Ending of a Relationship

For survivors of mental illness, they say journaling is a way to help you heal.

Here’s my effort at catharsis…

My girlfriend of nearly three years, and I, just parted ways. We’ve broken up several times before, and each time have gotten back together. This time is permanent though <<insert audience laughter here>> because of how things have progressed. Here are my thoughts through the process:

Moving On-

  • Remember why the breakup happened in the first place. There was a breaking point for me. A straw. A tipping point that once reached, ensured that things were not going to continue from that point on. It was a recurring theme that (I felt) I didn’t deserve to endure, and I couldn’t endure in the future and for the rest of the relationship. Remembering this tipping point became my first anchor point.
  • Make a list of anchor points. This was the first thing I did. I made a list. I know that there are going to be days when I’m sad and want the relationship back. I also realize that that is not a healthy choice, so to help me remain resolute, I wrote a list of things that would keep steadfast. Especially on the weekend. Out of respect to her I won’t list them here, but these are largely negative things that have pushed me away over time. When you’re sad your mind wanders back to the good times you both had, or all the things you miss about that person. Keeping a list of anchor points helps me keep things in perspective. Don’t fume over the bad things and don’t forget the good things, just be real with yourself.
  • Disconnect from their social media world. I find that when I have a break with someone, I need to cut ALL ties. Cold turkey. I don’t want them coming up in my news feed. I don’t want to see that they’ve liked my posts. I don’t want to see their Pins or comments come up on my wall. It makes me anxious and makes my adrenaline race. It makes me start to miss those things I mentioned above. There are also apps that block their texts from coming in, and you can delete their numbers from your Contacts list, but I haven’t done that. I’m the type of person that can’t “just be friends”. To me, that’s a crock of she-ite. Maybe we can in the future, but not at this time. It’s too painful. It’s too real. And it’s too raw to be your friend. It’s too tempting to want to go back to something that is so raw and familiar. To resist the temptation, I don’t put myself in the situation in the first place, and have done what I could to avoid it.
  • Get out. I’m an introvert and like my alone time. This can become unhealthy since I also live with major depression. I have to be careful that alone time doesn’t turn into isolation. I know that I need to step out of my comfort zone and start doing things, especially on the weekends when I don’t have my daughter. Those are the worst. Make plans – in fact make a Plan B in case Plan A falls through. All too many times I’ve found myself sitting at home crying with the lights off and the shades dropped because I didn’t have a backup plan. It just turns into a deep dark pit from there. One of the things I am going to try to do is join a gym down the street and get back into shape. Being out of shape has brought me down mentally and exercising again and losing some weight will be good for both my mental and physical health. Another great way to get out is to join a Meetup singles group, though I’m not sure if this applies to readers outside the US.
  • Go on a date when you’re ready. Get to know other people. Spread your wings. You don’t have to jump right into another relationship (in fact you shouldn’t) but there’s nothing wrong with getting back out there and getting to know people, and building relationships. Go on dating sights and meet people. At this point it’s about survival and staying busy, not finding your soul mate.

Red Flags-

I’m not going to go into much detail here, again, out of respect.

  1. We both live with mental illness. Maybe a relationship where both partners survive with mental illnesses can work out. On the other hand, maybe it’s not a wise choice in the first place. I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that we both have demons we live with. I also know that we both needed LOTS of patience and empathy to date each other – we didn’t necessarily have those two things all the time. WE can’t rely on others to fix quell those demons, we have to do that on our own. The other person isn’t going to fix us. We have to be able to manage who we are within the relationship.
  2. Trust issues.  You shouldn’t have to suffer for someone’s (trust) issues from a prior relationship. If that person feels the need to go through your texts and social media IMs and you haven’t done something deserving of that (let’s be honest here), then there are trust issues that need to be resolved outside of the relationship. To project that onto someone else is emotional abuse and unfair.
  3. Others. In hind sight, there are many signs that you can probably now see that should have been red flags: multiple marriages, anger issues, physical and emotional and verbal abuse…the list could go on for each of us. It’s important in our closure that we notice these things (and write them down if necessary) and try our best to avoid them in our future.

Do you have any suggestions on how best to move on, or red flags that you’ve experienced in your relationships? Would you be willing to share them with the rest of us?

