Welcome back to the Cottage Counselor’s Couch: Today we discuss, When We Hurt
Updated: Jul 3, 2020
If you’ve ever had a broken heart, and most of us have, whether from shattered relationships, death, loss, or from unresolved grief, it can feel like we’ll never be whole again. It can seem that we will never love another or feel joy again. The depths of despair we may be experiencing can be unspeakable, and the walls of the cavern in which we lie can seem insurmountable. We may feel trapped inside this ache and feel destined to experience the ache for the rest of our lives.
This surreal pain can swoop in and catch us off guard bringing with it feelings of deep loss and unexpected emotional turmoil we may not be equipped to deal with. But how can anyone brace themselves for such an impact? I’ve heard it said many times that it is not if heartache will come to each of us, but when.
How Will I Know It is Upon Me?
Trust me … you’ll know.
For those of you blessed enough not to have experienced the depths of longing and ache, you may be asking, “What does it feel like to have a broken heart?” It can be different for everyone. It can feel like an overwhelming ache that grips the deepest part of the soul, pulling it down, down, down into a dark and icy chasm where you fear no one will ever find you, and sometimes this may be just fine with you; to send the world away forever and wallow in your grief. It can rush in like a tidal wave with a heaviness that takes your breath and washes you away into an avalanche of pain and sorrow. An intense feeling of sadness and emptiness that grips and tightens the chest and sometimes plunges the mind and heart into utter despair where sleeplessness and confusion become your only friend. This brokenness is like a wave of sadness that washes over the chest and whispers to you in the stillness, “You will always feel this broken and empty and useless.” These are lies and words you must ignore or they will overtake you.
What is Its’ Name?
We call it heartbreak because it is an emotional pain. It isn’t a physical illness. The turmoil is inside us, cutting through the marrow of our very soul. As this enemy of the soul drags the blade along, slicing through all that secures our being, we are left emotionally wretched and bleeding, and in the throws of agony. Other names for this condition are sorrow, desolation, woe, misery, and anguish, and if it lasts too long, we call it, depression.
Won’t it Just Go Away with Time?
Wouldn’t that be wonderful if we didn’t have to put any effort into recovering from a broken heart? After all, we didn't cause it so why should we have to do the work to heal? But that’s not the way healing happens. If these feelings are left to fester and we don’t allow ourselves to be guided through the pain, our physical bodies will eventually be affected by this deep and soul-wrenching sorrow.
If ignored and left untreated, this constant state of low mood can lower your immune system, weaken the muscles around the heart, and increase the release of hormones into the body. Heartbreak, if left untreated, can bring about what is called, Stress cardiomyopathy.
Tips for breaking free:
· Don’t hold everything inside and shut down
· Talk to someone and share your feelings
· Find a support group online or in person/a counselor/a friend
· Allow yourself to grieve the loss
· A healthy diet and exercise will boost your mood
· See your doctor: Remember your self-care
· Healthy sleep habits are vital
· Replenish your soul with meeting your spiritual needs
· Do not isolate - sometimes helping others can heal us from the inside out
If thoughts of self-harm intrude, find a professional to talk to. Call a suicide hotline. Call a spiritual friend, pastor, or if you're stuck, a counselor. Get help. Chemical imbalances can occur in the brain when we are severely depressed and can cloud our judgment.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 NIV).
It may feel that you are all alone, but dear one, you are not. I'd love to hear what helped you through your darkest hours.
I urge you to come back to the cottage and rest a while. Next time we will discuss, When It Hurts To Heal