Anxiety in a Breakup
There’s a lot of emotions one goes through in a breakup. Amongst the tears and sighs, there’s a sense of heartbreak people often confuse for depression, though it is fair to say you’re depressed, there is a difference. However, people suffering from depression may be affected a lot more in instances like breaking up with someone. Some have even killed themselves from such an event. This blog is not is not about the depression aspect or hard feelings felt after a breakup, it is about the anxiety from multiple triggers in these events, and how to neutralize the anxiety from a first hand perspective, the millennial perspective.
After my break up I felt all of the above things and more. I was in a really low state for quite some time. The anxiety within me was more victimizing than the breakup itself however. It was hard to even contemplate getting back into the swing of things. Not only dating, but living a new routine, or my old routine. I was once again limited to my setting in White Rock, and I felt like I had no one. Especially considering the timing when I was already trying to come back from a slump, only to fall deeper into the slump with heartbreak. I stopped talking to people as much, I hid away as much as possible. I once again had issues trusting people with anything. I’d always worry about running into the now ex-girlfriend. I didn’t want to leave the house for fear that I’d see her. I was worrying about what she might say or do, or if her friends would get involved. I had asked her to leave me alone before only to be threatened by her and her new boyfriend. Since they’re theater crew, they must love drama. But then, today I ran into her. I was walking to the Skytrain after my midterm and she was coming up the hill as I was going down. She looked just as miserable as I was before, and for some reason that lifted a lot of anxiety of my shoulders. I believe it’s because nothing happened and now my fear of being harassed more by her is gone, or it could be that I finally understand the breakup took a toll on her as well. But whatever it is, when I ran into her today, I was already in a better place. I didn’t avoid her, or run away because I already fixed my anxiety about the situation, and this is how:
Accept that situations were beyond my control.
This was a really hard one to accomplish for me. I’ve always tried to put myself in situations that I was in control of, but the reality of it is, when you really think about it. We don’t control much. In fact, out of everything that happens in our lives, we control very little. We don’t control genetics, or where we’re brought up, but we also don’t control who we run into (in my case, I couldn’t control if I ran into my ex or not) or who we meet that help take the pain away. However, we DO chose to keep those that take our pain away, or at least you should, I highly recommend it. The first step to ending my breakup anxiety was easily realizing I can’t do anything about it.
Being distracted is usually a bad thing. We distract ourselves from essay’s, work, etc. But if you have anxiety after a breakup, distractions can work wonders. My distractions were meeting new people, hanging out with friends, playing video games on my days off, and doing good deeds for others. Sometimes the best way to make yourself feel better, is to make someone else feel better. Maybe distract yourself with more structure in your life. Stick to a schedule, focus on what mattes most. Distractions are a nice way to repel negativity.
Write about how you feel.
I’m not sure if this works for everyone. Maybe some people don’t write ever, but it’s something I do on a daily basis. With the last blog, for example, I found simply writing my insight down helped get a lot of the breakup anxiety out of me, then I started writing more things down on the side like a journal my counselor wants me to keep. Writing about anxiety in my experience definitely helps neutralize it.
Remain true to who you are.
Lots of people after breakup will try and become someone else as a defense mechanism, don’t do that. It won’t help eliminate the anxiety you have, and has potential to create even more. There’s a reason someone appreciated you for who you were, and there will be people in the future appreciating you for who you are. If you decide to change, change in ways that might be productive. Change to being more mature, change to being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, be more accepting. Don’t turn into a disrespectful jerk who just wants to go out and have fun. And if you do, at least avoid alcohol, it’s a depressant after all.
Pretend to be happy if you need to.
I read somewhere that pretending to be happy is very likely to make you happier. It attracts positive energy, and negative energy is repelled. In my experience this is true because when I am down, people tend to try and lower me even more, but when I am up, everyone else is too.
My example: the last time I was down I was threatened with a gun, a knife, and mace all within two weeks.
It might be worth it to give it a shot since nobody likes to be threatened. Faking a smile could be your best weapon.
Finding love in the right places.
