For many, after the initial shock factor of a breakup has faded, feelings of intense loneliness and immense sadness commonly take over. You may feel like your entire world has fallen apart and that “a part of you has died.” Some people find it difficult to concentrate and motivate. And others may find themselves hyper-focusing on the past and missing activities they used to participate in with their partner.
Experiencing depression and other symptoms after a breakup is sometimes diagnosed as an adjustment disorder with depressed mood, also known as situational depression. While many of these feelings often resolve within a few months, it is vital to recognize the symptoms so that you can find help and support if you need it.
How Does Breakup Depression Differ from Situational Depression?
Situational depression occurs when a person develops certain emotional symptoms that are more exaggerated than normal in response to a stressful life situation within several months of the situation happening. For those that experience situational depression, they may experience similar symptoms as someone with major depressive disorder, including crying, a generally depressed mood, and feelings of hopelessness.
The key difference between situational depression and breakup depression lies in the fact that the depressive symptoms are in response to an identifiable stressor, nor do they meet the full criteria for a major depressive episode. Eventually, the symptoms are resolved when either the stressors no longer present, or you can better adapt to the situation.
Breakup Depression Defined
Experiencing depression following a breakup with a significant other is not caused simply by losing someone you loved for a particular length of time.
Several causes can contribute to the pain you may be experiencing, including:
- You have lost your confidence. “You’re not good enough,” “He [or she] left you,” or “You have difficulty staying in a relationship,” are just some of the thoughts that may cross your mind following a breakup. For many people, pride and self-confidence are damaged, and they start doubting whether they can love or ever be loved again.
- You worry about the future. You stress about whether you can get back up on your feet again and whether you will stay single forever. Questions of the future contribute to the stress and anxiety commonly felt following a breakup.
- You have fallen out of your rhythm. Your weekends suddenly feel pointless and boring and the weekdays seem dreary without a loved one. Now, you feel like you have nothing to look forward to and that you never have any social plans.
Many of the above reasons can be cumulative and make a breakup more difficult to overcome. When we feel lonely, sad and pessimistic for long durations to the point that we lose sleep or lack the energy to do anything else, breakup depression has likely set in.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Breakup Depression?
Numerous normal and healthy feelings occur after a breakup, including everything from anger and frustration, to crying and sadness, as well as fear, insomnia and loss of interest in daily activities.
It’s natural to feel sad after a breakup, but you should look out for symptoms of depression and talk to a professional if you’re experiencing them regularly. Common symptoms of depression include:
- Fatigue and insomnia
- Difficulty concentrating, recalling details and making decisions
- Feelings of helplessness and worthlessness
- Loss of interest in things once pleasurable
- Appetite loss or overeating
- Digestive problems
While things may feel hopeless after a breakup, depression does improve with time, self-care and treatment. A professional can share coping and healing strategies that may help, including talk therapy and other alternative strategies.
Signs of worsening anxiety or depression may include the following:
- Depression that does not lift with reasonable care and treatment
- Thoughts of harming yourself
- Persistent, running thoughts about the other person
- Persistent and increasing levels of emotional pain related to the other person.
- Increasing intake of sugar, alcohol or substances to dull the pain
Be completely honest with yourself, if you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms honor yourself by reaching out for help. These symptoms are consistent with an energy problem that may not be able to resolve on its own. Seek out a professional skilled at dislodging unwanted energies and entities such as a Reiki, or Gemstone and Diamond Therapy Practitioner.
It’s important to understand that when the above symptoms don’t seem to be getting any better, and your emotional state does not improve–or gets worse–this is a sign that you may be experiencing breakup depression and may have an energy problem that requires an energy solution.
While breakup depression is not an official medical term or diagnosis, it does not mean that what you are experiencing following a breakup does not represent a real condition. The critical thing to realize is that once you decide to talk to a professional, they will likely ask questions about your symptoms. Be sure to describe the symptoms you are experiencing, how long you have had them and the level of intensity in which are experiencing them.
How long will your symptoms last? If left untreated, breakup depression can last indefinitely and lead to a number of health problems. Unfortunately, many people also develop a dependence on alcohol, sugar or substances to help ease the pain.
Most experts advise for those who are experiencing the symptoms mentioned above for more than three or four weeks to seek support or assistance.
How to Manage and Heal From Breakup Depression
For starters, you must give yourself ample time to grieve. Compared to those in many other cultures around the globe, we (Americans) tend to struggle to acknowledge and fully embrace sadness. However, these emotions are perfectly normal, healthy responses to loss.
At various points in our lives, many of us experience grief. It’s crucial to accept that it’s normal and allow ourselves the time to process the grief. Keep in mind, if someone you trust asks how you are, it’s okay to be honest and tell them you are not ok. In some cases, you may even discover they can relate more than you realize.
Here are some additional tips:
1. Prioritize Self-Care and Develop New Habits
The withdrawal of any consistent individual in our lives can disrupt our typical brain patterns and leave us with a void. One way to help your brain heal is to develop new habits that replace the old ones.
A breakup is an ideal opportunity to think about how you can create a life that makes you happier and more resilient. Use the time to think about your life goals – perhaps you want to change careers? Or, is there a hobby you’ve always wanted to take up? Regardless of your goals, strive to incorporate self-care (i.e. yoga, meditation, prayer, exercise) and other new activities into your routine to help you move forward and ease the sense of loss.
2. Work on Developing a Strong Social Support Network
A healthy support system, or “village,” as they say, can help you heal and feel more confident. Family members and close friends can provide a shoulder to lean on when you feel sad and serve as the best listeners.
Make a goal of scheduling several friend “dates” to get out of the house and do something engaging. Your loved ones’ support can help develop your self-confidence by serving as a reminder as to why you deserve happiness, just like everyone else.
Be discerning about who you chose to have around you at this time. Pay attention as to who lifts you up and provides true, loving and unconditional support. Give yourself permission to distance yourself during this time from others who drain your energy or have a history of using sensitive information about others to serve themselves in some way.
3. Rebuild your Self-Esteem
After a relationship ends, it can be accompanied by intense feelings of loneliness. If your self-esteem becomes unhealthy and imbalanced following a breakup, then losing your partner may result in feelings of being unwanted and unloved.
But it’s important to realize that the end of a long-term relationship can uncover our deepest insecurities. And while the process can be painful, it’s also an opportunity for self-growth.
Healthy self-esteem means realizing your full potential and worth despite the way that others appreciate you. With this approach, you can also present yourself genuinely and confidently, which will attract the right people in your life.
The Bottom Line
It’s normal to feel sad as you grieve the end of a major relationship. Allow yourself to experience and process your thoughts and feelings, no matter how painful the process may be–in the end, it will ultimately help you to move forward.
If you feel helpless, have low self-confidence or think you are getting more depressed, you could benefit from professional help to ease your feelings. Gemstone and Diamond Therapy could be the answer to helping you heal. Crystals are well known for helping with physical and mental health, from anxiety and depression to chronic and acute pain.