By Kelcie McKenney
Few things hurt more than heartbreak. That soul-crushing feeling lingers in ways other pains don’t. It feels like someone forcefully ripped a part of you from your body, leaving a gaping hole stretching from your sternum to the pit of your stomach. Heartbreak sucks. We’ve all been there or have seen someone go through it, and while there is plenty out there on dealing with heartbreak, I wanted to lay out some truths from my own experience.
There is no better way to put it. Heartbreak is painful and difficult, whether it was your choice or not. You’re going to be hurting, possibly even cursing the heavens for putting you through so much pain. Not only are you saying goodbye to a person you cared about, but you’re also saying goodbye to a future you envisioned with that person. That isn’t easy to deal with.
You’ll cry, a lot, but that’s okay
With pain comes sadness, and it will hit you in waves of intensity. Whether you’re known to cry at anything or stoically claim that you never, ever cry, that sadness will still be there. Tears or no tears, the action of crying or emotionally releasing sadness helps us to cope. Cry it out. Cry it all out. Then wipe your tears, sniffle and cry some more. You need to feel these emotions now, because if you don’t they will build up and sit inside you. Part of dealing with the intensity of heartbreak is letting yourself be upset about it.
Prepare for emotional ups and downs
Beyond sadness and pain, you’re going to feel a whole host of other emotions. Anger, frustration, elation, contentment, sadness, emptiness, wrath, confusion… the list goes on and on. One second you’ll be perfectly fine and the next you’ll be struggling to take a breath. Part of the reason for this huge crash of feelings is due to the fact that breakups are complicated. Your mind and emotions are dealing with so many different things at once, and they’ll pop up whenever they choose. The best advice I can give for this is to allow each emotion to be felt. Be angry. Be confused. Be sad. Be content. Be frustrated. Let each feeling run its course.
Everyone will tell you it “takes time”
When I say everyone, I mean everyone. “It just takes time,” is a phrase that you will hear numerous times while you cope with heartbreak. Yes, it is true that time will eventually heal the wounds you have, but no one wants to hear that in the midst of intense sadness or pain. Absolutely no one. Who cares if three months from now you’ll be happy, right now you feel like there’s a hole in the middle of your chest where your heart is supposed to be. When people tell you it takes time, accept that it’s true but know you don’t have to agree with it right now.
Busy yourself with friends
The only real fix to heartbreak is time. I wish there was a way to cut corners with coping, but there isn’t. But, one thing that helps is distracting yourself. Spend time with friends and make plans. Those first few weeks after the breakup should absolutely be spent feeling all of those deep emotions, but once you feel ready, or even before you do, start reaching out to your friends. They’re great listeners, but even once you’ve moved passed talking about every aspect of the breakup spend time with your friends doing things that you love.
Write it out
Eventually your friends will run out of patience to hear you go over every little detail of the breakup, which is absolutely ok. If you still need to go over how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking, writing out your emotions and thoughts can help. Grab a journal, start an anonymous blog, write some poetry, do whatever works for you to get your thoughts out. Sometimes turning what’s in your head into physical words on paper can help you work through things.
Laughter is the best medicine
Nothing compares to the feeling of pure, genuine laughter echoing from your chest. Laughter will help you to forget, for just a bit, that you’ve been sad or in pain. It lifts your spirits and allows you to recognize the joys in your life. With breakups, every day may not be good, but if you look close enough, there are good things in every day. A real laugh is one of those good things.
You’ll need to move on
Ultimately, you’ll need to accept the fact that it’s over and it is time to move on. This isn’t easy to do, nor should you rush into it. Feeling all the emotions that come with heartbreak is the most important part of coping with a breakup, but tied with that is the necessity to come to terms with yourself and the breakup. Remember why you broke up in the first place. A lot of the times after a relationship ends all you can think about are those good memories from early on, which can cloud your mind. Don’t let that happen. You and that person broke up for a reason, and while dealing with that decision is hard, it is the right thing. You’ll get better, it will get better, I promise.
This story was originally published on Kelcie’s personal blog.
Kelcie McKenney is a writer, editor, and artist who is passionate about feminism. She currently works as Digital Editor at The Pitch , where she writes and edits for Kansas City’s alternative magazine. You can find Kelcie watching internet cat videos, eating brunch, taking photos, and reading mystery novels.