Trying to deal with anxiety and loss after relationship break up

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    Welcome back. It sounds like you are still dealing with a lot. Have you started seeing a therapist? I think you should, there seems to be a lot of stuff you’re sorting through and to be honest, therapists can understand a lot better than us at times.

    It might be time to say goodbye to your ex, you’ve tried and tried but as time goes on, just reading your posts, it’s not sounding any more like an ideal situation- more like one that causes you both pain and confusion.

    Maybe it’s time for you to do you now. Have a relationship with yourself and nurture that- find out what issues have impacted you and learn from them and grow and hopefully secure some peace for yourself?


    Thanks for getting in touch. When I started the thread it was 15 days after my breakup but it’s now been 5months. My anxiety levels are not what they were thankfully, due to support, therapy, some medication and the passage of time I guess.

    I have been trying to get in touch with myself but some days I find it incredibly profound and hard to figure out, so hopefully my therapist can help me a little more during my session this week.



    Yep, he’s trying to be decent. He’s nothing of not decent. It’s infuriating. I have such poor sleep, I’m exhausted and my chronic pain is particularly bad today. Also, I’ve been staying with my sister as it’s just past her due date and she’s been having some pains, so won’t be long more I think. I guess that has me on edge too until she goes in and has a healthy baby and is healthy herself.

    Ive come home to my own bed tonight to try and get some rest, and she’s gonna call if there is any movement. I took the next week off work to help her with her toddler when the baby arrives. But I’m definitely out of sorts.

    I don’t know what’s going on. Sometimes I feel I’m a disappointment to people on the forum here who give me advice and I can’t seem to understand it or follow it. I’m trying and my head gets so overwhelmed and humbled by all I read and learn. I do NOT know wtf I’m supposed to be doing. I’m lost. Completely lost.

    I hope I don’t drag you down with this post, but some of our issues are similar and I’m hoping you can get where I’m coming from. I adore the help I’m getting on here from wonderful people but sometimes I feel like I’m not smart enough or insightful enough or evolved enough to truly understand and implement it.

    Since my breakup I have over and over again read and heard that this will change me forever for the better. I’ll truly know myself, I’ll learn lessons, I’ll be the person I was meant to become. I have explained this somewhat to my therapist but he doesn’t tend to go into it too much. He’s clever though, and I feel really understands me so I think he feels I get too overwhelmed at times with existential angst that there is no point sending me down further rabbit holes when I can’t even get out of the ones I’m currently in. I’m sorry if this is a stream of consciousness tonight, honestly sometimes I wonder what sort of a mind I have.

    Life is not easy. It’s iust not. And you know what, I’m kind of tired of challenges. I’ve had a lot throughout my life and it doesn’t seem to get better. Good things are taken from me and I’m expected to struggle on. Just because I have to. Life is a gift I’m told. But is this the case for everyone? I’m not doing anything too extraordinary with mine, so perhaps the powers that be should get their money back!

    I love being in the company of my ex, but how can it work out when he hasn’t changed, or learned or grown? How can I accept less when even. now I’m sad to be out of his company?

    Bring back the years where I sailed through life and never opened my heart romantically I say!

    I hope you managed the weekend okay, are you still feeling in a slump? Trust me when I say i can relate. x




    Honestly darling, compare as much as you need because believe me when I say I 100% relate to you on so many levels. And you are not dragging me down at all!

    I know exactly what you mean by receiving all of the knowledgable advice from people who have come out of similar situations out the other end, I get it, I appreciate it, I hear it, I even would go as far to say as I TRY it all out but it just does not seem to apply to me, to my feelings, my reality, my life… Nothing shifts. No matter what I try. I can wallow in pity for weeks and it won’t shift. And I can go out everyday, be outdoors, go to the gym, surround myself with people and things I love and it STILL does not shift. Am I just not capable?

    And that sentence  ‘good things are taken from me and I’m just supposed to struggle on’.. oh my, how much that hit home. Honestly you have no idea how much. Unfortunately it is my sad reality right now too, I don’t believe anything good will come my way. In all honesty, I truly do believe that my life prior to trauma, before my ex and then with my ex was the best of the best, and if that couldn’t last then really what hope in life do I have?!

    When our communication started I think I was about about 3 months or so into this whole ordeal, we’ll look at me 8/9 months later and still in the same rabbit hole if not deeper..

    I’m so sorry that I can’t offer you amazing advice like the other members can right now. All I can say is that I truly understand and relate and will be here to listen to the same story over and over and over again if need be because I too am living and ‘replaying’ each day.

