A Story About Heartbreak

Nothing compares to losing her. She was my heart, my best friend, my biggest fan. No one wanted to see me win more than she did. She was my energizing pulse. My dreams outweighed hers, but when I won, it felt like she did also. We were about the same age, so the sacrifices of her path to enhance mine became evident as we grew. My advancement produced such joy in her life. She believed in me and expressed that both verbally and physically. It wasn’t all work with us, when we laughed it felt like I was floating. My head was in the clouds and all I saw was her. I did not see life without her, since every possibility of my existence included her. For years, we never missed a milestone, a highlight moment, or even a phone call. We showed up for each other, even if that meant “I don’t want to be alone right now”. We stayed on the phone in silence just to be in support. We argued but were never mad at each other for long. When she was upset with me, giving me her angry face, I found it the cutest thing and would make up with her quickly. With such large investments, we were together all the time. Being without her felt odd. I did not want her to leave my side for a second. 

Unfortunately, her leaving was not in my control. She had to leave, and it broke my heart. I experienced loss before but nothing like this. The other times I came close to this type of pain, I could rationalize and make sense of it. I would take comfort in the idea of they were older, they are out of the suffering, or it was just their time. This felt different and nothing compared to it. The throes of such agonizing heartbreak created a visceral pain like no other. When I received the news, heartbreak was a crushing sensation piercing my chest. My lungs and heart rate ramped up, then abruptly slow down to a stop. My fight-or-flight sympathetic activation system was on overload. I felt like I was fighting but was as still as a stone at the same time. I was frozen in place. Everything was in question: Who am I? Where am I? Why am I? What will I do now? 

Imagine an out-of-body experience in a car crash while in the driver’s seat. You can feel yourself speeding up, all gauges in red, next you slam the car into park while the car is still going at this astronomical speed, then you take your hands off the wheel and just watch the car spin out of control. When the car come to its inevitable stop, crashing into the wall of reality, the fire and smoke finally cleared, and all that was left was ashes. This was what it was like for me to have my heart broken by her. Every day after that faithful moment I experience this consistent, chronic pain. Time transformed this knowing pain into a dull ache.

The ache never really went away because she never truly when away. I wished she died because death I can make sense of but no, she just broke up with me. I did not see it coming. She was cheating on me for a while and fell in love with someone else. How did I not see it? I gave my entire self to her as a repayment for the gift that was her, except it didn’t matter, because now she is living 20 minutes off the highway, exit 24A, happy without me. This breakup, rejection, and failure felt devastating. Much like loving her was a landmark experience, this was my capstone. This was my traumatic bomb over Baghdad, which overrode logic or explanation. The breakup questioned my worthiness, ego, and self-esteem. This was the end of love, my plans, and my hopes for my future. 

I was barely living yet reliving the tape on a loop because that was the last time, I was closest to her. This allowed me to stitch together an alternative ending. After playing this tape all the way through I was hit with the same reality, it was over, henceforth, sadness would knock me down and wash me of all prospects of our reunion. Change for me came in a meeting with a program coordinator (Mrs. Zummo). She may not know this, but she saved my life and set me on a different path. This interaction was brief, she stated her observation, and I told her that I was confronted by this rupture. The turning point came when she questioned the timeline, then it hit me I have been grieving this loss for three years but in my head and heart, it occurred last Friday. Given this moment and our professional environment, she said, “seek out a counselor, it might be time for you to move forward.” She pointed me in the direction of the human resource (HR) department and subsequently our employee assistance program (EAP) which referred me to a mental health therapist.

Recovery was a slow but progressive process. I was able to reconcile the sensation of my heart breaking. Since my heart did not break, therapy helped me see she had to leave, and I had a whole heart to start from. I was diagnosed with depression and spent a lot of time dealing with my dependency issues. Facing the pain and grief focused my attention on significant life events that I missed while I was in my relationship. I noticed how I was selfish and needy in an unhealthy way. Instead of feeling alone and like I was living a slow, lonely path to death, I was able to focus on learning about myself, correcting thinking errors, preventing avoidance, and moving on. On the surface, I went to therapy because my heart was broken and I thought I would regain my “normal” functionality, but it turned out I needed a complete overhaul. I got to know myself, and I developed, self-love, hope, and purpose, but it took me moving from behind the lilacs to do that.

With this story, I am hoping to be your Mrs. Zummo and encourage you to go to therapy. The above metaphors aren’t just poetic flights of fancy, what I found is that things that hurt you in the past will control your future if left unaddressed. It may not be a romantic breakup for you, but it could be some traumatic event that shakes your core and is delaying your advancement. Reach out right now to AGC Pllc and start working on your revitalization today.

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