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Love, breakups, obsession and help

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These are just some thoughts on love, obsession and broken hearts and to encourage people to please consider seeking professional medical/psychiatric/psychological help rather than suffer and suffer unnecessarily. I am not a medical professional but I have suffered long term in the past from relationship break ups.


I hope this may give hope to some people and I hope I don’t get shot at for offering advice. If you are hurting I am not trying to belittle your pain, I would just like you to consider getting help if you haven’t done so already.


There seem to be many people on this forum who are seem to be constantly suffering, months and months, even years after a common relationship breakup and after long periods of NC. I have a lot of trouble believing that it is a good or necessary thing or even a part of growth or healing to suffer like this.


The Conclusion


If, more than a month or two after the breakup,


you are still thinking of your ex or associated thoughts constantly and life is a struggle because of it, and/or


you are sick of thinking about your ex (or related stuff like relationships in general, why do people dump people etc etc),


you are in pain a lot of the time,


when you wake up, at night or in the morning you are thinking of your ex,


My feeling is that


This is not love. Love is wanting happiness for the other person. If that is without you – that is perfectly fine. You have your life.


It may not be a measure of how much you loved your ex, it may just be a measure of how much you obsessed your ex when you were together.


It is not just a broken heart


It is not normal


It is likely to be a psychological obsession/clinical depression. If it is, it is very likely to be treatable and you can feel a lot better quite soon.


If you are obsessional, without professional help it could last for many months or even years. You could feel like this for a long, long time.


If you are worried about your state of mind please see your doctor or mental health professional – and tell them exactly how you feel.


Tell them if you are thinking about your ex every minute of the day.

Tell them your heart and stomach ache constantly if they do.

Say you’re worried about depression.

Say how long its been like this.

Then they can help you.


Modern treatments work. Either medicinal (usually anti-depressants) or possibly cognitive or other therapy.


Chances are, if you are in a long term obsessional state you will be feeling like your life is going down the drain. You may be failing studies, work or both and your friendships and other relationships may be in tatters. You can’t operate if you can’t think straight. If you get help you can get your life back.


Thoughts and personal experience


I believe that some people are more prone to obsessive thinking than others and some people have more difficulty than others in driving out obsessive thoughts. This may be due to differences in psychological makeup – past experiences etc or brain physiology – brain chemistry and also perhaps how people process thoughts and access memories.


In my experience most feelings are thought and memory driven. I have suffered a few painful breakups and the pain and heartache I felt would just about always be preceded by a thought or memory of my ex. This was ok when I had control and choice over my thinking.


But when I didn’t – when nearly every waking moment was occupied with my ex (how much she hurt me, memories of being together, how to get her back so I don’t have to feel like this anymore, what did I do wrong, I love her but I hate her, how can I stop thinking about her this is driving me nuts, I have to see her, talk to her, bring her back etc etc) – then I was overcome with pain and heartache most of the time and found it very difficult to function in normal life (perform at work, relate to friends and family properly).


I believe most people who are dumped are like this for a period of time, maybe up to a few weeks or so. After that things start changing - thoughts evolve and resolve, you have choice over your thinking, you can read relationship books and work on your life as you choose, you don’t need to get back with your ex. You grow and heal. Sure, this part may take some time. The memories and thoughts could be very painful possibly for months or even years, and they could come at you unawares sometimes, but now you have some choice over your thinking and memories. You are thinking rationally, you can see things more objectively, you can properly grow and heal.


In my case I’ve had a couple of bad breakups. Following the worst one I felt appalling and obsessed for nearly two years. I failed or dropped out of studies, failed in my work, drove friends and family sick with hearing about ‘her’, drifted, hated myself etc etc. Finally, and without any hope I would ever feel any better I was taken to a psychiatrist.


I was prescribed anti-depressants and within a month or so I was basically fine. Anti-depressants didn’t make me ‘happy’. What they did was to calm my obsessive thoughts and allowed me to think about what I wanted to, when I wanted to. From there it was possible to learn what I needed to from the old relationship, do some new studies, start a career, have a better new relationship. Obsessing – it is just impossible.


