Trying to deal with anxiety and loss after relationship break up

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    Hi guys,

    Im alive!!! Reporting from Down Under!

    It’s been a whirlwind. The first week was great, but I ended up in hospital today with bad stomach problems. Thankfully the care I received was second to none so I’m on the mend.

    However it has dampened my spirit a little and increased my anxiety. I’m trying to breathe and just be, but it’s hard at times. Anxiety is not something I got to leave behind when I hopped on the plane.

    A lot of travelling so far so not much time to just sit and think or feel, so I’m going to try and make more space for that in the coming days when I’m (hopefully) fully better.


    How is Cape Town? My friend just returned from there and says it’s incredible.


    How are you? Are you still feeling rough? I know you have more gumption than you think you did. I have always viewed you as a stronger person that I…..and look what I just did!!! So I know you’ll make whatever decisions you need to make when you need to make them.



    Greetings again from my travels. It’s morning here and I’m sitting by a pool in an idyllic location…..and I miss my ex. I wish he was here. I’ve not really stopped thinking about him since the start of the trip and now it’s just pissing me off!

    Because I can’t stop thinking about him and what we did or didn’t have, this kind of thinking leads you to believe it’s a whole situation – what I mean by that is that HE too must be thinking of you all the time and having similar conversations  in his head. I know that line of thinking is dangerous because it’s probably a far distance from the truth, but there it is.

    Realistically my ex could have moved on with someone new. It’s been over 4 months. But my heart is clinging on still. How in the hell do I let him go when I don’t want to? I quit my job, travelled to the other side of the world, kissed a new guy. Nothing is helping – as yet. I actually feel like I’m starting to feel more heart broken now than 4 months ago. Perhaps the loved up couples all around me are not helping!

    Hope to hear about what’s going on in your lives soon x


    Hey both.

    Yep, Cape Town was as awesome as ever. It’s also a huge culture shock even after your first trip, especially as we tend to explore outside the normal tourist areas too. Honestly, people in the UK have no clue what poor means in comparison, some of it is truly shocking – more so with the huge gulf to the wealth that is there too.  So I love it as much for opening my eyes to the reality of the worldas I do for it’s amazing natural beauty, food and ofcourse wine and beer!  We are now in the heart of the Winelands which is just a stunning place – a real treat to be able to stay here and enjoy everything the region has to offer. Hard to describe, just so generous and friendly and so alive.


    So Shelby, what’s been the highlight so far – best thing seen/done/eaten??  Glad to hear you were looked after well when you got sick, I know that was one of your fears and seeing how it turned out just fine must be a comfort.  But seriously, wasting your time and mental energy on missing your ex, not surprised it’s pissing you off – it would me!  What a waste.  Ofcourse he isn’t thinking about or pining for you in the same way but nobody ever wants to hear that I know. It was still a right slap in the face when I found out my ex was seeing someone else as I defn still had those romantic notions so I get where your head is at. Tbh, it was helpful finding it out – no more pretending and hoping for me then!!  But hey, you are who you are and as ever you have two choices, look forwards or backwards. Up to you as ever.  It’s not about what you do – as you know, you can’t simply run away from it. It’s about accepting that it’s gone, be it for good or bad reasons, it doesn’t actually matter – it’s not going to happen how you want it to happen.  Look forwards to hearing more of your adventures and hope you manage to enjoy yourself a little at least.

    Kkasxo – how goes it?? Did the seratonin help shift it all this time around? Hope the job search et al isn’t getting on top of you totally and that Mr A is doing his bit to be strong for you this time around at least. Take care eh, still here if you need us.


    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Michelle,</p>
    I know exactly what you mean about the different realities in Africa and elsewhere. That was one of the hardest things for me to reconcile when I went to Africa- having so little against the backdrop of having so much. But like you said- it’s such an invigorating country and I found it almost gets into your soul if you think in that kind of way!

    Most definitely enjoy the vineyards – must be so special to drink wine in a region from that very region!

    The highlight of my trip is……I don’t know! I’ve had so many incredible pinch me moments that it’s kind of washing over me and not sinking in really. I loved the Whitsunday Islands- and I really felt a sense of achievement and pride in myself for always dreaming about this magical place and now I actually stopped dreaming and made it a reality for myself, by myself. I feel all kinds of emotion tonight. Upset thinking of what you said about leaving my ex in the past, happy that I achieved a life goal, sad that it was alone, proud that it was alone. I don’t know, emotion is seeping out of me at the moment and I don’t seem to have any frame of reference.

