HOW the heck do we get through break-ups without disfiguring our bodies, shutting ourselves off from the world and wallowing in our own sorrow?
There is no way to put a timeline on how long you will hurt, but mourning, in my opinion, should not extend beyond a week.
If it does, I give your friends permission to do things like rip the covers off and throw cold water on you.
As a side note, major life events can lead to depression, so if your pal's 'missing' for a month you may want to suggest they get professional help, nothing to be embarrassed about.
Here is an example: Tom breaks up with Sally on Tuesday after a six-year relationship. Sally is devastated. She immediately grabs the tissue box and heads to her bedroom, but she says to herself, 'I will stay in bed until Saturday. Then I have to get up'. Give yourself a deadline. Tell a friend about the deadline, so if you miss it they can intervene. Do the same kind of thing when it comes to food. 'Okay I can stuff my face for two days, but after that it has to stop. Even if I'm still having an aversion to food in two days, I must eat such and such'.
Saturday comes and Sally's out of bed. Sally is still hurting. Tom and her were talking about marriage only four months ago. So now what? First of all, do not, I repeat, do not go back to bed. Your own thoughts can be one of the worst things about a break-up. You start replaying all the good memories in your head (torturous), you start questioning when the relationship started to go wrong, you wonder if it's something you did, you can't believe the person you loved could have done what they did, you imagine the future you planned (torturous), you question if they ever really loved you, and then you imagine seeing them with someone else (torturous). Or, if you're like Ne-Yo, you play the answering machine message just to hear their voice, or worse, you call private and breathe into the phone like a psychopathic stalker, or hang up when they answer.
Don't act like you've never done it! You all are well versed in the art of blocking your number.
So how do we stop torturing ourselves? I personally don't enjoy self-torture -- I mean, some of you sadistic people might, I don't know. We have to shut off some of those thoughts, I don't say all, because you're allowed to think and feel, it's part of healing. Obsessive thinking on the other hand is unhealthy.
Distractions! Yep, you have to distract yourself! If you already have hobbies, do them. If you don't have hobbies, get some. Also, try not to be alone. Don't just invite a friend over so you can show them how depressed you are. It's better you go out and do something with the friend. Go for a walk with them, do dinner, take a dance class, anything. It's okay to vent to friends -- it's actually very therapeutic, just don't make it 100 per cent of the conversation.
I've heard that, 'The best way to get over one man/woman is to do the horizontal tango with someone else!' NOPE! I don't agree with that at all, in fact I am totally against it! Men and women are not replaceable. You don't want a replacement when you date again, you want something totally new/different.
Don't you just hate how when you break up with someone you love people say 'date someone else, there are more fish in the sea'. If we JUST broke up I probably don't want those other fish, darn it! I want the fish I had! I want the darned fish that I went deep-sea fishing for on a turbulent sea, caught, scaled, seasoned, and cooked to perfection!
Now I'm not saying you should stay caught up on the person you split with. I just don't think jumping into something with someone else, whether it is their bed, or their arms, is a smart idea after a break up, especially after a major break-up. This, my friends, is why we hear people say, 'Oh, she/he was just a rebound'.
Don't use someone else as a mop to wipe up your tears, or to lick your wounds. It's not fair to them and not fair to you. It's just not healthy. Worse, if you jump into a heavy relationship you may end up really confused. You have to let the wounds heal on their own and in their own time or you'll end up with infections in your new relationship (that can be taken literally or figuratively!). This could also just mean you have underlying issues with, or fears of being alone. You can't stand with someone else unless you know how to stand on your own. Even when you do stand with someone else, you should stand like two pillars, you shouldn't be overly enmeshed. Just keep it in your pants and hold off on the dating until you're in a good/better place.
Here are some other things that might help:
*If you guys had a 'song', STOP listening to it!
*If his or her name is your password to your laptop or email etc, CHANGE IT!
*If you have a picture of you two from your vacation in Hawaii as your screensaver CHANGE IT!
*If the picture is on your desk, MOVE IT!
*If you have articles of clothing for the person, STOP sleeping in them! In fact, donate them to charity if they don't want them back.
You don't need a million and one constant reminders. Just throw it away.
For the most part, break-ups suck in some way or another. They just really suck. But they don't have to be a massive tornado, hail storm, earthquake, tsunami, the end of the world. Be aware of how you're feeling, so you can work on healing.
Ms Betty Lou, aka Elizabeth A Hylton, is a Jamaican-American writer, actress, and clinical nurse specialist hailing from Massachusetts. She has a passion for advocating women's rights and fostering a Jamaican community that values strong women. She specialises in child and adolescent mental health and relationship advice. You can find her on Twitter: @MsBettyLou and Facebook: Facebook.com/MsBettyLou100. Send your thoughts to Msbettylou100@gmail.com.
View the full text of Ms Betty Lou’s column and more on our All Woman blog at blogs.jamaicaobserver.com.