As much as we try to avoid it, heartbreak is an inevitable part of life. Your mind may tend to go straight to a break up when you think of heartbreak, but in reality, there is a myriad of ways you can have your heart broken. Whether you got dumped, fired from your dream job or lost a loved one, no two losses are the same and the way everyone grieves is different.
As there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to healing, we asked some of our members to share their stories, in the hope that someone else’s experience may help to comfort others going through a tough time.
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Time heals all wounds
“My parents passed on too early and suddenly at only 47. Without warning. Huge shock followed by complete numbness. [I] needed isolation, complete…for many months. This was the only way to deal [it]. [I needed] peace and [to be] left alone to process it. Since and before this, nothing at all got to me that deeply… to cause that kind of heartbreak or disturbance. Everything seems and seemed so minor and irrelevant. With time [I learnt] to understand and accept why things go the way they do, so [now] it is very easy to deal with any situation.” – Yohanna
“I don’t handle relationship breakups well – a couple of blocks of chocolate, several litres of Kahlua, wallow in self-pity and eventually tell yourself to snap out of it, [and that there’s] plenty of other fish in the sea – probably not the most helpful advice.
Time is what helps the most, time heals wounds of all kinds, even if there are a few scars left. Get emotional, don’t hold back, let yourself cry, get angry, swear, throw a few cushions at the wall. Just letting it all out helps”. – Lisa359
“I’ve been through break-ups [with] guys, then also the break-up of a marriage, but the hardest break-up [for me] would [have to] be the loss of my parents. I found losing my mum first was hard, but I still had my dad who was like my bestest friend. I had to be strong for him but when he passed away suddenly – it was one of the hardest times of [my] life. Even now, as I type this, my eyes well up with tears and he died six years ago. It does take a year to actually get over it as you have to go through birthdays, Father’s Day, festive events. I found myself always keeping pictures of him and mum throughout the house. It helps that you talk to them as if they can hear you. That is what comforted me. I have two small statues in my garden that represent my parents. It makes me feel close to them and it does comfort you. You just have to be strong and remember the good times and keep those memories close to your heart.” – jatz
“For a breakup, the truest answer is time. You just have to give it time and try to fill that time productively. If you can’t muster the effort, think about your future self reflecting back on your current self and regretting how much precious time you wasted pining after someone or something who didn’t deserve you and who doesn’t deserve to be in your life. Imagine yourself with that hindsight and don’t let your future self down. Set yourself up for success. Giving in to pity is too easy, so do what is hard and try to turn misfortune into gold. Sometimes you can do and say all the right things and still fail but acceptance of that as a fact of life is wisdom.” – Ethelinde
“We all react to breakups differently, but the common denominator is time. Sometimes it can feel like you can’t live through a breakup, it’s just so hard, but in time it really subsides. I found that taking a day at a time and some self-care helped. What I struggled with the most was self-worth. I judged my worth by how much I was loved by a man. What was wrong with me if he didn’t love me and want to be with me? Turning to friends and family helped. I cried when I needed, which would relieve some of the emotional turmoil. If I knew what I do now, my mantra would have been ‘this too shall pass’.” – IndieAna
Sweat it out
“Time and hitting the gym helped me get through my break up when I was in my late 20s. The gym helped with getting the built-up angst out. I had a mantra or more of a prayer… ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference’.
My heart still twinges a teensy weensy bit when I think of him, almost 20 years later, but the great news is, other than the fact I’m happily married with three beautiful kids, is that I rarely think of him now.” – Okatko
Talk to a professional
“The only thing I personally feel comfortable recommending to anyone when dealing with loss or major change is therapy… When I broke up with an ex I actually felt better without him (even though I still loved him – he didn’t treat me great). When I lost a close friend in a very traumatic way I just sat and stewed in my own darkness for a week and got on with life after that and it’s worked alright.
One of my best friends lost both her parents in the span of a month and nothing has helped her. The only common denominator between all those, that was always positive, was therapy.
You get to say whatever is on your mind without having to worry about how or where it lands, and you get feedback that you are free to take or ignore as you need.” – NellAdams
Lean on your loved ones
“I think being around someone that is close to you and knows the true you, can really help get you through tough times. You have to talk and vent it out. Feel the sad and don’t block anything out. ..then slowly continue one day at a time. Do nice things for yourself. And be around people that make you feel good”. – Rpear
“I think having people around you that you can talk to and are supportive is very important, especially if they have gone through something similar and can relate.
For example with a death (which is probably the main one I can relate to) is that you don’t just “get over it”. This will always stay with you and there will always be triggers. No matter how much time has passed, you still grieve. I think with death personally you need to try and focus on the time you had with the person and appreciate the good times. “Celebrate” their life and what they brought to you rather then thinking about how you will cope without them. As the more you think about how hard your life will be without them, the harder it is to look at the good side of things, like the memories.” – ThisIsMe
“Relationships come and go but the longer you are in one, the more dependent you become on that partner to support you emotionally. And so when that fails, then that truly undermines your self-worth. Having a true and close friend who will listen to you whinge without criticism is extremely supportive. You need to vent, without input from anyone unless you actually ask. Many people these days are so caught up in their own lives that they just expect you to get on with life as ‘sh*t happens’ but that doesn’t help those who are experiencing loss. Take personal time to grieve your loss, reflect on your positives and options to move forward. Go out for lunch or dinner just for the company factor, not for socialising (unless you are ready). Really take this time for yourself and do what is best for you and what you want in the future, and don’t compromise your expectations just to find that ‘new partner’.” – Am1851
Change your perspective
“I find that when someone I love passes I, of course, feel sad. That’s a normal reaction but I find I’m not totally crushed and unable to live my life being happy like I notice so many other people are. I don’t know exactly why this is and the only thing that I can put it down to is my genuine faith and belief that death is not the end. I’m not a religious person as such but I have a strong belief that we go on from here and that I will meet up with my passed loved ones when my time to pass comes. I miss people that have passed but I know they are all watching over me and I know that they wouldn’t want me to be sad when I think of them so I always think of them with a smile. I believe the day someone dies is like their birthday into a new stage of growth for their soul. It’s not sad for them. The only part that is sad for them is seeing our sadness. Because I believe they are watching over me and they are safe and happy and I will meet up with them again. I’m ok with that. I still talk to my Mum every day and I know what she would say back to me.” – Meedee
If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner or in Australia, contact Lifeline 13 11 14 for support or beyondblue 1300 22 4636.
If you are under the age of 25, you can contact your local headspace centre, which offers free and confidential treatment.
If any of your symptoms include suicidal or homicidal thoughts, then contact 000 or your local emergency health service.
Do you have any ways of dealing with grief you’d like to share?