Ask The Therapist: “I can’t get over an ex…I just want to be far away from all of this by moving abroad.”

In 2016, the number of people estimated to be suffering from mental health issues like depression and anxiety amounted to roughly 1.1 billion. Since then, numbers have likely continued to rise. Moreover, studies have also shown women especially on average are a) more likely to suffer from mental health issues, and b) less likely to talk about them. The taboo in Pakistan surrounding depression and anxiety disorders only serve to aggravate the individuals suffering even more. For the women who cannot seek out full time therapy, or simply need advice about their problems, we’ve enlisted the help of a trained therapist. You sent us in your questions – here are the answers!

“Everything in my life is a mess right now. I can’t get over an ex who isn’t concerned with me at all (witnessed this recently at a family wedding as he’s a distant relative). Plus, I’m not receiving any updates on my US immigration application. I just want to be far away from all of this by moving abroad, but it’s not happening. I really don’t know what to do and could use some advice.”

Shahrukh’s Response:

The end of a relationship can be really tough. Firstly, to address the issue of your ex: as humans, it’s difficult to actively sever ties with those that we have formed deep attachments with. As such, the healing process can often vary from person to person. Timelines and ways of working through the loss of a loved one is never definite or the same for two people, and that’s completely okay. There is no timeline that needs to be followed. You will work through it in however long you’re meant to. In the meantime, let’s see what might be going on for you during this time, and what we can do to help keep you grounded.

Focus on you, and what you’re going through. Avoid the comparisons with the ex!

You mention in your message that your ex could not be concerned about you. While I cannot comment as I don’t know the exact details of what happened, I will say this: your experience of the relationship and the meaning of it probably differs from his. As I said earlier, no two people will share the same experience when it comes to loss. You might not have the full story on what your ex is feeling, and chances are you may never fully know. What you do know is what you’re going through, and how you feel about the loss itself. Making comparisons between yourself and your ex is something that doesn’t usually serve us in the grand scheme of things. You might start thinking “he’s moved on so quickly” and that in itself can trigger all sorts of negative self-talk. Give yourself the space and time to heal from your loss. Be kind to yourself and own whatever you’re feeling by telling yourself that it’s alright to be sad, or angry, or whatever emotion you’re experiencing. Keep one thing in mind during this time: there is no wrong way to feel or heal.

Knowing What’s In Your Power…

The waiting period for your immigration can often be tough. In terms of your visa, it’s important to recognise what is in your power, and what you are able to change or do in that moment. Would you be able to check on the status? Would you be able to get a time estimate on the processing time? If you’ve exhausted all possibilities of action, it’s time to ask yourself: what else can I really do at this time?

What Is It That You’re Running Away From?

I, and many others I know, have often had this urge or feeling to just run away from everything. Sometimes to start anew and get a fresh start. This sense of wanting to run away usually indicates a state of being overwhelmed in certain aspects of your life. It’s important to reflect on those components, identify and really get in touch with what’s happening. Is it the people in your life? Physical exhaustion from work/school? The people? Perhaps a great deal of negative self-talk? A reality you might not be ready to embrace? It could be a multitude of things. This might give you some further insight in terms of where your fears lie, and it could help deepen your understanding of some of your triggers. 

Set Up A Safe Space For Yourself And Practice A Lot Of Self-care

During this time, you might be feeling a certain level of uncertainty and what sounds like anxiety, but it’s important to keep yourself grounded. There are several ways to do this: finding a safe space (perhaps your own house or a friend’s/relative’s), journaling out your thoughts and feelings, yoga, meditation, guided mediations for self-compassion, doing something you enjoy, art etc.

Anon, break-ups are difficult. I don’t know how far back your move to America goes, but either way, the wait for a visa can be tough. Just ask yourself what you can do in this situation, or if there’s anything you even need to do? As for the break-up: as stated before, it is really important to be kind to yourself during this process. It may take time for the healing to start, and be fully healed. All I will really ask you to do is take it one day at a time, and reassure yourself that it’s more than okay to feel whatever you need to feel. Hang in there, Anon. I wish you all the best on your journey towards healing. More power to you!

The above article is written by Shahrukh Shahbaz Malik who is trained in humanistic integrative counselling at CPDD in the UK and currently has her own private practice in Karachi. The views expressed in this article are those of one expert. They do not necessarily represent the views of Mashion, nor do they represent the complete picture of the topic at hand. This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment.

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