Case: “I never wanted to be single. My entire life has been within relationships. My last relationship lasted 15 years and since it ended, I have become lost. As I became more dependent on my former partner, I withdrew more and more from the outside world. Everything we did was done together, from the shopping to going out. The only thing I did myself, was take the kids to school and back. I have become depressed with everything. I am so jumpy too, especially if someone comes to the front door. Scares me half to death. I spoke to my GP who said I needed some CBT. And I am on the list. But it is months away. I want to do more. But I just do not know where to start. How do I live with life on my own?”
Anxiety, Depression and Relationship problems, the toxic trio
I am sorry to hear that your relationship ended and that it has caused you to feel down and depressed.
Once upon a time, relationships which formed early in life, went on to become lasting marriages and took the expression ‘until death do us part’ seriously.
Nowadays, according to statistics, if we have ten good years together, we are lucky.
When relationships form in the late teens, the two parties have had little or no experience of life; More, the essential identities we need to understand ourselves and our roles have not fully developed.
See my post: The separate roles and identities of ourselves
The anxiety which is causing you to ‘feel jumpy’ is undoubtedly connected with the feelings of being overwhelmed and insecure; Having to take on the sole responsibility for managing home and life. Having no backup plan in case things go wrong. All very stressful.
Use this time as an opportunity to reposition yourself; Have faith in you to take charge of your life and commitments, even though it feels scary. Make plans for the things which are important and matter most – such as finances, home management, family plans, shopping etc. Lists are good ways to extract our thoughts!
As unfortunate as it seems – feel the fear, and do it anyway. (Also a book title by Susan Jeffers)
Take the pressure off of yourself to deliver everything you have been used to. Now is a good time to create routines that suit you, without having to make the inevitable compromises that come with relationships. You will feel better when you realise you can do things, your way.
Your GP will have recommended CBT because through it, you will learn new coping strategies for those things which you find challenging right now. And you may want to try some CBT because it is a very positive experience.
In the meanwhile, if you feel a deep sense of insecurity inside your home, have you thought about choices you can make to help ease some of those feelings? (eg buy a video doorbell). It may give you some peace of mind.
Human beings are fundamentally designed to be with one another and seek comfort from one another. That does not mean that being single is a bad choice or wrong decision.
In fact, for many people, being ‘single’ is paramount to them. They like their own space; Like to be in charge of their choices and decisions; enjoy the lack of complication and the freedom to pick and choose who they interact with and how.
Keys to improving your mental wellbeing and lifting away from the depression are –
- Start a Feelings Journal and write down what feelings are painful to you;
- Ask your feeling why it is there and what it wants to tell you;
- Then, surrender to each feeling, one by one. And let it go;
- Never judge yourself for having feelings or for feeling vulnerable;
- Never try to justify why your feeling exists. It does and there will be a reason;
- Recognise that you are wonderful and have all the power you need to thrive;
- Never perceive yourself as a victim. See my post – about drama triangles
- Take each day, one at a time. Don’t rush change, it will happen naturally.
- Make little plans for yourself (eg. Go to a Café. See a movie. Visit a friend)
- Look in a mirror and smile at the person you see. That is the wonderful you!