I’ve always joked about it….we all joke about it…
But I need to stop. I think everyone should stop.
It happened with my first break up in 2005. I lost some weight, cried some, and did not know how to handle my sadness of ending a six-year relationship with my first, young love. I chose to use partying to hide anything I was feeling, but I could because I was 300+ miles away from the culprit and most of my support system too. I was too young and probably immature to realize there might have been a mental health issue attached to the breakup. As cliche as it is, I did everything you weren’t supposed to do. But that’s okay. I learned a lot during that time and I see it now, as I reflect.
Fast forward, 13 years and I am feeling a very similar heartbreak, but very different at the same time. Call it wiser, more informed, or whatever, but I know it must be handled more delicately this time around.
I wasn’t actually going to write about this on the blog, but with the recent suicide of Kate Spade, I decided that mental health is something I want to talk about.
I knew the break up would leave me sad. I’d probably cry. I’d probably lose weight. I might be pissed/angry. I might want to get drunk. I might want to stay in bed. I might want to do a lot of things that don’t always feel normal to me or even usually make me happy. But what I didn’t anticipate was that most of these things could be attributed to a mental health issue. I assumed they were just part of the breakup process.
This time around, they were intensified to a degree I cannot verbalize. Everything felt fully encompassing of my mind, body, and soul. Physical and emotional pain, all of it weighing me down, while walking around with a grey cloud hovering over my head. It wasn’t until I saw my superbill from my Therapist that I realized all of these emotions could possibly be diagnosed with an actual title. I’ll leave the diagnosis of the Interwebs, but it was interesting to read what it was. Not to allude that it was anything outrageous, just to keep some things private. She did not diagnose me with depression, oddly.
Apparently, I had different perceptions of what depression is or looks like, mild or any level, and I didn’t think what I was experiencing could be it. I thought what I was experiencing was simply just symptoms of a break-up. I never correlated the two. Obviously, hindsight shows me this is ridiculous and duh! But while I was in the thick of it all, I just thought I was extremely sad. Very, very sad.
After hearing (and scouring Twitter) about Kate Spade’s suicide, I decided to look up the definition of mild depression. I wanted to see a more concrete definition and read more information about it. I found this article that listed out potential symptoms:
- irritability or anger
- feelings of guilt and despair
- a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- difficulties concentrating at work
- a lack of motivation
- a sudden disinterest in socializing
- aches and pains with seemingly no direct cause
- daytime sleepiness and fatigue
- appetite changes
- weight changes
- reckless behaviors, such as abuse of alcohol and drugs, or gambling
It all makes so much more sense, now that I realize I was feeling a thing. Not just managing a breakup.
To be transparent, I’m self-diagnosing myself here. I didn’t put two and two together until someone mentioned depression and a few of the symptoms that one could show from it. It was then that I had my AH HA moment — the process of our breakup spurred and affected my mental health.
Again, I’ve always supported the idea that your mental health should be treated just like your physical health. It should be a priority. My life, as of recent, has only reinforced my support for checking-in with your mental health, preferably with a trained professional. I get that paying is a barrier for some. I wish it wasn’t, but I understand the reality of how expensive it can be, especially without your insurance covering it. If there is a way to make it work, I hope you can take advantage of it. If not, I would reach out to friends and family for support, until you can find a more solid solution for yourself.
I was getting really pissed that I wasn’t enjoying soccer. I was being asked to sub a lot, plus my regular teams, and none of it was fun. The physical pit of emotions that I carried, felt like it might burst when I was on the field (or anywhere really). I blamed my temporary disinterest in soccer on the fact that this was one HUGE thing that Juan and I shared together. But no, that wasn’t it at all. I HATED that I couldn’t enjoy the ONE THING I’ve loved for my entire life. I was mad at him for a hot second, blaming him. But it wasn’t his fault, per se. For a good amount of time, I walked around with something that felt like literal pain — maybe it a phantom pain. More like a pit of sadness that would either sit right above my stomach or right in my chest, but it hurt. I thought I’d cry at any given moment, but nothing ever came. Only when I found my therapist did it come and boy did it come spewing out of my eyeballs! There are days and moments when this pit rears its ugly head, but it is very few and far between now. There tends to be a large trigger that leads to feeling this way and I’m learning to manage these triggers and redirect my thoughts and the narrative I’m playing into.
The insomnia was the worst during the first two to three weeks of the breakup, still living under the same roof didn’t help at all. I literally didn’t get more than a solid two hours of sleep per night. I would wake up and not be able to fall back asleep, no matter how hard I tried. No matter what I did. I even tried sleeping elsewhere and that didn’t really work either :/ Watching the clock count down every thirty minutes before you know you have to get up for work is the worst! I tried a bunch of different remedies, but nothing worked. One thing that I have always hated is noise/TVwhile I sleep, but a friend suggested a white noise app her therapist suggested – Brainwaves. This actually helped when I tried it and I’ve been using it ever since. The different pills and meds never worked, most of them are for insomnia due to physical pain (after doing some Interwebs research after they didn’t work for me). This insomnia was obviously not going anywhere. To this day, I still don’t get much more than a solid six hours, sometimes a little more, if I’m lucky. The quality of sleep isn’t always great either, but it’s been getting better. Thank goodness!
