“You look so chic!” “The pixie looks amazing on you”, “I love that haircut. So short and smart.” Reading these comments on my profile picture I was reminded of the day I decided to cut my hair as short as possible. I was in the trial room at a mall in Bangalore, when a tear silently rolled down my cheek.
Instead of critiquing the fit of the dress or admiring its cut, the bright lights and the four-sided mirror made the two bald patches on my scalp very apparent. It had been 8 years since I had last seen them, and way back then, they were tiny. Today, in the trial room, I struggled to hide them with the rest of my long hair, fitting a pin wherever possible. I knew my OCD was back, and my breakup and his cheating had triggered it. When six years of a relationship and a promise of a lifetime end in betrayal, they leave scars. Mine left plenty too and a case of severe depression after breakup.
Depression After Breakup
Trichotillomania, or hair pulling disorder is an obsessive compulsive disorder caused by stress, among other reasons. It started for me when I lost my mother but I overcame it gradually. It started again after my breakup. The nail biting, always a habit, now saw blood oozing out, toenails were picked till I extracted the entire nail with my bare fingers, and it didn’t hurt.
From, “I will never ever leave, I don’t believe in notions of letting go and moving on. You’re the nucleus of my existence and it’s my dream to grow old with you” to “It’s best we practice moving on in a dignified manner. I’m very happy and she and I are together now.” Reading old emails and chats made my anxiety after breakup even worse.
How do I go to the salon and get a haircut? How will I answer those questions about the hair loss and bald patches? “Chewing gum caused it”, “Jaundice. I had a terrible post jaundice hair fall attack,” I told my hairdresser as he cut my tresses. My breakup had cost me my self-esteem. A doctor online told me it was part of the severe depression after a breakup that I was going through.
I didn’t feel like myself anymore because of breakup depression
I’d never in my wildest dreams imagined that he wouldn’t choose ‘us’, and so when the breach of trust happened, something in me broke. I developed serious trust issues and and my anxiety after breakup just soared. I spent eight months after completing a degree in Finance sitting at home and staring at the ceiling. My daily routine would be, waking up at 11 a.m., unwillingly, having breakfast, feeding my ailing grandma, sitting in a corner and brooding.
This was followed by lunch at 2, then siesta from 2:30 to 6. Tea at 6, a little chitchat with my aunt, lying down on my bed till 8 and being lost in thoughts of why and how. Dinner would follow at 10. I would go to bed at 11 p.m., sleep only at 5 in the morning. I lost 20 pounds in 3 months because the sight of food made me nauseous. Feeling depressed after my breakup had left me completely helpless.
Related Reading: Am I Going Through Depression? I Think I Have All The Symptoms…
My panic attacks were horrid
Anxiety attacks, being lost in thought, hysterically crying in the middle of meals and conversations and not being able to share my breakup depression with my already worried family led me to decide to go for a break to Malaysia, to my old job, as a volunteer for a month. I thought this would be a good day to deal with my post breakup depression.
Initially I was a burden on them instead of being of any help. “Dua, if you do not eat this sandwich, I will take you to the hospital” read a note from my ex-boss cum foster father outside the door of my room in the office. I hadn’t left my room in two days, nor eaten a morsel. My depression after breakup had taken a complete toll on me.
I kept thinking about him
He kept telling me he was confused. Had no answers to why he cheated, why he kept profusely expressing his undying love for me every single day for 6 years only to not even want to give us an honest second chance when I caught him cheating. Yes, I was ready to give us a second chance.
I came back home to Chicago with an empty bank balance, having spent the last possible penny of my savings on a trip we took as a couple. That is when I was introduced to Bonobology. One day I called Raksha, whom I’d known since I contributed to the Chicken Soup For the Soul series, because I felt I could speak to her. I poured my heart out to her and she listened to me patiently for over an hour. She listened and asked me to write. That’s when I penned down my first article in a very long time. Thus started my journey to deal with my post breakup depression.
Related Reading: How To Forgive Your Cheating Partner And Should You?
I indulged in my hobby
I started reading articles on this website on breakups and depression and how people change in relationships and on emotional infidelity and polyamory and realized that I wasn’t alone. Yes, we all to seem to believe that what has happened to us is the worst ever, but after reading these I realized that I could have faced much worse had I discovered what he did after we got married.
Yes, he broke the dreams of a future I had been seeing with him and his family and mine since I was 22, working on a career to suit our paths but I also realized that I wasn’t to blame. The articles I read reinforced my belief in myself, because I read how so many men and women believe that there was something lacking in them because of which their partners left them.
When I started looking at things from a third person’s perspective and asked myself if what they were feeling was correct, the answer would always be a ‘NO’.
I got over feeling depressed after my breakup
It’s been a year and a half now and I won’t say that I have completely recovered. I’m doing well professionally but cry myself to sleep very often. But I’m getting better. The hair pulling is minimal and I have beautiful nails now. When I wake up to a lot of strands of hair on my pillow, I promise myself to use self-restraint. And it helps. I’m eating healthy.
There is a lot of pain and loneliness, but with time I believe I’ll overcome that as well. Beautiful memories are the most difficult to forget, bitter truths are easier to swallow. Depression is a process and it takes time to heal. It won’t magically disappear, I know. It’s very important to be aware and acknowledge it, as the first step towards healing after breakup.
I took my first step with the letter I published in Bonobology. I’ve been taking many baby steps and I hope I can also move on and learn to let go and be free, soon.
Yes it can. Depression after breakup is common as one feels lonely and overcome by lots of emotion.
You might miss the person terribly, be coping with loneliness or feel empty inside which is also called post breakup depression. This can be a tough time to sail through but with the right steps and a therapist, you will be able to overcome the same.
They can last from weeks to months to even years. This depends on the intensity of your feelings towards them. You might eventually overcome feeling depressed after a breakup, but your feelings could last longer.