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Anxiety triggered 9 months after a break up because of a small interaction


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Posted (edited)

So I was with a guy for less than a year and we broke up about 9 months ago. I was in a very bad state mentally and I think it’s important to state that the reason for our breakup was because of my anxiety and depression so deep down I blame myself for it. I felt better after a few months from our breakup and at that time & now I realize that he was perfect for me, everything that was wrong or that I saw was wrong in the state I was in was out of his control and could have been fixed. I think fear made things seem much worse. At the time I wanted to push everyone out of my life because I wasn’t feeling good, it was a new thing for me and I didn’t know what to do. I was too busy taking deeper breaths, calming a racing heart and helping myself to realize that. I may have hurt him badly too which breaks my heart and I’ve self reflected and mended my ways. I’ve worked on myself and reflected a lot ever since. He wasn’t perfect, we had our disagreements & differences, his ego was also a problem but I believe he was perfect for me (I say this because I think at relevant to why this feeling comes back?) and he is overall a very kind and good person and I still wish him the best. The only problem was his lack of understanding my situation and the timing we met. Getting over the breakup was very hard, it worsened my anxiety, the vomiting, the crying, loss of appetite; it was bad. It feels like this feeling is coming back and that scares me. I don’t want to go through that again and I don’t understand why this breakup has so much power over me? I didn’t have anxiety before the pandemic, maybe that’s why? Is it love?

Over the past months I’ve learnt how to control the symptoms and learnt how to make myself feel better. Mind you, I didn’t have anxiety before the pandemic so this was all new and scary. So many things went wrong during the pandemic which is when we met. I can’t help but think that if I had known these things better or we met some other time we would have been perfect for each other. Over the past few months I’ve went on one date and have been developing feelings for this other guy. I haven’t felt anything for my ex for a while until a small interaction happened on social media between us. He stalked my TikTok. I kept thinking about it and clicked on his profile (he got a notification that I viewed his profile too), a few minutes later he liked my videos and I without even thinking followed him and he followed me back. This isn’t even an interaction, I don’t understand why I am up late at night thinking about him. I feel so anxious and I want to cry. The same feelings (both the anxiety and the feels for him) are coming back. I don’t know how he feels or what that can change which makes things worse. I have other worries of course but I’m wondering why this in particular is triggering my anxiety? I’ve lost the feelings I was developing for this other guy as well and he (my ex) completely replaced him in my heart & mind. I want to get over with this, I need help.

My 3 questions are: Am I supposed to be having a moment of weakness 9 months after a relationship, is this love? Why is this triggering my anxiety? What do I do? 

Edited by Nasnas
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It's normal to feel something when interacting with an ex. But, you shouldn't act on it. What happened with you especially means nothing- you seem to be projecting. Could be just friendliness/ lazy "hey, what is she doing now" kinda thing.

Keep on dating and move forward- not backwards. It gets better with time. It's also best to better to block him on social media so that you can fully move on and heal emotionally.

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Posted (edited)

Are you receiving treatment from your doctors in regards to the anxiety and depression? What about all those other triggers at the start of the pandemic? Were they all pandemic-related?

It's fine to think of exes now and then but I don't think you're over your ex. It wouldn't be fair to drag anyone into this if you're not feeling well enough about yourself or your situation to be seeing someone new.

Also what jumped out to me were extremes like "he's perfect for me". In reality no one is ever perfect and there are good and bad days. There may be someone else much more compatible with you.

Things didn't work with your ex. Give yourself a chance to move forward.

Edited by Rose Mosse
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6 hours ago, Nasnas said:

 My 3 questions are: Am I supposed to be having a moment of weakness 9 months after a relationship, is this love? Why is this triggering my anxiety? What do I do? 

See a physician for an evaluation of your physical and mental health. Get some tests done.

Ask for a referral to a qualified therapist for ongoing support.

Until you address and treat the mental health issues you'll feel unwell.

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Yeah, I second that Q on whether you've seeked treatment from your doctor.  Anxiety is awful, I Know 😕 

The last thing you need is to have reminders of him.  If you feel that you've been improving over time, until this event, then stop it all.  Remove him... and move on as you were.

 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Nasnas said:

Am I supposed to be having a moment of weakness 9 months after a relationship, is this love?

Love is the mutual feelings of two people who can cohabit together in a healthy way. You obsessing over some guy that looked at your TikTok is not that.

12 hours ago, Nasnas said:

Why is this triggering my anxiety?

