How does one heal a broken heart?
Technically a “broken heart” is not an identified health issue. This condition doesn’t show up in medical journals, you don’t see drug companies advertising on television promoting a new cure-all medication you should be asking your doctor to prescribe, nor can you scientifically list the signs and symptoms of this condition. Yet we have all seen people with “broken hearts.” You probably have had your heart broken at one time or other. I know I have and it just plan sucks. Of course, my heart has since healed. But, the pain that I experienced when my heart “broke” was very real. People may say no one has ever died of a broken heart, but when you’re suffering from one, it sure doesn’t feel that way.
It’s only when you open yourself to love that your heart can break. Some people seem to have their hearts broken many times throughout their lives. Lots of things can cause heartbreak. Some people experience the pain of a romantic relationship that ends before they’re ready. We’ve seen people who have lost their soulmate when they pass, and the one left remaining cannot bear to live solo. Others love someone who doesn’t feel the same way they do about them. Heartbreak can also occur when a close friend moves out of your life, leaving you with a deep feeling of emptiness and sadness.
Poets and songwriters have been writing about broken hearts for thousands of years, but when it’s happening to you, it can feel like no one else in the world has ever possibly felt the same way. People with broken hearts can exhibit symptoms of depression such as:
• An inability to concentrate
• A loss of energy
• A loss of interest or pleasure in ordinary activities
• A decreased (or increased) appetite that may lead to weight loss (or weight gain)
• Changes in sleep (e.g., sleeping more, waking up early, insomnia)
• Feelings of excessive guilt, despair, and /or hopelessness
• Difficulty remembering things
• Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
I believe a broken heart requires as much care and attention as a broken bone or any other physical ailment. With time and proper care, a broken heart will heal and the life’s lessons that will be learned along the way perhaps will prevent a repeat occurrence.
A wounded heart needs time and proper attention to one’s needs in order for it to heal. You must bear the pain, admit it hurts and allow yourself the time to work through it. The greater the loss, the more time it will take to heal. Crying is good. It’s a natural release of the internal pain that you are feeling. Other other “bandages” to help with healing are:
• You can treat yourself gently and be patient with your fluctuating emotions
• You can recognize and accept the pain denying it prolongs it (and who wants that?)
• Take the time you need to heal
• Rest and nurture yourself – it’s time to look after No. 1
• Accept comfort from family and friends
• Make no major decisions about anything during this time – or at least run them by someone you trust
• Stick to a routine and keep busy
And what should you not do during this painful time?
• Don’t panic
• Don’t deny yourself the hurt you are experiencing
• Don’t dwell on the negatives or isolate yourself from others
• Don’t fall into relationships on the rebound (always a mistake)
• Don’t be afraid to ask for help (counseling if you don’t have a close friend to confide in)
• Don’t take alcohol or drugs (just adds to the pain in the long run)
The hardest part of mending a broken heart is getting up in the morning and going through the day like nothing has happened. Although you might feel like isolating yourself, try not to go through this painful period alone. Make sure you surround yourself with people who love you and care for you. And surround yourself with things that bring you comfort. For me, cozy pajamas, a down comforter, romantic movies (here come those tears) chocolate (lots and lots of chocolate) and Rudy, my Springer Spaniel curled up beside me and a cat curled up on my lap often does the trick. For others, it might be a favorite CD, a book, and a cup of hot tea. Try to focus on what you can do to make yourself happy.
Above all else, don’t ever blame yourself. You are not at fault because someone else jilted you. It is important that you retain a sense of perspective at all times while your broken heart is healing. Accept that the pain will not go away overnight. Believe in yourself and the healing will follow.