    On a brighter note, it is exciting news that your little niece/nephew will be here any day! Get some well deserved rest because you’ll be very busy in the oncoming days with auntie duties!



    Hi Shelbyville,

    I read Michelle’s reply and your reply to her and your meetup with your ex.. and something popped into my head. It seemed to me that you have not accepted that the door to your relationship has closed; perhaps you are hoping that if you knock on it from time to time, it will open once again for you.

    And the getting in touch with your ex from time to time are your attempts to knock and see if there is a response from him and that you both can open the door once again. I think like Michelle pointed out, you seem to be afraid of change/what change might bring.

    I wonder if you are fearful that if you grieve and accept that the door is closed and thus moving on and being open to the change in your life,  that door will be closed for good. Though I think that the contrary is true, that if you accept that this door is closed, then you can work on yourself and your ex can work on himself. Cos even if the Shelbyville now and the him now get back together again, the same problems exist and you both will be back to square one.

    The relationship probably stands a better chance if you both have improved on each other, close this door and then open a new door together the next time. So look at yourself too, how have you changed during the relationship and how has that contributed to it not working out? I remember you saying that you used to travel alone, you used to do a lot of things but those were lost when you were in a relationship. Maybe you can find that Shelbyville back again and like Michelle said, to look at what you want for yourself in the future.

    Only when you accept that the door is closed for good, then can you move on and have a change in your life. But I think that will take time to happen and it could be that you need to knock on that door more times to realise that the door is closed and no amount of knocking can reopen it. I also knocked repeatedly on the door with my ex too and it took prob 9 months to a year to realise that the door has closed and I need to grieve and I need to move on.

    So do not be too hard on yourself too, everyone’s journey is different. And no matter how much we can say here and how much you read, end of the day, it is your own journey. Be gentle with yourself too – it takes time.



    Hey all,

    Kkasxo – glad you didn’t mind being my helpful guinea-pig example and if it helped at all, even better. Sometimes boiling things done to the simplest level helps take the fear and confusion out of everything. And if nothing else, just thinking about step one and not even worrying about the next steps until you’ve managed to make some headway on that one helps avoid getting panicky about trying to solve everything at once and just deal with one thing at a time, if that makes any sense at all.

    Shelby – well, me for one you don’t have to worry about disappointing or that I think you aren’t smart enough etc and I apologise if I have given that impression, not intended at all. Besides, remember – it really doesn’t matter what any of us of anybody else thinks – this is your life and you are as worthy of enjoying it as best you can as anyone. A meaningful life is whatever is meaningful to you – it doesn’t have to be about solving world peace, adopting a hundred orphans and saving a few species from extinction in your spare time – it’s whatever you end up deeming meaningful. Took me a while to learn that ( and to be honest, I am still learning it) and I would be very envious of people like Kkasxo with such clear and known dreams to work towards – so much simpler than my random brain! So never ever think your life does not count as important as anyone elses or that everyone else is so much better at ‘life’ – everyone of us is bumbling around finding our own way through, trust me!!   All advice is offered freely and can be ignored or used as you deem fit. You are doing your best to be open and considering it – that is further than a lot of people get..

    You mentioned a couple of interesting things in your last post I’d be curious to hear more about, if you don’t mind sharing. What other good things were taken from you? Is it related to why you previously didn’t open your heart to romance?  Do you think there’s a possibility you may have chosen your ex because you subconsciously knew he wasn’t so emotionally available – as it could mean less opening up required on your part?  There are all kinds of relationships that work that don’t meet what would be considered ‘normal’ by most but give both partners what they want. I have friends who live apart from their husband most of the year but are as happy and committed to the relationship as those who are together 24/7. It’s whatever works – so long as it works for both of you.  My understanding is that what he is prepared to offer as a relationship is not enough for you. Yes, it is hard to choose to let something go – but if you can’t imagine being happy in ten years time with the same situation – then is it really a choice for you?

    Take care all.



    <p style=”text-align: left;”><p style=”text-align: left;”>Kkasxo,</p>
    Thanks always for your reassurance. It’s a lonely scary place to be and just feeling as though one other single human being understands and empathises with you, means a whole lot.</p>
    It does feel like a struggle. Everything feels like a struggle now. I don’t want to spend my life struggling and I’m sad that this is the kind of life I now have, despite my attempts to change it.

