Can I die of a broken heart?

Can I Die of a Broken Heart?

Typically, when you see or hear the words ‘broken heart’ you instantaneously think of the cartoon heart with a crack down the middle. This stereotypical view can steer you away from those experiencing a broken heart (not the cartoon broken heart).


The biology


More recently, the term broken heart syndrome has been recognised on online platforms, whereby people have recognised the symptomology to be mistaken for a heart attack. In simple terms, the feeling of a broken heart or broken heart syndrome may be caused by the heart’s response to the sudden stress hormones. If you experience the symptoms of broken heart syndrome (chest pains, difficulty breathing etc.), seek medical advice.


Broken heart.


Upon experiencing a breakup or the loss of a loved one (the physical effects arise) and you need to undergo the healing process to focus on yourself again. Physical effects could include sleepless night, prolonged headaches, loss of appetite etc. You may feel like you are on the verge of dying or there is no point in our existence. Thus, dying from a broken heart seems like a reasonable explanation.

Let me discuss the example which comes to mind, the heartache of a breakup and the dreaded, ‘it’s not you; it’s me,’ ‘we need to talk.’ breakups tend to be one-sided, whereby one person is left feeling lost, confused and angry. This is where you hear the ‘cracks’ of your heart and perhaps you go on a rampage or isolate yourself from the world. Yes, you are heartbroken, but the isolation and negative feelings will not lead to you dying.

Contrastingly, broken heart syndrome (as discussed above) can be a cause of death because of the immense physical damage an emotional stressor can have. This explanation can relate to couples who have been in long-term relationships die within days of each other. Commonly, the presenting symptoms are chest pains and shortness of breath.

After a breakup or a tragic experience, you can either choose to be in unbearable pain and heartache or undergo a healing process to make yourself happy and healthy.


Healing yourself.


Moving forward, can I die from a broken heart? Reading the symptomology, dying from a broken heart is possible. But, having the right care and working through your grief or pain, you can mend your heart to be whole again.

Understanding what happened and express your feelings by talking to someone who will listen and understand (a counsellor?). This helps lift the weight from your shoulders, whilst you release your frustration and suppressed feelings. The counsellor is there to be the listener and allow you to focus on yourself. More so, whilst you are talking to a counsellor or another individual, it allows you to see another perspective. Counselling can help mend a broken heart and start the reconstruction process if you are willing.

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