I don't claim to be an expert on love and relationships or even someone who is extensively experienced on the matter by any stretch of the imagination. But, even with such restraints I do want to share the story of how my first true love and eventual heartbreak changed many aspects of me.
There is no logical place to begin. Perhaps the most important gift I have gained from the entire experience is that even though I can't define what Love means through words, I can confidently say I know how it actually feels. The feelings manifest in many ways. Thinking of the person automatically puts a smile on your face, whether you are consciously aware of it or not. Making sacrifices for her no longer becomes a matter of whether you will pursue a particular course of action but how you will pursue it. The first thought is always the how and no longer whether. Your heart-rate rises and you're filled with excitement when there is an incoming message or a call from her. You think she's beautiful even when she looks like a complete mess. When she's sick, you want to drown her in hot tea and soup. When speaking to her, all you can think about is how to bring out another beautiful smile. Her smell is intoxicating. The softness of her skin sends chills down your spine. Her voice is melodic. You want to get lost in her hair. Her lips feel like clouds? What the FUCK is this absurdity? You mistake her eyes for gems. Her mind is an endless book you crave to be lost in. A never-ending forest perhaps? Her jokes are so terrible that they break some weird threshold and actually become hilarious. Her childishness and optimism are unashamedly infectious. This feels drug-like. This is unreal.
Of course, as beautiful and true as the above Disney-esque bullshit is, there comes a certain point when you start taking her for granted. You've never experienced the surreal level of happiness that genuine Love can bring and you become afraid of losing it. This fear leads to paranoia. This paranoia leads to insecurity. This insecurity leads to needy and suffocating behavior. The more you go down this path, the more you push her away. The farther away she gets, the more intense your fears become, causing her to fade even more. The beast you've created relentlessly gorges on itself. It's indifferent to your suffering. You start second guessing all your thoughts, words, and actions. You start questioning her behavior and words at every chance you get. Why is she calling less often? Why is she providing less and less details about her life? Why is she progressively becoming more and more closed off from you? Why does she keep fading away? You've become hopelessly obsessed.
You're now a burden. Regrettably, you haven't realized it yet. You won't ever realize it until it's too late. She's already gone but you're in denial. You don't consciously realize it but you are. You definitely are. Her presence is a mere shell of her former self. She's already made her decision. There are several close calls and half-hearted attempts at concluding the journey. You keep hoping it will continue but you ultimately realize that the end is in sight.
Then, it finally happens. She's made her decision and there is no going back. You are surprisingly calm and you're relieved that you don't feel worse. But, you foolishly have absolutely no idea how big of a loss you have suffered. Your mind is taking pity on you and letting you swallow the pain one spoonful at a time instead of forcing you to deal with all of it at once. Soon, the symptoms begin. You can't sleep. You can't eat. You've lost motivation to do anything but the essentials. It takes all your willpower to crawl out of bed. You force yourself to eat primarily liquid food because everything else makes you nauseous. You read anything and everything about the pit you have found yourself in, hoping it will allow you to understand the pain and make it go away. You even see her in your dreams and there is absolutely no escape. You are reconstructing and replaying every relevant memory and conversation with her. You are stuck in the universe of What Ifs and you see no escape in sight. You try to predict the milieu of realities that could have been possible if you hadn't said X or hadn't done Y or behaved in manner Z. Every time you reconstruct a memory, the more warped and inaccurate it becomes, eventually transforming into a incomprehensible blur. As expected, none of it works. Mere distractions. Nothing more. This quite literally feels like going through drug-induced withdrawals. Sooner or later you realize that you're experiencing similar physical and psychological states as someone who is dealing with the death of a loved one or an addict coming off of an addiction. That realization finally allows you to understand just how deep of a hole you are currently in and how long it's going to take to climb out.
Time passes at an excruciatingly slow pace but it still passes. The random bursts of bawling become less and less frequent. You find yourself getting busier and busier in hopes of distracting yourself. To your pleasant surprise, these distractions are becoming permanent and you are becoming progressively more active and diverse. You start to entertain the possibility that you are coming out stronger from this situation than when you entered it. This thought is the first one in months that is truly making you happy on a more consistent and permanent basis.
The recovery continues and you finally have the spare mental and emotional resources to devote towards brutally honest introspection. You own up to the mistakes you made and how you can better yourself as a person. You slowly but surely start to understand how wonderful she was and how absolutely foolish you were. You were in the presence of a gift and you squandered it. Owning up to all the ugly things you have done is both painful yet liberating. You almost start being... thankful for what you went through. You finally ask yourself if knowing what you know now, if you would go through the whole experience all over again. Without a second thought or hesitation, you admit to yourself that you in fact would. You understand that through the process of being completely broken down, you reconstructed yourself into something more stable and powerful. More confident. More interesting. More passionate and emotionally honest. More comfortable with accepting uncertainty and letting go of whatever isn't under your influence. You realize that you are forever changed, for the better. For the first time in many months, it feels euphoric to see with such clarity. You understand that your journey From the Highest Peaks to the Shadows of the Lowest Valleys was not wasted and you became a better you in the process.