Who knows? Maybe you just didnt get over the guy. Maybe its just your way of expressing yourself when something that "triggers" anxiety happens. 

In any case, its not healthy. You cant be having this kind of reaction

12 hours ago, Nasnas said:

the vomiting, the crying, loss of appetite;

just because somebody liked your Tik Tak(pun intended). And you need to get that under control. That means therapy.

12 hours ago, Nasnas said:

What do I do? 

Aside of getting therapy, you are not ready to date nobody. You say you like the new guy but then ex follows you and you loose yourself. You are all over the place. Until you get all that under control you are not ready for a healthy relationship. With the new guy or ex.

Edited by Kwothe28
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You mentioned that the anxiety started during the pandemic and not necessarily related to this guy.  Yet your interactions with him were fraught with anxiety because of the state you were in.  Not necessarily because he caused the anxiety.  Safe to say this was a very anxious time in your life.  If anxiety is new to you then it's a very sensitive time while you tried to manage and figure it out.

It makes sense that his sudden presence would take you back to an anxious time in your life. When you relive those moments with him, the memories of the anxiety are bound to rear it's ugly head as well.   Don't confuse these intense emotions as some sort of intense connection with him.  The two are separate.  Not to say there is no future for you two.  But just be careful not to give this intensity too much value.

It's sort of like when I think of my mom, while her passing was still fresh the memories of her were very intense and painful.  My relationship with my mom was the best and neither intense or painful. But that moment in my definitely life was.  Now after some time passing the difficult emotions settle and memories are now enjoyable.

The question remains as to whether you continue to open this door.  Seeing you just met someone you seem to like and are in a better place in your life, you should spend some time doing an honest deep dive as to whether you should continue flirting with this idea.   

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16 hours ago, Nasnas said:

Am I supposed to be having a moment of weakness 9 months after a relationship, is this love?

I think it's your anxiety speaking, rather than love. 

It's normal to feel a bit thrown off when you have an unexpected encounter with an ex. You're remembering a time that was difficult and tense for you, and there was a lot of pain for you when you broke up. 

But re-opening that wound doesn't mean you're in love. It means you have more work to do so resolve your anxious thoughts and re-evaluate whether there's really anythying to build on with this new guy. Simply following your ex on TikTok shouldn't be enough to cancel out whatever was developing, but since it has, I have to question how into this new man you really were. 

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Posted (edited)

You're heart broken. It's ok.  But when you are, it's hard.  Try to have patience with your feelings.  But balance that with accepting, he was not perfect for you, you didn't mess anything up, sometimes things just don't work out. 

As hard as that is to hear, do, and accept, take into consideration that there are other guys and relationships for you in the future and that's where you should redirect your thoughts. 

For now do things that make you happy and feel good to you.  Then you can move on to new guys and opening your heart again.... but for now, you love you. Warts and all, because you deserve your love more than anyone else.

Edited by Lambert
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On 6/3/2022 at 8:03 AM, Rose Mosse said:

Are you receiving treatment from your doctors in regards to the anxiety and depression? What about all those other triggers at the start of the pandemic? Were they all pandemic-related?

It's fine to think of exes now and then but I don't think you're over your ex. It wouldn't be fair to drag anyone into this if you're not feeling well enough about yourself or your situation to be seeing someone new.

Also what jumped out to me were extremes like "he's perfect for me". In reality no one is ever perfect and there are good and bad days. There may be someone else much more compatible with you.

Things didn't work with your ex. Give yourself a chance to move forward.

I am not getting treatment tbh. Too scared to and it’s a major taboo where I’m from. I just took courses for breathing exercises, cbt etc and completed some workbooks which did help. I’ll try to get professional help though, thank you. 
 

Just hearing your advice helped me a lot. Idk if I can remove him just yet but I will do it if I need to. Thank you very much. 

 

23 hours ago, SooSad33 said:

Yeah, I second that Q on whether you've seeked treatment from your doctor.  Anxiety is awful, I Know 😕 

The last thing you need is to have reminders of him.  If you feel that you've been improving over time, until this event, then stop it all.  Remove him... and move on as you were.

 

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11 hours ago, Lambert said:

You're heart broken. It's ok.  But when you are, it's hard.  Try to have patience with your feelings.  But balance that with accepting, he was not perfect for you, you didn't mess anything up, sometimes things just don't work out. 

As hard as that is to hear, do, and accept, take into consideration that there are other guys and relationships for you in the future and that's where you should redirect your thoughts. 

