Q&A: Dealing with a potential relapse trigger

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I think I may have hit upon an emotional/stress trigger that seems to increase my pain considerably. Essentially, me and my long term G/F broke up about 8 months ago. It ended pretty well for a long term relationship, with no huge issues.

 We don't speak/see each other that often, but I can now think of 4 occasions where, after seeing her or speaking with her, I have quite a bad relapse.

'How should I deal with this or is just recognizing it enough?

Answer by Georgie Oldfield, MCSP

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Georgie Oldfield, MCSP

Georgie Oldfield's Profile Page / Survey Response

Recognizing the trigger is an important start, but usually you would need to work out why it is a trigger too. My first advice would be to acknowledge it properly by writing about the breakup and how you felt about it. Although you say there were no huge issues, the relapses indicate that although consciously you dealt with it well, there may well be more underlying issues that you may benefit from exploring. Any breakup means there were issues beforehand, as well as the upset of actually breaking up and all that that may entail.

Try exploring it all by journaling. Often free writing about something like this means you can explore how you feel about it and it may bring up something you hadn't recognized as still being an issue. Writing an unsent letter to her may also help, where you express things you would not dream of saying to her, then destroy it.

Tackling the trigger may also include using visualization. For example you could visualize yourself meeting her again and being absolutely fine afterwards. Make it real, use all your senses and keep repeating it so it becomes accepted. If and when you do see or talk to her again, use the visualization again and talk positively to yourself about why you don't need the symptoms because you have been addressing the underlying cause. Good luck.


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