Ah shit. Fuck. I’m so sorry. Is it your first time? Then I really have nothing to say. Your world has stopped spinning, or at least had had its revolving speed dramatically reduced. You’re going to feel unbearably alone and empty, despite your many supportive friends. You’re going to wake up and wish that this wasn’t real, that this was all a dream. You’re going to wish you had the power to go back in time and change things, but you can’t.

It’s going to suck, and suck bad for the foreseeable future. I’m sorry, nothing can change that. But I’m going to try my best to comfort you, just a little bit for now, until you’re ready for more, okay? So just lie back, read, and digest this slowly.

At the time of writing, I just got dumped two months ago too. It’s my first break-up from a serious two-year relationship. I’m not going to lie – it’s been hell. Two months in, and it’s still hell, although maybe a lesser circle of hell. It gets better, all of us probably know that, but this early on, none of us can realise it yet so let’s not even go there. That speech can come later, when you’re ready. For now, I’m just going to tell you one thing:

Feel the pain.

When it first happened, I cried. A lot. It didn’t change anything, but crying was my way to grieve over the break-up. Not everyone cries, each person has their own way of grieving, but whatever yours is, do it. Maybe you need to scream into the pillow. Maybe you need to break something. Grab that pillow, wear some protective clothing, and do it.

However you choose to grieve, keep one thing in mind – don’t numb the pain. Feel it. Dive into the painful, deep end. Like a masochist, let it wash over you.  Don’t dismiss, or avoid it. It sounds like crazy advice, but here’s why:

Numbing your pain doesn’t mean it won’t get processed – it will, just in ways you don’t expect. Maybe you’ll turn to alcohol, drugs, video games, or mindless, meaningless sex. Whichever of these you choose, it’s a momentary, unhealthy distraction, all of which have a price. My first heartbreak, I turned to World of Warcraft in 2005, which led to an eight-year gaming addiction. Engaging recklessly in meaningless sex will likely end up hurting someone and stunting your emotional growth. Alcohol  and/or a drug addiction is exactly the kind of mess you don’t need right now.

You should know, numbing isn’t a selective process. Numbing your grief also numbs joy, happiness, love and passion, the very things you need to survive this break-up. Without these things in your life, you’ll start asking “What’s the point to all of this?” and start feeling really depressed, the kind that’s permanent and self-perpetuating.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. When you love someone, it means you accepted the risk that one day, those things might disappear.  Yes, it sucks when that happens, but it’s never, ever a bad trade-off. Think of all the good memories and good times you’ve had with them, and if there wasn’t much of that, at the very least think of the lessons you’ve learnt from the relationship.  No matter how bad it was, you’ve gained something from it, and it’s important to realise that so you learn and grow from your mistakes.

In my case, my relationship with my ex was one of the most fulfilling, richest experiences of my life. I’ve grown to become a better human being. She’s grown to be a mature woman who is no longer afraid of going after what she wants.  Though I’m suffering now, I know that a lot of good came out of this relationship for the both of us, and I wouldn’t take back the time I’ve spent with her, even if it means going through this emotional hell and torture.

In a way, feeling the pain is the exact opposite of resigning to your depression. It’s accepting what happened, and once you do, naturally the next step from that is moving on.

Of course, this might be too much to take in now, but trust me, for now, be honest with yourself. Feel the pain, and face that huge sea of sadness. I promise you, it seems impossibly difficult now, but it’s the first step to recovering well.

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