When You’re Struggling With Mental Illness and Experience a Breakup

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Kristin Breitkreutz

When you lead a life where you break your own heart every day, getting your heart broken by someone else can make it feel as though your world is ending.

I’ve been battling depression and anxiety for six years. For a year of that, my boyfriend was a solid emotional support. He always tried his best to understand what I was going through and still loved me when I was a total wreck. Losing that emotional support through a breakup was rough. The first question I had was, “Why aren’t I good enough?” followed by, “Were my depression and anxiety too much?”

The problem with mental illness is that it can convince you that you aren’t worth it. It can make you believe that you deserve to be unhappy. It can make you believe that you’re undeserving of love and kindness and beauty. All that is utter bullshit. Going through such a painful breakup made me finally realize the opposite of all that: I am worth it and I deserve better.

I know that my mental illness makes things hard for me and for those around me. I know that loving me isn’t easy. I know that my mental illness isn’t everything I am, that I have flaws outside of that. But right now, I can’t change my brain and I can’t change who I am. I deserve someone who will love me through all the chaos, someone who won’t give up on me no matter how rough things get. No matter what lies my brain tries to tell me, I do deserve the most perfect love there is. You deserve the most perfect love there is.

When you go through a breakup, you need to allow yourself to grieve, to feel what you need to feel. You might feel more depressed than usual and that’s OK. Whatever emotions accompany a departure of a significant other are valid. You must be kind to yourself throughout the process. You must resist the urge to isolate yourself because being alone with your thoughts during such a trying time is hell. Seek out those family and friends who care about you. Seek out the passions that get you out of bed every morning. If you have a self-care routine, continue with it. And please, remember to take your medication.

Losing such a significant part of your life is hard. You’ll feel their absence. You’ll want to call them when you feel down and feel their embrace as you come down from an episode. You’ll want to tell them about your day and about what you’re feeling. You’re so used to being open and vulnerable with someone that your first instinct will be to put your walls back up. You’ll wish they would change their mind, that it was all some temporary mistake, that they’ll come back and hold you and console you. Sometimes in life, they do come back. But most often, they won’t. It will hurt. It’s the cherry on top of all the pain you’re already used to feeling. But this pain will pass. All your pain will someday pass. You deserve to heal.

It’s important to never blame yourself when you get broken up with. Even if they’re cruel enough to outright say that it was your fault, do not blame yourself. That is a lie. It is not your fault. You are who you are, and your battles are your battles. You deserve someone who will love all of who you are through all of your battles. You deserve someone who will love every inch of you wholeheartedly. You are worthy of that love and you should never settle.

At the end of the day, no matter who comes and goes, no matter who loves you only to break your heart, you need to remember to love yourself. I deserve it. You deserve it.

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