Relationships > Breakups > Surviving Sadness and Depression After Breaking Up

Surviving Sadness and Depression After Breaking Up

After a breakup, you may feel like you’ll never survive the sadness and depression. I know how lost and empty I felt when my relationship ended. I thought my heart would never heal. I believe I’d find someone to love me…and I didn’t think I had any love left in me to give someone else.

But you know what? Not only did I find my way through the tunnel, I got stronger and healthier. These tips may not erase your pain, but they will show you how I survived sadness and depression after breaking up with a man I loved. I was inspired to write this article for a reader who is struggling with feeling sad and depressed…

“I am completely co-dependent on my husband and feel like I’m nothing without him,” says Bobbi on 9 Ways to Find Your Life Purpose After a Breakup. “I am college educated, but don’t have work experience. Never in a million years did I think I would be in this predicament. My husband kicked me out many times before but we always got back together. Now is the final breakup and I literally have nowhere to go, no one to turn to. My friends are married with families of their own, I don’t wanna burden anyone – I especially don’t wanna involve my family for reasons I can’t get into.  I am so hopeless and helpless. I have explored my resources and unless I am pregnant or have minor children I’m pretty much out of luck. Worse of all, I feel like I’ll never survive the sadness and depression I feel after this breakup. Help!”

After a breakup, the last thing you want is to be dependent on someone else – even friends or family. It’s scary, like the whole world is cold and unfeeling. But when I worked at a shelter for women leaving abusive relationships, we had several beds for single women without children or who weren’t pregnant. You might keep calling around, and asking if there is a safe house who can accommodate you for a few nights. You’ll find it helpful to read  What You Need to Know When You Call a Women’s Shelter if you have nowhere to go after the breakup.

Another other option is your friends. Our friends want to help us when we feel sad and depressed after a bad breakup. 

Accept their help, and know that you’ll help them when they need it. You’ll be there for them when they’re struggling with their own sadness and depression – because that’s what friends do for each other. You aren’t a burden. Your true friends want to walk with you through the pain. They need only be asked, and they are often happy to step up and help out. Are you willing to accept their help, even though you wish you didn’t have to?

3 Ways to Survive Sadness and Depression After Breaking Up

“The horror of that moment,” said the King. “I shall never, never forget!”

“You will, though,” said the Queen, “if you don’t make a memorandum of it.” ~ from Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass.

Survive Sadness and Depression After Breaking UpIf you can avoid making a “memorandum” of your breakup, you’re less likely to succumb to depression and anxiety. Below, you’ll find specific ways to avoid the despair. Making a memorandum of it means to keep dwelling on the breakup, to continue to immerse yourself in the sadness and depression you feel. It means to stay stuck instead of trying to pull yourself out of the pain.

After many years of marriage, it really is difficult to just let go of your past life. You may think you won’t be able to survive emotionally, socially, or financially without your husband. You are entering a new phase of your life and don’t know what to expect. You may feel overwhelmed, and you may not even think of looking for help or finding tips on how to get over the depression you feel.

But, keep reminding yourself that you will get past your sad and depressed feelings after breaking up. You will heal and be happy again! Right now you need to focus your energy and thoughts on healing and moving on. You can’t dwell the relationship breakup itself. In other words, you can’t make a “memorandum” of your breakup, of your feelings of sadness and depression!

To survive, remember that a marriage or relationship break up doesn’t change your value as a woman or man. You didn’t break up because of a failure on your part; the relationship failed for its own reasons.

1. Surround yourself with people who love you

“Feelings of rejection may run high because we often measure the results of our efforts in terms of whether or not the world accepts or rejects us,” says Dr. Phil.

Sometimes, another person’s reaction can be a barometer of our worth and value. “When the love of our life leaves us, any past rejection issues can be magnified.” You may feel unworthy, not good enough or like damaged goods. A divorce may also signify the failure of your dream, because you couldn’t make the marriage work.

Gather your old friends around you, and be deliberate about making new friends. Don’t focus on the fear of never being loved again; instead give yourself the gift of self-care, self-love, and self-soothing. This relationship breakup help involves surviving your emotions by accepting them.

2. Don’t focus on the best parts of the relationship

“It’s just all too easy, once you separate from an irreconcilable situation, to remember and focus on only the good,” Dr. Phil writes. You may find yourself forgetting the irritating habits of your partner and only remembering the nice and sweet things he or she did for you. “By doing this, it’s very easy to fool yourself into wishing that you were back in the relationship and rationalizing that things actually weren’t that bad.”

To survive this “selective memory” experience, don’t contact your ex-partner in a weak or lonely moment. “Once you’re out, stay out, unless one or both of you earns your way back in,” says Dr Phil. Focus on surviving sadness and depression after breaking up without wishing you were getting back together.

Other emotions after breaking up include anger, shock, bitterness, and loss. It takes time to survive heartbreak and feel happy again — but it will happen.

3. Learn how to let go of someone you love

letting go of someone you loveI wrote 75 Ways to Let Go of Someone You Love because I needed to learn how to let go of my sister. Letting her go was the most painful and difficult thing I ever did!

To write this ebook, I interviewed life coaches, counselors, and grief coaches on letting go. I know how shocking, confusing, and heart-wrenching it is when you’re letting go of a loved one. It’s devastating – and it changes how you see yourself. Learning how to let go of someone you love is about rediscovering your passion and identity.

Here’s what a reader recently emailed me about Letting Go of Someone You Love: “I gobbled the book down.  Great help in putting things in perspective and in taking positive thoughtful action.  Many thanks for sharing your wisdom and experiences.”

You WILL live, love, and be happy again…but it takes time to heal.

I welcome your thoughts below. I can’t give advice on how to survive depression after a break up, but you may find it helpful to share what you’re going through. Writing can bring comfort, healing, and insight.

If you were married or living with your partner for a long time, read 5 Ideas for Healing After Losing the Only Man You Ever Loved.


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72 thoughts on “Surviving Sadness and Depression After Breaking Up”

  1. Thank you for being here, and sharing how you’re dealing with feelings of sadness and depression after a breakup. It takes alot of courage to be honest about your feelings, and talk about the pain of breaking up.

    I’m sorry for your losses, and I can’t imagine how lonely and upset you must feel. I just want you to know that even though I don’t have the right words to heal your pain or make everything right…I am thinking about you. You are in my prayers. I believe God heals broken hearts, and I know He will heal yours. You matter to Him – and so does your pain.

    May your sad, depressed feelings start to lift. May you find healing and peace…and even joy! I pray for your heart to be mended, your spirits lifted, and your soul comforted. I pray for a fresh new start in your life, and for beauty to blossom in unexpected ways.