Think about where you went wrong in your last relationship and learn from it. Also learn from how the ex might have changed throughout the relationship as their true colors started to show. Separate what you like and want to see in a person to date from negative things you wish your ex didn’t start doing. Only then should you allow yourself to see other people. You don’t want anxiety from a last relationship transferring over and causing issues with a new one. Be mature, and responsible, and think about what you need rather than what you want. Don’t break any hearts just because you don’t know what you’re doing. Be patient, and keep your chin up. All the good things you wish to see in a future spouse are in somebody out there, and they’re waiting for you.
I’ve been away for a while because things have gone from bad to worse lately. Only in the last couple days have things gotten better.
I’ve been thinking about doing this blog for a very long time, as I believe it can help people, however, I’ve always been somewhat insecure about talking about it. It’s a sensitive issue for most people, and I’m afraid people will see it as my way of complaining about my issues, however, it couldn’t be further from the truth. With a little help, and guidance from my friends, they told me to go ahead and talk openly about my issues with anxiety.
Before I go on any more, these are certainly MY issues. I’m not interested in blaming people for them, despite the fact that I sometimes do as a defense mechanism. I acknowledge the fact that in most situations, I am the problem because most people do not understand anxiety. If people cannot see something, usually they don’t believe it. In my experience, this is a fact. Even when something is explained, most people still have issues understanding or believing. As I’ve said, this post is about trying to help people in the future on the sensitive issue of anxiety.
Anxiety, what it is in my experience:
For me, anxiety is an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion induced by stress usually. In my life, most of my anxiety came from things not going as planned. If I put a lot of effort into planning something and it ended up exploding in my face for whatever reason, I would have a tremendous panic attack. Things have always been, and continue to be this way for me. Anxiety stifles my breathing, makes me lightheaded, gives me tunnel vision, often it nullifies my ability to think rationally, and almost always it makes me very sleepy after a big panic attack. Overly negative people have also always been a trigger to my panic attacks, as well as people over reacting to something I say (like taking a joke seriously). This is a part of being unable to control my surroundings, which is something people with anxiety have issues dealing with. They think they need to be able to control everything, even things well beyond their control. I’ve been in relationships, and friendships with people who don’t understand, this is my attempt at helping people understand not just for me, but other people who suffer from the same thing.
Being in a relationship with someone with anxiety:
I guess the first thing to mention is you should be honest no matter what. When people with anxiety catch you in a lie, they will forever think you’re lying to them, besides, there’s no point lying in a relationship to begin with. It’s unhealthy. Communication is definitely necessary for both parties, particularly the one suffering with anxiety. It’s best to talk about potential triggers of panic attacks and ways you can both avoid these triggers together, this requires a fair level of understanding from the less anxious party, as you have to think how things can affect your significant other. It’s hard to imagine what they’re going through, but think of it like this: The more anxiety we experience, the more damage it does to us, potentially taking years off our lives. Not to say that you’re killing anyone by triggering a panic attack, but you’re doing more damage than it seems, and most people with anxiety are too afraid to tell you, especially if you’re their significant other. To be fair, most people have an inability to see what’s wrong, so talk about it.
A lot of relationships are one sided. Most unsuccessful relationships, I can say from experience, are unsuccessful because one person has to do most of the work. Factoring in anxiety, if you’re the one with anxiety AND you’re also the one doing all the work, you’re going to have a really hard time.
In my experience I was in a relationship with a girl that lived about 2 hours away, and I bused out all the time to see her, but she never bused out to see me, past a certain point she didn’t even drive out to see me even when she could. This alone caused a lot of unneeded anxiety having to bus around so much Occasionally I’d have to bus to work early in the morning, and sometimes she’d request me to come out at very late hours of the night, sometimes impossible hours, in that the buses literally had already stopped running. To any average person, they’d just say no and be done with it, but to someone with anxiety they freak out because presenting them with an idea that they would consider, but can’t because of extenuating circumstances, they overreact. Like I said, we want to control things. SO thinking about what I said from my experience, you should consider both working together. Putting too much pressure on one person is enough to exhaust them, let alone someone with anxiety.
