The Break-Up Survival Guide (Depression and Anxiety Edition): Intro and Disclaimer

I present to you “The Break-Up Survival Guide (Depression and Anxiety Edition)”! I’m breaking it up into several posts because this is really long and it might take a while before I finish this series of posts since I’m on the brink of returning to school, so time and energy will be limited. Anyway…

I’ve hated this whole break-up experience, but I have to admit, I’ve learned a lot about myself. One thing I’ve learned is that I can be particularly bad at taking my own advice. I’ve doled out a lot of advice (excellent advice, actually) to family members who’ve had bad break-ups and now that I myself have had a bad break-up, I think I’m lucky I didn’t get smacked by anyone I gave advice to cuz, gee, it is really hard to take.

So I’m gonna give you a few disclaimers before I start.

Firstly, these are context-dependent. Here’s an example of what I mean by that:

I stand in court, accused of speeding because I was driving 50km/h. Was I speeding or not?

Your answer should be “I don’t know”. Why? Because you don’t know enough about the context. You don’t know whether I was speeding just by how fast I was going. You also need to know the speed limit of where I was driving. If I was on the highway, I definitely wasn’t speeding. If I was driving in the suburbs, I was going only the speed limit. If I was in a school zone, I was going almost double the speed limit. And if I was in a school zone, you also need to know the time of day I was driving at because the school zone limit often does not apply on weekends, instead going up to 50km/h instead of 30km/h.

My point is that I don’t know everything that you’re dealing with. I am not the expert on your life. You are. So you are the one who must decide whether or not these things are likely to work for you.

I do ask that you keep an open mind and consider all that I’m saying. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out a person’s tone in their writing (as opposed to hearing them speak), but I am not being bossy or telling you what to do when I’m writing this guide. I’m just writing down the things that have helped me and am hoping that you will glean something useful from it. Whether or not you apply any of this is your decision.

Also, keep in mind that these aren’t guarantees. There is as of yet no set equation for healing your mind. Some days you do everything “right” and still feel miserable. Other days you feel awesome without even trying. And still other days you fall somewhere in between; you feel unhappy but with the right strategies you can pull yourself out of that. And I hope that you find some of those strategies here.


I Found It On Pinterest: Opus 1, No. 2


Well, traffic sucks and I swear the further west you go, the worse everyone’s driving gets. (Please use your signal lights before switching lanes or turning. It’s way safer and I don’t have to yell “You moron!” whenever I’m on the road.)

Composer’s Syndrome

My “Break-Up Drama” post is hands-down the most popular one on my blog. It seems misery really does love company.

But really, I’m glad it’s resonating with you all. This has been one of the worst experiences of my life and I’ve wished I could somehow erase that experience, but seeing you reading and liking/following my post shows me that I’m saying something that means a lot to you and if it’s making you feel better about your own life, this pain is almost worth it. I feel like I have some purpose again, like maybe I’m not completely off-track about my own life. Hallelujah.

Anyway, I’m currently compiling a “Break-Up Survival Guide: (Depression and Anxiety Edition)” for y’all (and also for me). But seeing as this is the first break-up I’ve ever been through and it’s all still fairly recent to me, it might take a while for me to finish writing it up. Obviously, it’s all very emotional and harrowing for me, so I do need to spend time away from writing that to do other more enjoyable things, so I might be posting things that are unrelated to that for a bit… Like memes I found on Pinterest. Or talking about books I’m reading or movies I’m watching. Or doing some fashion stuff.

Anyway, today I want to talk about “Composer’s Syndrome”. No, it’s not an actual syndrome, it’s just a term I made up to describe this phenomenon I notice with classical composers (and also, me). What is it? Being really lousy at naming things.

My friends and I would joke about how these composers can write brilliant and emotional and complicated and meaningful pieces of music and then they get named something dull like “Opus 2, No. 14, Movement 1”.

And then I would write music and be all, “So.. what do you think I should name it?”

“‘Ballad of the Salmon Heads’.”

“Ha ha, very funny.” (Yes, my friends are farmers.)

And so people suggest names, some joking, some serious, and I veto all of them because none of them ‘feel right’. I can name something with words in it, but a piece of music with no lyrics or a visual thing such as fashion or memes… Getting the blog named at all was pure luck.

So, if I post something that’s more images than words, be forewarned: it will probably have a boring title like the date… Or Opus 1, No. 1, which I settled on because I’ve made so many jokes about naming my music that.

(Also, I’m trying to work on some style posts, because it’s much lighter mentally and I need some fun in my life, but my pictures are turning out really lousy because the lighting sucks and maybe the focus is off and details are kinda blurry. I’m using a phone camera with a timer and don’t have any photography equipment, so does anyone have suggestions for how to take a decent photo– one that can show colour and texture true to life, that is clear and not blurry where details are in focus– with a phone camera and a mix of natural and artificial light? Please give me some pointers!)

