I split up with my long-term partner six months ago. The relationship was never that good but I stuck with it. We had some good times but he could be quite moody and I didn’t know how to handle it. He was away quite a lot with his work too, and I suppose we just drifted apart.
In the end I decided it wasn’t working for me and set about finding a new life. I got a new job, started going to the gym, made new friends. It all seemed to be going well, then about a month ago I found I was thinking about my ex and all the good things we did together. I got really upset and couldn’t stop crying. Why should I feel so low when things are so good?
A: Whenever we make big changes in our lives we have to adapt, in our heads and in our hearts. Change is really about loss: we want to leave something behind and start something new. Even if we make that choice for the best reasons, there will still be an emotional response.
You say you had some good times with your ex and I guess when you first got together you also had hopes for a future together. In moving on, we have to let go of the things we no longer need, including those hopes and dreams. It isn’t that you are depressed, it’s more that you are letting go of things that were part of your old life. It’s like you have to look back once more to say goodbye.
When we make big changes in our lives we have to concentrate on those changes, not dwell on what we are leaving behind, otherwise we might not make the move. Give yourself space; allow yourself to be sad, then see what a good place you are in now.
Q: I don’t know what to do as I feel my life is grinding to a halt. Outwardly I manage – I guess people would see me as just quiet – but inside I feel I am filled with boulders. I had a quite a turbulent childhood: Mum was very strict and I felt I couldn’t do anything I wanted as she would get annoyed and then say it was my fault she was angry.
I’ve spent a lot of my time pleasing others, even if I don’t really want to. It’s getting harder, though, and sometimes I feel like either screaming or crying. My pal says I am depressed and should go on medication. I don’t want to but I don’t want to be like this either.
A: Our childhoods can have a huge influence on how we feel about ourselves and relate to others. It feels like a very painful place for you at the moment, as if you are realising you are carrying burdens that rightly belong to someone else. It’s as if your life has been held back or ‘depressed’ in some way and it’s becoming more difficult to stay as you are.
Medication could help and I wouldn’t dissuade you from speaking to your GP. However, this is also the sort of situation where a counsellor could help. They can support you while you explore all the things you are carrying from your past and look at how they continue to influence you now.
• Anne Chilton is joint head of professional practice at Relationships Scotland
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