As I’ve said, communication is key, however, I should elaborate that FAIR communication is key. This means no pointing fingers. I’m guilty of doing this, as I’m sure many people with anxiety are. We tend to point fingers when experiencing overwhelming anxiety, or when we’re in a panic attack. Though the worst thing you can do when someone is having a panic attack is ignore them. Just change the subject and give them a bit more time to think before responding, make sure they’re okay, but don’t treat them much differently either. Just maintain a calm setting and avoid arguments even when the person experiencing the attack seems hostile. It will pass. Often times we say things in panic attacks we almost instantly regret. I can’t explain the science behind it, but I’ve personally said some hurtful things to some people when having a panic attack, I suspect it’s a defense mechanism. People with anxiety tend to push people away, especially when people get too close. Work together by talking about it. If something is compromised, work it out as a team. When things get rough, wait it out. The bad episodes pass and it’s best to weather the storm together. Encourage seeking help in the mental health sector, be there for them through the long mental health process, it’s a life lesson for both of you. All storms pass, and I like to say: There’s always bomb shelters in shit storms. And there’s nothing someone with anxiety needs more than having someone there for them through the good and bad. Too many times have we been abandoned by people, or we’ve pushed then away when things got rough. Finding someone that is willing to stick by you through the hard times is something I KNOW we all cherish.
If you’re early in a relationship with someone with anxiety, don’t rush things. Give yourselves enough space to go at a comfortable pace. Don’t be too emotional or overreact (or pretend to be offended,upset,etc.) with someone with anxiety early on, they may push you away before they want to just because they’re afraid you won’t be able to handle them at their worst. Give yourselves air to breathe. Think of anxiety in this case like the Sims. In the Sims you can give your characters a list of tasks to do, this list can get rather long, however, usually something goes wrong with the Sim and they decide they want food instead, or they break the toilet again. This can be related to rushing into a relationship because you are giving yourselves so many tasks so early on, and preparing for a long future when you don’t know what’s going to happen between now and getting married, particularly the thought that you might not even get that far.
Sure, it’s nice to think about and talk about but it’s overwhelming to people with anxiety to think years ahead, often times it’s hard for us to think days ahead, and as I’ve said, in my experience I try not to make plans because my panic attacks are most frequently induced when things don’t go as planned. Most relationships don’t go as planned, that’s part of the fun. Carpe diem as they say, seize the day, seize the moment. Living in the moment is usually better than dreaming of the future anyways. Relationships are not about the destination, they’re about the journey.
Seems hard? It’s not:
Most of the things I’ve talked about are actually basics of most successful relationships, just in more depth. Communication, working together, taking things slow, these are all things most people should consider anyways, but if you’re in a relationship with someone that suffers from anxiety, these are a few great pointers to consider when having to go through the rough times, but you’ll find that it’s worth it. We seem complex because most people don’t understand, but anything that stresses most people out just stresses us out significantly more. Nothing is particularly unrealistic, in fact, pampering should not be a way to deal with someone during a panic attack, as psychologically it could have the reverse effect.
I’ll be working on more blogs about anxiety as it is an issue I have to deal with every day, and I’d like to help people that have to deal with it as well. I’ll be talking to others with similar issues to site them in future anxiety blogs, also I’ll be writing one about break up’s from the perspective of the person with anxiety, as well as a blog about being friends with someone with anxiety. I hope some of these pointers help, please share this with anyone you know that has to live with anxiety in hopes that it may help them.
Nowadays, you can’t escape the feeling of a global village. Now, if you don’t know what that means, don’t worry about it, I am sure many others feel the same. A global village is more of the concept of being closer to people in China, Japan, Haiti, etc. We know it most from media, in fact… it is BECAUSE of media that we are the global village that we are. This global village allows me to know what is happening around the world at the click of a button. It makes me think the world is so small, but if you go outside, especially if you go to sea, you realize the fact that the world is massive, and we are just these tiny little creatures with something the others apparently don’t have. My mom always talks about the frontal lobes and how that is a link to our superiority, but that is another subject altogether. Often times the global village all comes together to aid a chapter within. To support each other, pick each other up when they are at their lowest.
