We all have one. That thing we do when our hearts are aching. Everyone’s is different and by the time you get to your mid-20s/early-30s, you’ve pretty much got it down. Inject some heartache into your life and you instantly, subconsciously begin your heartbreak routine. The routine may actually help you feel better, it may help to dull the pain, or it may just be something to distract you for a little bit. Regardless of the effect, the heartbreak routine is an important part of our coping process. Here’s mine.
To begin with, I find I’m suddenly not hungry anymore. But yet I force myself to eat (consciously I know I need to). I pine away at work, doing only small things that require no more than 5-10 minutes to complete. My attention span shortens and I can think only about getting home so I can collapse. Once home, I turn on the TV…it doesn’t matter what’s on, I just need the distraction. And then I veg out. For hours. Way past my bedtime.
Basically, I sit in front of that TV until my eyes start to glass over and I can barely keep my head up. At that point, I’m so exhausted that the heartache doesn’t sting anymore; it has become just a dull ache. Reality is completely warped and I’m not sure if what happened today actually happened or if I dreamed it. There’s something comforting in this mental numbness that allows me to actually sleep. If I go to bed at normal time, I’d just roll around with thoughts of the dreaded event for hours; at least in front of the TV I can try to shift my attention for a while without really needing to concentrate. Thank God for reality TV.
The next day I do the same thing, and repeat the pattern until I can barely keep my eyes open at my normal bedtime. At that point, I know I’ll be able to sleep due to utter exhaustion and I can get back to my normal sleeping pattern. If I don’t feel any better, I can start the routine over again.
Perhaps it’s not healthy, but heartbreak routines rarely are. What’s yours? Does it involve alcohol? Friends?