Broken Heart Syndrome is the weakening of the muscular portion of the heart triggered by significant stress and can become fatal.
The saying “died of a broken heart” holds more truth than we would like to believe. Loss of a loved one, extreme trauma and a bad break up can have life threatening effects on our heart.
When your loved one leaves the body releases stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine to cope with the heart break. In short doses these chemicals help us to function in challenging situations but with long term grief the continuous release of these hormones can have devastating effects on the body. Prolonged levels of cortisol can interrupt sleep, cause chest tightness, trigger indigestion and headaches. In the long run it can compromise the immune system leaving you vulnerable to illness, increase your risk for insulin resistent diabetes and cardiovascular disease, cause weight gain especially around the waist area and fertility problems.
A breakup hurts like hell because the brain reads rejection as physical pain and reacts accordingly. When pain centres are all firing the body is in agony.
When you’re in love the body releases many feel good hormones and chemicals which are addictive to the body. When that love leaves those chemicals are no longer triggered causing the body to go into withdrawal.
Surviving heartbreak can feel like a hopeless feat when one has a barrage of pain, sadness, physical symptoms, physiological effects , self doubt and social implications all impacting at the same time. Seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness but a willingness to take action. Counselling can be a lifeline in times of such pain. Having an objective person to talk to outside of your circle can become a strong, safe space to process the hurt and get back to life.
Reframing the situation, making sense of the break up, and embracing acceptance of it can tie loose ends and begin the healing process.
“Knowledge is power”…reading up on the science of relationships and breakups can empower people to move on without emotional scars to their self esteem. Visit our Wellness Café for loads of suggestions on books, podcasts, articles and blogs that may give you some insight into your current situation.