"You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better" - Anne Lamont
This is going to be a rather long because I have a lot of thoughts to express, and it's something I've been wanting to write since December but I just haven't had the confidence to write it out and hit publish because I was afraid of what some people were going to think or say about it. But at this point, I don't care anymore. Writing and reading have always been forms of therapy for me so I hope this helps at least one person.
Over a year ago, I had my first heartbreak and real breakup. I mean I had a 'breakup' in high school that I was sad about, but we dated for a month so like does that really count? Not really.
So, What Happened?
So, we dated for about six months and aside from a few things wrong here and there it was fine...from my perspective. But that all came to an end via text. Yep. I got dumped over text. Which meant I was able to constantly reread it over and over until I drove myself crazy.
The most hurtful words that I think he said to me after we broke up that are still stuck in the back of my mind was that he asked me something along the lines of this, "didn't you ever think that there was someone out there better for you?" I obviously said no at the time because when I'm in a relationship with someone I'm all in for them, that's the only person I see and the only person I want to be with. He answered with, "oh" which was a clear indication to me that he was thinking that. And for God knows how long. Which this led me down the rabbit hole that I wasn't good enough for him when I gave him just about everything that I had in me to be a good girlfriend. Y'all I can't even tell you how many terrible episodes of this horrible show I watched and this odd board game I played with him and his friends...all without ever complaining. Why? Because these were things that made him happy and I wanted him to be happy.
The first week after we broke up I didn't leave my bed for a week. I cried. Listened to an extremely depressing breakup playlist. I hardly ate. I was irritable. I didn't want to do a damn thing. I eventually hung out with some friends, but I was mentally so distant from them when I was there. I didn't want to be there. I wanted to be at home. My anxiety had flared up immensely, and depression was painted all over me for months, and along came body image issues. Everything that could flare up did. All at once and it felt like I was constantly suffocating. Looking back to last summer, I was the furthest from myself and I hated it. But I just couldn't pull myself out of it.
After that first week of not getting out of bed, I had migrated to the couch. But I still didn't really leave my house for a month. It was bad. I know I had anxiety before the breakup so that wasn't something new to me, but the depression I fell in was unlike anything that I have ever experienced. And it was scary because I didn't know how to pull myself out of it and when I was just going to wake up one day and it finally is over with. I vividly remember one night that I went down to get some water and I just felt so freaking exhausted from it all that I sat on the kitchen floor just crying with only a blue light from a Keurig to light up the room.
Obviously, a common question that people asked me was why it happened because from an outside perspective it happened quite suddenly. We had problems, but we never really talked about them. Or rather I should say that I used to be so afraid of speaking my mind when I wasn't happy about something (which if you talk to my current boyfriend that is no longer true. If I'm upset, he knows it.) I mean I won't get into some of the more private details because I do want to at least still respect his privacy on that. But the truth is I still really don't have a concrete reason why he broke up with me and I think that's what bothered me the most is that he couldn't give me a straight answer that wasn't super confusing. So, I created a million and one reasons why I think he did it and why I wasn't good enough.
By no means did I handle this in the healthiest of ways. Actually, I probably did a lot of things you shouldn't do. I went on dates way too soon. Like literally not even a month after I was on a date because I was so desperate to feel something other than this depression I was in. And all I felt was bored on the date because he was literally that boring and I can't even remember his name as I write this. And it was just way too soon. I went home from that date and just cried to my mom. My mom dealt with a lot of me being a crying mess for months, she's an angel. Because even I was getting annoyed at my self.
Between the breakup and my current boyfriend, I didn't go on TONS of dates but I did go on my fair share. And when I would notice they were starting to get attached I would cut it off. And if I'm being 100% honest, I didn't really care about the impact that I was leaving on some of these guys. Basically "Songs Like This" by Carrie Underwood was my theme song for this portion of my post-breakup. That's so horrible and I don't even know why I'm admitting it because I feel bad now but I was so numb to everything. I went on dates with boys I didn't even really like. I kissed boys that I really shouldn't have despite what I was being told. I wasn't taking the proper time for me to heal. I was just trying to bounce back as fast as I could.
Little did I know that I was the only person who could do that for myself.
How To Work Through a Breakup as an Introvert/INFJ
When I finally realized that I needed to take this new chapter of my life as a time to learn more about myself, what I wanted, what I didn't want, the more I realized that the typical "how to deal with a breakup" advice just wasn't working for me. I always knew I was an introvert, but I knew there also had to be more to it. That's when I learned I am an INFJ.
