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6 Tips for Getting Through a Breakup When You Live with Anxiety

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Breakups are rough. Most people believe it’s the stuff of sad songs and romantic comedies, but in reality, it’s a visceral and sometimes even debilitating pain to end a relationship in which you’ve most likely invested a great deal of your emotional energy. Cue anxiety, depression and other mental illness and it’s almost impossible to breathe.

Healing a broken heart is difficult for anyone, but for many who struggle with mental health issues, it can cause us to question our self-worth or even trigger potentially traumatic events. Personally, I have been going through a breakup and while it’s not my first, it’s an emotionally draining experience for someone who lives a heart-led life.

Do you fear the stress of a breakup could lead to a breakdown? Read these tips on dealing with anxiety in the aftermath of a broken heart.

1. Take care of yourself.

I believe healing a broken heart starts with self-care. Whether that means going to bed early, taking a day off to lounge on the couch watching Netflix or reading your favorite book for the 20th time, do what you need to do to soothe your mind, body and soul. After a breakup, it can sometimes feel like you don’t have someone to take care of you anymore, but it doesn’t mean you should stop the care. You are most important – take this time to make yourself a priority.

2. Know your worth.

Whether the decision to break up was down to you, your partner or mutual, a breakup can make you question your self-worth. It can be hard to build yourself back up, but it’s essential to know your worth. I believe you will find love again — you were always whole and worth it. 

3. Feel it out.

If you want to cry, cry. If you feel like screaming, get out a pillow and do your worst. Feeling relieved, or even happy? Don’t bottle those emotions up — let them out. It’s OK to not be OK after a breakup, it’s healthy to allow yourself to feel all the range of emotions. Whether it’s anger, hurt or betrayal, acknowledge the pain — it will help you move on.

4. Learn to let go.

Change is always hard to handle, and I believe loss is doubly so. Grieving is random and can be like a rollercoaster. It will come in waves, but I believe you must learn to let go. We struggle to accept loss. We often fight reality and avoid the truth of the situation. We must remember life can be full of loss and pain. We must try not to dwell on what could have been, or if we should have done something differently. It helps me to remember I cannot change what has already happened. Focus on who you are from this and focus on loving yourself — I believe it will go a long way for your mental health.

5. Lean on your people. 

Although you must deal with grief and loss at your own pace — there is no set timeline for moving on — there are plenty of people who understand what you’re going through. Let them help. Yes, you must deal with this emotionally on your own, but support is healthy, too. In the first few days after my breakup, I had an outpouring of support from close friends and family. Sometimes it can be unexpected, but it can help ease anxiety to know you have a support system who is on your side — no matter what you’re feeling.

6. Give it time.

Whether it’s a week, month or even a year — there is no timeline for moving on from a relationship. Nurture your mental health and remember you were always whole, you’ve never needed another person to be you. 

The aftermath of a breakup is heavy. That pain is real. The grief is real. Your anxiety invading your mind, telling you weren’t good enough or how you could have done better is not. Breathe, and remember these feelings can’t break you — they can only make you stronger. This will pass. I promise, it will pass. 

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Thinkstock photo via phive2015.

Originally published: July 3, 2017
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