My heart was already breaking, long before my last relationship came to a slow and painful halt; mostly because I could not let go. The waves of depression came in full force because the impending doom of losing my college sweetheart felt like too much to bear. I did not want it—Us—to end.
Despite being human and naturally resisting change like most of us human beings do, I also knew our relationship was already long gone. Like most items that sit in your fridge for months after their expiration dates, stuff starts to stink well past a point you can ignore. So due to the unrelenting stench of an expired relationship, and in preparation for the gut-wrenching hopelessness I knew I was about to feel, I searched for a way to preemptively alleviate the brokenheartedness—that’s when I found the Mend app. I downloaded Mend right away, two weeks before my relationship would officially end, and I started using it the day of our big The End.
I continued to use the app for over seven months after my breakup, through my first time being single on Valentine’s Day in over six years.
Mend’s website says the app is like a “best friend in your pocket.” Mend’s features are based in scientifically backed research to help users, who the Mend team affectionately refers to as “menders,” heal after a breakup.
The app features: audio trainings (my favorite being one on the science behind heartbreak), a progress tracker (so you can see how many days its been since your breakup and the last day of contact with your ex), a self care log (reminding you to meditate and treat yourself on a regular basis), a journal (to air out your daily thoughts and feelings regarding your ex), and a community (featuring blog content written by menders). Basically, Mend is your personal trainer through heartbreak.
If you’re unsure about committing to the app maybe start with Mend’s podcast, “Love is Like a Plant,” or take a look at the blog to see if the content resonates with you.
Does it work?
To be completely transparent, at first, I was too embarrassed to admit I had a breakup app on my phone. I’ve always thought of myself as independent and I tend to put up a front when I am hurting instead of letting my guard down and being vulnerable. Plus, the idea of using an app to heal my heart—which felt like it had been run through a garbage disposal, while on fire, after being flash frozen—seemed silly.
How was an app supposed to make me feel better about having my heart ripped from my chest? I thought I was better than a heartbreak app, but at the end of the day I knew I needed some kind of help; so somewhat reluctantly, and with a full sense of doubt regarding its effectiveness, I started using Mend.
I would sit in my bedroom and indulge in Mend before bedtime. My Mend time became precious in the first couple of weeks after my breakup. I would log in and listen to the audio trainings, which are recorded by the CEO and Founder of Mend herself, Elle Huerta. I tend to be picky when it comes to the voices I listen to on audio recordings, but Elle’s voice fit the bill because it is friendly and soothing (without sounding annoying). Elle speaks to menders like a friend and not the type of friend who thinks she knows everything, but the type of friend who speaks from personal experience because she cares and wants what is best for you.
The audio trainings ranged in topics from running into an ex after a breakup, to whether or not you should get back together with your ex, to infidelity, and full circled back to starting to date again. The trajectory of the audio trainings felt natural and informative, almost taking the form of intimate conversations you’d have with a friend who is trying to console you during the various phases of your heartbreak. Mend even became a source of comfort to me last year on my first single Valentine’s Day in over half a decade.
Essentially, Mend is the type of friend that says what you need to hear, in the way you need to hear it; never the type of friend who rolls their eyes and implores: “Why aren’t you over them yet?”
Why do we need things like Mend?
Did you know that heartbreak is linked to the same regions in the brain as physical pain?
It makes sense, after spending time with one person over the course of a few weeks, months, or years, that we become attached. We are supposed to become attached due to simple biology, a result of a mix of hormones and changes in the brain.
So unattaching ourselves from an ex after a breakup quite literally involves undoing neural pathways in our own brains. I’m sure you know from personal experience, when it comes to certain habits you try to break, rewiring the brain is no easy task. When it comes to our brains on love, rewiring is an even more difficult task to take on given the fact that you may not even want to get out of bed in the morning.
That is why approaching ourselves with gentleness and love during a time when we are already feeling down after heartbreak is key. Let’s be honest, sometimes our friends and family members can only give so much of themselves while they listen to us rave, and then rant, and then cry, and then rave again about our exes. The rollercoaster of emotions that comes in the weeks and months after a breakup is unique and can take you for an unexpected turn on a daily basis. Healing involves not only having others listen to us, but also requires us to take the time to listen to ourselves and our own emotions throughout the tumult. I learned the most about myself in the depths of my heartbreak last year.
So in order to heal, we must allow ourselves space, time, and kindness to process our sense of loss and we need to be patient enough with ourselves to allow this to happen at our own pace. Mend provides this space and time, and though it is not a substitute for the mental healthcare one may receive from a therapist, it’s a good start in the right direction. Mend becomes that best friend everyone needs after a breakup because it’s always there when you need it.
Though Mend is meant to coach menders through heartbreak, it simultaneously teaches menders how to better take care of themselves during tough times—and learning how to cultivate those kinds of self-care skills is priceless.