    Not so lost star,

    I have read some of your story too and I really appreciate your input. I dont know how to close that door, I have tried. Two months of no contact and still every single moment of my thoughts were about him and the feeling that I would one day contact him again. The lack of a please effff off from him too, just makes is more confusing I guess. In some ways, I morbidly hope that would be the reaction when I reach out, so then I could just hate him and get angry and move on.

    Im extraordinarily tired of spirit right now.


    Please don’t misunderstand- I don’t feel people such as yourself would be disappointed because you come across as bossy or whatever. I’m literally crying as I read your post. It is because of my regard for you that I feel I’m letting people down. I don’t have to meet people in person to connect with them or have a level of respect, if I feel it’s merited. I admire you and therefore I feel your advice is practical and sage and when I can’t follow it through, I feel silly and unworthy in myself. These are my issues, not connected to others.

    I lost my mum to illness some years back and a true miracle happened when my dad met a wonderful kind caring woman who became one of my best friends and step mum. We lost her too to a brief and shock illness. My brothers too have tragedy in their lives and even my sister. I won’t get into their own personals struggles on here.

    I’m going to sound a little whiney too I’m sure but my full health capacity was ‘taken’ from me too over the past decade with two surgeries and consistent pain. Look, I’m grateful to be where I am now, living the best way I can despite all that and so so many others have such suffering. So I truly do feel grateful as much as I can, but sometimes, I feel like, what is the really meaning of life. For some……happiness? For others, maybe just to struggle and survive till the end.

    I have had such angst the past 24 hours, involving reconnecting with my ex but also my sister has gone into the hospital and I’m mindong her toddler by myself! Gosh, they sure are hard work! Hats off to all the mommas! But I’m waiting anxiously to hear of news of the new arrival.

    Its clear my ex has not grown or changed his mindset since we split. So if we did reconcile, it would tentative and with some distance again to start with I’d imagine. Yet, I adore him, I love being in his company and spending time with him. It’s when I’m away from him, I’m anxious. When fear sets in I suppose.

    Why couldn’t there be a manual? I can’t navigate this any more.

    P.S – my therapist did suggest that I met up with my ex recognising that he is unavailable so there wouldn’t be a threat of it going anywhere near making me happy but during the course of the relationship I grew and that changed.



    Hey Shelby – ah, hugs, tissues and a big glass of wine ( red or white??! ) for you…I get it, I do. I have had similar people in my life at times when I have needed them and they made a huge difference in helping to face my fears and open my eyes to how life,I, could be. If I can help be one of those people for you through this forum, I’m honoured.  When next feeling silly/unworthy when you can’t or don’t want to follow it through – try to work through instead what fear is holding you back from doing so. Fear is so often at the heart of so many things and like most things that like to lurk in shadows and dark places, if brought out into the open and examined or actioned, are way less scary than all the thoughts. (Apart from spiders obviously….they’re clearly totally logical to be worried about…..she says, in the middle of the tropical rainforest here…..)

    Thankyou for sharing. I can see why you would have fear of opening up given the losses you have been through. It is incredibly difficult to be brave enough to love again, both romantically and friends/family once you have experienced the hurt that comes from losing loved ones, especially people who also provided security in your life. It is not too surprising you are therefore unwilling and currently unable to voluntarily put yourself through this with moving on from your ex. Is it not interesting that you have seen your Dad enjoy the miracle of a second love but do not believe in such an opportunity for yourself?  Yes, it would be easier if your ex would start seeing someone else or in some such way close the door for you – but I’m afraid it sounds like this really is your opportunity to choose to hope for better for yourself. And it is scary as hell to take responsibility for your own decisions and your own life. Most people run a mile from doing so, much easier to blame others/life.

    What makes you anxious when you are away from him?  That you won’t be able to cope? That you need to make your own decisions? That you don’t know what to do or how to be safe without him?  Have you considered the perspective that your wanting more from the relationship than he is offering – such as moving in together – was perhaps not motivated by your personal growth but from an increased dependency on him and wanting to spend less time apart, less anxious Shelby time to deal with? Be curious what you think.

    PS – Looking after kids is damn hard, hope you have the good news from your sister soon.





    Hi Michelle and all,

    Today has been a roller coaster. I had a terrible nights sleep worried about my sister in hospital in labour, I barely slept two hours and was also on edge listening to the monitor in case the toddler stirred in his room. When I heard she had a beautiful baby boy during the night I was relieved but was too wound up for sleep.

