Dear Auntie Jaan,
I am a 24-year-old girl. I want to focus on my studies, but I can’t. I fell into depression after my boyfriend dumped me for another girl two-and-a-half years ago. He was my boyfriend for four years. He hid his relationship with the other girl from me and that girl also helped him in this endeavor, as we studied in the same department. He used me for money too. Moreover, he tried to get me to have a physical relationship with him, while he was secretly having a relationship on the side. When I refused to do the things he wanted me to do, he told me about his other relationship and dumped me. I didn’t get over that incident. What should I do to overcome depression? Help me please.         A perennially depressed person
 

Dear Girl,
My advice to you in three words is: just carry on.  

Break-ups hurt. I know getting dumped sucks. And being cheated on makes you feel icky and horrible. There is no question about any of this. You have been through and are going through a lot. In fact, every time a relationship ends, there is a grieving process. In your case, because of all the bad blood created, the process is an intense one. To some extent, you have to let your feelings take their time. Let your feelings take their course. Running from how you feel won’t make it go away. But you have to make the effort, pick yourself up and move on, every single day.

‘My boyfriend dumped me and I am depressed’

I know you feel like you wake up with a burden on your shoulders. However, I would still urge you to try and wake up every day with a plan. In fact, take the time to plan your weeks in a way that you are doing something productive every single day. And part of that plan can definitely be focusing on your studies. There is no getting away from your studies and the other tasks that you want to accomplish, so might as well concentrate on that as much as you can. (I can’t help but wonder if the Covid-19 lockdowns have affected your education and your exam schedule).

At the same time, do other things, such as taking on the project of de-cluttering your room or cleaning it till it is absolutely spotless. You could use this opportunity to get rid of any reminders of this bad relationship you had. You could also journal your feelings and then burn the papers or delete the documents. Think of it as a ritual that is helping you get over this difficult time.

At the same time, do other things, such as taking on the project of de-cluttering your room or cleaning it till it is absolutely spotless.

Make sure that you take a shower everyday when you wake up. Then dress up, eat properly and move on to your tasks for the day. If you can, get out of the house and get some fresh air. Also start making new friends and move in new social circles. Take the initiative and talk to people who you find interesting. Sometimes you will have to make the effort, other days things will come easy. Just stay focused on your studies and any other tasks for the day.

It will not be easy, but this relationship has exposed you to the kind of difficulty you were not used to so far.  Respect your own feelings but, at the same time, just hunker down and forge ahead. You will get through this and I hope you are able to focus on your studies and try your best academically also. The grieving process can be ugly and you may end up feeling awful and sucky but, without realising it, you are learning a lot about relationships and how people behave and what their motivations are. It will help you in the future.

I promise you, you will survive and come out the other side much stronger. And next time (yes there will be a next time), you will go into a relationship much stronger and wiser.

Auntie will not reply privately to any query. Please send concise queries to: auntieagni@gmail.com

Published in Dawn, EOS, May 2nd, 2021

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