By Sarah McCathie ￼
There is a fine line between love and insanity. Never is that line more blurry than immediately post-breakup. Breakups hurt – there is evidence that emotional pain may be similar to physical pain in the brain. It can be difficult to cope with the loss, but there are things you can do to try to minimize its impact.
Don’t make your friends hate you.
Social support is key to maintaining mental health after a breakup. Your friends want to be supportive … until they don’t. As harsh as it sounds, your breakup is not the most important issue in their lives; especially after hearing you obsess for the second week. A vicious, self-fulfilling cycle of depression and loneliness can begin if you alienate others with constant moping. Keep your sanity (and theirs) by leaning on them at the beginning, and then by turning your energy towards supporting them as well! Helping someone else can distract you and boost self-esteem. If you can’t let your breakup take the back burner after a couple of weeks, at least have the decency to be entertaining. Buy a boat and throw a party on it. Adopt a fake British accent. Date wildly inappropriate people and write a blog about it.
Keep acting like an actual person.
You know, one who bathes, eats, sleeps and moves around a little? I won’t tell you to run 5 miles right now. Who do I think you are, some sort of breakup champion? Everyone knows that doing that is ideal, but I’m the girl who thinks that walking to the store to buy cheese counts as exercise, so I’m not going to tell you to do that. Here is what I do insist upon: Put on real clothes at least once every day, and go outside. Even if you only go outside to buy more cat food and boxed wine – at least do that much. Don’t allow yourself to go into hibernation mode. Fresh air and putting a reasonable amount of energy into your appearance will improve your mood, and keep you connected with the world. Also, get some sleep! It is difficult to control your emotions when you are exhausted, and this can also prompt over-eating or embarrassing text messages.
It’s OK to get professional help.
Sometimes you can’t do it alone. I have heard people say that they wouldn’t visit a therapist because they don’t have a mental disorder. You don’t have to be sick or “crazy” to benefit from a therapist. You also don’t have to spend years spilling your guts to a bearded stranger. Even one or two sessions with a professional may help you. They can aid in identifying automatic negative thoughts and unhealthy patterns of behavior. A good therapist won’t tell you that you are a special snowflake, but they will help to give you perspective about your issues and understand yourself on a deeper level.
Breakups hurt, but if you are kind to yourself and those around you, soon enough you will find yourself moving forward to a happier and healthier place.