Short-Term Fixes For A Broken Heart
We’ve all been there, right? Crying, curling up under the bed covers with the curtains drawn against the day outside. Searching for sad song playlists on Spotify. Buying the local Co-op out of Ben & Jerry’s. Glugging a bottle of wine at 5pm because it’s 7pm Somewhere. Letting the dirty plates and cups pile up on the bedside table. Living in one set of crusty PJs. We’ve all been there. We’ve all had a broken heart at some point. And we’ve all been the bed-troll.
My heart was broken very recently by my miscarriage. It’s obviously not the first time in my life that I’ve felt the all-encompassing smothering pain of someone that I loved leaving me, but it was probably the worst. However, after 31 years of picking myself back up from The Dark Place of the broken heart, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve. Tricks I never thought I’d have to use again, in all honesty. But I’ve been so grateful in these past three weeks that I have them.
In complete truth, the only real cure for a broken heart is Time. Time to heal, to grow, to carve new experiences and loves that patch your emotional centre back together. And that just ain’t going to happen in three weeks, my love. But, there are short-term fixes. Short-term fixes for a broken heart that will at least get you on the road to the mystical Time place. They can get you out of bed, and back into proper clothes. And they can help put that beautiful smile back on your face.
Yeah, I know I just said that these fixes will help you get out of the bed-troll phase of a broken heart, but bear with me. You MUST let yourself wallow. I’m a huge, HUGE believer in letting yourself feel your feelings. Bottling-Up and having a Stiff Upper Lip does nobody any favours. Have you ever read or seen The Remains Of The Day? LEARN FROM MR STEVENS, PEOPLE, AND ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR FEELINGS. You need time to grieve. In a way, grieving is the most important period of the process of fixing a broken heart. Grief is healthy. Tears are healthy. Snot and darkness and watching Gilmore Girls until your eyes freeze open and you want to kill the “ba ba baaaa” ladies is healthy. Give yourself time to wallow in the sadness. Because, only darkness lays down the alternative path. Trust me.
CALL ON YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK
Your support network doesn’t need to be a web of 50 super close girlfriends who will all send their love via the WhatsApp group then move on to talking about the weekend’s shenanigans that you missed whilst bed-trolling. My support network is my immediate family and two friends I know I can call upon at any time and tell anything. And that’s all I need. My husband and parents rallied round in the aftermath of the miscarriage to ensure that I didn’t need to Do Anything for a week or so. My two friends messaged me every single day, multiple times, even if it was just to send love. I’m so, SO glad that I called on them for their support. I’m not sure I would’ve made it out of that place without them.
TURN OFF SPOTIFY
You don’t need sad songs right now. Don’t search them out, don’t press Play. Music, for me anyway, is one of the hugest memory and emotion triggers, and whilst I was living and breathing my broken heart in a very real way, I didn’t need EXTRA emotions. Ghost Emotions, I call them, because they’re not real and with you at that moment, but are summoned by the medium of song (see what I did there?). Your real pain is enough. Don’t torture yourself.
WATCH/READ RELAXING OR NOSTALGIC THINGS
Now is not the time to start watching a new super-intense super-rated show on Netflix. It’s not the time for intricately-plotted movies or even super sad rom-coms. Now is the time for easy-watching and easy-reading. Things to lose yourself in for a while, without scrambling your head. Netlix holds Gilmore Girls, The Crown, Don’t Trust The B- In Apt 23, Bad Education, Jane The Virgin, That 70s Show, and Gossip Girl, all of which are perfect for this kind of thing. Dig out either light-hearted comedy or old favourite DVDs. Pick up books that you read and loved as a child, and play The Sims. Cloak yourself in comfort rather than forcing something new.
I know that the LAST thing you feel like doing with a broken heart is going outside, or being around People. But, after the wallowing, it’s probably the most important thing you can do. Only a little, at first. Go to the shop, even if it’s just for a bottle of wine and some ice-cream. Let someone take you for tea and cake. Have a quick stroll around the park. It will definitely feel horrific at first – I nearly had a panic attack last week after the tea-and-cake thing – but it WILL help. And then you start to build it up, slowly, but surely.
MUTE WHAT YOU NEED TO MUTE
Right, social media. Social media is bloody brilliant and I won’t hear a word against it in the short-term fixing of a broken heart, BUT. There are going to be things that you just do not want to see. So get that Mute Finger out, and mute mute MUTE away. In the aftermath of my miscarriage I muted or blocked a few people. I unfollowed a whole bunch of baby-related accounts, and I unsubscribed from emails. It meant 5-10 minutes of brutal pain, followed by blissful silence. Now I can go on social media as much as I like to chat with people, read interesting things, and look at pretty pictures, without being blindsided by something that will make me cry. And if you think you need to ditch social media altogether? Ditch it. For as long as you need. You’re in control here.
DO WHATEVER YOU NEED TO DO TO FEEL LIKE YOU
It’s so easy to lose a part of yourself when you have a broken heart. The wallowing, the pain, the curtailing of interests – it all adds up to pretty much A Shell of your former self. Getting back to you, getting back to doing you, takes some work, especially when parts of you were so wound up with whatever (or whoever) broke your heart in the first place. So, do whatever you need to do to get some of that back. Cook a huge meal. Paint your nails. Go on a crazy new makeup purchasing binge. Go for a run, or a swim, or a boxing class. Write about your pain. Or, do what I did, and head into town alone to browse clothes shops, try on a whole new wardrobe, and then BUY IT.
Three weeks cannot heal a broken heart. But, three weeks full of the above can help you start to get there. I’m not saying there won’t be some afternoons when you just need to go back to bed, because there definitely will be. Just like there will definitely be moments where a passionate 5 minute Big Cry happens. Or mornings where you’ll sit, staring into space for an hour or so. They’ll happen. But you’ll get there. Take it slowly, and be kind to yourself. You’ll get there.