Can you literally die from heartbreak?

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We have all been through it, at least, most of us. Heartbreak. It’s inevitable, especially during our adolescence. It’s the time we fall in and out of love constantly, resulting into a broken heart most of the time. This leads to sadness and not feeling like eating – or a lot of binge-eating. Everything just seems to hurt, but most of all: your heart hurts. The person you thought you would spend the (near) future with, doesn’t feel the same way about you. But is there actual proof for this phenomena or is it just a delusion? Let’s find out.

Unrequited love comes to us for three striking reasons, as Baumeister states:

  1. People tend to end up with someone who is equally attractive to themselves. So, maybe this person just isn’t attractive enough – or unfortunately – you aren’t.
  2. The relationship doesn’t go any further than platonic friendship. In other words: you get friend-zoned.
  3. People don’t let their possible significant other in.

This unrequited love can result in sleep disturbance, intrusive thoughts, symptoms of depression and/or substance abuse. And I didn’t even get started on the desire to getting that person back in your life or to take revenge.

The broken heart syndrome is one you might actually know. It’s the feeling of physical pain in your chest after losing someone. This can result in actual complications, due to spasms, failure of blood flow and oxygen flow to the heart. Another dysfunction that might appear is hormone system and immune dysfunction. Yes, ladies and gentlemen: your hormones might start acting up and making you feel more stressed and anxious, caused by enhanced immune activity.

To make all the above even worse: the things our friends say and do ‘to make us feel better’. ‘Let’s go and party our asses off and get you a one night stand!’ or ‘There are more fish in the sea’ or ‘you deserve better.’ No, we don’t want to hook up with a stranger or date someone new. We want that one person, that broke our heart. Yes, we do deserve better, but we don’t want better. It’s this particular person we want. The excessive partying and dating is not going to mean anything as long as we keep on seeing someone else’s face.

Perhaps there’s only one right thing to do: let all those emotions be felt. Let the heart breathe, maybe even bleed a little.  Don’t vengeance that person, don’t try to get that person back. Just give it time. Maybe you get to break someone’s heart over their looks next time. If not platonic, then friend-zoning that person first.

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