My good friend, Coral, over at The Determined Dreamer has two articles that sat so uncomfortably on point with everything I had been feeling for months and if you're an INFJ struggling with a breakup read this one and this one. She's incredible and so is her writing.
So, here's 7 ways I learned how to deal with a breakup when you're more of an introvert or INFJ:
Throw A Pity Party and Listen to Sad Music
If you try to push your emotions aside and try to act like it doesn't actually bother you, it's going to come back in another form that won't be pretty. So, I sat in my own pity party for one (for probably too long) and listened to music that was sad but also spoke to me. I know a lot of people tell you not to do this, but you can't bottle up your emotions either. Just don't stay at the party for too long.
You Don't Have to Go Out with Friends
I know a lot of people told me that I needed to get out of the house and hang out with my friends. But if I'm being honest, again, I didn't want to. When I did hang out with them I wanted nothing more to be at home or I was craving people who just got what I was going through. Your friends might not understand what you're going through and they'll try to help by calling your ex names which is helpful, but I wanted people to understand what I was going through. I didn't care about trashing him initially because I was consumed in all these emotions that I've never had before.
Especially if you're an introvert, your friends might not be the best idea. I ultimately turned to my journal and my mom which were more helpful to me.
Please Eat Something...Eat All the Things Actually
It's the cliche you see in movies that the girl gets dumped and she eats a lot of ice cream right out of the tub. Yeah, that wasn't me. I wish I had done that though. I remember that first week, I hardly even ate one meal per day. I'm a naturally thin person already, but I did notice myself losing weight. And like I mentioned before, I developed a bit of a body image issue that wasn't severe, but it was still there. Weighing myself was something I did often and it made me happy that I would be under 100lbs. I'm not sure why, but it did. He's not worth it to not eat.
The body image issue isn't fully gone now, but it's not lingering around as it did a year ago. I love myself so much more than I last year. I have good days and bad ones just like any other person. Any progress is progress. I'm happy with where I'm at now.
Okay, Party is Over...Time for Some Girl Power Anthems
Like I said before, don't stay at the pity party too long. It's now time to remember who you are and that you're freaking amazing - boy or no boy. He does not determine your worth. At all. So, it's time to wash your tear stained face and turn up the volume to your favorite girl power jams and dance.
Throw Everything Away & Purge
Pictures? Shred them. Delete them. Get rid of it. Gifts? Sell it on eBay. Make money off your sadness. I had this one shirt that had nothing to do with him, but I wore it that week I didn't get out of bed. It's in the donation pile right now.
Get him off your social media. Unfollow, unfriend, do it all. I know I took MONTHS to do this because I was afraid that he was going to think I didn't like him as a person anymore...which is a fair assumption now. But then I snooped too long and found some girl that he might have dated, and then the girl ended up DM'ing me on Instagram (for no reason, I might add. I never did anything to hurt their maybe relationship). This all wasn't helpful at all. So get rid of him everywhere. You don't need that constant reminder.
Don't Do Rebounds
Rebounds don't work, and you end up going on a bunch of crappy and uncomfortable dates you didn't really want to go on in the first place. It's not the best idea, at least for me, it did more harm than good.
Find Your Passion
Let that passion consume you rather the breakup consuming you. This is how my blog was born. I wanted something that was all mine and something that I could put all my energy and attention into. Starting a blog was something that I had always thought about, but never had the courage to actually start it. And now I'm so happy I created it because over the past year some of the best things that happened to me are from this blog.
So, find what lights your soul on fire. And run at it full speed.
Once You're Ready, Go for it. Tinder is def the way to go in my humble opinion ;)
Just kidding...kind of...
I started this blog because of him. That breakup made me have to sit with every uncomfortable thought and problem I had about myself. That breakup made me learn to love myself. That breakup led me to the love of my life. So I guess, to my ex, thank you so much for breaking my heart.
If you're struggling right now with this, I know you don't want to hear this but you really do get better. You feel like you're getting out of it and then something reopens the wound and you're stuck in that feeling of anxiety and depression and you don't really sleep that much. But I promise you that it's going to be so much brighter after this storm. You're going to find someone that finally gives you the love you deserve and so much more. And you'll be so happy that you went through this breakup. You're going to laugh and smile again. The sun will shine again.
Have you had your first heartbreak? What was your experience like? What were some ways that helped you work through it?