Don’t underestimate the effects of a broken heart


Jared Glen, Writer

In grade six a question frequently asked by teachers and peers was “Where do you see yourself in five to ten years?” And for some students they would answer with “I would have a girlfriend/boyfriend” A relationship is something most people desire to have, and many of us can’t function because they don’t feel whole. But is it possible for a broken heart to cause death?

“Broken heart syndrome” is real, and its medical name is “Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy”. Tako means octopus in Jjapanese and the word Takotsubo means fishing pot for catching octopus. This illness is a physical pain that can be felt in the chest and the heart, these pains are caused by emotional stress that can be sourced from an intense breakup or the death of a loved one. This intense feeling is believed to be a survival instinct. Social rejection is a very big part in our society. Social psychologist Ethan Kross of the University of Michigan, has heavily studied this specific concept has said, “These results give new meaning to the idea that social rejection hurts”. The research involves the secondary somatosensory cortex and the dorsal posterior insula.

As well as feeling this physical pain, there is also feeling the emotional pain, guilt. For almost all individuals, and those who experience grief will eventually come to a climax where they will be able to begin adjusting to their life where their loved one is no longer with them. There are five levels of grief after losing a loved one: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and period of numbness leading to depression and eventually reorganization and recovery, These five concepts come from the  Kübler-Ross model.

Heartbreak can be a devastating feeling at any age, many can explain it as a slow death,  and within a slow death there is always grief, and grief is something no one can ignore. Grief is a huge part of of “ broken heart syndrome” and can be the cause of many heart failures. Grief can cause chronic stress and that can result in physical and emotional pain and symptoms; Emotional and physical symptoms are things like depression, trouble with sleeping, feeling angry and bitter, anxiety, loss of appetite and general pains everywhere.

Like some people, many animals mate for life, take the mighty wolf for example, they are very loyal creatures that roam around in packs that can be described as a family. The wolf packs breeding pairs usually mate for life, but when they lose a pack member they go through grief as we would because of their need for loyalty and love. Wolves have a sense of what they want and need, but humans seem to never know or understand what they need or want, that can turn into meaningless relationships that just make the stress on the heart worst.

When searching for a cure you first have to turn to yourself and know when your ready to move on, because the only thing you can really do is go to a therapist to help you through the path of acceptance. Takotsubo is a trap that octopus are unable to get out of, like that pot people who go through this heartache have a hard time getting out of it. Do not become worried by this information though, Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy is temporary, but can still be quite traumatic for many people. The feeling of missing someone in that way can really emotionally destroy someone and sometimes people don’t heal from such an experience. In Kelowna we are now able to turn to a place called The Foundry, where they are able to help teens through their emotional trials and help them triumph over all obstacles that cause any type of psychological trauma.