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To Let Go Of A Past Relationship, You Need To Go Through These 5 Stages

To Let Go Of A Past Relationship, You Need To Go Through These 5 Stages

Breaking up with someone you love so much is always hard.

How many sleepless nights have you been through since the day you said goodbye? How many painful days have you been through since the day you fell apart? How long have you been trapped in the past and unable to move on?

You want to forget. And you want to forgive. But it you just can’t.

You thought you had forgotten the best memories of the past. But whenever you walk past the place where you two first met, the good old days pop up in your mind again and you just can’t help but burst into tears.

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You thought you had forgiven him for everything he did to you. But whenever you see his/her face appearing on your Facebook news feed, you find your heart is filled with a complicated feeling of melancholy and anger.

Letting go is never easy. But here’s what we can do with the grief and loss.

The 5 Stages of Grief and Loss

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss psychiatrist, introduced the five stages of grief in her book On Death and Dying (1969).[1] The model was initially inspired by her work with terminally ill patients. But now it is also widely adopted to explain the behavior of people who experience grief and loss. After all, facing death and facing the death of a relationship share so much in common.

1. Denial: This CAN’T be happening

The first reaction to the loss of a relationship is to deny the reality of the situation. This is a defence mechanism to stop you from dealing with painful feelings.[2] You try to pretend everything’s alright but deep down in your heart you know it is not real.

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When you have the feeling that you’re denying the loss of a cherished one, you should focus on accepting the brutal truth:

  • Remind yourself things have changed every day
  • Stop texting or making phone calls as you used to
  • Allow yourself to cry whenever you feel the pain
  • Stay with someone who can help you recognize the truth
  • Keep a diary to write down how you feel every day

2. Anger: How could he/she do this to me?

As time goes by, the reality becomes less blurry and you would gradually feel the pain of heartbreak. The pain is sometimes redirected and expressed as anger. You need someone to be blamed for causing you pain: your ex, people around you, the universe, or even yourself. Rationally, you know they might not be the one to be blamed but you just can’t control your emotions.

What you need here is to forgive:

  • Know that both of you share the responsibility for the breakup
  • Forgive yourself for any inadequacies as no one is perfect
  • Realize that you are not the only one who suffers the pain
  • Admit that you are not functioning at your best right now
  • Distract yourself through exercise

3. Bargaining: Can’t we just give it one more try?

When you realize that the reality is pushing you towards to the edge of a cliff, you panic and strive to survive. You would do everything and anything to reverse the situation. You look for any possible ways to win him/her back, perhaps through negotiation or threat. You just don’t want to feel the pain.

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But for most of the time, things don’t happen as you wish. You should better let it go:

  • Avoid direct contact temporarily
  • Stay away from social media where you might find anything about him
  • Reassure yourself that you two are not getting back together
  • Never try to win him/her back again and again
  • Realize that you are independent enough to be single

4. Depression: It’s all OVER

When you finally realize you can do nothing to alter whatever you are experiencing, you are real depressed: feeling tired all the time, not wanting to do anything, avoiding friends and family, losing appetite or overeating, suffering from insomnia or sleeping too much. The hopelessness makes you feel hard to move on.

Nobody says it is easy but you should regain your mental and physical health before it is too late:

5. Acceptance: Okay, I’m trying

Now, you are almost there. When you begin to accept whatever happens on you, you would gradually be able to make peace with the loss. It doesn’t guarantee happiness as you are still in one of the stages of grief, but you will be less emotional and begin to find some light along the road. And the light will eventually guide you home.

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Things that evoke memories might still trigger your emotions but you can prevent self-absorption again:

  • Put the old photos in a place where you can’t easily reach
  • Keep yourself away from the places which trigger your emotions
  • Focus on the benefits of letting go
  • Only reconnect with him when you are ready to be friends
  • Believe that everything is going to be okay and it is just a matter of time

Letting Go Makes Us Stronger

We always want a long-lasting relationship. We want someone to stay with us whatever happens in life. We want to hold on. But sometimes what makes us strong is letting go instead.

When you look back in the future, you will be surprised at how much you have grown.

Reference

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Sheba Leung

Translator. Sport lover. Traveler.

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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

Social Media Could Lead to Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

• low self-esteem,

• negative self-talk,

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• a low mood,

• irritability,

• a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

• and social withdrawal.

If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

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Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

Why We Need to Take This Seriously

Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

Advice on Social Media Use

Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

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One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

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Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

Reference

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