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Sun Aug 28, 2022, 04:03 PM

'Clinically awful': why the pain of a broken heart is real

In the winter of 2004, women started arriving at Japanese hospitals complaining of chest pains and a shortness of breath. It was a month since a major earthquake had shaken the country, causing mudslides in the mountains, injuring 4,805 people and killing 68. In emergency rooms, doctors hooked the women up to ECG monitors, and saw the same extreme changes they’d expect with heart attacks. But subsequent tests showed their coronary arteries weren’t blocked, as they would be by a heart attack. Instead, their hearts had changed shape. It didn’t take long for these cases to be diagnosed as takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or “broken heart syndrome”.

Heartbreak is not simply a metaphor. Today, up to 7% of all sudden cardiac hospital admissions in Japan are diagnosed as takotsubo, when stress hormones after a traumatic event have caused a weakening of the left ventricle, meaning it can no longer pump effectively – for a while, it gives up. It hurts. And it clearly shows the link between the stresses happening in a person’s life, whether an earthquake or the end of a relationship, and their heart.

This understanding is one of the things that’s leading to heartbreak being taken seriously in a way it never has been before. There have been pop songs about heartbreak, of course. There have been novels and films and many thousands of poems, but now, after years of concentrating simplyon the process of falling in love, scientists are starting to look at the end of love, too. Today there are books that unpick the science of heartbreak and memoirs detailing the messy, sticky truth of it, and an “intensive care” retreat for heartbroken women to heal in a very nice hotel in the Peak District. All newly seeking to understand this slow torture. “Romance’s estranged cousin,” wrote Rachel Cusk in her 2012 divorce memoir, “a cruel character, all sleeplessness and adrenaline unsweetened by hope.”

Annie Lord’s heartbreak arrived one evening on Euston Road, London, when her boyfriend said he needed “to be alone”. Her memoir Notes on Heartbreak evolved from a long love letter she wrote to him afterwards, but never sent. To explore her pain, she returns to memories of the relationship, finding a kind of solace in the realisation that in order to get over her boyfriend she doesn’t have to forget him altogether. She remembers, she tells me, looking out of the window and finding it impossible to accept that most people she saw had gone through this agony. How was the world still functioning? In A Grief Observed, about the loss of his wife, CS Lewis says grief feels like suspense, “It comes from the frustration of so many impulses that had become habitual.” Reading that, Lord recognised the sensation: she was waiting for something that would never come. “For him to come around the corner asking where the towels were or to feel his leg hit me in bed . Knowing others had gone through something similar I felt less alone with my experiences.”

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/aug/28/clinically-awful-why-the-pain-of-a-broken-heart-is-real

One of my friends suffered from this for months following the death of her husband. A new doctor finally diagnosed her symptoms and told her that yes, her pain WAS real.

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Reply 'Clinically awful': why the pain of a broken heart is real (Original post)
Jilly_in_VA Aug 2022 OP
at140 Aug 2022 #1
Ocelot II Aug 2022 #2
evolves Aug 2022 #3
appalachiablue Sep 2022 #4

Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sun Aug 28, 2022, 04:15 PM

1. heartbreaks are part of life

Those will never go extinct. Human require 3 basic things in life to feel truly happy.
1. Security, 2. Variety, 3. Recognition. It is like a 3 legged stool. Must have all 3 operating to avoid falling. Lack of variety is the most common cause for heartbreaks. Like someone said, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. If one experiences unfortunate heartbreak, keep in mind there are many fishes in the ocean. Search for new love, new energy which comes with new love.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sun Aug 28, 2022, 04:36 PM

2. It certainly is real.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sun Aug 28, 2022, 06:02 PM

3. Paul Simon said it very well:

"Losing love is like a window in your heart; everybody sees you're blown apart."

I never understood this until I had my first real heartbreak. I truly felt like I was walking around with a hole blown in my chest-- it actually hurt that acutely.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sun Sep 4, 2022, 02:44 PM

4. K/R Thanks for sharing.

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