And of course, the weight loss. Obviously, I’m always on a mission to lose weight, hence Midtown, soccer, and running. But I have never completely lost my appetite like I did this time. EVER! Especially for this long of a time period. I would order my favorite foods and literally after the initial bite of it tasting normal, it would soon take like I was eating cardboard. Nothing tasted good and essentially I wasn’t every hungry. The only time I knew I needed to eat something with sustenance was when my stomach physically growled at me. I drank Vega protein or all-in-one shakes because I know they have the good stuff that I couldn’t bring myself to eat. I also drank a lot of coffee, just because it tasted good and because I was sleep deprived. This probably didn’t help the appetite issue either. Trust me, I’ve gotten a handful of compliments, especially at the gym, about how lean I look. The first thing I say, after thanking them, is that it was NOT done in a healthy way. I make sure everyone knows this from the jump. While I appreciate the weight loss, it was not a healthy way to go about it. Also, each time someone compliments me I have to talk about the breakup, which is never that fun. I know that once I find my happy and emotional stability again, it will all come back. A few have tried to support me and suggest to use it to my advantage to keep the weight off, which of course, I’ll try. But my weight isn’t my main priority right now.
Juan and I joked about the ‘breakup diet’ when we had our breakup convo. I said, great, at least I’ll lose some weight on the breakup diet. His response was, “great, now you’re going to go and get skinny on me!” Ouch, that hurt! I’m sure he didn’t mean to say that with malice, but it didn’t help he was breaking up with me and then alluding to the fact that I’d gained a lot of weight over the years. Isn’t it funny, the things you remember? But in all truths, joking about this isn’t funny at all. This unhealthy weight loss is a result of a serious mental health condition and it shouldn’t be mocked.
I know I’ve never gotten too deep here at Musings of a Girly Tomboy, but after the breakup (specifically), I feel like this is what I need to talk about. I’m living it and I see no need to hide or shield you from it either. Breakups happen every day, probably every minute around the world. I’m not immune to them, just as the next human is not either. I choose to come here and express myself through this pain and grief. It has been scary and enlightening to realize that behind so many closed doors there are people who remember this feeling all too much and those who are currently feeling something similar, if not exactly what I am feeling. These quiet, nameless souls have reached out to me privately and we have connected on such honest and vulnerable levels, which probably wouldn’t have happened had I not decided to share my world with you.
The news of Kate Spade really hit home for me. Like, more than usual. I have always loved her beautifully crafted goods, but more importantly, it made me face the fact that I’ve been experiencing mild depression as a result of the breakup. Her illness is too fresh for me. While I am nowhere near suicidal, it is scary to know that there are those suffering out there with similar feelings and thoughts, which can/do lead to allowing the deep, dark voices to supersede the logical voices. No one wants to talk about the moments we are alone and our thoughts to go to deep, dark places. It’s ugly and scary, and some people cannot leave that space. For those of us who can, we do. Unfortunately, Kate’s mental health issue did not allow her to see beyond the darkness. As a result, the fashion industry experienced a huge loss on Wednesday, not to mention the fact she left a husband and daughter, and more family and friends behind as well. It’s all so fresh. I’m starting to connect dots in all aspects of my life and to hear this news really hit a sore spot on a variety of different levels.
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
I leave this here for anyone who may be stopping by and need to see this.
You are not judged for whatever you are going through.
All of us are fighting through something behind closed doors.
You are important.
You are loved.
You are worthy.
I realize not everyone can just walk away from their darkness…
It makes me feel beyond lucky. I have the means to find a therapist who is truly helping me. I have the strongest, most caring and loving family you’ll ever meet. I have the most loyal, dedicated, and supportive friends a girl could ask for. Together, with a whirlwind of convos, text messages, and hang sessions I have worked through my dark moments. I have used the tips from my therapist to work through some of the issues that mild depression has brought forth. Every day is different and I’m learning to not be so hard on myself as I manage all the different emotions.
For the people in whatever deep, dark place they are, but have the same/similar things as I do in life, but see no hope — we know you exist. I wish I had the words to ease their darkness, but there will be times you, nor I, will never be able too. But I hope we try, given the chance.
It’s a really scary, yet empowering, feeling to allow yourself to heal. Part of me would love to just find a distraction and get on with life like the breakup never happened. But then I’d just be another broken soul walking around unhappy. I want to be happy. I want to heal. I want to look forward to the love that I deserve. That quote that says, “if this is how much you love the wrong person, imagine how much you can love the right person,” keeps my hope alive. Daily reminders from myself and friends are needed to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Some days the light is extremely bright and some days it is so dim, I can hardly see it. But I know I am right where I need to be and hope that those suffering can feel this. Believe this. Know this.
Here are a few suggestions from my therapist to alleviate some of the symptoms I was having:
- No coffee after 3 PM
- No screen time an hour before you go to bed
- Find a hobby to dedicate time too
They seem so simple, but when the feeling of dispair and insomnia seem to encompass your every waking moment you need these gentle reminders. In addition to self-love and a dose of self-care. Be gentle with yourself and do what you can in each moment.
So yeah, I look skinnier, but it has come at a cost. A heavy cost of my mental health. Of course, I’m happy to have shed a few lbs, I’m always trying to attain that, but it has been the very least of my wants or needs these days. So, before you joke about a breakup diet, I implore you to look at all the factors surrounding this new weight loss. How is your mental health? Hopefully, it is more important than any number on a scale or the number on the tag of your cute jeans.
It’s not funny, it’s serious…