real life

"This guy just went through the craziest public break-up of all time. And I know how he feels."

When I was 20-years-old, the person I was in love with broke up with me.

Only months before, we’d camped together all through Europe and it was incredible. He was my best friend, and if I was honest with myself, the person I saw myself ending up with.

At the time, I was blissfully happy.

I could not have anticipated the emotional avalanche that buried me in the months that followed. I remember sitting in my shower crying, sleepless nights of tossing and turning, and hten oscillating between despair and crippling anxiety.

His birthday was coming up, and our break up was far from clear cut.

Every second day he changed his mind. So (eugh…I cannot believe I am admitting to thisI made him a goddamn photo album of our trip to Europe.

How…manipulative is that? Did I think I was being…subtle?


This may come as a surprise, but (somehow) the photo album tactic didn’t work.

Me with the love of my life, Ted. Image supplied.

Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, it emerged that he had a new girlfriend. And it was someone I knew. Quite well.

I'd always been insecure about their friendship. When we'd broken up I'd said "Do what you like [which was a complete lie] just please don't hook up with X."

They dated for six months and every single day I felt sick about it. Physically sick.

I lost my appetite, and subsequently, five kilos. I could not concentrate on anything else. I was consumed, obsessive and completely irrational.

There is nothing quite like having your heart broken. It can make even the most put together person fall to absolute pieces.

So why on earth don't we talk about?

Mamamia Confessions: The moment I knew my relationship was over. Post continues below. 

In short: It's embarrassing AF.

To share with people the ridiculous things you did at your lowest is extremely unpleasant.

Who the hell wants to talk about being wholly rejected by someone who knew them inside and out?

"Oh, yes, you know that person I traveled with, and knew more about me than anyone I've ever met? Yes...well they don't love me anymore. I guess they just didn't like what they saw. I must be innately flawed or something hahah, DAMN!"


Talking about being rejected makes you feel ... lame. Pathetic. Pitiful. Like you're not worthy of being loved by someone else. The experience is shrouded in shame.

I talk about my new favourite podcast on Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues below.

Which is why a man by the name of Joel White is more of a genius than I think even he realises.

Six years ago, Joel moved from Sydney to Berlin to live with his then girlfriend. A month later, she broke up with him and flew home.

But that's not all. She began dating a new guy, a barista who played in a band.

Joel couldn't handle it, and over the next month, recorded desperate, rambling "audio postcards" and sent them to her. They didn't have the desired effect, and eventually he moved back to Sydney in an attempt to win her back, unsuccessfully.

Recently, Joel came across the recordings on an old laptop.

Joel White. Image via Facebook/The Berlin Patient.

His first instinct was to delete them all and never, ever think about them again. But instead, he did the complete opposite.

His podcast, The Berlin Patient has gained incredible traction since dropping in mid October.

The podcast sifts though what ended up being 90 minutes of recorded heartbreak. It's all well and good to reflect on heartbreak with the benefit of hindsight, but Joel doesn't allow himself that dignity.

The Berlin Patient is a time capsule, a moment in time, a completely raw depiction of what it's like to unravel after being dumped.

With his comedian friends, a therapist and even his mum, Joel confronts the bizarre recordings.

From casually dropping in the time his ex-girlfriend said he had a "good penis", to telling her he is currently wearing her socks, to just repeating over and over again "I hope you're well, I mean it. I just really hope you're well..." there is perhaps no greater proof that a broken heart makes you - for lack of a better word - crazy.

You can listen to the complete episode of Mamamia Out Loud here. Post continues below.

Biological anthropologist, Helen Fisher says “Romantic love is an addiction. A perfectly wonderful addiction when it’s going well and a perfectly horrible addiction when it’s going poorly.” And Joel White was a man suffering severe withdrawals.

The Berlin Patient isn't entirely comfortable to listen to. The New York Post has termed the podcast "cringe-worthy". But isn't that just the point?

Perhaps if those of us who have been painfully dumped talked about it - as in really talked about it - then the shame would dissipate. We could own it. And laugh about it. And work through it, instead of suffering in isolation.

The worst part about a breakup is feeling as though no one else in the world understands how it feels.

But as it turns out, most of us do.