I wish I could tell you how to put your broken heart back together. I wish I could relieve you of the constant nausea and physical pain you feel every time you think about him – each time you think about him living his life without you, each time you imagine how much happier you’d feel if you were still together, and, worst of all, each time you think about him with someone else.
I wish I could tell you when the nights will eventually become easier, or, if not easier, then at least less painful. I wish I could tell you that soon, you will stop laying in bed for hours, feeling your own loneliness crushing you from the inside out. I wish I could tell you how many more times you will have to go to bed with a pit in your stomach because you were hoping he would call and he didn’t, again. I wish I could tell you when that feeling will stop.
But I can’t tell you these things. I can’t tell you when the pain will stop, or if it will ever fully stop. I can’t tell you when you’ll finally be able to see a picture of him online without feeling like you’re going to throw up. I can’t tell you when your appetite will come back or when it will slow down. I can’t tell you how much longer you’re going to have to deal with each tiny, awful little thing about this breakup, or the end of whatever this was.
What I can tell you is this: even though you feel completely and totally alone, this thing that you’re going through actually makes you exactly the opposite of alone.
You are heartbroken, devastated, shattered. And what that means is that you are experiencing something that millions of broken hearts have experienced before you. To feel like you’re suffocating from your own painful feelings, to feel like you’re never going to come back up to the surface – it means you are going through one of the most universal human experiences that has ever existed. And you’re getting stronger, tougher, and more empathetic because of it.
It’s hard, and exhausting, to believe that. To believe that you are somehow ‘growing stronger’ when you just feel like you are consistently on the verge of collapsing. But no one feels brave when they are actually having to be brave – it’s almost impossible to feel that way, when you are being crushed by fear and pain and the worry that you’ll never come out of this heartbreak.
But you’re doing it, right now. You’re surviving. It doesn’t feel as heroic and impressive and epic as it does in movies and stories. But that’s because this is real life. And surviving a broken heart and being brave in real life is not about being impressive. It’s about being human, and going through one of the hardest things that humans go through, and continuing to put one foot in front of the other anyway. That’s what you’re doing.
Each time you roll out of bed and show up to class or work or a social event, feeling like a zombie, you are surviving. Each time you manage to get through that presentation or that to-do list even though all you wanted to do was hide under the covers and cry – that’s surviving. And each time you do all of these things, you are surrounded by dozens and hundreds and thousands of other broken hearts. You’re not alone. You’re not the only broken one.
I know you miss him. And I know I can’t give any concrete information about how to fix it or how much longer you have to hold on until it passes. But at least I can remind you that you’re surviving this, and that you’re brave; because to feel the way you’re feeling, and to keep going anyway – that’s the bravest thing you could ever do. Hang on.