“My heart is broken.”
This is a statement often used when someone is suffering a loss, a break-up or an experience that has caused extreme despair. We have all heard someone say it and most of us have said it ourselves.
Heartbreak comes in many forms – the passing of a parent, sibling or loved one; the loss of a child, divorce, break-ups, major disappointments, financial ruin and betrayals of all kinds.
The pain can be unbearable, sucking the air from our lungs, anesthetizing our senses and weighing heavy on our minds. We may stop eating – or not be able to stop. We may sleep all day – or become insomniacs. We may shirk responsibilities – or become obsessively perfectionistic. Some put on a perfect face for the world – and others can’t face the world at all. Some say I’m fine – and others say I can’t go on.
Numb, yet hurting. Tired, yet restless. Angry, yet sad. The contradiction of feelings mixed with the raw emotions are a perfect storm. It’s all-consuming. Blinding. And paralyzing.
For some, the duration of devastation is limited. They pick up and go on, no matter how hard it may be. They find a way to let the wound form a scar and move forward – managing their pain, because it never really goes away. They learn to live with it – packing it up, carrying it along, taking it out from time to time, then visiting with the grief and packing it away once again. That’s called resilience.
The others, struggle to recover. Why? Because their hearts may not be broken – they may be shattered. One, two, three – then lost count – heartbreaks took a toll. They had their hearts broken so many times that they are now shattered – beyond broken.
According the the American Heart Association*, broken heart syndrome, also known as stress-induced cardiomyopathy, can strike even in healthy individuals.
Women are more likely than males to experience sudden, intense chest pain that is a surge of stress hormones — that can be caused by an emotionally stressful event. It could be the death of a loved one or even a divorce, break-up or physical separation, betrayal or romantic rejection. It could even happen after a positive shock – joy!
“I’m having a heart attack!”
Broken heart syndrome can be misdiagnosed as such because the symptoms and test results are often synonymous. However, unlike a heart attack, there’s no evidence of blocked heart arteries in broken heart syndrome. Broken heart syndrome, it’s temporary. Researchers are embarking on studies to learn causes, and how to diagnose and treat it.
What they have learned is that broken heart syndrome can lead to severe, short-term heart muscle failure. But there is hope.
Science and facts aside, what about the others? Has anyone ever contemplated the fact that some hearts may be done? They’re not just broken – they’re shattered.
Compassionate human beings are conditioned to say nice things – encourage, support and relate. But those of us who have just had enough – please accept that fact.
For some, our hearts are shattered. And that’s ok. We have love to dispense but in reality, we need to measure what we dole out vs. what we reserve.
We will always have love to give. But please, don’t console us when we say we are done. Don’t attempt to paint a pretty picture with your words, because we’ve been there too many times to count.
The reality is – we are shattered. We are not in for repairs. Our warranty may have expired.