Learning To Love You More




Assignment #40
Heal yourself.

"Healing debilitating heartbreak turned depression: (no particular order)"
Brittany Shoot
Boston, Massachusetts USA



1. Get a good therapist so that someone professional will tell you that your grief is normal. If things get out of hand, they can also give you medicine to get you over the hump. It isn't bad; it's normal.
2. Understand the different roles your friends must play. Know your best friend is always on call but many are not. This might make it worse at first, but once you know who can really handle you in crisis, it will make it easier on everyone, especially you.
3. If you do not have a pet and you can afford one, get one. Adopt a low-maintenance cat or even get a fish. But the furrier the pet, the better. Someone who can love you in return and be as happy to see you when you come home as you are to see him/her.
4. Do what you need to do in the moment to feel better. Do you want ice cream? Eat some. Eat a lot. Do you need to exercise to get rid of some stress? Go to the gym on your schedule. Make calls during your daytime cell phone minutes if it will calm you down. Make time for what you need.
5. Along with 4, don't overextend yourself. While telling people the whole story may be a bit much for them, be honest. Can't function at work? Can't finish a school project? Tell them. If you think it will be understood, explain why.
6. Go on dates. They will be awful. Go anyway, at least until you can't stand it anymore. Then you will be happy to be alone and will remember why you are not ready to date. It will also help you to know when you are really ready again.
7. Allow yourself to grieve. If you need to cry, just do it. Don't think it isn't productive. Bottling it up will likely make it worse.
8. Understand that only you can give yourself closure. You will be stronger, more powerful, and in control if you can close the painful chapter without rehashing things with those now gone. If you need to contact the past, plan it carefully and expect the worst because you may face it, causing another relapse or breakdown. Do not expect that anyone can make things better except you. If someone hurt you, he/she may not be strong enough/care enough to fix it.
9. Talk about it. Tell people your story when you are both comfortable and when you can tell it without falling apart. They have similar stories. It's terrifying how badly we have all hurt one another. Share that experience with new people. You will feel awkwardly better about your pain. You will also find that even more than before, you have an extraordinary ability to empathize. Share that with others as they share with you.
10. Do not listen to sad music or go to sad movies intentionally. You will keep falling apart. Wallowing for a while is unavoidable, but don't make it a habit. However, sometimes stories (esp. fiction) about loss make you feel better, much like talking to people who have comparable experiences.
11. Don't use substances like drugs and alcohol to numb it. You'll eventually have to handle yourself, and putting it off will make it worse.
12. Write letters you will never send. Have conversations in which you play both parts. Yell at the mirror, pretending it's the offender.
13. If possible, you may need to move. It isn't about running away; it's about taking yourself out of an environment full of memories that make it even harder to get over it. Switch apartments or switch states. Get out if it will make a positive difference.
14. Take up something interactive like boxing or dancing that forces your mind to stay engaged with your body. Maintaining that relationship of the whole self is imperative.
15. Do things you didn't do before but make you happy. Volunteer somewhere. Helping others is a great way to help yourself. Get involved with an artistic community. Spend time with more inspiring people. Test your limits and expand your sphere. Do anything creative that makes you feel fun.
16. Cut your hair. Or get a makeover. Or buy some new clothes. I know it's a clichˇ, but you will absolutely feel like a new person, especially if you rarely do things like that.
17. Make amends where you can. Send an ex from high school a letter or call a friend with whom you had a silly falling out. Don't expect to fix anything and don't expect a response. But in light of new circumstances, these past episodes may feel less acute. Apologizing or expressing remorse or sadness about the situation may make you feel at peace with old ghosts even if new ones come along. You may finally be ready to put those problems to rest with new issues on the table, and you will have done the right thing, no matter the reaction you get.
18. Thank the people who help you along the way.