There’s this thing I do with pain where I’m so uncomfortable I think I can google away and research away how I actually feel. I think if I can just find a logical reason as to WHY or HOW, I can explain all the hurt and start to feel better but being able to "logic myself out of emotions" never worked.
But all the googling in the world still can’t mend a broken heart. Perhaps I find explanations and make sense of some of it. Perhaps I don’t feel so alone or start making those it could be worse (but oh it could just have never happened) judgements.
Yet I still found myself at the mercy of a ruminating mind. Replaying events. Questioning myself and wanting to run to anyone who would listen and try to get their opinion. Again, grappling for answers where there might not be any. Though I read article after article of what to do, when in the actual throws of it, I had to find a way to not wake up depressed and mired in a sea of thoughts everyday.
To heal, I had to make an effort. Here is my list of things I do, and make sure I do, when the heart aches more than it ever should have to.
1. Seek help from a professional. Sure, everyone breaks up and maybe you think a therapist is too intense for something something so regular but a non-bias third party who can help you process your pain and not only help you heal, but can help you make positive change towards finding (and maintaining) situations that won’t end up in the same heartache. Though it’s not a guarantee, it is a strong bet towards a more self-aware life that will decrease your chances of subconsciously repeating the same narratives out of familiarity.
2. Exercise. I think the only thing that kept me feeling any better during any of these times was to exercise. It would lift my mood and for a while, wash away the nauseated feeling that I carried with me in my gut for days (ok, weeks) after certain experiences. It cleared my head. It gave me a moment to get back to my body and feel like myself again; strong, capable, and really worthy of being loved.
3. Eat well. Though it can sound counter intuitive, we gotta continue to nourish ourselves even when feelings have taken power over our appetites. For some, like me, I lose my entire appetite. Could go days living on nothing but tea and ruminating thoughts, and for others, they seek solace and comfort in food. The former must stay well as must the latter. When excess is the issue, we must stop and ask ourselves about destructive coping patterns that will only end up making us feel sick instead of better.
4. Journal. Writing was my original therapy. It was a place to talk about everything, in any way I wanted, without having to worry about being judged, any other opinions than my own, and a place to vomit out all my thoughts, rational and not. It’s a space to begin to process your own emotions and it can also be a place to start some much needed rebuilding of inner dialogue to one self. The most impactful journaling I did was when I would either write affirmations I needed to hear that day, or when I was writing advice to myself but as if I was my daughter. The perspective switch can help you dig out of an other wise dark hole of justification, denial, or self-doubt.
5. But also seek friends and support. Journaling, though amazing, was once a place where I could hide and not share anything about what I was feeling with anyone else. The isolation didn’t make me feel much better. Recall the saying about things eating us from the inside and repressed feelings in the form of stress inside the body causing a host of health issues. You really have to let others care for you. Being able to have friends hold space for me to be and listen, proved to be one of (if not the most) healing aspect of a heart break. You are also reminded how friendships are not just for the happy times but also for when we hurt. And if your friend comes to you in the same situation, make sure to sit with empathy and provide the same love you would want when you’re hurting.
6. Get back to being good to you. A simple reminder to practice self compassion and be good to you. I often think, no man has ever loved me like I love me. I continue to make better decisions for myself as we can never forget, no one can ever provide a love that you don’t have for yourself first.
7. Know you can and will heal. Take solace in knowing that whether you can make sense of things or not, you can and will heal. It might take way longer than you’d like and it might echo back any time you are triggered moving forward in life but healing is possible. We will never be quite the same but think less about rebuilding into what was and move towards evolving into what will be as a sum of all your experiences.