    I dont know how to let go. I could easily say tomorrow morning- ok Shelby, it’s done, he’s gone, move on. But it’s never that easy. I do that all the time and yet I still think about him incessantly. He would have been really proud of me for ticking this off my bucket list. I’m mad and sad and I don’t know what else right now! It’s a mish mash!

    Tbh, a bit of homesickness is probably setting in too. Maybe if I wasn’t doing so much travelling around, but it’s definitely taking its toll. Four flights out of eleven done!!!! Dearie me!!!!

    Kkasxo, how you doing? You hanging in there?




    Hey both.

    Absolutely I know what you mean about it gets in your soul – it’s inspirational stuff in all kinds of ways.

    Whitsunday Islands look absolutely stunning in pictures so I can only imagine how good the reality must be!  You should be incredibly proud you have made it there by yourself – I know it isn’t how you wanted it to be but instead of regretting never making it in twenty years time, you now know you’ve done it, achieved one of your dreams and made it happen yourself – that’s awesome powerful stuff to know you can do.

    I think everyone gets a little homesick when travelling around – it’s one of the big reasons why I stay a long time in each one – I like getting to know people there, having them recognise me and chat like friends. It’s funny – we’ve (re)met by accident several people that we befriended on previous visits entirely by accident and it really helps feel like you fit in like a proper local.  It’s not too surprising you started having stronger regrets on your ex when feeling low from being ill, a bit homesick and then rushing around whilst amazing is also incredibly tiring. It’s pretty natural to want your go-to comforter (in your case, your ex) when you are feeling a little less than awesome, a bit like the grown-up equivalent of a teddy bear for lack of a better way to describe it!  But knowing you are still having moments you are loving the experiences, where you are proud of yourself for making it happen – they’re the ones to cling to and let sink in. And just do what you need to recharge those batteries so you don’t feel quite so lost and tired and therefore needy.  A big hug from here in South Africa anyways to help you along the way to enjoying your next place!


    And Kkasxo – hope we’re entertaining you with travel tales and not making you feel worse. Let us know how you are doing when you get a chance eh?


    Another day, another flight! I’m tired but it’s good! I’m doing it- by myself- even if I’m homesick, even if I fell ill, even if I miss my ex, I’m doing it, by myself. So I’m trying to focus on that and not trigger myself.

    @kkasxo just checking in to see how you are doing? Soon coming up on one year pact for Tiny Buddha- can you believe it?!


    Hi all,

    Well I’m back in Oz after my trip to NZ. It was incredible, I’m proud of myself for doing it.

    The whole trip has been a rollercoaster of emotions – a huge amount of my headspace is given to thoughts of my ex. I thought while travelling, thoughts of him would be minimal but I guess I have a lot of time on my own here, which means no distractions like I would have at home, so maybe that’s it?

    At the start of the trip, especially when I felt unwell I just wanted to be at home. Now I’m in my last wk, I really really don’t want to go back to reality! How the tables can turn!

    Michelle- how are your travels going?

    Kkasxo, still hanging in there??


    Morning ladies,

    Shelby, I’m so so so proud of you!!!! Look at you! Thoughts of the ex or not you are on the other side of the world, living, breathing, creating lifelong memories, it’s incredible! So so pleased for you!

    I’m meh haha, is the best way to describe it.
    I’m looking for a new job, recently celebrated my birthday and now feeling the extreme pressure of the ‘ticking clock’. I KNOW maybe it’s not necessary yet but nonetheless it is real. I think getting older puts into perspective how much I am completely not where I want to be in my life at all, and what makes it worse is that I am not actually even actively working towards that? Or so it feels like anyway. Myself & Mr A then celebrated our non-existent 4 year anniversary (I’ve got to laugh at this one, what’s there to celebrate?!) I kind of fell back into my deeply depressive modes and only slowly dragging myself back out. The up and down of it all is definitely a process. But I won’t bore you with my stuffs! Same old over here! Tell me about your travels 🙂


    So good to hear from you Kkasxo and belated happy birthday! I hope you at least got some nice surprises from those closest to you, I think everyone deserves to be spoiled on their birthday.

    The travel has been intense, I’ve gotten so used to living out of a suitcase now that I can’t imagine what stability used to feel like! As each days passes, I’m getting more confident in my ability to be able to travel alone. Which I’m proud of, but it doesn’t mean I don’t miss having someone with me- it just means that despite that, I am physically capable of doing it alone.

    I am starting to feel a tick tock clock in the back of my mind now- to go back to reality- THIS SATURDAY- can you believe it?!!! But I don’t want to. Not because I love travelling the world too much to go home but because reality has been suspended during this trip. And not having to deal with reality is nice, I’m not gonna lie. So I’m trying to live in the moment and catch myself anytime my mind wanders off to the future, so that I can appreciate these last few days.

