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How to Get Over Depression After a Breakup

By HERWriter
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Just get over him! Get into the dating scene. Throw his gifts away. Get involved in a new activity.

We’ve all heard virtually the same advice, and some if it can be helpful, but breakups suck no matter what.

Breakups from any type of relationship can cause sadness, grief or depression whether a woman initiates the breakup or not.

Susan Heitler, a clinical psychologist in Denver, Colo., says that there is a difference between grief and depression after a breakup.

“Grieving is the sadness that comes with any loss, but depression adds a level of powerlessness and negative thoughts,” Heitler said.

She said that powerlessness comes from feeling “that a breakup has been done to us, not that it was a mutual decision.”

Although it depends on how long you’ve been with the person and how deep the feeling of loss is, grieving over a lost relationship usually should last only a little over a week, she said.

After a week, if the woman is still getting “lots of negative self-thoughts,” it might be depression.

“If someone feels like there’s a negative dark cloud hanging over them, then they’ve shifted from grieving into depression,” Heitler said.

When there’s depression involved, it’s best to see a therapist or psychologist, but there are some actions you can do to ease some pain.

Heitler suggests trying to communicate with an ex-partner.

“To be able to say your own thoughts, to share your view, is empowering, so then it doesn’t feel like there’s something done to you, but rather like you’ve had input also,” she said.

When an ex is unwilling to talk over the phone or in-person, an e-mail or letter can help.

Although throwing out gifts and memories of an ex can be cliché, it can also help in certain cases.

“It’s a way to say, ‘Okay, I’m ending that era of my life and readying myself to go onto something new,’” Heitler said. “It gives you a feeling of, ‘I’m taking charge now, I’m in the driver’s seat.’ It’s not essential but it can be helpful.”

However, many people have the opposite reaction and want to keep everything and put it in a safe place.

“They want to take all the memories of that person and treasure them because that was a period of their lives and they can still move on,” Heitler said.

One thing to keep in mind is that thoughts of an ex can interfere with your life if you let them.

“Each time those thoughts come up, distract yourself,” Heitler said. “You can’t block them from coming up, but you can stop yourself from dwelling on that person. What you need to do is weaken the ties with them, so you don’t want to be dwelling on them because that reinforces the ties.”

One of the best ways to move on is to “build something new,” she said.

“Build new friendships, take on new activities, get a new puppy, take a trip,” Heitler said. “New is good.”

In a Psychology Today blog, the author suggested five ways to get over a breakup: sharing your feelings with others, meditate, sleep, exercise and have “imaginary conversations with the ex.”

A website, www.ahealthyme.com, which is part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, said that taking care of yourself is important, including watching your diet and maintaining a normal energy level. Volunteering, taking a class or doing something creative (music, art, writing, etc.) can all help you improve yourself and meet new friends.

Heitler’s websites: www.Therapyhelp.com, www.Po2.com

Add a Comment25 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

A week???

This article is not helpful at all. Counter productive in fact. I would not expect to be over the breakup of my long term relationship in a week. Jeez.

September 23, 2013 - 9:43am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anonymous,

Your right. It takes time for each one of us to get over breakups in different ways. Some of us will get over a relationship quickly while others may lay dormant for some time. The only thing that really makes sense is that, with time - we heal and there will always be another chance at love no matter your age. Positive thinking, right?

Best of luck,


May 4, 2014 - 5:11am
EmpowHER Guest

I broke up with my ex a few years ago. I can't get over it. He treated me shitty and blamed me for everthing. He also bad mouthed me to everyone. As soon as I broke up with him, he got into another relationship and treats this person like gold. Why??
I was put down and treated horrible. I'm a great person and give and give. Every guy I meet does this same thing to me. I met this guy who I liked/cared for alot, but like the ex started fights over nothing and blamed me for it. Then wouldn't see me cuz he was pissed off over something he created but I got the blame. He is now in a relationship. I've done the single thing meaning sites for singles, just doesn't work. I am just guys punching bag and fuck. Guess I should just accept it. Wish I was never born...wish I were dead.

