By Lisa Caplan

Breakups are common but not very well understood. When you experience a breakup you experience multiple losses, such as the loss of the relationship, loss of routine, loss of friends and loss of extended family.  This can leave someone feeling lost and alone as well as questioning their own worth, which can affect their self esteem. It can  disrupt your entire life.

A break up can be one of the most stressful and emotionally charged experiences in life.  Whether you broke up or someone broke up with you, you may  feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster not knowing how you  will feel next. Healing from a loss takes time. Giving yourself that time will help you recover stronger and with more insight into who you are and how to move forward. The more you resist the feelings and push them aside, the harder the grief process will be and the more intense your feelings will be. 

Here are some tips that might help: 

  • Recognize that you may have very different feelings from moment to moment. Become aware of these feelings and label them. For example: anxiety, fear, and loneliness. Labeling them helps you acknowledge them, which helps to inform you, not overwhelm you. I suggest my clients “walk toward the feeling” with awareness rather than resist it. The more we resist, the more the feeling snowballs and becomes worse.
  • Take time to just feel. If you need to take a few days to cry it out, then do that. Sometimes we just need time for ourselves.
  • Get support and share how you feel. Be aware of overwhelming your friends and family by relying on them too much. Seek professional help if needed. Having an objective person to talk to can be really helpful.
  • Avoid alcohol, drugs and other unhealthy behaviors. This only puts a band-aid on the problem and can ultimately raise your anxiety and cause a lot more problems than you started with.
  • Set boundaries.  On again, off again relationships are extremely unhealthy and can leave you feeling worse than ending the relationship cleanly. Staying “friends” in theory is a nice idea but very rarely works. Ending a relationship completely allows you to move on.
  • Learning from the breakup. Be honest with yourself. What can you learn from the breakup? What role did you play? What actions do you need to take to have a healthy relationship moving forward? Look at the type of people you choose. Is there an unhealthy pattern?
  • Self-care. Now more than ever you need to take time to take care of yourself. Get moving, go outside, eat and sleep. Take action where you can. You have control over your actions and your self-care. Pick just one thing that you can do for yourself.
  • Try something new.   Trying something new like a hobby, exercise, or activity can help you feel more in control.
  • Keep your routine. You might feel like just throwing in the towel, but stick to a healthy eating, sleeping and exercise routine. This can help you feel grounded.
  • Speak kindly to yourself. We can be very judgmental and critical of ourselves. Think of how you would talk to a friend with the same issue and use a kind approach and kind words for yourself.
  • When you are ready, meet new people. It can take 3 – 6 months on average to be ready to date. But when you are ready it can help to show you that you can be  a good partner.

For more tips on wellness check out the Wellness Portal https://www.msba.org/wellness-portal/

You are  not alone. The LAP Files | Maryland State Bar Association – MSBA

Stories from lawyers, judges, and law school students about their personal experiences with mental health, substance abuse, and healing 

For assistance, contact the Lawyer Assistance Program toll Free 1(888) 388-5459, for free, confidential counseling.  We have a network of counselors that can assist you. We offer financial assistance for mental health and substance abuse treatment. Lisa Caplan, LCSW-C, Director, (443) 703-3042, lisa@msba.org

Feel free to reach out to our LAP Committee Members and Volunteers https://www.msba.org/health-and-wellness/

Lisa Caplan, LCSW-C has over 25 years experience in her field, and extensive experience working with lawyers and judges in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and trauma. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, paddle boarding, sailing, rock climbing and doing triathlons.