Bad break-up

I just had a really really bad break-up. It’s not really because we broke up. It’s because of a handful of other factors. I cannot concentrate on anything. It’s affecting every part of me. There is additional financial stress from different angles. Now I’m thinking it is a mistake coming to Unimelb. I feel like I have lost so much and I cannot concentrate or do anything. Please help.

I’m sorry to hear about your break-up. Break-ups can be devastating and it is normal to experience a range of emotions following a break-up including: grief, sadness, anger, fear, loneliness and guilt. For some people it can be hard to stop thinking about their ex or the break-up and they may experience difficulty concentrating, reduced motivation and other changes to sleep or appetite. Depending on the circumstances, it can be especially hard to accept a break-up when there are still strong feelings of attachment or love. This resource from headspace has some helpful information on dealing with relationship break-ups.

In addition to the break-up it sounds like you were already under stress because of financial issues amongst other factors in your life. The university has services to assist students who are experiencing financial difficulties. It might be worth getting in touch with Financial Aid to see if they can help you at this time. In times of stress, our brains can revert to focus on information relevant to survival, which takes power away from our rational mind. This can affect our concentration, motivation and ability to do things such as study or work. When we experience cumulative stressors it can be pretty common to feel distressed and to have difficulty coping for a period of time.

When we feel overwhelmed it can help to do the basics and show ourselves some kindness, physically and emotionally. Maintaining diet, exercise and connections with others are all still important, yet we can easily neglect them in times of emotional distress. See here for more suggestions on how to manage stress. As people often engage in self-critical thinking during and after break-ups, it can be a compassionate step to lower expectations of yourself for a little while and reduce pressure. It may help to spend time with supportive and caring others. The relationship sounds like it was important to you – give yourself some time to grieve this significant change in your life. If your difficulties continue, professional help is available. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at CAPS.

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