The Light at the End of the Tunnel: Surviving Heartbreak Without Losing your Mental Health

By Emily Frazier

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“It’s not the end of the world” is a phrase so often used as words of comfort and reassurance, but sometimes it doesn’t quite work. Sometimes, when someone stops loving you, and you’re sitting on the floor hardly able to breathe, feeling like your life is crumbling around you, it really does feel like the end of the world. It feels like tomorrow will never come, and nothing will ever be the same. The constant replaying of what happened drives us to want to want to numb ourselves and leaves us not knowing who to blame ourselves. Despite all of these feelings, the sun still rises, and believe it or not; you will feel normal again.

Getting through your breakup or any tragedy does not happen in a day, or week, or even a month, and it does not happen without time and effort. Too often we can become consumed by these feelings and cope in unhealthy ways. Although these periods can be some of the most difficult in life, you can get through them and will come out better and stronger on the other side. People can and will help along the way, however, no one but you can lead yourself to the light at the end of the tunnel, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if it is not visible at first. The road through that tunnel is a tough one, and moving on might be the hardest thing you have to do, but in the end, it is more than worth it.

One of the biggest things you have to realize is that the adage “it’s not you, it’s me” is true. The “what if I had been different or done something different ” questions are inevitable, and they will constantly be running through your mind. You will go through every little detail of yourself and everything you did, wondering what you could have done to stop them from leaving. You can change your hair, your style, and your attitude, but that is not you, and that will not make them come back. In the long run, you realize that changing yourself does not change the situation; you were all you could be, and nobody can ask for more than that. You can’t beat yourself up over things you can’t change, and you must remember that you deserve to be loved. Show yourself the compassion you would show others and accept the things outside your control. This is a very hard thing to do and is much easier said than done, but keeping this in mind can go a long way in not falling into the emotional and mental spiral these feelings push us towards.

Another crucial part of working towards the light at the end of the tunnel is honesty. You have to be honest with yourself, with your friends and family, and even with an ex. Do not pretend to be okay if you are not, and do not pretend to have moved on if you’ve not. Allow yourself the to grieve and be upset; work through your feelings and thoughts. Tell your friends and your support system what is really going through your head. The more you talk it out, the better you will feel, and the faster you will be able to start healing. It is these support systems that will guide you through the lowest points and help you get back on your feet. The most important person to be honest with, though, is your ex. Lay all your cards out on the table. Anything left unsaid will constantly be in the back of your mind and leave you wondering if those words would change anything. It’s ok to be vulnerable because it is at those truly honest moments that you begin to get better. Being honest with where you’re at and allowing your support systems to help, whether it be friends, family, or a therapist, will go a long way in getting through it.

Heartbreak, whether it be a breakup or other tragedy, is one of the ugly realities of life. These times can be the hardest of our lives and can send us down dark paths with seemingly no escape. However, these challenges can be something else. They can be opportunities to learn about yourself in the most fundamental and emotional way. If you can accept the support of loved ones, be honest with yourself, and remember that you deserve to be happy and loved, you can navigate any tragedy and come out stronger on the other side. Be kind to yourself and be compassionate and you’ll reach that light at the end of the tunnel.

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