I met with my therapist today, and we spent the session discussing various negative thoughts and emotions I have been having with regards to my breakup. I mentioned that I have been increasingly considering it in a positive light, but that I often forget my reasons for thinking this way, and return to feelings of sadness and regret. She suggested that I write out the reasons why I am ultimately happy the breakup occurred, so that’s what this post is.
Behold, the various reasons why my breakup was a positive thing:
- My relationship had a lot of problems, many of which were not clear to me until recently, when I finally had enough distance from it to gain perspective. For example, my girlfriend and I had a hard time communicating, and this lead to many arguments. Additionally, I often felt like my girlfriend didn’t care about me. At the time, I attributed this to my own insecurities, but in retrospect, there are things I need in order to feel cared for in a relationship, and she was unable to provide those things. However, I was very comfortable in this relationship, and very uncomfortable with the prospect of being alone. I don’t think I would have left the relationship myself, meaning I wouldn’t have the opportunity to find something better. I have that now.
- I have learned a lot about myself during the past month-and-a-half. I have been through absolute hell, and am now beginning to emerge out the other side. I did not think I would be able to cope with this, but I was. Not only that, but I have been actively seeking out help and working tremendously hard in order to feel better. I see my doctor and counselor weekly, as well as my psychiatrist every 2-3 weeks. I have begun to exercise again, despite the lack of motivation that accompanies severe depression. I am currently fighting my lack of appetite (and the Anorexic thoughts that resurfaced when this lack of appetite lead to weight loss) to nourish my body and mind. I have attended counseling groups I wanted to skip, used DBT skills I thought were stupid, and done therapy “homework” I didn’t want to do. I have learned that I am much stronger than I thought, and that’s really cool.
- This breakup has forced me to better myself. I didn’t notice at the time, but I largely neglected my personal development when I was in a relationship. I didn’t challenge my social anxiety and meet new people, because most of my time was spent with my girlfriend. I didn’t put much effort into counselling, because I felt “fine” a lot of the time. I even neglected schoolwork to spend more time with my girlfriend. This year, everything is different. I am expanding my social circle, working hard to recover from ALL of my mental health concerns, and spending my time and effort keeping up in my classes and taking care of myself.
- I am currently facing my biggest fear: being alone. A lot of my mental health concerns stem from this fear. Loneliness is a huge trigger for my depression,my eating disorder was both a friend in itself and a way to make people care about me, and my social anxiety likely developed (at least partially) from a fear of driving people away. I should note that I am by no means completely alone. I have family members who love me (in their own ways), and who keep trying to spend time with me. I have an INCREDIBLE best friend/ roommate, who visits me in the hospital every time I end up there (despite the fact that hospitals trigger her PTSD), who goes to social events and the gym with me so I actually go, and who is always ready to listen in the rare event that I choose to actually talk about my feelings like a grownup. I have amazing healthcare providers, who miraculously fit me into their schedules every 1-2 weeks. And I have a number of more peripheral friends, who have certainly made a difference as well. Nevertheless, I feel much more alone than I did when I was in a relationship, and that has been hell, but I am surviving it. I think that in the future, I will be less dependent on my significant other, and will not be as afraid to leave a relationship that isn’t working.
- Everything is about me right now. I spend my time the way I want to spend it, consider post-graduation plans that fulfill my dreams, and run errands when I feel like running them. My ex certainly did not control these aspects of my life, but I felt like I needed to consider her in every decision, so I did. I no longer feel that obligation, and it is incredibly freeing. I could cut all my hair off tomorrow and not give a fuck about anybody’s opinion of it. I can try new things and make new experiences without fear of a significant other’s disapproval. I can figure out who I am, after having this process stifled for years by the church and by illnesses.
So yes, I have experienced a tremendous amount of pain recently. And more than once, I took actions that could have ended the life I am now excited to live. I still deal with sadness and depression on a daily basis. But I believe that this experience has been worth it, for the reasons I have listed. I’m glad that the worst is over and hope I don’t experience anything like this again for a little while, but I feel grateful for everything I have gained from this experience, and I would not take it back if I had the chance. If you had told me even two weeks ago that I would be saying these things, I wouldn’t believe it. But I am. And that is everything.