They don’t make pills for this type of pain

Matt Bostic’s world came crashing around him the summer he lost his mother to cancer, and his father moved on to a new marriage.  Because Matt was entirely unprepared for this kind of loss, he started grasping for something that could help him deal with the emotional pain he was feeling. At this delicate point in his life, Matt made one simple decision that cost him 20 years and almost destroyed his future. 

Matt turned to chemicals (alcohol) to treat his heart hurt. Because of this heart hurt, he turned his back on his values, faith, and family.  Eventually, he started looking for anything to numb the pain.  

When the bottle didn’t work for Matt, he started looking for accomplishments as a temporary solution to the pain.  Even setting Guinness World Records couldn’t fix what was broken in Matt’s heart.  Here are a few lessons we can all learn from Matt’s journey through his emotional pain.

You can’t outrun this pain

Matt’s “heart hurt” created a tidal wave of emotions he wasn’t prepared to deal with.  So, he turned to outside (the wrong source) for help.  Looking for outside help is a brilliant move when your world doesn’t turn out how you think it should.  A good, healthy source of support can be the best prescription for getting your life back on track after a devastating emotional trauma. 

When your heart hurts due to the emotional pain of significant loss, the only healthy solution is to work THROUGH it!  Making your heart numb doesn’t fix a problem.  This is precisely what people do when they turn to pills, the bottle, or worse (the pistol) to deal with emotional trauma.  

Like any wound, heart hurt must be bandaged and treated so the heart becomes healthy again. 

You can’t numb this pain

WARNING- where you look for help during this brutal time might be the difference between getting healthy again and destroying your life. Matt had the chance to turn to wise counsel to help him find the strength to work through the pain of losing his family.  

Instead, he turned to the bottle and spent 20 years slowly destroying his life.

This is natural for anyone that has experienced the kind of heart hurt that Matt was going through.  It’s natural to look for a solution to fix this pain.  There are a few healthy places to turn when facing heart hurt.  However, the one solution that doesn’t work is self-medication (turning to drugs- prescription or alcohol) to fix this problem.

Don’t succumb to this pain

Since pills or the bottle can’t make the heart hurt go away, some people will turn to the ultimate, permanent solution to end the pain… suicide! Having been immersed in friends that have attempted or committed suicide, I’ve seen this decision’s devastating effects on everyone around them.  

Suicide is a permanent act to stop a temporary source of pain. There’s no going back after a successful suicide.  In almost every instance of suicide I’ve personally been connected with, the problem that was such a great source of pain eventually changed or was fixed.  Giving in to heart hurt can make the problem “larger than life.”  When heart hurt hits this stage, people stop reaching for the bottle to make the pain disappear and start reaching for the pistol.  

People who attempt to take their own life aren’t thinking rationally.  However, as I dove into the motivation behind many of my friends’ suicides, they all share a common factor:  Their pain became greater than they could bear.  

Every suicide I have been personally connected to (and I’ve been around plenty) can be described as the ultimate act to make the pain disappear.  Unfortunately, suicide transfers the pain to their friends and family. 

How to prevail over the pain within:

Dealing with heart hurt will be a difficult and painful process, but some principles can help make it a bit easier. The 1st principle is to acknowledge and accept your feelings. It’s okay to feel hurt, sad, angry, or any other emotion that comes up. Trying to numb or ignore your feelings will only make your life worse in the long run. 

The 2nd principle is to practice self-care. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This might mean getting enough rest, eating healthy foods, exercising, spending time in nature, meditating, or doing something creative. Whatever helps you feel more grounded and centered is a good way to practice self-care.

The 3rd principle is to seek support from others. If Matt had sought help from wise, trusted friends earlier, his journey to recovery would have been shorter and far less destructive. If you’re dealing with heart hurt, talk to a trusted friend or family member, join a support group, or see a therapist or counselor. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed, and don’t isolate yourself from others.

Remember, the only way to get healthy is to get THROUGH your heart hurt.  Pills, bottles, or the pistol can’t do that for you.  Healing from heart hurt is a process that takes time and hard work. Your unbeatable commitment to getting healthy is the only prescription for this problem. 

Thankfully, Matt was able to turn his life around, get healthy, and is now helping others like him who needed a second chance at life. Listen to my whole interview with Matt and hear how he did it.

Further reading

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