Episode 39: The pain of a break up and my fibromyalgia
Episode 39: The pain of a break up is both emotional and physical
Hi! Welcome to episode #39!
Today I am going to talk about the pain of a break up! It is something I first heard about a year ago when I was taking pain reprocessing courses and at that time I found it fascinating. I was recently dating and it did not occur to me I would be “testing” on myself
Break ups hurt. NO matter how many times you have thought about breaking up with the person or questioned whether your relationship was going to last – when it actually happens, and you like, loved them, it hurts.
So first, I met a great man, after not dating for almost 6 years, and he swept me off my feet and now we are broken up. That’s the short story.
There is a study, believe it or not, that explored what happens when people are shown pictures of someone they loved/someone who broke up with them. Brain MRIs were done at the same time. They recruited 40 people for this, all of them had experienced a recent unwanted break up. The other part of the experiment was stimulation of the left forearm with a hot probe. Auch. And what they found is that the signal that is picked up at the time of looking at a picture of your ex overlaps significantly/almost identically with area in the brain that processes physical pain! Isnt’ this fascinating?
These findings give a new meaning to the sentence “break up hurts”. Because it does. And you can even prove it on the functional brain MRI!
But joking aside, these findings basically shed new insight into how emotional experiences lead to development of physical pain. They are consistent with the research on “embodiment” which means that emotional experiences are closely intricately and intimately connected to the physical sensation and processing of pain.
This explains why people may experience an uptick in pain after a breakup or whenever they are going through a difficult time that is accompanied by some kind of social rejection.
So the next question is what to do, can you make it better?
First of all, heart break is always hard and I am not here to tell you will make the pain go away. Break up means a loss of a relationship and no matter how bad it was, you still have to mourn the good and beautiful and wonderful things that you had experienced together. However, I do claim that what I am about to say will make YOU feel better about the whole situation and in turn, may improve the pain.
- First, acknowledge the pain you are feeling, the heart ache.
The pain can be all consuming and excruciating. If you are anyone like me, who falls hard and experiences everything intensely, you will feel the pain intensely. trying to run away from it does not help. Acknowledge It is there and that it is ok.
- Allow yourself a lot of grace and love.
You may cry, and feel intense sorrow, that may make it hard to function – let yourself feel it is ok. Love on yourself. Try to think of what gives you sense of love and reassurance. Then feel it, imagine it. I have been imagining a picture of me being a small girl, feeling sad and lost, and giving that little girl a huge loving warm and reassuring hug. Telling her it is going to be ok.
- Know you are NOT alone.
Remember many other people have gone through this and you will get through this too. Almost anything we experience in life, and especially a break up, other humans have overcome. So can you. So can I.
- Accept the decision.
- If you are the one who was the recipient of the break up news, like me in this particular situation, accepting the decision is extremely important. For whatever reason the other person decided it was best for them to break up – that means it is best for you too. Because why would you want to be with someone who cannot see the same about you?
- Try to learn from this experience – are there any ways you were not true to yourself in the process? If so, why not?
- Know that you are going to be ok.