Anti-depressants didn’t change my memories or feelings – I was still very much me – they just allowed me to think rationally and have choice again. Perhaps I would have got better without them, but there was no guarantee of that and a real chance I could have acted on suicidal thoughts before then.


Some people, myself included can sometimes survive by jumping from one obsession to the next. When you’re dumped – jump straight into the next relationship and obsess about her, or a new hobby or work and obsess about that. Sometimes it works, but no learning is done and chances are the crash will come at some point - and then you will need help.


Anti-depressants don’t work for everyone, but they work for most people. It may also take a bit of time to find the right one for a given person. But in my case and in the case of my father (who obsessed over guilt with leaving the gate on a pool open in which my brother then drowned – before I was born) anti-depressants and professional care were probably lifesaving.


I understand that mainstream non drug treatments can also be effective – but I haven’t had personal experience with these.


Hang in there

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that is such a GREAT post...does htat mean im in love for having ended a r'ship b.c i wanted my guy to be happy? even if it meant without me? that kinda makes me glad in a way....its true; obsessing isnt healthy. it means the individual needs to start looking into themselves, instead of projecting all their desires/insecurities on the other person i guess. that kind of emotional turmoil might also stems from far deeper issues then the end of a r'ship...the sweet, nostalgic memories we can keep with us forever, but when it becomes angst ridden its a warning sign. once again, thanks for that post.

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I think that "a few weeks" or even 1-2 months to be over it, is not realistic for many.


Having said that, I agree that many get "stuck" for WAY too long. I think the trick is being able to see that you no longer feel as you did when it first happened. As long as you are "coming out of it", slow or fast, you ARE healing and will find the end to it all.


I'm not a big fan of anti-depressants. But will agree there is a place for them in some situations. I think therapy is a great way to get you started on getting over it. That let a professional decide if you are moving forward or need medical attention.


Thanks you for taking the time to write your post. I think it will e helpful to many of us here.

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Hey, thank you so much for your responses and I really hope it helps some people.


Misskitty: Whether your broken heart returns depends on a lot of factors but I'll have a bit of a stab at it.


I think partly that time heals because of separation from the breakup. You do new things, you meet people, you learn and you live. If you are obsessing long term and you can't stop - you have little chance of improving and time does nothing. The thoughts are always with you, damaging your life. You can't make friends because all you do is want to talk about your ex, you can't focus on work so you get the sack, even playing sport or having sex does very little.


Anti-depressants give the person a chance to live normally. As their life improves their general feeling is happier (where surroundings and normal thoughts now have a chance to influence their brain chemistry) and they can slowly reduce the dosage to nothing and they are living a far healthier life than before.


If they start feeling awful again, they may well have chronic clinical depression and may need to stay on anti-depressants for an extended period. In this case if the person had not had anti-depressants they may never have got better anyway as surroundings and time were not helping. Suicide is a very real outcome the longer the person suffers, the longer their life deteriorates, the more they lose their family and other people they love and are unable to make new connections. Just waiting is not a great option.


In my experience, in the grip of strong, persistent and long lasting obsession therapy may not be that helpful initially. The mind is too occupied to logically process information. New thoughts are just added to the whirr of obsession occurring and may just slightly change the makeup of the mess. But this is just my feeling.


StillSmiling I think 1 to 2 months is sufficient to get over constant debillatating obsession where the person is not really functioning in life and is distressed. Even this may be unbearably long for some people.


Of course, suffering may continue long after this but the person will know they are slowly getting better. They will be living and improving. It is not relentless pain. It is loss and grief and there is a lot to understand, feel and process and this can take a long time. If obsession and overwhelming bad feeling persist I just don't think understanding and healing get a chance.

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I think there's a difference between still being hurt/ recovering from a long term relationship, and not functioning in life.


Most people are not obsessed, they are simply in mourning. Do we take 1-2 months to get over the loss of a good friend, or a relative that passed away?


It's one thing if your'e still laying in bed all the time, crying and weeping....not going to work, constantly calling someone else, etc.


