Heartbreak in high school

Most of us experience heartbreak in some capacity in high school. Is it really as serious as we make it out to be, though?

Caroline Gans, Editor in Chief

A few days ago, I was driving home from school when a song from one of my Spotify daily mixes started playing through my car’s speakers that completely took me aback. It was a song that I had neither heard nor thought about in at least a year. It was a song that had meant a lot to me at one point in my life. But as it came on that day as I merged onto the highway, I couldn’t help but find some melancholy humor in the fact that the melody and words I was hearing meant absolutely nothing to me. 

Most of us go through at least one gut-wrenching heartbreak in high school, and I am no exception. Mine came in my sophomore year, and embarrassingly enough, it was over someone I never even actually dated. Even so, I can assure you that when the “relationship” (and I mean that word very loosely) we had ended, the pain I felt was very real. 

I think that there’s a common misconception that high school relationships aren’t as valid as those we have later in life because teenagers simply don’t understand themselves or others enough to be in an actual serious relationship. I disagree with this way of looking at things. In fact, I think it’s the exact opposite. I think that the love we feel for the very first people we ever have any sort of romantic relationship with is probably close to the purest love we will ever feel in our whole lives. 

That is not to say that adults can’t feel love for another person, but I certainly think that the older people get, the harder it is for them to develop that pure, true, butterflies-in-your-stomach type of adoration that comes so easily for teenagers. 

So if love can be real in high school, then it naturally follows that heartbreak can as well. If there’s one thing that differentiates high school relationships from those of adults more than anything else, it’s their nature to be short lived. When we’re young, we’re really all still just trying to figure ourselves out. It’s natural to change and grow as people during these years of our lives, so it’s also natural to outgrow people. That’s why relationships in our teenage years tend to fizzle out so fast, leaving us with all sorts of emotions to deal with. 

When I encountered my first real heartbreak, it was a whole new type of pain that I had never encountered before. I thought I knew how to navigate my way through my little world, how to get up when I had been knocked down and how to live without the help of anyone else. I thought I generally had a hang of things, but that experience really threw me for a loop. 

Suddenly, I was too sad to do much of anything. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep,  and I certainly couldn’t do my homework. My grades started slipping to the point where I received the first B I’ve ever gotten on a report card (not even a B+, just a flat out B), but I just didn’t care. All I wanted to do was sit on my phone in my bed and hope against hope that the guy who had made me feel this way would miraculously change his mind and send me a text taking it all back. I pushed my friends away, I pushed my parents away, in a lot of ways I even pushed myself away. I did my best to become a background character in my own life so I didn’t have to face the fact that I really was Caroline Gans, the girl who had lost someone she had at least thought she had loved. 

During this time, I also listened to a lot of music. When you’re feeling like you have no one who you can talk to about the things going on inside of you, music is often the only thing that can make you feel less alone. I had all sorts of sad songs I liked that verbalized what I was feeling, but my favorite had to have been one called “How To Never Stop Being Sad” by dandelion hands. I must’ve listened to it a hundred times during the week or so when I was really in the thick of my heartbreak, plus another fifty in the months after it when things were more bearable but still certainly less than ideal.

As you may have guessed, the song I referenced in the beginning of this article is none other than “How To Never Stop Being Sad.” 

Having your heart broken is a funny thing, because for a few months it absolutely envelops you in a deep and oppressive sadness, but then, when it fades away, you kind of just forget about it. Sure, you think about whoever hurt you sometimes in passing, but you don’t tend to think about the utter despair that you felt in the wake of them leaving your life. 

When I heard that song, it made me laugh out loud. It was such a surreal, full-circle moment for me. It brought me straight back to one of the lowest moments of my life, but I realized that I felt nothing for the song anymore, much less for the person with whom I will forever associate it; maybe the popular adage “time heals all wounds” has some truth to it. As I heard the words with which I had once related so strongly, I was overcome with pride. 

I was proud because I knew that I truly had overcome something that I once was certain I would never be able to live through. Maybe that’s silly to say, considering that people don’t tend to think that relationships in high school should be taken all that seriously, but to anyone who has been through the same thing I have, you’ll know getting over one is something worthy of pride. 

It’s pretty much inevitable that all of us will face heartbreak in at least some capacity in our high school years. It’s an incredibly hard thing to deal with, especially when so many people think that high school relationships are hardly real, but as most hard things do, in the end it’ll only make us stronger. Whether it takes a month, a year, or even longer, we’ll get over the sadness we once felt, and we’ll come out of it with more knowledge about ourselves and relationships that can help us to not get hurt again.