Natural disasters happen all the time, especially since the big climate change that’s happened in the last decade or so. We’ve witnessed Katrina, the horrible hurricane that destroyed not only New Orleans but surrounding areas as well. It left people homeless, and certainly hopeless. As minutes turned into hours, hours into days, days into weeks and still the aid was minimal. Many people were stuck on their roofs, in the hot southern sunny weather. Some people were stuck in hospitals, surely it was a very hectic situation, and my heart goes out to all the victims of that terrible hurricane. The next “big” natural disaster was Haiti. To me, I didn’t even know about this place beforehand, I knew it sounded awfully like the Greek god “Hades” which to me felt a little ironic. However, ignorance aside, it’s a small city on a small island in the Caribbean. Surely many of us didn’t know or care about this place before the dramatic 7.0 magnitude earthquake, but as soon as it happened we rushed to their aid. Helping people we didn’t even know or care about beforehand in their time of need. Apparently we learned from Katrina that these places need help immediately. My third example of these amazing natural disasters is Japan. We all know Japan, we all know and own things that come from Japan. Perhaps your car is from Japan, or perhaps your TV is, or maybe your gaming system. We are all linked to that one tiny island in Asia in some way or another. Suddenly, it was shaken to it’s foundations, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake ruptured, and devastated the north east area of Japan. Areas were flooded, many more were destroyed, a nuclear power plant was leaking and in danger of exploading. Again, we flew to their aid. Even more than with Haiti, I remember not only was their ways to donate on the news, magazines, etc. But also on my PS3, you could buy themes for your PS3 where all the proceeds would go to Japan aid. Similar things like this arose in games like World of Warcraft, the biggest game in the world today. For World of Warcraft you could buy a vanity pet on the blizzard store where the proceeds too would go to Japan. Many more examples poured from my city personally, no matter where you went you could donate to Japan on the spot.
Media coverage isn’t only used in tragic situations however, it is also used to.. well… bring news. For example, expos around the world happen every year and Millions of people that wanted to go, simply cannot find a way there or it costs too much, or whatever. Personally, I can’t afford to go to California twice a year surprisingly… oh how I wish I was lying. BUT with the click of a button I can be watching the live Expo feed, free of charge. With sites like IGN running all the coverage all day, every day. In the case of my favorite developer in the world, Blizzard, you have to pay to watch a live stream, but somehow $50 sounds A LOT more affordable than the thousands it would cost to go there and see it in person. This constant flow of information is not limited to just expos of course. On the internet you can find anything you want if you look hard enough. It’s almost impossible to keep anything a secret anymore with the internet constantly getting bigger and bigger. Even on CNN “the most trusted name in news” they will post links to certain congressman’s twitters for example (Weiner man, we all know you did it). The internet is surely the global village of today, where the Television was the global village of yesterday.
Now for the bombshell you have been waiting for. I didn’t want to say it, y’all don’t want to read it but it MUST be said. The Vancouver riots. I know your heart skipped a beat thinking about it. Stanley cup finals. Game 7. Luongo… what the HELL were you DOING!? Sure it was a piss off that we lost, hockey brought us all together in ways that Transformers and Harry Potter simply cannot do. But we lost… and then we had a massive temper tantrum. Cars were lit on fire, windows smashed, store fronts completely destroyed. Thankfully nobody died for such a ridiculous cause, but did we have to take it as far as we did? We lost a GAME in a SPORT, sorry guys, I thought we always take that risk in sports. When teams lose the Superbowl, does their hometown blow up? No, they say “Oh well, we can get them next year”. This is a great example of why I like football (de Americano)more than Hockey. The fans aren’t a bunch of babies. On the news for the riot coverage the reporter said things like “I don’t think anyone could have predicted this” and “These aren’t hockey fans”. Hate to say it buddy but you are entirely wrong. This is the maturity level of hockey fans in Vancouver, also EVERYONE was a fan during the finals. As for predicting it? I did, I knew tear gas was going to fly the minute the game started. It’s that gut feeling of thinking about last time we were in Game 7. I chose not to go downtown cause no matter if we won or lost I just didn’t want to be there. It wasn’t worth it. What does this rabbling have to do with the global village? Well we, the people from Vancouver, became the Village idiot that night. The guy that everyone laughs at and makes fun of, that’s all of us. Introduce yourself to average Joe south of the border and he will likely say something witty that his mom probably told him about the riots here. Personally, I am not one to separate myself from everyone else. Alienation breeds hate then depression. However, I am not the one that screwed up, and you know what? I don’t even have to justify myself, I was home that night watching the game in my favorite chair. Does it suck to be associated with that when I tell people I am from Vancouver? Indeed it does, but nobody is going to make me feel like the village idiot. Nobody is going to beat me down because of where I come from. I love my hometown, and indeed my country. The only thing I love more than my country is my village. We are all a community, and ultimately… we are all family.