The Pain Of A Broken Heart And Why It's The Best Thing To Happen To You

by Dan Scotti
Emotionally Unavailable — Ian Connor (@Souljaian) February 10, 2015

Emotionally unavailable.

Yep, that sounds about right. Pretty much sums up the way things have been since having my heart broken almost three f*cking years ago. See? Right there.

I couldn’t even type that sentence without having my unconscious grab the proverbial steering wheel, and toss in a curse word.

Sure, I could’ve easily gone back and edited that word out – ah, the convenience of computer word processors – but, frankly, I’d rather keep it as is. It might not be PG-rated, but at least it’s authentic.

I’m still bitter. I've moved on, but I still think about it. Three years later – three whole years later – and I can’t say any of the scars from that first heartbreak have completely vanished.

I cover them up, or at least I try, but when that “makeup” smudges off, they’re something I have to face whenever I catch a glimpse of my own self-reflection.

I suppose things got better with time, so I guess all those hollow clichés do hold some truth, but I will say – things definitely didn’t get better because of time.

I feel like that’s an important distinction to make; especially before melting into your couch for the next however-many months, while “Father Time” does his thing and mends your life back together in the process.

He won’t do sh*t. Trust me. Time can’t “do” anything at all, really, except waste away.

You, on the other hand, can do sh*t – except, with a broken heart – all you’ll probably want to do is mimic the clock and waste away with it. 

That’s the essence of heartbreak, though. From a psychological standpoint, as Meghan Laslocky explains, the affection of love on our minds relates directly to motivation.

When you’re in love, parts of the brain associated with “goal seeking behavior” will be firing at all-time highs. Once you find your heart broken, however, you’ll be forced to endure the opposite effect.

Love is a drug and, like all other drugs that lead to dependence, it has a comedown.

The difference with love, on the other hand, is that there really aren’t any rehabilitation centers that specialize in treating the symptoms of its withdrawal – it’s just called “depression,” and ultimately you’re the only one with the cure.

Well, I think I wallowed in my own misery for the better portion of two years, afterwards, treating each day like its own Dash Snow polaroid. I watched myself slowly drifting from who I was before having my heart broken.

I think bestselling author Matt Haig – and a top shelf Twitter follow – said it best, when he described depression from his own account.

“Depression is not a reflection of external circumstances. It's not fixed by 'putting things in perspective'. Depression IS the perspective.”

I knew I was depressed and I watched myself start to think differently.

According to a study published by Camden and Islington NHS, depression encourages negative thinking, and most of the time these thoughts are automatic – meaning, we’re typically not aware of them prior. 

It’s natural after heartbreak, or depression for any other reason, to try and avoid these negative thoughts through drug addiction or simply ignoring them.

Especially if they take you back to memories of someone you may have once loved only to watch them end up hurting you in the worst way. 

It’s easy to shut yourself down completely, when feeling depressed, but science might provide reason to do the opposite. In fact, separate studies show that depression is not just linked to negative thinking, but also creativity.

 According to Tanner Christensen, of Creative Something, the key link between depression and creative thinking relies upon the notion of “rumination of thought.”

Rumination refers to the act of naturally dwelling on matters of importance, such as those things that are “vital to our health.”

Thinkers, specifically those who tend to replay important events relative to some project that they might be working on, or enterprise they might be planning to set up, will often times experience more creative thought than those who dismiss their work when they punch the clock.

While depressed, we’ll tend to replay events in our head, that likely have hurt us the most – like a breakup or finding out that a loved one’s been cheating.

Likewise, while depressed, we’ll tend to replay events in our head, that likely have hurt us the most – like a breakup or finding out that a loved one’s been cheating.

I suppose this is why there’s a genius to Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, Bob Dylan and the others who express their pain through art.

I mean, truthfully, I don't think Kurt Cobain was really all that happy, when he penned the lyrics to the record "Dumb."  Yet, Cobain employed music as a platform for him to express – and, more importantly, act upon – his own anxieties and laments.

Christensen continues by saying people don’t necessarily have to be clinically depressed, or depressed for long periods of time, to experience these increased levels of creativity.

Sometimes a stressful event will bring about deep reflection, and that temporary depressive state can act as the spark. Specifically for dealing with heartbreak, however, Laslocky mentions how parts of the brain were trying to compensate for others.

The orbital frontal cortex, mainly dealing with learning from emotional experience, will be activated while is coping with what they deem as a "broken heart."

I found the link between these studies interesting because – although there might not be too much you can alleviate the pain completely – at least it provides a silver lining to a dark situation.

Although you might feel the most alone you’ve ever felt, don’t try to avoid thinking entirely, and keep in mind that you also might be on the verge of some of your best ideas.