    How are you doing? I hope you’re okay- and only cos I feel like I’ve gotten to know you somewhat over the past year- do I get the sense that you seem less than happy. Even re-read your posts the past few months yourself- it sounds like you’re not fulfilled or happy- I’m not sure exactly – but has that been two birthdays now in less than amazing circumstances? I think you deserve to be a queen on your birthday- not sad, or depressed. Would you consider another stint of counselling if it were feasible? I have to say, my anxiety was through the roof after my hospital stint at the start of my holiday and my therapist emailed and texted me with advice and it honestly profoundly calmed me! Amazing!

    If the relationship/job/whatever it is- is not contributing to you being a happy human, maybe the time is approaching to make decisions. Stand up for you and your boundaries/needs/goals. I don’t know how to do it- I’m no expert on that front – I just decided one day to pack in my job because when I took a step back and looked at it from a more distant point of view- I realised I was wasting my life on a dead end, because it was comfortable and familiar. As for the man- well I never had the strength to end that- and even now I wish he would change his mind and come back- so I’m zero help to you there- but I’ve always had the sense that you’re a stronger person that I Kkasxo, so I think you would absolutely succeed where I didn’t.

    Can you believe it’s been almost a year since we first communicated?! I’m very grateful we crossed paths. X


    Hey Shelbs,

    Sooooo as promised, my reminder popped up on my phone this morning to check in with you – a whole year later! Can you believe it?! Grateful for  crossing paths with you, although some miles away I feel as though you have been a very big part of my journey!

    So seeing as we promised to ‘update’ a year later let’s try do exactly that. I think the last year has been one hell of a ride, a whirlwind to say the least. I definitely hit rock bottom, a rock bottom I didn’t even know existed prior to all this but then I came out of it. I think I made some good decisions & some bad which I am seeing now in hindsight, but hey that’s the thing about hindsight isn’t it! I am healing, I am learning everyday about all of my triggers and managing a life with PTSD. Of course I have had my ups and downs in the process but I am alive, I am breathing, I am going forward in whatever small steps I may be taking.

    On that note & in response to your previous post, I think my birthday was a particularly difficult time as our family dog (who was with us for 16 years) got quite poorly and she actually passed away the same night so it was quite emotional, it’s still taking some getting used to not having her around when I’m at my mums. Things with Mr A are ‘good’ but more and more there are conversations of being on different pages. In actual fact, the last two or so I have said I wanted out.. that I think it’s for the best that we go our separate ways because I’m growing unhappy as a result of simply outgrowing him. He is holding on for dear life to put it simply, he gets it, he understands, but in his eyes we aren’t on different pages, it’s just our timings are a bit off and therefore we are ‘giving up a good thing’ without actually seeing it through. So who knows, i feel as though things are getting a little clearer for me each and every day. I’ve got this real motivation & strength at the moment to continue practicing my boundaries, follow my gut and do what’s best for me, even if it is scary and the outcome is ultimately unknown.

    You though. I cannot put into words how proud I am of you for taking this leap of faith into travel and actually enjoying it. It’s amazing to hear how far you’ve come, even if you don’t think you have. What you are doing is extremely brave & definitely something you will remember for the rest of your life! This is a trip you will be telling your grandkids about in years to come. ‘Nanny went half way around the world by herself!’ It’s incredible.

    I hope you’re enjoying your last days of travel & be prepared for the cold back here in the UK, autumn is really taking over in full now!


    <p style=”text-align: left;”>@Kkasxo,</p>
    I read your post on our ‘anniversary’ date but my mind has been spiralling since my return from travel so didn’t get a chance to reply.

    Firstly, I can completely understand how sad it must have been to lose your family dog. They are a big big part of our hearts, we care about pets no less than family members, so when they leave us it’s heartbreaking. I know they leave us all at a certain point, but it doesn’t make it easier. I’m so sorry x

    Secondly, I’m so proud of YOU. You have conquered so much. There have been some pretty bleak posts here from you and I over the past year and yet look at us…..still standing…..still surviving. Maybe even in spite of ourselves! I guess human nature is more resilient than we can understand.

    Good on you pushing for your boundaries. You said things with Mr.A are ‘good’ so I hope he was a real sense of support to you when your dog died & helped provide emotional support. Ya know… some ways I think I was like Mr.A actually!!! I’m a funny way I guess….he’s painstakingly gripping on to the relationship when you kind of feel it’s not something that is as it should be. You may know better and know that the timings are pretty important (like my ex) and he’s begging you not to throw it away & ye can figure it out, timings can be adjusted (just like me)!! I just didn’t want to let it go, I was too scared to, and maybe it’s a little like that for Mr.A- maybe he needs to work on that part of himself?