But you don't intertwine your life and feelings for someone usually in just a couple of months, and you can't unravel those emotions completely in that time either.


I think if you've been together at least a year or more, 3-4 months might be a more realistic assessment, again assuming you're not obsessive, you're just missing the relationship and the person you were with. Tough to make generalizations.

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Okay Yankeefan, your post made me feel better, at least about mourning. For me it has been 3-4 months, mine was a long relationship and we lost the dream of the rest of our lives,retiring and planning a 2cd home. The mourning and loss of the dream is very real. I am depressed. It does effect my work, life and friends. I have goen to therapy and taken a workshop on letting go.


I still cry, like misskitty and a few others. I do feel a little better. I do slip backwards. Mornings, like this moment, are the worst. I do want to feel better, make new friends and stop obsessing over what was and what could be.


I will try to shake the denial.

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Some people do get "stuck" and they don't advance. But assigning a proper time period for these things just isn't appropriate. I still love my ex, i still want to be with her, even though i realize the relationship didn't work and she doesn't believe she needs to change in any way. Even worse, she's with someone new and they are moving at light speed.


Am I obsessed? of course not. I didn't want to spend the rest of my life with her after two months...we grew into that, and made plans. Even though her life changed, i still had those plans in mind. Letting go of them takes time. If it didn't, that wouldn't be very healthy either.

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Great post. Anti-depressants did not work for me at all but cognitive therapy did. I learned ways to stop obsessing and to take care of myself and take each day at a time. I wish I could get back the time that I spent tormented by the thoughts, but I look at it as a great life lesson. One that I will not repeat again.

Time does heal emotional wounds but you have to allow yourself to grieve first...and then you can move on.

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Mourning and depression


Yankeefan, I agree completely with you. I haven’t been very clear in some places and I have generalised.


Broken relationships can be a huge loss. There is grief and intense mourning over the loss(es) (and there may be many associated losses – shared friends, the ex’es family, many people you can’t see any more). ‘First’ loves, even short lived can be very hard because its such a new experience (‘no-one told me it would hurt like this’)


I think after an initial period of intense confusion, obsession, profound grief the person should begin to start getting better. There will be good days, bad days, anger, sadness etc but the person should have some sense that things are improving. Thoughts will be slowly evolving and resolving, the person can sometimes feel warmth from other people, they are not totally pre-occupied with their loss and have reasonable ability to choose thoughts, and can perform adequately at work. Things slowly improve until the person is over the loss. This whole process is natural mourning and can take a long time.


I believe that after a month or two, the person is still very pre-occupied with their loss, cannot focus adequately at work, feel their thoughts and feelings are controlling them and wish it would stop, the person should look for professional help and tell the professional exactly how they feel. The professional may assess that the person is mourning healthily, and is improving (but the professional will keep an eye on the persons progress), or the professional may diagnose the person needs help with their grief and depression and make a plan. Either way, the person is now in a much safer place.


I believe if this is put off for too long there is too much opportunity for damage in the person’s life. The person may withdraw from society, move cities, quit jobs and studies, act in desperation towards their ex, self medicate with alcohol and drugs, all in an effort to feel better but sadly with no result. It could have been properly managed.


In my case, after two months I was still suffering terribly but still in studies, in my home town with access to support etc. After two months I became increasingly worried and desperate to feel better. I quit university, moved from my home town and went to a mining town, all in an effort to feel better. All that happened was that I was further from support and still feeling dreadful.


Please, if you’re worried about your emotional health and you don’t feel like you’re getting better, don’t keep putting it off. See a professional and tell them how bad you feel and how long it has been like this. They can make a proper decision as to whether you are grieving healthily or not. On a site such as this I think it is very easy to find someone to justify anything you are feeling at any time – trouble is these people may be just as depressed and grief stricken as you.


My personal opinion is that the most offered advice on this site when someone is obviously struggling and has been for a long time should be ‘see a professional if you haven’t already’. They have the benefit of research of thousands of cases and understand treatment. Let someone know you’re struggling. Don’t make huge life decisions in an effort to fight or run from your thoughts. You will get better, but you just might need help.

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