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3 comments

  1. Hi Chris
    Breaking up can be tough even when it’a the right thing ti do. I was with my ex-husband fir 13 years, there were red flags I didn’t notice. The slow burn out happened when wanted him to go see my Psychiatrist with me. Not interested at all, then one day he said “there’s nothing wrong with you, you’re making all of this up. That was my last straw, I loved him, we were best friends but that was the worst thing he could say to me.
    I moved on slowly, never into the bar scene except after works with my co-workers. I had and still do have trust issues even thought i’ve never gone thru someone’s personal items. My current husband and I met thru a mutual friend at a party.
    When I’m around people I can be the jokester, talk about my travels and so on. On the inside I’m like you, alone time is cool. The hard part is recognizing when you feel the depression coming on, maybe you can head it off.
    Today if I were single and looking to a nice man to meet, I would get deeply involved, even being the scenes, in Charity, or animal shelter, were your desire is or get more out box and do something different. I think you would see the real person and not some one with a mask on. Got to food fairs, those are great, eat your way thru the night.
    In the Dallas area someone can up with a brilliant way to meet to not, maybe just have fun. Get used to talking to other people who look at you for who you are. Several times a month singles sign up to do local adventures. Maybe go bowling, attend the ballon fest, it sounds like a great time. We can’t look for a partner it has to come naturally. When you’re ready it will happen if you put yourself out there to meet others.
    If not you may continue to slip into comfort zone. You were comfortable to some degree to stay together for three years,
    I haven’t written a comment this long in a while. I’ve had more than once experience staying a relationship when times get really bad.
    The right person will come your way.
    🙂
    M

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your always thoughtful and meaningful insight, Melinda. Thank you for sharing your breaking point with us as well. We both know how difficult it can be to open up, possibly to a whole pool of people on the worldwide forum. You are a trooper and I really appreciate the time you put into this response. Stay strong, you are a fighter. I am so glad that you now have the time and strength to do what you love. Big hugs XXX

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      • Hi Chris
        Thanks you for the kind words. I understand what it’s like having any relationship, even with family when you’re in the pit. My grandparents didn’t understand why I cold not come over, they worried about me so much and I didn’t want to tell them I’m depressed, the cycle continues only granny would get very stressed. Her son, my father committed suicide in 1992, she may have thought I would leave her the same way. I was nine years old,first attempt to committed suicide.
        I probably made 14 attempts as a teen. As an adult my depression reached new lows, I had a plan but would not share, my Therapist tried to get the to tell. My grandmother was never the same after my father died.
        Stress is the top trigger for me. I can keep my stress in a box while taking care of both grandparents while sick and dying. Shortly after both deaths the stress would drown me, I spent several weeks each time. Lyme has taken most of my memory and I live with agonizing pain. Being addicted to three of my Bipolar drugs I resisted taking other addition drugs, I dealt with the worst days taking extra Xanax to sleep. I took to many and ran out a week before refill, this was the worst withdraw to date. In the past things didn’t crazy until 3-4 day, this time the second day I started feeling terrible. I’ve been thru many ups and down with depression except withdraw that bad. My husband has seen plenty in the 13 years together but this blew his mind. I moved into the bathroom, with two days before we could get refill, I was thrashing around the bathroom and wailing, delusional and could not take pain meds since there was no food on my stomach.I heard him cry, it can throw the people around you for a loop. I’m still recovering from the injuries. My doctor found the right mix and I’ve been stable except the death of my
        grandparents, for close to 10 years. Over the years I’ve had 20 ECT treatments. I’m not different than others with depression, I older 53, participate in my treatment down to saying no, I don’t want that, what else. I also researchable the time and very familiar with the FDA site. I write to see how you’re doing when I haven’t heard from you,know I do understand.
        It was hard for me to meet anyone when I spent everyday in bed.If you aren’t seeing a Therapist and can afford, I was say they are critical to crawling to. You have to find someone with deep knowledge of depression or talking and get know where. I’ve seen my Therapist for 15-17 years, when I’m not depressed when talk about my concerns and insecurities. She relieves me and I don’t have to try to get husband to understand,I tend to get upset and it makes the situation worse.
        I think about you every day and pray you’re doing well.
        🙂
        M

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