I always thought that friends who were going through break-ups were being a little bit too dramatic... until it happened to me
In a searingly honest account of a break-up that will resonate with anyone who has loved and lost, internet sensation Jordan Humphries tells how her life imploded - and why she is still struggling to make it through the day without bursting into tears.
Nine weeks ago I went through a horrific break-up. My first ever proper relationship with my first love ended in the blink of an eye and for the first time I began to experience true heartbreak.
At the time I said to myself, "I wish I could fast-forward two months when I'll be feeling back to my usual self and I'll be able to look back on all of this and laugh at how hysterical I'm being".
I was convinced that eight weeks down the line (if not before then) I'd be back to my usual, jovial self, able to talk about my break-up with my typical self-deprecating humour and that I'd be absolutely thriving, with a sassy new haircut, a bangin' post-break-up body after hitting the gym every day, a new positive outlook on life and a string of men I'd be casually dating, just for the fun of it.
The reality? I've put on a stone, my skin has never been worse, I cry most days, I can't get motivated to do anything, I'm trawling through Tinder and Bumble feeling nothing for even the loveliest of guys and I can barely drag myself out of bed most mornings.
I do have a sassy new haircut though, (thanks to James Wallace Creative in Downpatrick), although most days it is scraped into a messy topknot to go with my make-up-free face and tracksuit bottoms and hoodie combo.
Last night I lay in bed Googling yoga retreats in Bali, thinking that a week of meditation, spa treatments, yogic poses, healthy eating and holistic therapies on a tropical island might be just the thing to sort me out. The £2,999 price tag that came with all those things soon put a stop to that line of thought, so this morning when I forced myself to get out of bed, I had a little think as to what might make me feel better, even if only temporarily. Consequently, I booked myself in for a massage and a yoga class and decided to get back to doing something I really love - writing.
I contemplated a funny post in my usual tone. Something like, 20 things not to say to your friend when going through a break-up, Why you're better off being single, or something funny that people could relate to about dating apps. But instead, I've settled for this: a brutally honest article about break-ups.
Practically everyone I know has been through a break-up. I've comforted friends who have come out of relationships that lasted three, four, five years and more by going round to their houses with flowers, wine, ice cream and a bank of useless words of 'comfort' like "You're so much better than him! You're young, you'll find love again! Time's a great healer! You'll be fine!"
Then I've left and maybe checked in with them once and assumed two weeks down the line that they're feeling absolutely fine again. In fact, on many an occasion I've left the house of a friend who is mid-break-up and thought how dramatic they're being. How wallowing in their own self-pity is a bit pathetic. How there are worse things going on in the world and break-ups are just an inevitable part of life, so they really just need to get over it!
And you know what? There are worse things in life, absolutely there are! With war, famine, poverty, bereavements, people losing their jobs, Brexit and the very real possibility that Trump is going to get elected next week, YES there are definitely worse things happening on planet Earth than the breakdown of a relationship. But being completely safe in that knowledge and knowing that I'm being unreasonable and irrational to still feel upset nine weeks later, doesn't help one bit.
The truth of the matter is: break-ups are truly awful. I would go as far as to say they are the worst thing ever. Why does nobody tell you how achingly painful they are? I mean, I've seen my friends upset over relationships that have ended, but no one has ever sat me down when I've said "there, there" and grabbed my hands and looked me in the eyes and said "NO, YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND, I AM GOING THROUGH HELL!"
You can't eat, can't sleep, there's a constant knot in your stomach and every time someone asks "Are you OK?" you just want to cry and vomit on them and say "NO, OF COURSE I'M NOT!"
Many people have said to me that break-ups are like a bereavement, because you are mourning for the loss of the person you loved. But unlike a death, the person I love is still alive. The future we planned, our hopes and our dreams for our life together potentially could still exist, and knowing that - these facts dangling in front of you like a big, awful carrot - almost makes it feel worse because your life just becomes a never-ending cycle of ifs and buts and maybes and you beat yourself up on a daily basis for failing at something that could have been so good.
As most of you will know, my relationship was long distance for a year, during which time I documented every damn thing we did on social media. We were the perfect Facebook couple and, as such, post-break-up 109,525 have said to me "Aww but you looked sooo happy!" (n.b. this really, really does not help).
One thing I have learned is not to paint your life as something perfect when it really is not (hence this honest, bordering-on-depressing piece).
After a year we made the leap to move in together. I quit my very good, very nice, well-paid stable job, left my family and friends and left the country, certain that this was going to be the beginning of the rest of my life.
Then three weeks later it all came crashing down around me. I won't go into detail, but it was a truly terrible break-up. The week that I got home I cried more than I thought humanly possible. I couldn't eat even a crumb of toast (which is very, very unlike me) and sleeping was not an option.
I felt back to square one in every way possible and still do now. No boyfriend/life partner, no independence, no job, no motivation... nothing. Gradually things got better on the surface - lots of freelance work landed on my lap, I got back into doing a few musicals and my friends and family surrounded me 24/7 because I couldn't bear to be alone, and they could not have been more supportive.
Messages flooded in from the most random of people, offering advice, support and kind words, which meant the world to me (thank you so much if you fall in to this category).
I had nights out and little trips away with my friends and to the world around me I looked like I was doing great, like I was over it and that happy, bubbly Jordan was back.
But to be honest, I'm not. I'm not over it yet. And I can't foresee a time when I will be. I am fully aware of how crazy and dramatic that sounds and of course in my heart of hearts I know that in time I will be absolutely fine and I will inevitably love again.
But for now, everything is slightly overcast with darkness.
I'm mourning the loss of my love, my favourite person, my future, the direction I was sure my life was going in. And it really, really sucks.
So, to anyone who has messaged me saying how strong I'm being or that it's great to see me back to my old self, I must confess that this is merely a facade. Don't get me wrong, I don't spend every day enveloped in a cloud of doom and gloom and, yes, I have had some really fun times since coming home, but overall, I'm just not feeling great yet.
So, if you are going through a break-up, don't feel bad that you aren't over it yet. I can assure you it's perfectly normal.
If you have a friend going through a break-up, be patient with her/him. They're trying their best.
Today I've decided it is time to screw my positive head back on, but it has taken me nine weeks to get here (and, to be honest, I made the same decision after two weeks, at the four-week point, then at five and a half weeks and at seven weeks - and fell off the happy wagon.)
So for now, a healthy eating plan has been made out, I've been for a lovely big walk, I've set myself a few goals and plans for my make-up business and I've written about what's been on my mind.
Maybe after my massage and yoga session I'll feel like a brand new woman... and maybe I won't.
But that's okay. Because break-ups are s*** and I'm dealing with mine the best that I can.
To my friends who have 'survived' a break-up - i.e. 99% of you - well done, seriously. You've given me hope and reassurance that there are brighter days ahead.
Now, with my tracksuit bottoms and hoodie on, my hair in a bun and my face make-up free and covered in spots, I'm going to go and make myself a cup of tea. Because that, my friends, is life's true happiness.