13 February 2018

Heartbreak - this much I know

You may be familiar with the hollowed-out feeling of heartbreak. Anxiety holding hands with nausea, while your brain projects indecent images of your absconded lover in the arms of someone else. It is the definition of madness. Just as falling in love can feel like letting go of your faculties, so can the death of a love affair. If we travelled back in time and interviewed all the thousands of people locked up in mental asylums, how many of those unfortunates would actually be in the grip of PBT (post break-up trauma).
             Having ridden the wave of break-up lunacy several times, I’ve learned things about the ubiquities of the situation that span age, sexual orientation, time and place.

Number one: Wallow in self-pity for it is needed right now. Cry, wail, throw things (not at people), talk to friends, drink loads, don’t eat, eat loads, sleep, don’t sleep – it’s a bit like being sick, do what you have to in those early stages. But do not stay here too long in case it becomes a habit.

Number two: try not to leap into bed with someone else. I have failed at this every time! So don’t listen to me. But what I can say from my experience is it made me feel worse and therefore I believe it is part of my process to then banish it and not revisit anyone else’s dangly bits for at least six months.

Number three: if the feelings of despair, anxiety and madness feel like they will derail you, let them. Sit still, invite them in and let them pass through you. Fighting them with drugs, drink, constant activity, not being alone will just postpone it and the wave will gather force. Repeat on a loop while the tsunami engulfs you: this too will pass. The more you accept this rather than deflecting, the less frequent it will become.

Number four: do things that feed your soul. It is a fine line between not facing your feelings and partaking in an activity that nourishes you. Acquiring a new skill was something I found useful during my divorce. I learned Reiki and in doing so aided my own healing process while extending that to others. By helping other people, or volunteering, you can extricate yourself from your heartache and revel in the fact you are doing something useful.

Number five: if you feel the need to seek out alternative therapies, now is the time to do it! As I said, I learned Reiki which opened up a gateway to another world I knew nothing about, something I have since christened Beardy Weirdy. This term covers everything from angels, crystals, tarot, mediums, witchy activities, emotional freedom technique, NLP, meditation, self-help books and spirituality. I latched onto all these modalities as a flotation aid, finding comfort in them like other people turn to religion. If it works for you, do it!

Number six: Some of us may dream of wreaking some kind of payback, but the best payback you can ever dish out is to get on with your life. Every time I have edged into the arena of revenge, it somehow turns the tables making me look like a bitter old twat. When the urge to key the car, post some vitriol on social media or write a poisonous email strikes, breath through it: this too will pass. I have been known to smash an entire cupboard of mugs to put off taking revenge. Costly, but no one else found out, until now. If you have children with this person, resist the impulse to badmouth as a form of revenge. It just hurts the kids and sets in motion their damaged parental imprints for years to come. The need for one-upmanship in the parental stakes is visceral in the early stages, but if you can refrain, it will make for a healthier outcome.

Number seven: Forgive. They were unfaithful, they moved in with someone else, they won’t see their kids. It’s soooooo unfair, and why should I forgive? Fucker. Well, I don’t mean forgive immediately – you need to wallow and stick pins in their effigy. Time is a healer – it really is. But while you are busy not forgiving, who is off on their ski-ing holiday, or in the Maldives with their new love? Not you, you’re too tied-up not forgiving. Who’s keeping the hurt alive by not forgiving? You. That doesn’t mean it is easy. There are different levels of forgiveness. Do what you can at the time and work towards finally letting it all go.

Finally: if you fail at being heart broken, how human of you. Maybe you did post a poo through a letter box, or donate their possessions to charity, or call them a twat in front of the kids. Suck it up, move on and apologise. If you can always end it by being the bigger person, then you’re still winning. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted by Janet Hoggarth


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