Valentine’s Day is not always a happy holiday for people and can create a lot of negative feelings. If this sounds like you, know that you are not alone and I hope this article is helpful in your journey to recovery.
I was in bed dying of period cramps. I had three midterms in the upcoming week and was pushing through the physical pain to get my studying done. On top of that, I was an emotional wreck. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was horribly wrong. My phone buzzed and I got the dreaded text message: “We need to talk. I’ll be over in 10.” And there it was: a ten-minute warning for news that would be completely unexpected yet not surprising. On my way to his car, I was so out of it that I fell down the stairs and landed on my butt, which suddenly made everything 10 times worse. I stepped into his car and when I saw his face and refusal to make eye contact, I knew it was over.
I called 10 people that night, telling the story in different ways and focusing on different aspects of the “relationship” that had made me unhappy. I sent him a text message that was so long it could have been confused with the script of a major motion picture. I detailed my feelings and the hurt that he had caused me. I shouldn’t have done it, but I also don’t regret it. As a writer, writing out my feelings really did help me process the breakup. In a way, it forced me to come to terms with the fact that the relationship was really over and that the boy I thought was an angel wasn’t an angel after all: He was just another person like me with his own feelings and fears.
I am forever grateful for my friends in real life and even on social media. People I hadn’t talked to since high school were calling me to give amazing breakup advice. My mother dropped everything to drive to San Diego to spend a few hours with me and keep me company. Without an amazing support system of friends and family, I never would have been able to take the next steps to recovery.
I immediately developed a list I labeled “Post-Breakup Montage Moment” in which I created a checklist of the goals I wanted to accomplish. Although there were some trivial points like “sign up for yoga membership” and “actually go to yoga,” the most important one was “see a therapist.” I knew I had trauma from my past (who doesn’t?), and at some level, I knew that this could have influenced me to choose someone who wasn’t right for me. I scheduled an appointment the day after my breakup and finally attended my first therapy session. Although I was already starting to naturally recuperate on my own, I felt instantly better after our first session. It felt nice to not only get an outsider’s perspective on things but also develop tools to look at my own relationship objectively so I could begin my own personal healing process. I wanted this to be more than just a breakup; this setback was a chance for me to bring self-care to the forefront of my priorities, which was something I had never done before.
Either way you slice it, breakups suck. I can sit here and recommend food or drinks from San Diego and types of ice cream you should be eating (which should be a lot) or tell you that it will all be okay and that time heals all, but you already know all of this. If you are going through a breakup, in light of Valentine’s Day, I strongly recommend attending therapy. Although I am still starting this new mental health journey, I believe it will teach me valuable lessons for future relationships and remind me to love myself regardless of whether a boy loves me, too.
Reaching out to Counseling and Psychological Services is a great place to start! Although I did not reach out to CAPS, they are located on campus which is one of the most convenient locations for UC San Diego students (especially those that live on campus). If you cannot wait for a CAPS appointment, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline either through call or online chat. This can help if you need to talk to someone instantly or if you are considering suicide, because they will instantly direct you to the resources and help you need. If you have health insurance outside of school, consider seeing a therapist in the San Diego area. It may be more out of your way than therapy on campus, but mental health should always be a priority.
And finally, my last “tip” is that unless you are Jim and Pam from The Office, try not to date a coworker if you can help it.
To the ex, if you’re reading this…
Thank you for indirectly helping me take the time to better myself. I hope you got something out of this, too. Good luck with everything.