The life-changing realisation a bad breakup taught me
There was a time in my life when I used to wake up feeling like there was a heavy weight on my chest. I didn’t want to leave my bed, dress up, and go to college. I kept pushing my roommate away when she asked me to accompany her to the dining room. I spent my days alone, staring at my phone, hoping for it to ring.
Waiting for a message from that one person I knew wouldn’t text me back.
I was losing weight. My hair was falling out. My professors had started asking my friends what was up with me: why was I missing so many classes. The people around me tried to reach out, and my phone was full of missed calls and unanswered messages. I was falling, and I didn’t know how to stop. My skin looked so pale, random strangers on the street stopped me to ask if I was okay.
I told them I was. But that wasn’t true.
My ex-boyfriend and I had been together for three years. We’d shared every happy memory, every life lesson, every new discovery of our life in that time. And all of a sudden, he had abandoned me to walk alone on a path we’d promised to walk together forever.
I was devastated.
I was only 21. He was my first love. With him gone, I felt lost, like my entire life was meaningless. It was as if I had no purpose left to go on.
Days dragged on and nights only meant I had to keep avoiding people until they stopped asking questions and left me alone. I felt that if only I could talk to him one last time, send him a single message, maybe I could change his mind.
If we could meet just once, maybe I could make him love me again.
One day, I was walking back from the bathroom to my room when I felt like I couldn’t breathe. The walls around me were closing in. There was this intense pain in my chest that made me double up and fall to the floor, curled up in a ball. I was gasping for air like I was underwater. Tiny stars were popping in my vision. I clutched my chest and started sobbing, I didn’t know what was happening to me.
This is it, I thought, I am having a heart attack. I am going to die.
I am lucky a few of my friends and hostel-mates found me and took me to the institute hospital. The doctor was very kind to me. She prescribed some pills and told me I’d just had an anxiety attack. She also told me to see the counsellor twice every week.
I got back to the hostel, took the pills, and slumped back into my bed.
I’d have given up, but, my friends wouldn’t let me. They made sure I never skipped the prescribed counselling sessions. I dragged my feet to the counsellor’s at first, but after a few sessions, I actually enjoyed spending time with the kind lady with a warm smile. I told her my story and she asked me some very pertinent questions that made me rethink the way I was living my life.
Opening up to her was like letting out a breath I didn’t know I’d been holding.
It wasn’t quick, my journey towards recovery, and there’s nothing glamorous about it. It involved a lot of crying, two more anxiety attacks, lots of pills, and sessions with the counsellor that slowly dwindled from twice a week to once a month. It was slow and painful, but I did it. I didn’t forget the boy I loved, but I made peace with the fact that he wasn’t coming back.
It was heartbreaking, but it was okay. I was okay. Without him too, I had my friends, I had my academics, I had this bright career ahead of me, and most importantly, I had my poetry.
That was when I understood that no matter what you do, you cannot let your happiness reside in another person.
People will come into your life and change it forever, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stay. A kiss is not a promise and a hug is not a contract that they’ll be with you every step along the way to solve your problems. They might love you, but that’s no guarantee they will fix you.
The truth is — no one can fix you but yourself. No one can make you taste true happiness unless you allow yourself to.
Waiting for someone to make your life better is futile. Wanting to make someone love you is equivalent to screaming at a wall and hoping for it to talk back to you.
In this journey of life, you’re your own champion. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will.
So, go on, fall in love, quit that job to pursue your passion, go on that trip you’d always planned, call up your parents and old friends and tell them you love them — be yourself, make mistakes.
You’ll fall. You’ll stumble. You’ll be crushed under the load of cars and trucks oblivious to your presence.
But you have to pick yourself up and put yourself together. For if you don’t, no one else will.
Remember that no one in this world owes you happiness but yourself. The sooner you realise that the better off you will be.
Stop expecting another person to be your knight in shining armour and take your happiness in your own hands. You can be a queen (or a king) without anyone else handing you a crown.
This realisation changed my life. I hope it will help you too.