The Post-Breakup Blues

The Post-Breakup Blues

Q: After a serious break up and losing my job, I have become a mess. I have been sad for months. I cry often, I don’t want to hang out with anyone or do anything. I’m so irritable all the time, and worst of all, I don’t believe in myself and have no idea how to get out of this. I’m not suicidal, but I’m starting to think that this is just my new self. So many people, including my family and therapist, have told me that I need to talk to a psychiatrist and get on some antidepressants, but I’m so against them. I know I should exercise, but I just don’t have the energy. When will this end?

He: When one or two people say you should be on antidepressants, you may have the luxury of blowing it off. When everyone around you is making that suggestion, it is time to take a long, sad look into the mirror and recognize that the person staring back at you is kind of a bummer right now. I say “right now”, because it is very likely that you weren’t always, and won’t always be, this way.

For whatever reason, you have had a chemical shift in your brain that is causing you to feel depressed. Maybe it has always been there, or maybe it has been a long, slow, insidious shift that you did not fully recognize because you have been able to offset it with the pleasure you derived from your work, relationships, exercise, etc. At this moment, it seems to be really affecting your life and needs to be addressed. Luckily for you, there are a lot of medication options that could help- even if only needed temporarily.

In a world where people constantly endeavor to find the magic pill that is a quick-fix to address things like weight loss, memory loss, energy loss and erection loss- often with very disappointing results- there is, in fact, a quick-fix pill that will very likely help you get out of this funk.

Newton’s law of inertia, which applies to all things in the physical world, has some applicability to emotional states as well. Right now you are an emotional object at rest, needing an outside force (medication) to put you into motion toward the happiness and energy that you once enjoyed. Since my high school schedule had more occurrences of Ceramics classes than Physics classes, I will abandon this analogy now and get to the point:

Try some medication. You can always stop if you want, which makes the downside negligible and the upside potentially life-changing.

She: My first question always to people that tell me that they are against medication is: Why? Do you even know why you’re against them? Is it because you are afraid? Because you don’t want to be ‘that girl’ that has to be on medication? Are you uninformed about the effects and side effects of anti-depressants? That they will make you feel high? They will change your personality? That you will become addicted? You don’t like putting anything inorganic in your body? If you can answer all of these questions honestly, I have a feeling you would find that you might be confused about why you are against medication. The cliché metaphor is: if you had diabetes, would you refuse to take insulin? The cliché is important in explaining that diabetes is a problem with your pancreas not releasing enough insulin. Depression is an issue with you brain not producing enough Dopamine, Norepinephrine, and Serotonin. The problem is that people look down on mental illnesses and treat them very differently than problems from the neck down- and they are not different.

In the spirit of becoming more educated on antidepressants and their negative and positive possible effects, it is fair to point out that they are not always effective, and there are other things that can be done to turn your brain around and get your it to start producing the neurotransmitters you need to be happy. Studies have shown that depending on the individual, their genetic make-up, whether the depression is acute or chronic, and level of severity will determine the effectiveness of medication. The things that you could do to organically combat depression are rigorous and regular exercise, engaging in relationships, pursing things that give you a sense of purpose, and spirituality (for some). The problem is, when you are deep in depression, it is difficult to get the energy to get out of bed, let alone exercise, or find a sense of purpose. Anti-depressants are not a life sentence; for many they can be a way to kick-start your brain so you can begin to engage in the organic activities that will keep you happy and healthy.

In the end, it is your decision and nobody is going to convince you to take medication if you don’t want to. Personally, I think life is a gift and it is short. I would not want to waste one single day of it if I knew there was an answer and a way I could get back to enjoying it.


Dr. Jen Semmes and Andy Wilson have been (mostly) happily married for nine years (currently happily). They are the owners of Coastal Counseling therapy center in Carlsbad, California. Jen holds a license in clinical social work and a doctorate in psychology, and is a therapist at Coastal Counseling. Andy just tries to hold it together.

If you, or anyone you know, has a question for ‘He said, She said’ please send a private message to Coastal Counseling on Facebook or email the question to Check us out on the web at


Disclaimer: This blog and the information herein are for educational and informational purposes only. It is not meant as a substitute for professional psychological or therapeutic services.  The self-help information provided by this blog are solely the opinion of the bloggers and should not be considered as a form of therapy, advice, direction, diagnosis, or treatment of any kind. Instead, the information is designed to be used in conjunction with ongoing treatment provided by a mental health professional. Use the information in this blog at your own risk. All of the information is provided “as-is,” with no warranties of any kind, express or implied.






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