One thing that I look for when it comes to stories is relatability. I don’t necessarily want to read a book by someone who hasn’t gone through what I’ve gone through, but yet is preaching to me love and happiness. I want to know that the suffering I feel isn’t isolated to my lonesome being. There is comfort in shared suffering – you don’t feel as alone.
That’s not to say that I don’t go out there looking for books that are out of my comfort zone. It’s great to venture into new stories that challenge your way of thinking – but I can assure you, when you’re going through intense and overwhelming heartbreak- the kind of heartbreak that makes you question your existence, the last thing you want is someone to challenge you. You just want to feel understood.
Here are some of the books (well, mostly anthologies) that have gotten me through my own heartbreak. If you’re going through something similar, I hope these reads will help you get through yours.
THE BUDDHA & THE BORDERLINE by KIERA VAN GELDER
“I’m so good at beginnings, but in the end I always seem to destroy everything, including myself.”
I’m starting off with this memoir by Kiera Van Gelder because it’s the book that I was reading right in the midst of my breakup. I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder a few years ago, but only started seeking professional help this year as I could feel my mental health taking a turn for the worse.
I turned to this book looking for answers to my own questions about living life with a ‘personality’ disorder and whether anyone would ever love me, despite my knack for self-sabotaging the most important relationships in my life. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the answer I was looking for. What I did get was that there is always potential to transform your life and improve. Most importantly, you’re never alone in the fight.
do not look for healing
at the feet of those
who broke you”
God, don’t we just love poetry that digs deep into your gut and rips you apart. Rupi Kaur’s anthology Milk and Honey took every single emotion that I felt during my breakup and splashed it across thin paper pages. If you’re looking for a gut-wrenching, heartbreak fest to help quench your lonely soul, this is it.
Her poems got me through some dark and lonely nights. The journey she takes you through from the first poem to the last is powerful and there is room for reflection in between the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing.
I am alone,
love passes by.
I wonder why––
I cannot find
what others found.”
This anthology is like tumblr on steroids. The title says it all. If you’re looking for dirty, pretty things, you’ll find it in this book of hipster-esque poems. It’s raw and unapologetically gritty. It’ll make you yearn for that physical connection between two souls which, if you’ve just gone through a shitty breakup, will break you even more. Sometimes that’s just what we need – to break enough times that we become immune to the soppy mess that we call love.
Disclaimer: probably not a read for those who aren’t comfortable with dirty talk.
Break my heart
and you will find yourself inside.”
Another collection of inspiring heartbreak poems, this time by the mysterious Instagram poet ATTICUS. The collection is divided up into three ‘chapter’: Love, her and wild. There’s a mixture of despair and hope which is always a nice combination when you’re going through heartbreak.
There’s also some great photography in the book. Perfect for doing a chic flatlay for an Instagram post and pretending you’re doing fine when really, you’re just a broken shell of a girl.
Genre: Memoir / Self-Help
Love without Attachment is love that meets in the middle. It’s love in which neither party is asking to be healed or completed. It’s real and it’s possible, and once you’ve learnt the difference, you’ll never look back.”
Though I haven’t read this book in its entirety, I’m sticking it at the end of this list. I believe it’s incredibly helpful for those who put so much value into romantic relationships.
Buddhism for break-ups came to me while I was delving further into dialectal behaviour therapy for borderline personality disorder. Dialectal behaviour therapy is based on the fundamentals of mindfulness and there’s a lot of links with Buddhist practice. When I found this book at my local bookstore, I decided to get it because it was incredibly relevant to everything that was going on in my life. It taught me some important lessons about relationships – lessons that frankly, I wasn’t ready to accept because it went against everything I had believed and grasped on to.
I’m not a religious person, but I have mad respect for the practice of Buddhism. I would highly recommend anyone to have a read of any books about buddhism – or even just mindfulness in general, regardless of if you’re going through heartbreak or not.
So, those are the books – the words on paper – that got me through my heartbreak. Maybe they’ll help you get through yours if you’re unlucky enough to be going through one right now. Wait, you know what? Scratch that.
Heartbreak is a lucky thing. You want to know why? Because heartbreak is an indication that you’re capable of loving, caring and giving your everything. And if you’re capable of doing that for someone else, then you sure as hell can do it for yourself too.
Here’s a song that I’ve been absolutely loving which has gotten me through the whole “omg no one is going to love me ever again” train of thought.
Here’s to all the broken-hearted.