By Viveca Stone
How to Create a Support System during a Love Crisis
“Broken heart syndrome: real, potentially deadly, but recovery is quick” according to Hopkins scientists.”
In 2005, a condition called stress cardiomyopathy was discovered by Hopkins researchers. Also known as “broken heart” syndrome, it can trigger sudden, yet reversible heart failure that mimics a heart attack. Scientists claim it is brought on by emotional shock such as a relationship breakup, divorce or death.
Speaking from personal experience, when your heart is broken it’s hard to move forward in life. You get stuck in a funk that feels nearly impossible to shake. You mope around for days on end feeling lonely, sad, and downright depressed. It is hard to imagine you can ever feel happy again …
If you are “there” please let me share “how to” create a loving support system. Then do it. Please.
Grieve, but stay connected.
During the grieving process, it’s important to surround yourself with positive people and things. Reconnect with your most upbeat pals. Host a slumber party and play your favorite dance songs. Invite friends and family over for a cookout or share your favorite dessert with a neighbor.
Think about all those things you wanted to do, but never had time for. Volunteer at a local animal shelter, visit an art gallery or museum, take Salsa classes, or plant a garden. Take an art class. Learn how to sail. Whatever you do, make certain it brings you joy and happiness.
Nourish your body and spirit.
Feed your body with healthy foods and beverages. Avoid the alcohol for now. It’s a depressant and interrupts your sleep cycle. Protein foods such as eggs, cheese, meat and poultry stimulate the mind and can keep you awake at night. Whenever possible, eat dinner a minimum of 3 to 4 hours before going to bed.
If you’re not already drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of filtered water, now is the time to begin. Start your day off by drinking a cool glass of H2O. Add a lemon slice or a few fresh berries for a refreshing beverage. Hold off on coffee until you’ve been up for at least a couple hours, and limit to no more than two 6-ounce cups.
Every night before you go to sleep write down three accomplishments for that day. Got out of bed. Worked. Flossed. Got back in bed. Use these if you get stuck, they worked for me.
You can also write about the day’s worries, your dreams, hopes, graces and gratitudes. Don’t judge, don’t censor – if it comes to mind, put it down and let-it-go.
Don’t re-read. Let each page and each day go. You – keep moving forward. You will find, little by little, that your heart will lighten, the good will come naturally and the pain will slide away.
After journaling, play soothing music to lull you sleep. After all, it works for the babes and me, why not for you too? If you don’t already own a radio or CD player, consider investing in one. Look for models that include a sleep timer and automatic shutoff. Experts recommend listening to sounds of nature such as ocean waves and bird songs, to quiet a busy mind.
The mind is a bad neighborhood. Don’t go there alone.
When we are hurt and depressed it is natural to want to crawl into that cave and lick those wounds. BUT, if you stay there day after day, that’s called depression and is one baaaaad neighborhood.
I am so grateful to whatever spirit moved me to cry for help and made me willing to receive it. Here are a few of my supporters. I encourage you to find your own.
Lean on docs, family and friends.
The Docs …
Dr. Belle, Psychologist. Belle’s specialty was helping women break out of co-dependent, unhealthy relationships with significant others, and themselves. She told me my “picker” was broken and helped me fix it.
Dr. Gray, my primary care physician. She sent me to Dr. Belle and together they collaborated on my treatment, both physically and emotionally.
Family & friends. All angels in disguise especially …
My Parents. Mom was stoic, no nonsense, just there for me. When I told my dad my breakup news, he dropped everything, picked me up and took me out to breakfast. While I cried into my eggs he talked to me about things like sleeping, eating and talking to my doctor. The kind of things I am talking to you about now.
Claudia. She insisted on getting me out of the house and on the tennis court. (Great idea – broken hearts need to physically vent). We spent hours smacking the ball, giggling about sex, men, financial woes, boobs and everything under the sun. She also tore through my closet and eliminated all of my “family/wifely” style clothing. Yes, I used to dress like I had the leading role on Little House on the Prairie.
Mafe. Years later she is still a daily source of encouragement. She drove for hours to take me out to lunch when I told her about the break up. I will never forget that afternoon. Or the hours we have spent together on the phone ever since. You don’t have to be next door or close to get (or give) the Love you need.
Catherine. She said “I’m sorry you’re going through such a difficult time.” Cat didn’t tell me what to do, how to do it, or give her opinion about it. She did gift me a plane ticket with an invitation for a cozy, compassionate visit.
Tune into Relationship Advice from Authors and Experts
Dan Millman, Cathy Guisewite, Robert Kiyosaki, Mari Smith, Dr. Harriet Lerner, Maria & Michael Carter, Dr. Kalish, Sandra Taylor, Terry Hernon MacDonald, Karen Rontowski, Tracy Smith, Armando de peralta, Rene Godefroy, Paul Gilligan, Marc H. Rudov, Martha Beck, Erica Miner, Dr. Catherine Hamlin … and the list goes on …
Thanks to wsRadio.com, I was able to spend hours and hours interviewing love and relationship authors on The Get Ready For Love Show. I read their books, did their exercises and followed their relationship advice. (Guess what. It worked. That’s another story, another day.)
Feel free to tune in to these interviews, 24/7 at www.GetReadyForLove.com/topicindex.html.
Al-anon, last but not least.
How can I describe Al-anon? Let me put it this way. When I first met with Dr. Belle, I told her I wanted to have my life back and I wanted to feel happy again. She asked me if I had heard of a program called Al-anon and recommended that I give it a try. “Go to six meetings”, she said, “and see if Al-anon is for you.” I did. I am still going strong.
To listen to my interview about healthy relationships and the magic behind the Al-anon Program, please go to: http://www.healyourselftalk.com/fatigue.html.
In closing, I can tell you that no condition is permanent and that time heals all wounds. I can tell you that you must be a very loving and lovable person to be so touched by this breakup. I remember something I heard when I was in your shoes. It jolted my heart – gave me hope.
“You think your life is falling apart. Maybe it is just starting to fall together.”
Hmmmmm. This could be true for you too. Couldn’t it?
Whoever you are. Wherever you are. Take good care of yourself starting with your body. Get some sleep, supplement your heath and plug into your emotional support hotlines – all of them.
And, don’t give up on Love.
Don’t give up until you get your miracle … (and you will.)
Viveca Stone-Berry is the founder of The Get Ready for Love! Show and author of the Fatigue Be Gone! Jumpstart e-Guide which helps women of all ages re-energize themselves and their relationships. Ms. Stone-Berry publishes the Get Ready for Love! Newsletter; a free publication that provides timely advice, life-altering articles, resources and tips. Subscribe today and receive a multitude of “love” bonuses – http://www.getreadyforlove.com/newslettersample.htm