Restarting life as a single man or woman: Getting over a breakup

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15 min read

Breakups are really difficult to get over. It is generally characterized by topsy-turvy feelings, riding waves of love and hatred towards the beloved, and feeling tired of these inner turmoils.  During the breakup phase, we are often required to re-think our boundaries, reconcile with our feelings of longing towards our partners while processing our anger at the same time. We all may experience different emotions such as an urge to call, meeting the person, speaking our mind, or even seeking acceptance or an understanding of what we are going through. And sometimes we may want infinite distance. 

Why Are Breakups So Hard?

But the question to ask is, what makes breaking up so hard? The answer lies in how we attach ourselves to someone. Being a social being, we all crave for a connection; someone whom we can call home. Hence, we find moments of security and comfort, in the presence of our partners. We invest ourselves in the relationship making compromises, space, and adjustments to our schedules to let someone else be a part of us and our lives. It often feels like there is no other individual we are in-sync with. Losing this together, and in-sync feeling causes us pain. Separating from the person feels like uprooting ourselves from the security blanket that we had found, and suddenly feels like we gave so much of ourselves with nothing left within. They became part of our comfort zones, and our environment. We felt at home with them, and leaving the comfort of this home is scary and threatening.

Psychological Effects of a Break-Up

Our mind and heart are in a constant state of conflict. There are so many emotions that we fail to comprehend and justify; for a few, we may feel overwhelmed by our guilt and self-doubt while others might mind it relieving. The psyche is weighing the pros and cons of the separation as you go through the process. But, all of us do experience the moments of relief irrespective of a smooth or a difficult breakup. 

Physical Effects of a Break-Up

Breaking up is not just for the mind, but our bodies also undergo the tumults of breakups. There are many movies that have represented the process of breaking up.  Often the character is shown as dejected, despondent, unmotivated to carry out tasks, and more so as physically affected. Visually, we may see on-screen a person with dishevelled hair, at home in pyjamas. Something of the film representations perhaps resembles real life too. During a break-up, the body undergoes a numbness, and a hyper-sensitivity during a break-up. Sometimes one may feel too cold, too sleepy, too hungry or not hungry at all. Breakups can sometimes resemble trauma, wherein nightmares, sleeplessness, a depressive state can also be felt. It feels really difficult to fall asleep and to wake up as well. This is because an internal shift is difficult to adapt to. It may also feel too oppressive to move your body and to carry on with work. Sadness causes a heaviness, from which the body sometimes cannot escape. If you need to talk, you can always talk to Wysa.

How to get over a breakup

Dealing with breakup looks different for everyone. Below are the five go-to tips to help you recover and survive a breakup: 

INDULGE

We may go on binge-watching a show, or we may want to bounce back to dating immediately, we may seek support from friends. Every individual would take to the break up in a different form, as we all process sadness and separation differently, and have different needs. We try to nurture our needs. Mostly, the need is to avoid pain.

If you’ve watched Gilmore Girls, then you know one way to avoid it is wallow for as long as it takes, it means to be in pyjamas and have tubs of ice cream, and the classic left-over pizza. This is the time we want to deny the pain, and it is very natural to do so in the process of healing from a break-up. Practice mindfulness and self-compassion with Wysa and learn to love yourself.

TAKE YOUR TIME

There is no one way to get over a break-up and no set timeline. They tell us to come back to normalcy. However, I would like to emphasise here, that normalcy shouldn’t become a pressure, it shouldn’t necessarily be a flight to normalcy. It could be by a highway or a bumpy road, but it is a very personal process of dealing with pain and heartbreak. This process will happen at your own pace, as everyone has their own internal clock and time to deal with challenges. So be patient with yourself and be forgiving.

READJUSTING TO YOUR ENVIRONMENT

The re-adjustment to your own environment is important because your former partner was a part of your world, your personal routine, and probably your social lives as well. After a breakup, going back to the previous state is difficult, and maybe impossible. As the well-known saying goes, “you never step into the same river twice”. To do this, the mammoth task of accepting that relationship’s over needs to be internalized. We need to slowly get used to their absence. There would be parts of our day that might remind us of them, for example getting your evening cup of coffee might feel confusing and disorienting for a while if you were in the habit of sharing that ritual and time with them. Hang in there, it will get better.