For now do things that make you happy and feel good to you.  Then you can move on to new guys and opening your heart again.... but for now, you love you. Warts and all, because you deserve your love more than anyone else.

Doing that was exactly what helped me before. Thank you for the reminder and for the great advice. 

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14 hours ago, reinventmyself said:

You mentioned that the anxiety started during the pandemic and not necessarily related to this guy.  Yet your interactions with him were fraught with anxiety because of the state you were in.  Not necessarily because he caused the anxiety.  Safe to say this was a very anxious time in your life.  If anxiety is new to you then it's a very sensitive time while you tried to manage and figure it out.

It makes sense that his sudden presence would take you back to an anxious time in your life. When you relive those moments with him, the memories of the anxiety are bound to rear it's ugly head as well.   Don't confuse these intense emotions as some sort of intense connection with him.  The two are separate.  Not to say there is no future for you two.  But just be careful not to give this intensity too much value.

It's sort of like when I think of my mom, while her passing was still fresh the memories of her were very intense and painful.  My relationship with my mom was the best and neither intense or painful. But that moment in my definitely life was.  Now after some time passing the difficult emotions settle and memories are now enjoyable.

The question remains as to whether you continue to open this door.  Seeing you just met someone you seem to like and are in a better place in your life, you should spend some time doing an honest deep dive as to whether you should continue flirting with this idea.   

Two things you mentioned really opened my eyes. I do associate him with a time of anxious times & pain which may explain my anxiety and as time passed I only seem to remember everything good about him and our relationship and completely ignored the bad. I don’t want to block him but I’m going to take all of your advice and not interact with him again, I’ll focus on me. Thank you so much, this really helped❤️

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Are you me? Did you just step into my head and remove the contents? I just had a relationship fall apart and my attachment anxiety was a large contributing factor. Every time I was insecure I guess that’s a little vote of no confidence in the other person but also he was unable to understand it’s not personal and unable to reassure me although on his end he tried incredibly hard (and all very fruitless attempts because none of them were what I needed). Like you I feel like if I could have been better we’d still be together. But the other side of that coin is if he could have supported me in the way I needed, we’d still be together. And when he couldn’t if we had been able to come together and tackle this as a team we could have still been together and he says he is tried to fix it with me but I’m telling you, it doesn’t feel that way on my end.

 

These two things have been helping me. One, when fear takes hold (right now, fear that we Are right for each other and we’re meant to have an enduring love and his love is real and I’m losing a really good person because I made so many missteps that hurt him…..although if there was space for it to consider it he has made missteps that hurt me too, not least of all the sharp drop off in contact that triggered my anxiety in the first place, anyway, when I fear) I recite under my breath this mantra from this captain awkward letter response. This pain is a test of courage. I must face my fear!

 

https://captainawkward.com/2011/02/09/reader-question-16-the-golden-retrieverkwisatz-haderach-of-love/amp/

 

And at night I’ve been listening to this meditation, it’s pretty kind 

 


 

I’ve got an appointment lined up with the psychologist too. 

 

This guy has shown me so many places I need to grow. It hurts. I sucks that I lost him in the process. But I’d better doing the growing at least. 

 

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56 minutes ago, 1a1a said:

Are you me? Did you just step into my head and remove the contents? I just had a relationship fall apart and my attachment anxiety was a large contributing factor. Every time I was insecure I guess that’s a little vote of no confidence in the other person but also he was unable to understand it’s not personal and unable to reassure me although on his end he tried incredibly hard (and all very fruitless attempts because none of them were what I needed). Like you I feel like if I could have been better we’d still be together. But the other side of that coin is if he could have supported me in the way I needed, we’d still be together. And when he couldn’t if we had been able to come together and tackle this as a team we could have still been together and he says he is tried to fix it with me but I’m telling you, it doesn’t feel that way on my end.

 

These two things have been helping me. One, when fear takes hold (right now, fear that we Are right for each other and we’re meant to have an enduring love and his love is real and I’m losing a really good person because I made so many missteps that hurt him…..although if there was space for it to consider it he has made missteps that hurt me too, not least of all the sharp drop off in contact that triggered my anxiety in the first place, anyway, when I fear) I recite under my breath this mantra from this captain awkward letter response. This pain is a test of courage. I must face my fear!

 

https://captainawkward.com/2011/02/09/reader-question-16-the-golden-retrieverkwisatz-haderach-of-love/amp/

 

And at night I’ve been listening to this meditation, it’s pretty kind 

 


 

I’ve got an appointment lined up with the psychologist too. 