March 23, 2013 - 7:21am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

After being in relationship with Harry for Five years, he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: [email protected] you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CAN NEVER STOP TALKING ABOUT YOU SIR HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS: druguelspellh[email protected] CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS

February 24, 2015 - 2:37am
EmpowHER Guest

I was seeing this guy and everything was going good. Our conversations were good but when texting everything would go down hill and it was all him. He can't stand the fact that in a text message I sent was one word meaning I was short with him. Now you don't know how a person sounds or whats going on but he would start a fight and say how things go down hill fast and that I was not happy. That is not the case. I was very happy. We get along real good and I feel that we would be good for each other. He is a single parent of 2. He has to do everything...now just to clarify we have only been dating for a month. He has told me that he wants someone in his life to share things with, but also needs help with the kids, cleaning, cooking etc. I told he once I get to know him and his children and they get to know me, I will be more than willing to help. We went out 5 times twice with his children, it was great and I had so much fun. He does have ex troubles and thats also stressful for him. He shared some of that with me. I told that that is alot to handle and as soon as I said this he got an attitude with me. He was saying he needs me to support him, I said I will but it is alot for me to take in. So, getting back to the texting thing, I was busy that day and so was he. Now ealier that day and previous days he said he misses me, couldn't wait to see me a, happy I was in his life. etc. But because I was busy and didn't text him a paragraph he got pissed off and that was the last I heard from him. I sent him at text saying how felt like how he takes everything out on me. I am hurt by this because I know it could of work if he would just learn to let things go. Now I'm sick, sad and depressed.

January 25, 2013 - 12:11pm

No.... I don't think that having an 'imaginary conversation' is gonna help in any way according to my experiences. Because, according to what I have been through, talking to your imaginary ex is only gonna bring back your painful memories about him/her. I have faced that, I don't know about you. 'Cause every time I do that, I always end up crying wishing I was actually talking to my ex.

January 8, 2012 - 8:44am
EmpowHER Guest

My girlfriend of four years just broke up with me 2 months ago. She was my soul mate in every way. I love her with all my heart ands soul and I am destroyed. The pain sometimes is unbearable. I am taking anxiety meds and although my dr. prescribed anti depressants, I have yet to take them, although I may start because the depression is not fading at all. No sleep at night. Feelings of just existing. One of the worst parts of this whole thing is not only the loss of my best friend and lover, but the loss of our future together. We had planned on spending our future together all the way to old age. Now when I look forward, I see NOTHING. I have no reason for existing. All is numb. This is easily the most painful thing that I have ever gone through in my life. I cry at the slightest thought of her or I will see someone who reminds me of her or has the same body shape or even just seeing two people holding hands and being in love will send me into a deep all day depression. This sucks.

October 31, 2011 - 1:56pm
EmpowHER Guest

I think a week is far too short to get over the ending of a relationship in terms of grieving. Especially if you are an adult where the relationship was hopefully a deep and meaningful one. The ending of a relationship is similar to a death. I would say 2 months or so is within the realm of reason for depth of the soul grieving. Then comes hopefully understanding that while you may still miss and even yearn for that person for sometime after, this may not ever be possible again. In order to achieve healthy acceptance of this, therapy is not a bad idea. As for medication to help with the grief, I think that depends on the level of uncomfortableness and anxiety. After the end of my last relationship I found it necessary to take 1/2 but no more than 1 mg of Klonopin daily because the anxiety and discomfort was so intense esp.in the morning. It didn't cut it completely, but enough to function in my daily routine and calm my chest. As my grief period ended so did the meds. What I've come to realize is that while I have been dating and having interesting times with men since the breakup, because no one has yet taken the place of my ex in my heart yet, he is still taking up space in my brain and I miss him. But this also makes me realize that when and if I do find someone else whom I care about, the yearning for my ex will dissipate (but possibly never completely because of our very long history). Final thought.. DO NOT call or have contact under any circumstance while grieving. This will only lead to feeling worse. Remove his/her number from your cell phones, remove all items that remind you of him/her. Spread out your calls to friends for support so you don't overburden one or two friend. Get professional support and if you ever thought about taking up a particular hobby, this is a great time to start to keep busy. And cry.. it really does help.

August 5, 2010 - 8:56pm
EmpowHER Guest

It has been almost 2 months since my soulmate decided to leave me. I have cried every day, I can't work, I can't eat, I can't sleep, the pain is unbearable. I have tried all the methods I could find on this site and others, but nothing works. I don't know how to move on and let him go. I have tried therapy, anti depression meds, etc. I feel like the pain will never stop and I will never stop crying

July 16, 2010 - 8:32pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Dontworry your not alone . i feel the same way. But my ex asked out my bestfriend after a week of breaking up with mr and she didnt answerr him yet. It hurts even more because the day befor that he told me he was going to maybe give me another chance then he does this. What do i do ? i love him with all i have.... ;(

June 17, 2011 - 3:18pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.