlemen, the options are endless, and opportunities are present all the time. Jump at these chances to show her you care!

THREE: Leave her a note

In this day and age of technology, handwritten notes seem to be disappearing from our lives, but the value of continuing the trend has its perks. Handwritten notes take a smidge more effort, but having one show up in an unlikely place is the most wonderful surprise. Think of all the places an unexpected sticky note with a short message could appear! On the coffee maker, the windshield of her car, on her pillow, the bathroom mirror…again, the possibilities are endless!

FOUR: See something that reminds you of her? Send it her way!

The days of mixed tapes with music that reminds you of her have come and gone. Even the day of loading an iPod with that same idea in mind is close to having run its course. That doesn’t mean you can’t (and shouldn’t) pass forward things you come across that reminds you of her and your time together. Or even just something you think she would enjoy. A picture, article, podcast, meme, song…really, no idea is off the table with this one. If you see it and she pops into your mind, send it her way. She’ll feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that she was on your mind AND that you made the effort to let her know.

FIVE: Open her car door

I’m not quite sure at what point in time this act of chivalry started dying but notice more and more that it has, sadly. Opening or holding, doors for people going in and out of businesses, restaurants, the movies, etc. is even a concept lost on some entirely. But hear me, gentlemen, opening doors, especially the car door is a ridiculously grand gesture that will win you loads of brownie points.

When my now-husband and I started dating several years back, I was immediately struck by the fact that he’s a door opener. All doors. Including those to vehicles. To this day, he continues to do so, and not just for me, for women in general. Almost nine years of door opening, for me, my mom, his mom, our grandmothers, and my girlfriends and I still take notice. Every. Single. Time. Others notice too and comment on the fact that he’s such a gentleman. It’s a simple act to get in the habit of, and it’s one of the most incredible ways to show affection.

Low Cost Ways to Show Affection 

SIX: Cook her a meal.

Men who possess the ability to cook are highly desirable. Put this skill on display and show her you care all at the same time. Earn bonus points by learning what her favorite wine (or drink) is and having that one hand with dinner as well!. If you find yourself in the category of men who don’t know how to cook, hang on a sec before you write this idea off entirely. If you can read and can follow directions I have news for you: you CAN cook! If you are feeling the need for inspiration and encouragement (as well as recipe ideas) the blog Have Her Over For Dinner: A Gentleman’s Guide to Classic, Simple Meals by Matt Moore is an awesome resource.

SEVEN: Stop by with a treat you know she enjoys.

Several of my single girlfriends have raved about this simple, sweet gesture. Whether she had a rough day at work, or a busy (and potentially exhausting) day ahead, having the man she’s seeing stop by her place with a little something special was the highlight of the day. The key here is that the intention is not to be invited in or having the plan to stay. If you confirm she’s at home, a ding and dash might be a route to consider. Ring the bell and take off, leaving the little something sweet for her to find on the front step with a short “thinking of you” note attached (and your name signed, obviously, because you should most definitely take credit for this one).

Need some ideas? A coffee or flavored iced tea whipped up by the barista down the street, her favorite ice cream or milkshake, a small bouquet of her favorite flowers, the newest edition of InTouch Weekly magazine (or whatever she enjoys reading). Figure out what she likes and capitalize on that knowledge!

EIGHT: Put together a care package

I wasn’t aware that men really understood this concept until I heard a story of a man who did just this very thing for a friend of mine. I might have thought it an urban legend had I not known the people involved personally.

If you’re now thinking “a care-what now?” Let me explain. The general premise is to gather a small assortment of items that compliment a situation. For example, if you know she will be flying out on a work-related trip to attend a conference or seminar, a care package might include a snack and magazine for the flight and a nice pen and small notebook for her to use at the conference. If she’s fallen ill, a care package might include a pair of fuzzy and comfortable socks, Chapstick, cough drops, and a funny movie. Maybe she’s had an overly rough week/month/quarter with work or other life circumstances? Care package to the rescue! A small bottle of scented lotion, gift card for a pedicure, facial mask and bottle of wine may be everything she could have wanted at that moment.

If you aren’t feeling confident in your creative abilities, rest assured that someone else is and can come to your rescue. Lotsa Blog has an article with care package suggestions as well as a list of online vendors that can do the heavy lifting for you. Read it here: 9 Care Package Ideas to Make Anyone’s Day Playing Game Won’t Get You There

The days of game playing with women you are interested in are over, fellas. Pulling a girl’s pigtails and pushing her down on the playground will earn you exactly zero points with the ladies. Of course, that example takes us back to our childhood, but the adult variety of game playing continues. Being or acting distant, attempting to spark some variety of jealousy, or any other game playing tactic is not the best game plan. Instead, consider being real, authentic and in some cases, vulnerable. Put showing affection into action. It is, after all, just showing another person that you care and are thinking about them. Even better, it can be accomplished with or without the “L” word.

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Managing Your Medical Conditions During Divorce Divorce Advice for Men on Caring for Your Body and Mind

Managing Your Medical Conditions During Divorce Divorce Advice for Men on Caring for Your Body and Mind

It’s no secret that divorce can be very messy and very stressful. I know that there are some who may feel that divorce is the best thing that could happen to them because they are free to live their lives as they choose. Nevertheless, it can take quite a bit out of just about everyone who goes through it, especially when it comes to managing your medical conditions during divorce.

