Photo Journal /

heart syndrome

When I stare into space
I'm looking for you
And I can see you
At times

I'll be around
To pick up your phone
I'll be around

It is incredibly interesting to consider how the emotional pain of a breakup can actually be felt physically. You know, the tightness in your chest, nausea in your stomach. Two studies (linked below) looked at the brain activity of people who were going through a breakup and found that the reward systems were not the only areas of the brain which had been activated, but also the regions of the brain which control distress and physical pain. The areas of the brain that capture pain sensations were quiet, but the systems those are tied to, the ones that determine how the body reacts to pain, were telling the body that something bad or “painful” was happening. The brain controls functions of the body, which can lead to the release of stress hormones, which in turn can have grave impacts on the body’s well-being. Breakups can actually lead to some pretty extreme conditions, such as takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as “broken heart syndrome,” which is caused by the heart weakening and expanding under this kind of emotional stress. Although rare, this can lead to death.