Dear Dr. Darcy:
I am trying to get over a recent breakup with my first girlfriend. Unfortunately, I have been having a really hard time moving on because the breakup was a shock for me and I really miss her. It has been a little over a month since it happened. I’ve been feeling really low lately and it is a struggle for me to get up every morning. I’ve also lost my appetite and the desire to go out and socialize. I feel like I’ve been letting myself and my friends down. What would you suggest for me?
Time. You’re grieving and that takes time—a different amount of time for everyone and a different amount of time depending on why and how you broke up. You said it was a shock. It’s going to hurt worse because of that. And, she was your first girlfriend. My first breakup with a girl left me gasping for a while. It’s normal. Also, a girlfriend often becomes our best friend and when a breakup happens, they’re both gone. For that reason and for a dozen others, it’s going to be different from a breakup with a boy. Don’t judge how you’re feeling. Make sure you’re being compassionate with yourself.
This would be a great time to focus on and take extra care of you, and you need it. Make sure you’re doing what you need to do for physical stress relief (going to the gym, playing your sport, engaging in your hobby). If you’ve been blowing these things off, this is a perfect time to recommit—to yourself. Reach out to your friends and let them in. Ask them to come over, to sleep over, to help you get past this. Watch some funny movies with them when you need a break from crying.
Take the pressure off yourself. You don’t have to bounce back quickly. It’s bad enough that you’re grieving. You don’t need pressure or judgment on top of how you’re feeling. All that will do is unnecessarily complicate what you’re going through and extend the time that you’re feeling this way. If you’re not feeling any better after a week of doing what I suggest in this post, email me for some names of therapists. Stay hopeful. This will pass. We all go through it.
Dr. Darcy Smith is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Her practice, Alternatives Counseling, specializes in LGBT issues and is located in New York City. Dr. Darcy’s clinical style is very direct, goal-oriented and pragmatic. For years, the media has been drawn to her unique personality. She has provided expert commentary for networks including E! Entertainment and has worked with television producers throughout the nation. Her blog, AskDrDarcy.com, provides free advice to members of the LGBT community. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-604-0144.
*This column is not a consultation with a mental health professional and should in no way be construed as such or as a substitute for such consultation. Anyone with issues or concerns should seek the advice of her own therapist or counselor.