Live Love Laugh Logo

Break-ups and feeling suicidal – How to help your mind overcome a breakup

Did you know that a breakup activates the same part of the brain that processes physical pain?

Breakups aren’t easy. There’s a reason why people are people are extremely vulnerable after a break up. Relationships are heavily invested with emotions and the termination of a relationship does come with huge emotional pitfalls.

Even the toughest and most independent individuals can have difficulties going through a breakup or divorce. Whether the decision is yours, your partner’s, or a mutual agreement, it is hard to leave behind something that impacted and influenced our lives in a huge way, and move on. After a breakup, remember that you are not alone, but rather have the support of friends and family to get you through this difficult time. During this time, it is important not to only recover from a break-up, but to also take this time to learn and grow as a person from your past.

The science behind a breakup

Oxytocin, a chemical in the brain is often said to be the ‘love hormone’ because it is in a state of elevated activity in people who are in relationships. It is also perceived to be linked to feelings of trust and connection between two individuals. When Oxytocin is in an elevated state, the brain experiences bliss and flexibility. It learns to adapt to happy emotions, a sense of positive dependency and joy.

The brain starts working on the relationship by constantly adapting to the partner’s concern, care and emotional intelligence it is experiencing. If you take away all of this in one go, the brain is definitely going to experience some serious negative effects. It starts to miss all the positive sensations that it has taught itself to like.

The emotional facet

Nobody likes to be dumped, but its human nature to let go of things that is not beneficial to oneself. There are a lot of reasons for breakups but the pain of rejection, the fear of being alone and the anger of being dumped is very real. Different people have different ways to deal with it and eventually overcome the breakup. The brain in all its complexity might have taken a blow, but it does have the ability to eventually repair itself and heal. The idea here is to help the brain heal.

It’s absolutely alright to cry, lock yourself in and not answer the phone for a while. A numb brain needs to get back to its normal state of sadness. From there, you can help it heal, one step at a time.

What not to do

  1. A week or a little more than a week of solitude just after a breakup is normal, anything more than that can lead to the formation of depressive states. So try not to lock yourself up for a long time.
  2. The crazy drinking and depressive binge eating does not heal you emotionally, mentally or physically. Drowning your sorrows is completely different than drowning yourself in alcohol. Alcohol abuse in an emotionally unstable state that can result in co-occurring mental disorders and even suicide.
  3. You really can’t find the euphoria of being in a relationship in any drugs or chemical dependency. At this time, your mind needs to heal on its own. Time is both your enemy and your friend. Use it wisely!
  4. Being out of a relationship also makes you feel lonely, needing someone to share your feelings with is absolutely alright, but dating the rebound guy/girl might cause more pain to you and the other person in the relationship. After you’ve just been through it, would you want to inflict the same upon yourself again or on another person when you know how much it hurts?
  5. Suicide is never an option for more than one reason. There’s a lot more to be seen in life and who knows, your Mr. or Miss perfect might just be three months or a year from meeting you, wouldn’t you want to know who deserved you better than your ex?

What you can do

  1. Set realistic goals for yourself and remember to take this one step at a time. It’s understandable that you are feeling overwhelmed at this point, but it’s also important to sit down with yourself and figure out the changes you want in your life, for the future. Working towards something will help your mind concentrate on the positive aspects of your life.
  2. Get a job, start a new hobby or travel. Holing yourself up for weeks at a stretch only makes your mind revisit memories that you shared with your ex. This will in turn lead to depression as memories turn to hatred fuelled by a shattered ego. Teach your mind to concentrate on something else instead.
  3. Invest in yourself, pamper yourself and treat yourself to all the great things that life has to offer.
  4. Get some exercise, the mind heals faster and stays sharp when you’re feeling energetic and fresh. Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve mental health. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall wellbeing.
  5. Make new friends, put dating below on your priority list. Although your mind is yearning the love of another as it is still healing, you need to give it some time. Jumping into another relationship right away may not be the smartest thing to do at this time.
  6. If you’re constantly thinking of suicide just after a breakup, try and think of all the great things in store for you in the future. You will heal and you will find love again. If it’s too much for you to cope with, you can reach out for help through any of the means in the link below.
  7. Seek professional help. Sometimes it’s good to have an unbiased, non-judgemental person that isn’t involved personally in the situation to help you analyse and move on after a tough break up. A therapist could be just the thing for you. You could find one here.

Latest updates

Communicating with a mentally ill loved one

Five ways to ensure your personal life doesn’t impact your professional life as a mental health professional

5 famous women with mental illness who made their mark on the world

Find more good reads rytarw

Helpline Disclaimer

The Live Love Laugh Foundation ("TLLLF") is not in the business of providing counselling services and does not own, operate or control the helpline numbers listed on the website. The helpline numbers are listed for referral purposes only, and TLLLF does not make any recommendations or guarantees regarding the quality of response and medical advice you might receive from any of the helplines. TLLLF does not endorse these helplines and makes no representations, warranties or guarantees as to, and assumes no responsibility for, the services provided by these entities. TLLLF disclaims all liability for damages of any kind arising out of calls made to these helpline numbers.