What does heartbreak really feel like?

Heartbreak is so damn personal. It feels different for every person, defined by our story, by how exposed our softer places are at a given time, by how it is delivered, by how often we feel it. It is a spectrum of grief, of hurt, of loss, of having to find our way back through the dark.

There is no one experience of heartbreak, but from talking to people who have felt it, the common theme seems to be that when you are in it, it feels like it will never end. It can feel like it is your new permanent state of being.  You know logically that it will get better, but you don’t really believe it.  It does pass, it does fade, it does get better, and you are still you at the end of it all. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt like hell at the time.

It is important to be able to talk about the difficult, complicated, messy, painful stuff. It is important to name it when we are hurt, to name what, or who, is hurting us. It is important that we don’t feel like we have to be all strong, all the time. And  it is so important that all of us, women and men, girls and boys, trans people, non-binary people, queer, straight, bi and gay people, are listened to and heard when we say that we are hurting. It is so important that all of our broken hearts are handled with care.

Being hurt and being vulnerable and being shaken is part of being human. It does not make us weak, it does not make us emotional or sensitive or irrational. It makes us real. It gives us integrity. It gives us strength. It makes us connected to all of our fellow humans who have ever felt the sting of heartbreak. Whoever we are, we all feel our own version of heartbreak.

So I wrote a thing a while ago about heartbreak. It’s not particularly fun. As usual, it doesn’t rhyme or have any structure. But it is real. And I hope that, just maybe,  it eases the weight for someone who is carrying their own heartbreak. Because sometimes knowing that others have felt it too can make that load a little lighter.  We are all strong and delicate in equal measure, and we are all doing great as our perfectly imperfect selves, dented hearts and all.


What does heartbreak really feel like?

Heartbreak is a cloud that settles around you,

Making hazy all the light

Heartbreak sighs through your bones

Filling all your empty places

Heartbreak is a physical pain,

Bending you to the point of breaking


Heartbreak is an empty bed and empty arms

Heartbreak is all the words that have no one to hear them

Heartbreak is all the love with no one to hold it

Heartbreak is all the dreams never shared

Heartbreak is all the hope never felt

Heartbreak is all the truth never spoken

Heartbreak is all the futures never lived


Heartbreak hollows you out

Leaves you rattling in your bones

Heartbreak is the biting wind

Carrying its bitter and broken promises

Heartbreak is the weight that drags behind you


Heartbreak is the smile you do not see


Heartbreak is less sparkle and more shadows

Heartbreak is the heavy weight of grief

Heartbreak sits on your lips

In all the words you cannot say

In all of the memories

That no longer have a place


Heartbreak asks over and over in restless sleep

How could you hurt me like this?

How could you leave me

Like it was

The easiest thing in the world

How could you break my heart

Like it was

The most trifling thing


Heartbreak is consuming

Heartbreak is exhausting

Heartbreak is cruel

Heartbreak is cold

Heartbreak is smothering

Heartbreak is angry

Heartbreak is desolate

Heartbreak is lonely

Heartbreak is fierce


Heartbreak leaves you bruised and leaves you tender

Heartbreak leaves you heavy and leaves you bitter

Heartbreak feels brittle at the edges

And hard at the centre

Heartbreak is most comfortable

In your already broken places

Heartbreaks leaves you begging in breathless gasps

Holding the final delicate threads together


Heartbreak makes you softer

Heartbreak makes you stronger

Heartbreak makes you careful

Heartbreak makes you wonder

Why you ever wanted to be the person

Who would show me

What heartbreak really feels like