Using Music As A Medicine For Heartbreak

Its been a while since I’ve written anything on this platform. There’s a good reason for that. Without going into too much detail I’ll put it simply—I’m heartbroken, and have been for the past four and a half months. When I say heartbroken I mean it every sense of the term. I was in a relationship for 3 years (living together for 2) with the first person I had ever actually fallen in love with that recently came to an abrupt ending and I haven’t been the same since.

This is something I’ve never been through. And while I don’t want to dive into the specifics of what caused the breakup I can tell you it was anything but forgiving and has left me with emotional scars that will likely stay with me for the rest of my life.

Those first two months were utter Hell. The pain, despair and obsessive, torturous thoughts pulled at my soul like an angry step parent forcing a child to face their deepest fears when they’re frightened beyond belief and don’t have the strength to resist an experience they’re not quite ready for. To be quite honest I can’t tell you a single thing that happened in those first couple of months except a lot of crying, screaming into pillows, and praying. Other than that its as if I have temporary amnesia for every day was nothing more than a weary haze that disallowed me from having any connection with the outside world.

In the time that has passed since I’ve consumed dozens of self-help, post-breakup, heartbreak articles online and dozens of hours of YouTube videos as well as picked up a few books to help me unpack this entire experience to really learn what it takes to carry on with my life and not cave in to the despair that still follows me around everywhere I go. Safe to say, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through and I’ve been through enough shit to know what hard times look like. If you’ve ever been through it or are currently going through it then my heart goes out to you, deeply and sincerely. I’m fighting the good fight right beside you.

Beyond spending much needed time with friends and family and figuring out how to start my life basically from scratch what has helped me immensely through my most difficult moments has been music. Go figure, my most cherished passion rose to the occasion to serve me greatly as it always has. It hasn’t just been a motivator to push past times when it seemed like all was lost, its also been a translator to help me truly understand the emotions I’ve been feeling since that fateful day when the relationship came to a brutal end.

It was as if the lyrics to to some of the most contemplative love ballads had new meaning for me. I’ve always had an appreciation for music I was divulging in every morning, afternoon and evening right before bed but it was as if it was all now speaking directly to me and for the first time in my life I could actually relate to the words and emotions the artists were conveying in these records.

From James Bay’s “Let It Go” to James Vincent Monroe’s “Last Story,” Jack Garrat’s “Worry,” Ben Howard’s “Small Things,” Frank Ocean’s “Bad Religion,” “Only” by RY X and even more Pop records like Passenger’s “Let Her Go” and Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” all laid the foundation for the soundtrack of my life for several weeks. I complied a playlist of at least 70 songs from various genres and decades that all held relevance for me in a way that I had never previously thought possible.

Every time a came across a song that I felt resonated with the sadness that marinated within the depths of my being I added it to my Heartbreak playlist on Apple Music. Anytime I wanted to just let out a good, healthy cry I’d just hit play and it was instant waterworks. While I’m sure this isn’t an experience many men would be comfortable sharing, I personally feel its important to know just how deeply a man can be affected by the loss of love because this pain is unique in how it can break you down to reveal the most bare aspects of who you are.

I was utterly surprised to find how deeper I could connect with music, not just because of the lyrical content that was resonating with me but with the emotions I felt by listening to the instrumentation in general. As much as I’ve always been obsessed with music, I now could feel the various layers that make up a complete record. To this day, anytime I discover a song I haven’t heard before with the right feel that encapsulates a certain emotional response, I’m immediately drawn to it and have to add it to infinitely growing streaming music library.

Its become more clear to me than ever before what our most celebrated storytellers have been through and how they’ve managed to turn their experiences into timeless works of art that uplift and inspire us all. That in itself continues to be evidence of the magic that makes music what it is. As an artist myself, I’ve used music as a cathartic way to work through my various struggles but until now I hadn’t quite fully grasped the depth of pain that’s caused by not only heartbreak but the worst kind of betrayal. Again, those who have been through it or are going through it, I deeply sympathize with as now I know what this kind of pain can do to a person.

The ways in which this experience continues to open me up is still something I’m doing my damndest to understand from an optimistic approach—although its still not easy by any means, eventually I feel it will allow me to become a better person who will be able to love on a level greater than ever before once I’ve fully recovered and have moved onward to new beginnings which believe me I’m looking forward to seeing what that reality looks like, especially considering how I still feel amidst this current stage of the grieving process.

They say time heals all wounds. While there’s some level of truth to that, time alone can only do so much as there is most definitely inner-work that has to be done in order to fully recover from the emotional trauma and devastation that can inflicted by others, especially those we put our love and trust into. For me, music has become an essential part of that work as it always has through my most trying moments when I’ve felt lonely and lost. Though this time around is a little different, its still the music that’s been my medicine as always—to heal the heart and replenish the soul.

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