Break-Up Drama

Well, this post has been a long time coming. My boyfriend broke up with me in January. Now it is August. I’m still not over it. See, I work with my ex-boyfriend… and his new girlfriend… and his mom. It has been an ordeal. Hands down, worst I have ever felt in my life and that is really saying something.

This is the first time I’ve been able to distance myself from it emotionally to write about it at all.

It took ages for me to even start thinking of him as my ex. We’d broken up once before and wound up getting right back together and picking up where we left off, so I didn’t really believe that this break-up would be permanent. I thought maybe once he’d had a bit of space and gotten his life together a bit more that maybe we could try again.

But then he started making moves on my co-worker, in front of me, while we were all at work. For a while, I ignored it, because surely he wouldn’t be stupid enough to jump into a new relationship when he hadn’t even worked out the conflicts in the old one (conflict being him being severely depressed and he’s lousy at dealing with it).

Then I couldn’t ignore it any longer and confronted him on it, which resulted in the most unproductive conversation I’ve ever had which did not give me any answers or solutions whatsoever and it was like talking to a brick wall because though he did pick up the phone, he gave me the silent treatment the whole time.

I then wound up talking to his new girlfriend because he wouldn’t give me the truth about what the hell was going on (she did, though), then talked to his mom, because he’d never told her the truth about our relationship and it made me uncomfortable working with her when she didn’t know the truth, and then had to talk to my boss to try and do some damage control on the situation. Did this all outside of work out in an attempt to maintain some professionalism.

I wound up switching locations to get space away from my ex and his girlfriend, which resulted in cutting back my hours and turning down what was basically a promotion. I still work half my shifts with my ex, which is bearable, but at least his girlfriend isn’t there.

Then as soon as I get switched over to the other location, his girlfriend starts hanging out there because she’s out of school now and only works part-time and apparently doesn’t have a life outside of him.

After a few weeks of this, I wound up hissing at the two of them for having no subtlety or discretion. It’s not like they’re making out or anything, but it’s still my place of work and they’re flirting in front of me and I certainly wouldn’t be behaving the way they’re behaving if I was in either of their positions. And that’s what I’m really upset about: that they aren’t treating me with the same respect and consideration that I would be treating them with if the roles were reversed. They don’t seem to grasp this concept; she got uncomfortable and booked it out of there about a sentence into this debate while my ex was a jerk about the whole thing and told me to “get over it, deal with, and grow up”, completing missing the point. This isn’t about my feelings for him but about his behaviour, then he goes making it about my feelings.

I told my best friend about it and she says, “Woah, that’s a lot of drama. And he told you to grow up?! Sounds like he’s the one who needs to grow up!”

“That’s what I told him: ‘You grow up’. Then I walked away.”

“Good for you!”

And really, it is a lot of drama. I often wave my arms around, talking to myself, and mutter, “I’m twenty-two years old! I’m too old for these high school dramatics!” And sure, he is four years my junior, but I wasn’t that bad when I was his age!

These events were spaced out over the course of six agonizing months.

This is probably the first time in my life where I’ve actually wanted to forget something. Generally, I value my memories as an important part of my identity and have no desire to part with even the negative ones because I consider them so essential to who I am, but this misery has been so all-consuming that I never want to reflect upon it again. It got to the point where I didn’t really care who I was anymore as long as I could be happy again.

A break-up is bad enough, but combine it with severe anxiety and depression and I’m amazed it didn’t kill me. Honestly, there were times when I really did think it would kill me. But, somehow, it didn’t.

See, whenever you watch a movie or read a book, the romance always ends with happily ever after, with the two happy and in love. But the thing is, it doesn’t always end that way. Honestly, I love romance (I watch, I laugh, I weep) and I love seeing the two fall in love and a movie about people falling out of love would probably be depressing to me. But the result of so many movies portraying that “happily ever after” and only that is that when you don’t get to have that, you feel really alone, like you’re the one person who can’t get what they want or need. The problem is that your loss is never really represented in storytelling and so you feel really alone.

And that’s why I’m talking about it here. Because I want you to know that it won’t kill you, and that you’re not alone in this, and that others have been as miserable as you are right now and those others have learned to be happy again. You will survive, as many have done before you, and you will one day be telling someone about how you survived, giving them the strength to go on.

And so I’ll talk about the effects the break-up and depression and anxiety has had on me, and what I’ve been doing to deal with it, but I don’t want to do that today because a) that would be one hell of a long blog post and I’m exhausted and b) this post has the backstory of my failed relationship and I want it separate from the other stuff because the other stuff is, in my view, more positive, and I don’t want it tainted with the misery of thinking about my ex and how things ended with us. So use this as a reference post because I don’t intend to talk about the whole uncomfortable situation anymore.