ADDING NEW THINGS TO YOUR ROUTINE

That dance class you always wanted to join, but couldn’t because you didn’t have the time – Join it. Try doing some new things after you break up. This will help you feel independent and curious. It will also help you rely on your inner strength to function well in new groups. Spending time with yourself and focusing on things you like or want to do, will give you a chance to learn a new skill, meet new people, make new friends, and will add to your confidence.

THE EVENTUAL BARGAINING AND ACCEPTANCE

As time passes, try to also take some time out to reflect on what led to the breakup. You may do this with the help of your friends, or family. You may be able to handle this yourself, but it is alright to also get help from a professional, as you hit this bumpy road. While, some breakups can be relieving, and come knocking on your door after some time has passed, loss needs to be addressed. An end of an attachment needs acknowledgement for our psychological health. This acknowledgement entails looking at our own shame and guilt-ridden feelings, as well as our anger. We accept that it is alright to miss that person even though we are angry, or hurt. In the end, this is the time we ask ourselves if this could be a learning experience in our lives.

1.     Why do breakups hurt?

Being a social being, we all crave for a connection; someone whom we can call home. We invest ourselves in the relationship making compromises, space, and adjustments to our schedules to let someone else be a part of us and our lives. We get used to the presence of our partners. Losing this can be very difficult. You may experience the psychological and physical impact of your emotional turmoil as well during the phase of your breakup.

2.     Why can’t I sleep after a break-up?

Grieving a breakup is a heavy task for the mind. It can be stressful because thoughts of “what if ” enter when our day is over, and we need to rest. However, anger or guilt can lead to differing thoughts, wherein you may play scenarios of saying something unfinished to your ex. This is a process of acceptance that is taking place, and while it may be keeping you up, it will settle down soon.

3.     What to say to a friend after they’ve gone through a breakup?

Watching a close one in post split-up- pain can be quite painful, because we care. And sometimes we struggle to find ways to show our care to our friends when they’re in pain. Just listen, be curious about what they’re going through. To show that you want to know their version, before offering advice is a great gesture of care and understanding. Lending a listening ear and sharing your time will go a long way in helping your friend heal a broken heart.

4.     Can a breakup cause depression?

Breaking up can cause a depressive reaction in an individual. There is no set time for how long it will last. It may last a few days, a week, a fortnight or even longer. Because our inner shock system is trying to handle pain, we may feel out of sorts, and unmotivated. Separating may also cause feelings of hopelessness. While it is really difficult to be alone in this, riding these feelings their full-term helps a lot. If the feeling lasts for over two weeks, you can look into speaking to a professional as well. They will help you give a better perspective of your thought process and restructure you towards a positive mind frame.

5.     Can a breakup cause anxiety?

Breaking up can cause anxiety because we feel emotionally vulnerable. The break up has already caused pain, and sometimes we have to show up at work, at family gatherings. Sometimes answering questions about your ex might feel overwhelming. These situations may cause anxiety, where your mental system is working overtime to help you adjust to difficult feelings and doubts inside.

6.     Can a breakup cause PTSD?

Getting over a break up is stressful, and the stress itself is induced by separation and loss. This can resemble a PTSD picture, though technically we cannot diagnose it as such. After a break up you may see your ex-partner in a nightmare, or you may feel like you are experiencing that hurtful situation, again and again, each time afresh and as hurtful. These feelings are really stressful to combat. At such times, it is completely alright to seek help and care for yourself.

7.     How to love yourself after a breakup?

Self-care happens when you can love yourself. The first step to that is forgiving yourself. If you feel you made mistakes, accept that you are only a human being and it is inevitable that you’d make a few mistakes. The break up is not entirely shouldered by you. A relationship is made by two people, it is even broken up by two people, regardless of who said it first. Giving yourself what you need as you tread this road is a way to be brave and to love yourself as you go. I need friends? Let me catch up with some people. I need to talk? Let me call someone who can hear me through this. I need space? Let me switch off for a while. Feel no pressure to jump back to “everything is good” immediately. Let time heal you, and let yourself love you.

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