    This morning was a frenzy of getting the toddler ready for nursery and getting him there. He was dubious and clung to me and screamed getting in the car, which he never does. He must have known things were not as they usually are! I ended up with more pain as it was difficult to get him into car seat when he was having a meltdown.

    I made it to the city and picked up some essentials for my sister but then the nurses told her I couldn’t go in. (Her husband had been sent home around 6am so he was catching an hour or two of sleep). Eventually I snuck in and gave her the few things she wanted and met my angel nephew. He’s perfect, just perfect. I’m already in love!

    I then had therapy and the meeting with my ex and the lack of sleep and monthly hormones and anxiety over my sister and all the change- I just cried for 60 minutes. It came flooding out. My therapist felt it was all the tears and hurt I kept in during my meeting with my ex which I disguised so as not to scare him off.

    I explained that I’m fed up. I’m clearly not a person capable of copping on and moving on OR at the same time can’t accept what I know would be the type of relationship with my ex if we reconciled. He feels I’m at the position now where I’m trying to make myself be a person who can accept what is on offer.

    Honestly my mind and heart are in knots. I can not believe that I will life a future part of my life where I don’t feel a loss and don’t feel alone. For some reason it’s beyond comprehension or imagination for me.

    I love being with him. But I don’t love not moving forward. So how can I reconcile this- that’s my main problem. My therapist says one of the most important things we should learn is how to quit. He said many people put so much weight into the idea that you can get and achieve whatever you dream if you work hard enough, but he believes giving up can be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make in the right context.

    It was all so draining. Then I had my course which was intense for two hours!I’m exhausted and now my car is being tested for roadworthiness – I feel like I’m back at school being examined!!!!

    Tomorrow morning he and I are supposed to be going fishing – he is maintaining his polite distance in our text communication but made the plan anyway, so we’ll see what will be said tomo.

    I felt like running away to a rainforest today – I genuinely truly did. X




    Sending you big hugs! I completely understand the confusion and exhaustion around all this! I know it all too well!

    How did the plan with finishing come about? Was it his idea? Either way, I hope you enjoy your day together and just go with it for now, tell yourself that right now this is what it is. Try to focus on the here and now, not on what tomorrow may bring! X



    Hi Shelby,

    I hope you’re well? How did the fishing trip go?



    Hey both. So out of the rainforest and back by the beach after some interesting travel in the back of a truck!

    Shelby, glad to hear your sister’s baby arrived safely and all is well there, that is good news. But yeah, a full-on couple of days for you by sounds of it, not surprised you are tired and reaching out for the familiar and safe old relationship. So I think your therapist is right in one thing – it is impossible to have everything/do all. I mean, just think about it logically, how can one person have enough time to be a brain surgeon, astronaut, adventurer, parent etc etc… literally not enough hours! But I don’t agree you should ever settle for less. That to me is giving up on yourself, accepting the fear of not finding better. What I do absolutely believe is that you do have to say ‘no’ to things in your life which don’t give you what you want/need – it’s the only way to have space for the things that you do want.  It’s scary and it takes trust but each time is slightly easier. Would still be curious to hear what you thought about my last few questions. Often it’s when you are closest to breaking free of old bad habits/patterns that they grip on the hardest.

    Kkasxo – how goes it with you? You never mentioned how the trauma weekend went, hope it was ok at least and a glimmer of relief it is past.




    Hi Michelle,

    Ah that sounds so lovely! What I would do to be out and exploring the world far away from here right now! I bet it is an amazing experience! Please keep us updated, I love reading about it.

    Yes the trauma weekend was tough but I suppose in a way it was the first and last major hurdle on this journey so there is a small sense of relief there.. perhaps next time it won’t be so bad?

    My emotional and mental state have been at an all time low since, not that it’s been any better for a long time but this period has been particularly tough taking a complete toll on my physical health also. I’m struggling with sleep and basic things like even finding the will to bathe myself etc but I’m trying to keep on keeping on to the best of my ability. My therapist has been great throughout, gentle but at the same time helping me explore bits and pieces of this tough period so I am grateful for that. I have also splurted my struggle out to my family now (finally) and they are being a little more gentle with me now giving me the space that I so badly need so again, grateful for that!

    I’m living in what I like to call autopilot mode at the moment but i suppose in a sense it is allowing me the calmness, time and peace to come together with my thoughts and really begin trying to understand myself again so I guess I’m just trying to go with it right now.



    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Hi all,</p>
    I’m just popping on to show I’m still alive! I’ll write a more detailed post tomorrow.

