You do not realize it until it has already happened. You have been living and struggling and fighting, so surely it must be there. With conviction and courage and strength, you have stormed forward, and, for all those reasons, you missed it. Not until things have finally quieted down, when the world has regained a whisper of quiescence, did you realize that you lost your heart.
In the tumult and clangor, you did not notice that your heart has been stolen. Not in the romantic sense, that your heart has merely been transposed to beat in the breast of another: no, you have been robbed, left destitute, cold and shivering and shaking; confused and lost and alone. You will only notice when you hurt someone else, someone you care about, because you stopped looking at them and started thinking about what was best for you, what would keep you safe and stop you from hurting.
You had never been in this place before. Maybe it makes sense that after 3 years of having to look out for what was best for you, in terms of your physical health, that it would creep into your soul. Health for the body, poison for the soul.
That could be said of most defense mechanisms. You build walls to guard your heart and force anyone brave enough to care about you to besiege them: any attempt to rescue you from your self-imposed starvation is turned into an offensive against your very being. No, you did not erect the walls to harm yourself but to protect you. In the end, your castles are your prisons, full only of your fetid, rotting heart.
So here in the midst of this castle, how do you get out? The same way you got into it I guess. Brick-by-brick. Bleed hands, scar over so that they will never forget the foolish coffin you forged around yourself.
Do not forget to look those you love, whom you hurt, in the eyes as you stacked the bricks in their face. Don’t forget that you chose to keep them out, to leave them on the outside. Forget, though, what they did to hurt you, to cause you to start stacking the bricks. You will have to forgive them to get some of those bricks down. Yes, whether they deserve that or not, you will have to let go if you want your heart to revive, to be free and alive. You do want that, right?