525,600 minutes ago, I was lying on my bed, broken open, broken-hearted and broken down, facing another broken relationship.  I documented a year in the life of that breakup and am here to share the messiness that is healing.

Heartbreak is one of the greatest pains anyone will ever endure. That’s a fact, and it’s been scientifically studied and proven:

Studies have shown that an emotional pain, specifically a heart-break, stimulates similar parts of your brain as physical pain.

Heartbreak also activates the same mechanisms in the brain that get activated when addicts are withdrawing from substances like cocaine and opioids. These powerful withdrawal symptoms from the loss of love impact our ability to think, focus, and function in the broadest terms.

If you have been through heartbreak (and most of us have), you’re probably nodding your head in agreement, identifying with the research. Plain and simple: heartbreak sucks, and the only way out is through. To quote the brilliant Glennon Doyle Melton, “First the pain, then the rising.” And, in the midst of all that, is the healing.

What I know for sure is healing is not linear.  It’s completely unhinged, undone, uncontained – and therefore, so is the person going through it.  This breakup, this healing process, was different this time around.  This time, I allowed myself to truly feel the ‘break’ on every level.  This time, I fully processed what happened and my role in it.  This time, I didn’t distract myself with ‘things’ (as I wrote about in my last blog “Living Comfortably Numb”).  This time, I was present for all of the feels: shock, sadness, anger, etc.  This time, I emoted… a lot.  This time, I invested in self-care.  This time, I sought out the lesson.  This time, was the messiest but the most necessary. This time, I recorded EVERYTHING, so I could write this and share it with those going through it.  This time, I healed.

And from that healing, I learned a lot about the messiness, the non-linear course of healing.  A roller-coaster of sorts, one you feel you’re never going to get off of – but you do.  For me that ride felt a little something like this:

Healing is alienation.  Feelings of abandonment.  Loneliness.  Isolation.

Healing is power.  Eventually, your will to overcome trumps the hurt.

Healing is detachment.  Disinterest in all things.

Healing is love.  Love for oneself. An inside job, before you can venture out again.

Healing makes you feel crazy.  Bat-shit crazy.

Healing strengthens your tribe.  Those that check in morning, noon and night.  They’re your 3am, “I can’t sleep” call.  They let you emote without dismissing what you’re feeling, for however long you need to feel it.  They’re your people.  They will carry you through.

Healing is torture.  Time feels like it’s standing still.

Healing is a rebirth.  You hatch and a new part emerges.

Healing is denial.  Rejection of what is.  Because ‘what is’ feels too painful to deal with.

Healing has no rear-view mirror.  Present is where your power (and healing) lies.

Healing is hopeless.  Darkness dominates.

Healing is forgiveness… Hate exits, and acceptance enters

Healing is suspicious.  Where you forebode joy.

Healing is beautiful.  The light from within is illuminated

Healing is the mother of all aches.  Physical.  Mental.  Emotional.

Healing awakens.  You become woke to this next level of self

Healing is a choice…choose wisely, warrior

Healing is hopeful.  You know you’re going to be ok.  Actually, better than ok.

Healing feels like a bad trip.  One without a GPS.

Healing will set you free.  Let go, Butterfly!

Healing is messy…it’s rock-fuckin’-bottom for most.  Some days it’s so heavy you don’t think you can go on, but you do.  Just know, there’s no shortcut, there’s no way around it.  Ya gotta go through it babe, all the way through.  And you’ll get to the other side.  Let me repeat that again, YOU’LL GET TO THE OTHER SIDE.  That is a promise from this newly-healed human to you.

janis sign


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