'I'm fine!' - my automated response when someone asks me how I am and even that is a massive overstatement. Rewind two months and I would have said 'amazing!' or 'really good!' with enough gusto to ensure that whoever was asking knew that I meant it, because it was true. Now I am filled with so much emotional pain that I physically ache, my mind is churning over different things I could have done and said but didn't and crying has become a daily ritual - 'fine' is the mask I wear to pretend that I am okay because it is much easier than explaining to people why I'm not, or what I'm going through. No, I haven't been diagnosed with a killer disease or lost my sight - I got dumped.
According to a study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology it takes around three months to see the positive aspects of a break up - which should mean I am half way there. The thing is, no matter how many articles I read about the best ways to get over someone you still love, however many inspirational quotes I get sent by my friends and family (I never thought Instagram could be used as a platform for counselling) or whatever advice I am given by people who have also been through a break up, in reality it's all just words.
I know it comes from a good place and I am surrounded by lovely people who just want to help, but one thing I have learned about heartbreak is that everyone's story is different. I wasn't in a volatile relationship, there was no infidelity and there was no blazing row. So whilst Tom's story comes from a place of hurt, Dick's story comes from a place of rage and Harry's story is that of hate, I cannot relate to them as I feel none of these things. Not one article or conversation has been able to help me understand the feelings that have been plaguing me for the past seven weeks. Sometimes I wish it was as easy as going out and getting really drunk, or that by eating an entire tub of Ben & Jerrys it would all go away. Alas. It feels like it will never stop getting in the way of my life.
I never thought I would react like this, then again, I never thought this would happen. I'm not one to feel sorry for myself - I'm the calm and composed one - I'm the one with all the answers. This sadness is all new to me. You see, when you love someone who loves you back it is the most incredible feeling ever but loving someone who is falling out of love with you is very different. In fact, this made me love more - harder than I ever thought possible, even though I knew it was too late. After the break up I learned to replace one four letter word with another. Love became hope. Initially that hope was that we would get back together, or I would put on a killer outfit each day in the hope that I would bump into him. It has taken until now for that hope to become about me - hoping that one day I will wake up and he isn't the first thing on my mind, and hope that time will in fact heal. Everyday this hope gets me one step closer to surviving my broken heart.
This hope is allowing me to see that it hasn't all been bad - some of the greatest songs ever written have come from a place of hurt, right?. The most unsuspecting of acquaintances have rushed to offer support, it has allowed me to reconnect with those I hadn't seen for years and forced me to take a trip that I have been meaning to take for longer. It has made me appreciate the most simple of gestures and made me aware that I am able to remain pretty positive even in the most negative of situations (I can easily tell people I am 'fine' without welling up).I am starting to understand that my peace is more important than driving myself crazy trying to figure out why this turned out the way it did - and maybe that is a sign that I am half way there. Sure, the same thoughts run through my mind daily, but I am beginning to see that it is over and that it can't be fixed by me alone. Apparently this is a big step.
The next thing to tackle, and hopefully see me past this halfway stage, are the feelings of simply missing someone. One of the most difficult things is not talking to someone you are used to talking to everyday and the one thing I miss the most is having someone to do anything with, even absolutely nothing. It's the worst. I randomly find myself wondering whether anyone compliments his tie choice every day like I used to, and I still walk around the supermarket filling my basket with things I think he might like. Whilst I know I'm a long way off not missing these mundane things, now that some time has passed I also know the importance of keeping my feelings separate from my self-worth and I no longer doubt myself. I've already come this far and I know that eventually these emotions will pass and somewhere in the distance I can see the faint glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. For now I'll just have to carry on bopping along being 'fine', forever hopeful and halfway through heartbreak.