    Whatever will be, will be when you want it to be. I believe that. How is the job situation going? Mine is all very uncertain right now. I must admit my anxiety is reaching serious levels again just not having any income coming in right now & very much being in debt after my travels. Eek. But I try not to run ahead of myself & just take one day at a time- so what can I do today to work on some goals etc….

    The guy who has been in the fringes since before my travels has taken a more prominent role in my life at the moment. He’s expressive and sensitive and wants to be with me. I’m not sure if I want anything, I thought so much about my ex whilst travelling & I compare everyone & everything to him and my time with him.

    I know I’m not healed, but when will I be? Do I put things on the long finger then until I’m fully ready for the world again? I don’t know. This guy makes me laugh and I enjoy his company but I’ll admit some parts of him- I’m not sure about. He’s so straight forward I nearly want him to seize control a bit more and not be as gushing and expressive. What KIND of person am I?!!! Crazy ass person I think!!!

    I don’t know, now that I’m back from travels, I’m proud of myself, but I guess the epiphany I thought I would have or the brand fresh new outlook I thought I might have just had not transpired. In a way I’m deflated ‘cos I guess I felt that but quitting my job & travelling I would be fulfilling what my soul needed and it would change everything. But really, I just feel sad and disappointed that the relationship with my ex didn’t work & the understanding of why still hasn’t really hit home yet.

    Please update me on your life, you’re definitely a big part of my story over the past two years too.


    I wonder how Michelle is getting on on her trip!


    @shelbyville it is oh so nice to hear from you! For a second there you had me worried that something had happened on your travels, welcome, lovely to have you back 🙂

    Ah anxiety, the dreaded anxiety eh! Don’t I know it all too well! Although I would say allow yourself to feel it all because it is another transitional period in your life now where you will be settling back into ‘reality’ so to speak, and the job search etc. I won’t lie, I’m on the anxious side of things also with no income as I’ve been out of work since the end of Sept now, eeeeek!! It’s not as though I’m not actively trying, I am!! I am continuously applying and speaking with recruitment agencies etc but I think it is just a tough time of the year for hiring with Christmas approaching etc? I don’t know. I really do hope that I find something soon.

    Do you have any idea what you may be looking for in terms of work now?

    Things with Mr A are the same as have been. Actually to be honest, I realised the other day that I couldn’t actually fault him because he is trying beyond belief. He’s so cautious and taking into consideration my anxiety, my mental health state etc, it is A LOT to deal with. He’s absolutely got his hands full with me (not purposefully) and it’s actually kinda admirable in a way…. but on the other hand I can sit and almost appreciate it but still feel like something is missing? I love him, no doubt, but is this it? I couldn’t say. In fact, I’d probably say I highly doubt it. Perhaps there are some similarities in this to yourself & your ex with the exception that I am clearly not capable enough to make the bloody decision!! It’s so frustrating! Although I do think that there are several factors that play a part in all of this, perhaps comfort, perhaps some feelings of love, history maybe? Or maybe fear? Maybe the idea that my trauma has completely changed who I am and maybe I am just waaaaaaayy too difficult for someone new to come in and understand etc. Who knows. I really really don’t.

    Oh and to add to the equation, my childhood friend and bestest friend (the one who stuck by me through all aspects of my trauma) has just gotten engaged and is completing her purchase of their first home together this month! My heart is absolutely overjoyed for them both but I wouldn’t be lying if I said it was a little bittersweet.

    So I guess in a sense things are a little bleak on my end too. No job, an up and down relationship, I have no idea what I really want. Or maybe I’m just incapable of working towards what I want? Or maybe I’m just one of the unlucky ones?

    Tell me some more about this guy! You’re enjoying his company so he must be doing something right?! Also I’m happy that despite the history with your ex, the heartache and the worry that you’ll be alone,  have been proven (and fairly quickly too!) that there are indeed men out there who absolutely cherish the ground you walk on. Do you think this could potentially turn into something?



    Wow Kkasxo, I’m the same. No income since I left work and it’s a little scary. Granted, I live with my Dad so I won’t be homeless anytime soon but I’ve been working my whole life, it’s disconcerting not having an income & not knowing when I will.

    I turned down one of two offers while I was on my trip as I didn’t think they felt right. I’ve applied for a few other things, but I’m really wondering what exactly it is I want to do. I just find it hard to figure it out. Again, I placed too much perhaps on the shoulders of the trip, that I thought it would give me clarity.

