When you think of a breakup, many people are automatically drawn to the question of "when will I get back to the old me"? The "old me" is know as "The Snapback".
So often many people are quick to get on a dope outfit, flick it up on Facebook or Instagram, and use a caption from some song that's probably super toxic for them to be listening to in that moment. Others are quick to start pulling up old contacts from their past, sliding in every DM, and hitting the social scene to meet any and everyone who catches their eye.
People will do anything in their power to not feel the raw emotions associated with a breakup and instead they will become fixated on "The Snapback". They may be trying to prove to themselves that they are strong and therefore don't need to be sad about the breakup. They may be trying to make their ex-partner jealous. There are many reasons why people focus on mastering the art of being content on the outside and silently suffering on the inside after a breakup.
Take you favorite therapist as an example of what NOT to do. This photo was taken after a friendship breakup. You know one of the situations where you were actually super cool with someone, shared personal information, expressed vulnerabilities and insecurities and even let your guard down. The friendship unfortunately did not remain intact and I decided to split my separate way. I literally dropped my last tear, changed into a cute outfit and had high-class photoshoot with my iPhone. I quickly uploaded it on my IG with a caption about there being a lack of appreciation for authenticity and blah....blah....blah!
What many people fail to realize is that a break-up, especially romantic breakups are a form of loss, therefore they are connected to grief. Many people put the pressure on themselves to "just get over it", but it really isn't that simple. So many people want to rush through the emotions and the process without processing that they are currently experiencing grief.
So what is grief? Great question! The 5 stages of grief and loss are: Denial and isolation, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. This stages are accredited to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.
Something to keep in mind about grief is that it is not linear. As a therapist, I prefer to call them the stages of grief rather than the cycles of grief as there are likely going to be stages that you repeat more times than others. There is also a possibility that you may not experience some of the stages at all. If you've ever heard the saying that "everyone grieves differently", here is the proof behind it. Some people accept that "it is what it is" (Acceptance) before any of the other stages. Some people start at depression or anger, and then go into denial and go back to anger and then acceptance.
As mentioned above, break-ups can result in grief and this grief, like many other types, takes time, intentionally and optimism. If you are really trying to snapback, processing grief can help you do this effectively.
Briefly, lets define these in terms of a breakup.
1) Denial and Isolation: Alright so boom. The break up happens and you are like "I'm good", "I don't need them and never did", "I can do life by myself, for myself, for the rest of my life" and you instantly fall into a "ME. MYSELF. I" kind of vibe. You know the break up is real, but you are denial about how you feel in the present and how you will be impacted in the future. You may also find yourself retreating away from your friends and loved ones during this time.
2) Anger: So now you are one step above the "all by myself" feelings. You are angry and upset because you may feel like you wasted your time. You may also be angry if you worked hard to compromise, communicate, and connect with your ex-boo. You may be wanting to slide by their crib, hop in their DM's or texts, or even hit up one of their friends/family members to let them know that you are BIG MAD. You may find yourself getting frustrated when you taste, smell, see or hear things that remind you of them. You may start to feel a feeling of frustration more frequently and you may generally feel upset, hurt and irritable.
3) Bargaining: You are able to calm down a little, but your mind may be filled with thoughts such as "what did I do wrong", "what could I have done better", " if I had just done this when so and so asked" and so on. Many find themselves overanalyzing all of the details of the relationship and trying to comb through any and every event that could have contributed to the break-up. Many people also find themselves feeling a deep sense of guilt.
4) Depression: All of your feelings start to come together and you start to feel less happy than usual. You may feel that it is hard to be motivated to do things you normally do. Eating and sleeping may become more irregular. You may have frequent moments of sadness. You may be constantly thinking about the good times of the relationship and feeling like you are missing the opportunity to relive those memories and create new memories.
5) Acceptance: You have made the decision that you CAN make progress to move forward. It is very important to recognize that acceptance does not ignore the reality the grief is real and it sucks. It does not mean that you are accepting to never be impacted by the feelings of grief again. Acceptance means that when things related to your grief become heavy, you are committed to implementing a strategy for managing the grief without sending you do a depressive, questioning or prolonged angry place. Acceptance id saying YES to trying even when you don't feel like it.
In short, flexing on the gram can be helpful in boosting confidence, but doing the work of recognizing and working on managing grief is what help you get your best SNAPBACK!
For more information related to grief, check out this article:
Happy healing and I can't wait to see your snapback!
-Shavonda AKA The Mental Health Manager