4 Ways To Help Heal Your Heartbreak Depression
Oh, models. They look so pore-less, perfect and polished. It's infuriating, isn't it?
As I sit here gazing at a picture of Miranda Kerr with my broken-out skin and split ends, I wonder how it's even possible for a woman so soft and serene-looking to ever have a real-life problem.
Look, kittens, I'm not so overly simplistic and sheltered that I don't think pretty people have issues, but it's easy to feel like their perfect cheekbones are a direct reflection of their perfect lives and irrationally resent them because of it.
So, when Miranda Kerr spoke out about her post-divorce depression, it was a good reminder for me that everyone feels dark feels, even the supermodels.
The impossibly gorgeous Miranda Kerr recently came forward in an interview with Elle Canada, revealing she fell into a serious post-heartbreak depression after her divorce from actor Orlando Bloom.
Kerr told Elle she considers herself "a naturally positive person," but never "understood the depth of depression" until her divorce.
That's usually how it goes with mental illness: No one believes it's real until they've experienced it firsthand.
So, here is my PSA: You can be both pretty and depressed. Groundbreaking, I know.
Depression doesn't discriminate. And heartbreak depression is a very real thing. It falls under the umbrella of what's known in the medical community as "situational depression."
Situational depression is a depression triggered by a trauma or major life change. In Kerr's case, a divorce.
It's different from clinical depression, although they share many of the same symptoms, such as loss of appetite, anxiety, loss of concentration, crying spells, change in sleep patterns, feeling of pending doom (my personal favorite), feeling tired, feeling listless and abusing drugs and alcohol.
The scary part about situational depression is it often goes untreated.
People think, "Oh well, I just can't sleep or eat and just want to drink myself stupid because I'm in a breakup" and suffer silently without getting treatment or help.
In reality, what they're experiencing can be just as debilitating as clinical depression.
Kerr says she actively worked on things to help her manage her depression. She found yoga and meditation to be really effective.
I've been heartbroken, situationally depressed and clinically depressed. And while there is no tried-and-true remedy or cure-all, there are a few things that have helped carry me when I'm knee-deep in the suffocating feels.
While these tips are not a substitute for professional help — which you definitely need if you're showing signs of situational depression — they might bring you a tiny grain of hope:
1. Give yourself permission to feel.
When I'm feeling hopeless, sad and am nursing a broken heart, my first instinct is to stuff the dark feelings right down and pretend they don't exist.
We don't live in a culture that embraces emotions that aren't happy. In fact, even expressing too much enthusiasm can be looked at as "hysterical" or "weird," and apathy and numbness are celebrated instead.
Our culture makes it so easy to numb ourselves to emotional pain. Our fast-paced lives let us bury ourselves in work and immerse ourselves in the quick fix of the mindless social media buzz.
But all of this shit will only make your sadness so much worse, kittens. It will only make their roots grow deeper.
Your sadness isn't going to go anywhere, so confront it. Ignoring the sadness is what makes us manifest our pain in destructive ways like drugging and drinking.
You need to give yourself permission to feel the sadness. You need to honor the sadness, and let it wash over you.
You need to cry your eyes out as much as humanly possible. Our bodies produce tears for a reason; we need that release. It's healing.
You need to talk about how you feel to anyone who will listen. Write incessantly about how you feel, and just sit in the discomfort for awhile.
The best thing is, while it hurts really badly to feel all these dark feelings, the feeling is temporary. Everything is temporary, especially feelings.
Everything is temporary, especially feelings.
You have to trust you won't feel this way forever and the feelings themselves can't physically kill you. Running from it by abusing drugs or booze, on the other hand, can.
2. Be open with your friends and family.
I'm a girl who always felt so much shame when overcome by any kind of sadness, especially when it came to heartbreak.
I felt like I was somehow weak or wrong or bad for feeling this way, so I kept it a secret from the people I loved.
I didn't reach out for support, even though that's exactly what I needed. I thought it would upset my family and bore the shit out of my friends. No one wants to be that buzzkill.
Or so I thought.
You have to remember, this is what your close friends and family are here for. They're there to support you when you feel like you're falling apart. Lean on them, babe.
You might be able to get through this on your own, but trust me, it's a hell of a lot easier when you know you have a cushion of support to fall back on.
And even though you might feel embarrassed to express vulnerability, once you do, you'll be surprised at how people show up for you.
People are statistically proven to come forward about their hardships when just one person shares their personal story. It's how community is built. And, girl, you need community right now.
The beauty is, you will also be reducing their own shame by being open about your struggle. Most of us will experience heartbreak in our lives. There is no reason to feel so alone and isolated when so many people are going through the same thing right this second.
And knowing you're not alone can be the powerful light at the end of the tunnel right now.
In fact, knowing I'm not alone has kept me alive in my darkest hour.
Knowing you're not alone can be the powerful light at the end of the tunnel.
3. Exercise your fucking heart out.
Look, I'm not even close to being a fitness Instagram girl, a gym rat or yogini babe. My idea of working out is traipsing through the streets of Manhattan with my headphones on.
But walking works for me.
Depression can often make you feel like you're disconnected from your body, and working out (even if it's just walking) reminds us our bodies and minds are connected.
So sweating is basically like letting all of your feelings out and shaking them all off. It really, really helps.
And not only does movement build serotonin, but also it reminds you of how strong you are. It reminds you your body is still functioning, and every day you move, you will feel stronger.
4. Go to therapy.
I never saw a therapist until I had my first major breakup and knew I needed a major life change. And it turned out to be the best thing I've ever done for myself.
It's never a waste of money to go to therapy. It's the most powerful investment of all because it's an investment in yourself.
Think about it: Your therapist's sole job is to help you get through a rough time and understand yourself better.
You will understand what makes you happy and what makes you sad, and having a fully realized understanding of that will turn your life around.
Because once you know what your needs are, the power is in your hands. And taking the power back is the most empowering, healing way to get over situational depression.
Regardless of where you live and regardless of your financial status, there are so many resources out there to help you. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Talkspace (which offers online counseling)
- Mental Health America (will help you find a counselor)
- Crisis Text Line (offers free, 24/7 support)
- Teen Line (free support for the younger generation)
Don't undermine your heartbreak, kittens. It's a very real, painful experience and you don't need to go through it alone.