    Well done Mr.A for trying, it shows he is backing up his talk with action. Always a good sign. Ya see I just don’t know….because I’m not you…..I don’t know are you guys actually really good together but something deep inside you is preventing you from letting ANYBODY love you. I know you say you want love, relationship, commitment, but what if that which you truly desire is that which terrifies you the most deep in your subconscious. If you let it in, it’s something you risk losing, or maybe you feel unworthy of it? I’m just brainstorming! It’s just because so much of the thoughts & feelings you and I have are quite similar at times. So I might be just thinking out loud for myself!

    The guy is a lovely person. When I’m around him I laugh and have fun but I don’t know if it’s in a romantic sense. I try not to compare him….but it happens a lot. Some elements I really like about him and other elements not so much. Maybe I cringe at the sensitivity or heart on sleeve approach cos that’s a part of myself I don’t like?!

    As for not ending up alone…..well the myth not entirely debunked yet. I used to have this argument with my therapist (who I can’t afford at the mo!). I do believe that if I wanted to find a man and get married within the next two years, that’s possible. It’s not that I thought it’s not possible to meet a man, there are loads out there, but more so, felt and feel I won’t meet anyone I’m interested in the way I loved my ex. No-one would be as ‘great’ as him or if I ever came across a unicorn in the future who I actually felt as strongly about, the feeling would not be mutual.

    So….I could be with someone in my life again, but not someone on the scale of my ex. Just someone who liked me, not necessarily that I like them as much. I can’t see myself settling for something like that, hence the conclusion that I will now be alone.

    I’m extremely worried about hurting this guy because of sensitive and empathetic I am, it would make me nauseous to know that I caused anyone pain, so I’m scared on multiple fronts!

    Only another wonderful day in the messed up mind of Shelby!!!!


    Yes it’s definitely not nice not having an income. I think slightly different for you as you spent your well earned money on a life-changing trip whilst I’m literally sitting at home, forever cleaning & cooking and absolutely rinsing every single Netflix series there is because I am simply bored! && yet the rent and bills aren’t going to pay themselves (although Mr A has been great & is very much taken on the role of ‘provider’ lol).

    It is actually interesting that you mention the whole idea of maybe I might be preventing my own self from being happy despite ‘thinking’ that a relationship & commitment is actually what I want…. it’s definitely something I might explore. I think one of the things that I kinda noticed only a year or so ago is that my relationship with my biological father may have had some sort of knock on effect on my romantic relationships in my adult life. I think the fact that he was in my life up until I was 18 (that was his unconditional love for me right? The father to child love right?) and then disappeared without a trace with absolutely no need/want to be a part of my life… I think that hit me hard and perhaps sometimes I don’t allow myself to feel that. It’s something I never quite understood but nonetheless moved on from and it definitely isn’t something I think about often anymore. But I do believe that all the happenings around my trauma and the way Mr A left at the time felt very much like just another man who I trusted with my absolute life has decided I’m no longer good enough, he’s ‘done his bit’ and now he’s out. And with that I just cannot trust him in the way that I did before maybe? Im not sure. They’re all just notions aren’t they… I do think another thing for me is like we’ll be okay and then the future thing, that God damn future notion, it really is an issue!!!! We can go on and on and on and be absolutely fine and then I’ll get random spurs of OMG I NEED TO PLAN MY FUTURE! What are our plans?! Where is this going?! Are we on the same page?! And I read a beautiful article on Instagram actually that I really related to, and it said; ‘You can’t win an argument against your true nature, there is no wrestling your soul into a space with no growth and you cannot tell your spirit that she’ll have to wait because you are in love’… and that really resonated with me. Perhaps yes I really do want this to work by any and all means but my soul is just all round rejecting it because ultimately I cannot contain or restrain who I am at the core of me. I want what I want and that is just it. And the longer I try to excuse why it isn’t happening, or come up with reasons to remain in a place that isn’t actively working towards those things, the more my soul will keep pressing and the more random outbursts of panic I will have….

    I understand the thing about not necessarily being alone but not being entirely happy and utterly head over heels in love. I do wonder though, is there absolutely nothing romantic that you see or could see in this guy? Forgive me for assuming because of course like anything, everything is always more complicated than it seems but some of what you say does sound like fear talking. Like you may indeed be cringing at the heart on th sleeve thing. Ultimately, you enjoy this guys time, he clearly makes an effort with you, to make you smile etc. Maybe at this stage it would be best to just take a relaxed approach to the whole thing?? Enjoy your time with him as you have been and let things pan out how they are supposed to without overthinking? I know it’s easier said than done!!

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