    This week has been intense. I’m quite overwhelmed. My sister having the baby added a lot of responsibility to my life over the past few days being available to her to help. My course is getting even more intense and I actually feel in over my head.

    My sisters baby had to go back into hospital due to concerns but the doctors reviewed him and gave him the all clear.

    I went fishing with my ex for 10 hours on Wednesday and it was relaxed and peaceful and a lovely experience for what it was. What it was….I’ve no clue.

    Im struggling. I feel like water is coming in over me and I need to be in complete solitude for a month.


    How are you doing? Still surviving? Any improvement of just surviving?



    Hey Kkasxo, morning from sunny Thailand! I would talk travel all day so I try not to as well aware this isn’t about me and how annoying some people can get going on about it all in an irritatingly happy way 😉 But yes, it is an amazing experience, it’s something I worked hard to give myself the opportunity of doing, not knowing if I would enjoy it or not but wanting to try – and I’m loving it! Travel is interesting, I personally wouldn’t do it full time as it’s knowing I have my own home to return to if/when I want that lets me fully enjoy all the differences and getting fully immersed into local life, which is what I enjoy most about new places. So I can totally understand needing your own space and the relief it must bring to have your family now supporting you in this whilst you get towards working out your own way forwards.  Yes, I think the first of anything is always more intense emotionally, so next year’s trauma weekend you will already have a sense of ‘well, I survived the first one, I just need to do the same and I will survive it again’ – there is less power in it to harm you once you have taken some of the fear of the unknown out of it, like anything really.   Although you call it autopilot, it is also remarkably freeing and calming to be back at basics, getting up, washing, eating and not thinking too much beyond for now – learning when and what your ‘full’ signs are ( I always end up envisioning the wolf/coyote from Roadrunner cartoon here, which will be lost on most people but always makes me smile.. )  cutting back when you reach them is one of the best things you can do for yourself – something Shelby it sounds like you are reaching now??

    Off to explore our new village now…….will check back in later – have to say, wi-fi here is better than Norfolk!!



    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Michelle,</p>
    Your trip sounds incredible – a wonderful way to live a life and you’re blessed to be able to do so, well done!

    I think I can understand the WiFi situation, where I live in the country is almost dial up! It can be frustrating to say the least sometimes!

    You mentioned I might be similar to Kkasxo at the moment- could you explain a little more?

    Im extraordinarily busy at the moment, a few months ago I would have given anything to be so busy, just to help me get over the initial pain of the breakup, but right now, I’m getting overwhelmed. I feel like I want to take a week off and go somewhere by myself to sort my thoughts and feelings out but unfortunately that’s not a possibility at the moment.

    There has not really been any contact with my ex since our fishing trip. He asked me if I’d like to meet up again as we said goodbye and I said I would. However there has not been any follow-up on either of our sides. It was his bday yesterday and I texted him to say happy birthday and he replied thank you.

    Tbh, a lot of anxiety is coming from the lying too. To my friends and family. If I disappear for a day to go fishing, I’m missed. I have to fib and I don’t like dishonesty but I am 100% sure I don’t want to mention it to them.

    I hve therapy tomorrow after work so I don’t really have an idea where to start. It’s all overwhelming and angsty at the moment and I’m swamped with my course, my work and my new godchild, not to mention trying to get in some exercise and maintain friendships. Eek.



    Hey both, back from our morning walk in the warm sunshine – it’s a great mix of temples, sea, hills and general Asia crazy – I love how ‘normal’ things like a coffee bar are interesting with all the strange to me options. Working my way through trying them and all the exotic fruit shakes ….!

    Shelby, sure. What I meant by similar to Kkasxo was in reaching your current limit of level of stuff you can deal with before becoming overwhelmed instead. It’s a good trigger to be aware of so as you know not to accept anything else until you are ready to do so.   Being busy is a distraction, it works well for a while but it still leaves you needing at some point to find a quiet time to work through everything. I found this part a very circular process, each time round understanding a little better than the last time.

    Btw –  you know I am going to ask you this one – but why do you think you feel the need to lie about seeing your ex again to your friends/family……..??  If you truly believe this is the path forwards that will make you happy, why would you want to hide that?  I’m assuming you think they won’t approve and you don’t want to try to explain something  – especially if deep down you don’t actually believe this is the right path for you either? Sounds like you already have pretty clear signals this guy has not, will not and doesn’t actually see any need to change. And sounds like you are already anxious about not getting what you wanted from meeting up with him.


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