It’s More Than Divorce You’re Wrestling With

As someone who has been in the health care field for many years, one of the concerns I have about the divorce process is the effect it can have on anyone who is living with one or more long-term health issues.

It can be tough enough to maintain a healthy body with no illness, even if you’re not dealing with divorce. But individuals who also struggle with the unique challenges that various chronic illnesses bring can experience an even heavier strain that affects them physically, mentally, and emotionally.

While there are all kinds of challenges to living with any chronic illnesses, this article will mostly focus on managing your medical conditions during divorce. Particularly, we will look at four of the most prevalent conditions that affect millions of people throughout the United States: hypertension, diabetes, anxiety, and depression.

Hypertension’s Pressure on Your Body

Hypertension is a condition in which the force of the blood of your arteries, when it is too high over a long amount of time, can cause damage to the heart and blood vessels in the body. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 75 million Americans have hypertension. That is about 1 in 3 people. The heart constantly pumps blood throughout the body, but various influences can cause too much pressure in the blood vessels, including heredity, diet, lack of exercise, and factors that may not be known.

In the divorce process, a notable factor is stress. Prolonged stress in the body can cause many health symptoms, but hypertension is one of the most serious. While some people may have symptoms such as headache, dizziness, and fatigue, hypertension is well-known as The Silent Killer because it can often present no symptoms at all. If left untreated, hypertension can result in such life-threatening problems as heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure.

It is vitally important to closely follow the directions of your physician to bring hypertension under control and keep it under control as much as possible. Such measures as reducing salt and fried-food consumption, exercising 30 minutes a day, and reducing stress exposure can go a long way in reducing your blood pressure. Consider investing in a blood pressure monitor. Work with your doctor to regularly track your blood pressure measurements, and to learn your target blood pressure levels.

Especially important, if you are on blood pressure medication, please do not skip any doses. The medication is working hard to bring your blood pressure levels under control, and if medication is skipped or stopped completely, your blood pressure can rebound and elevate to dangerously high levels. If your medication is resulting in uncomfortable side effects or does not seem to be effective in controlling your blood pressure, report this to your doctor so your treatment plan can be revised to a more effective one.

Diabetes and Its Wide-Ranging Effects

Diabetes is a condition in which the body either does not produce enough insulin, or it is not able to properly use the insulin being produced. Insulin is needed by the cells of the body to process sugar as energy to carry out their many functions, depending on where in the body they are located.

Without insulin, sugar does not get inside of the cells for energy but stays floating in the blood. Over a prolonged period of time, this can cause damage to many areas of the body, but the most pronounced damage can be to the cardiovascular system, resulting in strokes and heart attacks; to the kidneys, resulting in kidney failure; and to nerves, skin, and other areas, resulting in eye diseases, blindness, or limb amputations.

According to the American Diabetes Association, over 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, and a significant number of those people don’t know they have it. That’s because the symptoms of diabetes, such as fatigue, excessive hunger or thirst, and frequent urination, are mistaken for symptoms that are harmless or general in nature. Not only should diabetes symptoms be given attention, but also keep an eye on complications that often occur along with diabetes, such as hypertension.

Stress can play a very significant role in diabetes, and that is why self-care during the divorce process is so important. Blood sugar levels rise when the body is under stress, so it is essential for diabetics to frequently monitor blood sugar levels, take medications as prescribed, maintain a healthy diet and exercise at least 30 minutes a day.

Diabetes can have a pronounced effect on blood pressure and cholesterol, so make sure you work with your healthcare provider to keep these numbers in acceptable ranges, along with your blood sugar level.

Anxiety and Depression’s Effects

Many emotional symptoms occur during the divorce process, from worry and panic attacks, to anger, sadness, and hopelessness. When prolonged and severe enough to interfere with everyday living, these symptoms could be a part of treatable conditions related to anxiety and depression. Often, these symptoms can feel very out of control and have pronounced effects on how affected individuals think and the actions they take to resolve what seem to be insurmountable problems.

Anxiety can make you feel that the problems in your life are so overwhelming, your ability and recourses to handle the situation just aren’t enough. As a result, worry and despair take over thoughts and actions.

Depression, on the other hand, can make you feel that no matter what is done, or how much is done, it doesn’t matter. As a result, resignation and hopelessness take over thoughts and actions. Particularly in depression, major red flags are suicidal thoughts and possible attempts.

Thinking about suicide is an emergency.

Seek immediate help.
The National Suicide Prevention Help Line is 1-800-273-8255.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, please call your nearest suicide assistance hotline, emergency medical care or your health care provider and get help.

No matter how much you may feel you can handle your emotions at this point, get the needed support that can help you through this difficult time. Along with following the medical treatment plan prescribed for you, also consider other modalities, such as support groups, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and the incorporation of exercise to bring some relief to symptoms. Even having a trusted family member, friend, or spiritual advisor to talk with can help to bring clarity to the mind and more calm to the emotions.

Take Special Care of Your Medical Conditions

Self-care is extremely important when managing your health during divorce. Do what you can to keep stress and grief to a minimum for better care of your body, mind, and emotions as you also make sure that you closely monitor the chronic medical conditions that you may have. Taking good care of yourself now can ensure better health and more positive outcomes for the functioning of your body in the future.

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