Post-breakup stress

case: Two Minute Therapy

In this blog post, an example is given of the kind of issues that can be discussed through TwoMinuteTherapy. In this case: how to deal with stress after a (recent) breakup. 

Psychologist and coach Jeannette Bolck created Two Minute Therapy. After an intake, clients leave a message on Whatsapp when they get stuck, after which Jeannette leaves them advice in return. Listen in on Barbara (35), whose boyfriend just ended their long-term relationship.

“Hey, it’s me.. I thought I was doing fine, but I guess I’m not. I’ve never felt this lonely before. Martijn used to comfort me when I was feeling down, but now he’s the cause of it. I really want to call him. Why is he acting so cold? And why am I not hearing from him? It almost seems as if we were never together. When I came to collect my things, he was acting all casual, like we were just hanging out. Not a flinch! I cried and hyperventilated in the car, all the way home! And what about Sinterklaas and Christmas? We always used to do this together. And Monique and Hendrik are avoiding me, it’s a total letdown. They are clearly taking Martijn’s side. While he’s doing the dumping! Everyone probably thinks it’s for the best. I just don’t know anymore Jeannette, I’m so confused, and I haven’t slept in three nights!”

“Hey Barbara, what a week it’s been for you. I can imagine it’s confrontational; you were together for so long and now you’re also noticing how intertwined your lives were. Try to stay calm when he doesn’t react or ‘pretends it’s nothing’. I understand that it’s difficult, but you do know him through and through, right? Martijn isn’t very talkative and always found it hard showing emotions. He’s made great progress in your sessions together. Hyperventilation also happens because your negative thoughts are giving you even more stress. Your body thinks as it were that all these thoughts are really happening, so that there is even ‘more’ danger. The hyperventilating is scaring you as well and this is how you get into a vicious circle. It will also influence your sleeping pattern and the more tired you get, the more susceptible you’ll be to stress. It’s a physiological fact. You could try a Koan Floating session. And even if you’re not able to fully relax, your body is able to recover a bit. And perhaps you could confide in your sister. She knows Martijn very well, which could be of help. Try to kick the habit of reaching out to Martijn as much as possible. It’s still causing you a lot of pain. In the next session let’s take a look at what exactly happens when you get into this state of panic. And write it down when it happens again. So what is happening, where is it happening, the feelings you have before and after, etc. Don’t think too much about Christmas yet. And spend Sinterklaas with your family. It will get better! I’ll see you Wednesday. Take care.”