After a particularly bad breakup, most of us would admit to some crazy behavior. Of course, crazy is in the eye of the beholder … or the receiver. It may start innocently enough with drunken texts, Facebook stalking or obsessing over your need for closure. Unfortunately, every once and a while, a breakup sends even the most level-headed woman into a tailspin.
According to the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), there are nearly 400 diagnosable mental disorders — none of which have anything to do with the sudden onset of insanity after a breakup. Even doctors can get it wrong sometimes. In 1974, the APA removed homosexuality from the DSM as a mental disorder (thank you!), and they’ve added new disorders to the list since, such as Frotteurism (behaviors involving touching and rubbing against a non-consenting person). While a bad breakup probably won’t induce Frotteurism, it can cause seemingly intelligent, beautiful, educated, wonderful women to lose control. For the DSM-V, which comes out next year, I would like to offer up a new disorder for consideration — Post-Breakup Insanity, or PBI.
PBI is defined as: A temporary psychosis brought on by the acute pain of a breakup. Symptoms of PBI will vary from person to person but may include irrational thoughts and actions, loss of contact with reality, intense stalking (virtual and physical), dissociation, obsession and other things which, once the PBI has lifted, will cause mortification and shame.
Be aware that in your PBI fugue state, many ideas will sound normal to you, great even. They aren’t. If you’ve considered doing (or have done) any of the following, you may be suffering from early onset or full-blown PBI. Call your most sane, rational girlfriend to talk you off the ledge. Go dancing, have a girl’s night, or watch “Dirty Dancing” – anything to stop the insanity as Susan Powter would say. Or seek professional help immediately. You are not alone. Many of us have experienced PBI in some form or another. Below are some PBI behaviors to give diagnosticians (and you) a frame of reference.
1. You follow him. I’m not talking about following him on Twitter. I’m talking getting in your car and following him. Maybe following him after he exits a club with a girl, to see if he takes her home.
2. You leave his cell phone number or email address in random bathrooms. Especially at gay bars across the city inviting people to call. You’re severely at risk if you find this hilarious and tell everyone about it so that it will get back to him.
3. You create a fake Facebook page using a random model’s picture. You may even try to tailor the fake profile to your ex’s college/likes/clubs/friends in the hope that he’ll friend your fake persona so that you can stalk him and the life he wants to lead without you more comfortably.
4. You show up unannounced on his doorstep to “talk,” multiple times. While TV and rom coms make this look acceptable, in real life it’s awkward and weird. If he lives with roommates, expect them to say things like, “Yeah, she just showed up. It was pathetic. “She’s so psycho,” when describing you.
5. You hope that you might be pregnant with his child. Because that will be a great way to get him back!
6. You buy a one-way ticket to his city. The long-distance thing might might have been the reason he dumped you inexplicably. Arriving in his city unannounced is a great idea because surely if he saw your face he’d remember how much he loves you. Probably not.
7. You leave 10+ voicemail messages or 20+ text messages in one night. One is too many. Ten is unforgivable.
8. You damage his car. Keying, baseball bat bashing, or any activity Carrie Underwood sings about sounds like a good idea when you’re suffering from PBI. It will only result in a police record.
9. You write him a song to win him back. Variations on this theme may include recording a song and playing it on his voicemail, playing a recording of “your” song together into the phone. Singing said song slowly and between sobs on his phone while drunk.
10. You send him naked or semi-naked pictures of yourself. Because surely he’s forgotten how sexy you are. Nope, he hasn’t forgotten. He just isn’t interested in your naked body anymore, and now he’ll just show his friends your tits and maybe leak them on the internet.