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How Do I Heal From a Breakup?

This week in the Coping newsletter: Blaming your anxiety on your parents, sensory deprivation tanks, and steps to take after a breakup.
Xavier Lalanne-Tauzia

Welcome to Coping, Episode Ten.

We've all heard of "helicopter parents"—those clingy moms and dads who hover over their kids and swoop in at the first sign of trouble. While it's hard to fault a parent for being too attentive, his or her eagerness to intercede really does seem to inflate a child's risk for anxiety down the road.

There also seems to be an inverse relationship between small amounts of early-life adversity and adult anxiety—meaning kids who have to deal with mild "challenges" may be better able to cope with stress as adults. So much for that "everyone wins an award just for trying" approach to raising kids.


More on your coddled childhood here. Meanwhile, welcome to our weekly chat about the chaos in your head.

Ask the therapist: How do I heal from a breakup?

No matter what side of the split you are on, the end of a relationship can make you feel like your entire world has been turned upside down and can trigger all sorts of emotions. Here are a few things that have worked for both me and my clients:

  • Give yourself time to grieve the loss. Some people claim it takes half the time the relationship lasted to get over it, others say it takes a week for every month you were together. Ignore them. Every person is different, as is every story, and your healing time is your own.
  • Unfollow, unfollow, unfollow. Do. Not. Check. In. On. Your. Ex. The goal is to put them in your past, not stay up to date on their present. It will help you heal to not have any idea if they are dating someone new. And to go a step further, refrain from trying to stay friends for a while until you feel that your heart has healed.
  • Write a letter that you'll never send. This will give you the space to say anything and everything you want to your ex. Getting all your emotions on paper can be healing.
  • See if you can conjure some gratitude. Wanting to talk trash and stay angry is natural, of course. But by allowing yourself to take the time and reflect on the relationship as a whole (both the good and the bad), you can find aspects of the relationship you were grateful for. This can help alleviate feelings of bitterness, which is sometimes a roadblock to healing.
  • Lean on other people. Find time to see the friends you haven’t seen for awhile. Go home and spend the weekend with family. Identify the people who will decline to bash your ex, and rather will fully support you and help build you up on days you don’t feel like leaving bed.
  • Reach out to a therapist. Breakups can sometimes lead to negative self-talk, feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and even shame. It’s ok to seek professional help to lend a hand in guiding you through this difficult chapter in your life.


This week's answer is from Rachel Aredia, a therapist and ADAA member.

Some stories:

  • Depression and anxiety often come together. Why?

  • People with anxiety sometimes find relief in sensory deprivation tanks.

Today's comic, by Liana Finck:

📩 📩 📩 Send your questions to and we might run the answer in next week's newsletter.