There are times when you will feel hollow. You will know the all-too-familiar feeling that you swore you would never feel again. It might be that feeling when a significant other leaves you. It might be that feeling when you worry you might lose your job. It’s the feeling of being homesick but not being sure if and when you can return home. Simply put, it’s the hollowness of loss and we are all bound to feel it sometime.
When you’re feeling hollow, your heart may feel heavy and your stomach may feel empty in a way that food cannot nourish. Your mind may be searching for a distraction that can help you forget, if only for a moment, that you feel broken.
For some reason, you’re feeling this hollow feeling and your body is catching up to something your mind is only now deciphering. Maybe it’s shock over something you couldn’t have predicted. Maybe it’s panic over your predictions of what may or may not happen yet.
Your thoughts could be going a million miles a minute or they may be walking through quicksand, trying to piece together where things started to go wrong. You’re getting caught in a thought spiral and all you know is you don’t want to feel this way ever again. It’s like drinking too much and knowing you can’t un-drink it and all you can do is wade through the dizzy sickness until it is all over.
The first thing you must know is that you are not the first one to feel this. I have felt it before you and someone will feel it after you. It is an awful feeling, but it is a completely human thing to feel. And oftentimes it means that you must have loved someone or something so much to feel the loss this deeply.
The second thing you must know is that you will not feel this way forever. Not because there is a clever adage I can tell you or a fate that we can predict. You will not feel this way forever, because that is the very nature of feeling and life — it changes all the time. It may be painfully slow, but even in the processing of it you and your thoughts are changing.
And the third thing you must know is that in the very awfulness of this, you will become stronger by going through it. Not by choice, but because you have no choice but to get stronger. You will have to get out of bed and do your laundry and eat something that does not come in a plastic container or a paper bag. You will have to choose to live, because otherwise your mind and your body will suffer. You will have to take care of yourself, because you will realize that you are the only one who will know how to take care of yourself best. This may be the hardest lesson of all — to learn your own strength because you are left to depend on yourself.
In those times that you feel hollow, I hope you remember that you are not alone in it, even when you alone have to go through it. I hope you know that there are so many souls who understand you, even ones you haven’t met yet. I hope you remember your own strength and know that asking for help is also a sign of strength. I hope that after the initial shock, you remember to take care of yourself the way you would take care of a dear friend. And if you momentarily forget, I hope you read this and can remember all over again.