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The Question After a Breakup I Couldn't Get Out of My Head as Someone With Anxiety

When he sat down across from me and said we needed to talk, my world went dark. I don’t mean that metaphorically, like he was the light of my life and without him, all my skies turned grey. I mean that quite literally. It felt as if all my senses were dulled. I struggled to see clearly, so I settled for staring blankly out of the window. I couldn’t make sense of anything I was hearing. All I could focus on was the beating of my heart, which seemed to be getting louder and faster by the second. It felt almost as if I was having an out-of-body experience — I could see myself sitting on the couch in confusion as these words were flying around me.

I don’t think we should be together anymore … for the best for both of us … you know I loved you … 

But I couldn’t process the fact it was all actually happening to me.

In the moment, the only thing I could think to ask was, “Did I do something wrong?” I assumed it must have somehow been my fault, I must have done something to ruin the relationship since the night before when we had talked and everything seemed fine. Despite his claims I had done nothing wrong, I continued to dwell on this question for weeks afterward, reliving every conversation, every argument, every moment in search of proof I had made a mistake. I thought if I could figure out what it was I had done wrong, then I could apologize for it, or at least avoid making the same mistake again in the future.

Did I lean on him too much when I was having a tough time? Did I share too much? Did I cry too much? Did I expect too much? Did I let him in too soon? All of these questions boiled down to one simple fear — my anxiety had simply been too much for him.

Breakups are never easy. For those of us with anxiety, they can be debilitating. It takes a lot of courage to let someone in, to let someone see you at your most vulnerable, to let someone help you. With that courage comes trust: trust they won’t judge you, hurt you or abandon you.

So when that person chooses to leave, it feels as if the rug has been pulled out from under you. When they walk out the door, they take a large part of your support system with them. The person who once used to be there to comfort you, reassure you and support you, becomes the person whose words cut you the deepest. When the person you once thought could never hurt you breaks your heart, you need to look elsewhere to find the strength to keep fighting.

For me, that strength came from a few close friends, a supportive family and a good therapist. Even when I didn’t know how to move forward, they reminded me that I was worth loving, even if he couldn’t see it. When you are struggling, remember your anxiety does not define you. You have bad days, just like everyone else, but you also have good days and you will continue to have good days with or without that person in your life. You will find someone who loves every part of you, and until then, you are strong enough to handle it with the people who are in your corner.

Getty image by Victor_Tongdee

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