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My anxiety is out of control after my latest breakup

Our agony aunt, Mary Fenwick, offers a new perspective on whatever is troubling you

by Psychologies

Anxiety

3 minute read

Q. My partner has just broken up with me and I don’t think I can cope. I am having panic attacks and my anxiety is crippling. I’ve been through a bad breakup previously, which took me ages to get over, and I don’t know how I can do it again. How will I get through this? Name supplied

A. Whatever you did last time worked, and it will again. Humans are hardwired to find rejection tough because it was so dangerous for our ancestors to lose touch with the tribe. One of the keys will be finding other people – not romantically, but to sit with you by the campfire until you feel safe.

If your friends don’t seem like the right people for this, then the website for Anxiety UK is a good place to start. They offer a downloadable brochure about dealing with panic attacks, which costs £2.49. There’s a free meditation app for members, a text service and reduced cost counselling (even lower cost for students). I always learn something new when I check out their resources – today it was baking as a mindfulness technique, because it draws your focus to smell and taste, plus gives the satisfaction of creating something new.

I’m focusing on the anxiety because working on this will give you the confidence that you don’t need another person to make you better in any way. An intimate relationship is a wonderful gift, but we do survive and even thrive as single people, as long as we have friends. One of the best ways to feel part of something bigger is to find what you can contribute. The simple fact of having shared your story here will help others feel less alone, so there’s already a community that is grateful to you. 

Mary Fenwick is a business coach, journalist, fundraiser, mother, divorcée and widow. Follow Mary on Twitter @MJFenwick. Got a question for Mary? Email mary@psychologies.co.uk, with ‘MARY’ in the subject line.

Image: Getty