 

This guy has shown me so many places I need to grow. It hurts. I sucks that I lost him in the process. But I’d better doing the growing at least. 

 

I love that your advice comes from an awfully similar experience, you probably understand how I’m feeling and that really helps. You’ve also helped me realize that even though yes, I could’ve and would’ve done a better job of handling the situation, if we were meant to be, WE would’ve tried harder, it takes two of us not just me. I need to forgive myself and move on. I guess we weren’t meant to be. Hope you heal and so do I. Thank you so much for your advice and resources ❤️

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2 hours ago, Nasnas said:

I am not getting treatment tbh. Too scared to and it’s a major taboo where I’m from. I just took courses for breathing exercises, cbt etc and completed some workbooks which did help. I’ll try to get professional help though, thank you. 
 

Just hearing your advice helped me a lot. Idk if I can remove him just yet but I will do it if I need to. Thank you very much. 

 

If you don't ask you won't know. Please don't live oppressed like this afraid of taboos or at least without trying to seek answers. I wonder if your anxiety is also coming from oppressive societal norms. It may be increasing your sense of despair and feelings of isolation and helplessness. You are not obligated nor should you ever feel you have to disclose your health issues either unless you want to or with those closest to you. 

It's time to start taking better care of your health and being proactive. Find the appropriate care and support and let go of inappropriate contact with your ex. That is in the past. Move forwards.

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3 hours ago, Rose Mosse said:

It's time to start taking better care of your health and being proactive. Find the appropriate care and support and let go of inappropriate contact with your ex. That is in the past. Move forwards.

This is excellent advice. It's time to take better care of yourself. 

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On 6/2/2022 at 7:45 PM, Nasnas said:

... I don’t understand why this breakup has so much power over me? I didn’t have anxiety before the pandemic, maybe that’s why? Is it love?

I hope it helps to understand that you're not alone in having developed a state of anxiety you'd never known before. Many of us have gone through a horrific bout of it, even while it may appear unrelated to the pandemic.

In some cases it's 'generalized,' so you can't even pin it on a particular instance or fear, whereas other cases identify something specific, which might be the 'real' culprit or not. Just like in dreams, some things represent actual people, objects or events while others are a metaphor.

So, you associate this state with the time you were partnered with this guy, and that can feel 'like' your latest anxiety is triggered BY him.

Quote

Over the past months I’ve learnt how to control the symptoms and learnt how to make myself feel better.

This is your golden ticket, so amplify it into confidence that you CAN handle anything that might trigger you going forward.

Rather than feeling doomed to spiraling into the worst state every time you're triggered, you're learning competence in self soothing AND this can 'desensitize' you to triggers over time.

This is the language to adopt rather than drilling yourself into catastrophic thinking, and you'll become your own best coach.

 

Quote

My 3 questions are: Am I supposed to be having a moment of weakness 9 months after a relationship, is this love? Why is this triggering my anxiety? What do I do? 

1) Sure, we tend to reflect nostalgically on good times with exes or loved ones who have passed or have gone out of touch. We can call it love, but it doesn't mean that we are meant to be together. Some people are best loved from far away, especially WHILE we associate anxiety with them.

2) It's not necessary--right NOW--to identify whether the ex was your source of anxiety or whether you just associate him with that state because of timing. You'll have your whole future to work that out. For now, simply recall the steps you've learned in how to soothe, and begin that process.

3) Regard periods of anxiety as your private tests of how well you can learn to manage them. You'll minimize your fears of powerlessness by amplifying your recall of successes even while you continue to build more successes. This will keep you focused on moving UP and OUT of the state rather than drilling yourself into a deeper hole to climb out of.

Consider each bout of anxiety as an opportunity to 'desensitize' to your triggers. This focuses on a goal of building resilience, and that focus itself is a pathway toward mastery.

8 hours ago, 1a1a said:

I recite under my breath this mantra from this captain awkward letter response. This pain is a test of courage. I must face my fear!

Adopting a mantra (or several) is a great idea, but rework the language. Sure, we can consciously learn from negating statements containing negative words, but mantras work with the UNconscious.

So make your punch words aspirational rather than trying to program your mind with opposites.

For instance, instead of using 'pain' and 'fear,' which are the messages your unconscious will absorb, consider, "Resilience is a skill I have adopted." and, "I AM resilient."

"Courage is a test, and I WIN." "I AM brave."

"Patience allows a growth process, I AM patient with myself and others."

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