Monday, September 16, 2013

Prescription for a tender heart

What's the prescription for moving on or getting over someone?

The clue can be found in medicine.

What is the treatment for an injury? Like when you fall off your bike and gash up your arm?

Well we know from experience what helps with healing: salves, bandages, wound care, maybe a sling. Every day you'll have to tend to it.

Every day you must take care of yourself. This vulnerable part of you needs your oversight. The slow climb back to your regular state begins with building up to regular activities in a safe and measured way. Your body will guide the pace. If you push too hard, it will let you know whether to ease up a bit or continue pressing forward.

Recovery won't feel great because you'll be sore. Healing takes both effort and patience -- you have to be tolerant with not only the physical discomfort but the cognitive. Yeah, you want to string grocery bags across your arm and wrestle with your dog and dive into water again but you must wait until your body is ready. No matter how much you want it, you simply cannot will the gash to stitch together. Knitting skin repairs itself on its own time.

When I volunteered at a PT clinic, I saw patients with frozen shoulders cry out in pain when stretched by the physical therapist. Recovery was almost unbearable but every week there was a measurable increase in joint mobility and range of motion. People couldn't tell progress was being made while it was happening but looking back, signs were more clear.

Recovering from something physical is so much easier to understand. You can SEE it. The wound tells you how it's doing.

The heart isn't so different though, really. You get a prescription and a recovery plan. You refrain from picking the scab. You get out and do activities synonymous with moving forward, just like the prescription says.

And that is why I took down that earlier post I wrote about an ex: so I could focus instead on looking forward. On nice new dates coming up. On fun projects and good reads and settling into a quiet space at the end of the day.

Whatever your salve, sling or physical therapy... follow your prescription and go through the motions. Go through them even when you don't feel like it. Change the bandages and exercise those creaky joints until it feels more and more natural. One day you will wake up and realize you feel pretty darn good afterall.

(Sent from my phone)


  1. Very well said. Lovely analogy as the heart, mind and body are inextricably linked. Get well soon.

  2. I can write this precisely because the sling is coming off. :)