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HEARTACHE COMES from the BRAIN (and not from the HEART)

I miss her. I miss her. Not the idea of her, but her.  And this absence accompanies me like a faithful servant, with an abundance of data that cannot be broken down. She doesn’t leave me space. Preventing me from seeing everyday things, for what they are: simple objects of trivial meaning.

Her absence haunts me. I expect to hear the clicking of her heels, in the evening. I crave her return. Dinner eaten in solitude is a tremendous torture that I hadn’t considered. The night owns me, stopping me from seeing dawn break. A bed too big to sleep in. Alone.

I reflect and do not reason. I miss her. I miss her too much to think about anything except her.

The pain that a lost love causes is the same as that caused by a wound: in both cases the same neuron areas are activated; painful physical experiences leave the same tragic sign as betrayal, a refusal, a love which has reached the end of its tether.

Suffering does not start from the heart but from the brain. Science has demonstrated it, through a study carried out by Ethan Kross of the University of Michigan that subjected a group of volunteers to magnetic resonance, invited to first look at a photo of a lost lover and then subjected to a test in which they were inflicted physical pain through heat stimuli. The result left no doubts: the break up of a relationship causes the same pain as a burn.

Now we know that apart from causing a psychological pain, lost love also causes physical pain. Everything comes from the fact that, in both kinds of pain, areas until now only connected to painful physical stimuli are activated in the secondary sematosensory cortex and the posterior dorsal insula. 

The heart unfortunately has a rather marginal role: everything starts from the brain that creates a state of suffering, with the result that heartbreak burns in the same way as body pain.

We are our passions, is a saying that has never been so true and predictive. The idea that whoever aches for love suffers pain, even physical, was already sustained by Freud: “The self, before anything else, is corporeal and thus, there is no separation between mind and body but an integration of experiences that are manifested through different languages that have the same grammar”.

In today’s society, where every desire is presented as realisable, the capacity for tolerating conflict, sadness and limit has been lost and therefore we live in consuming the moment and in the impossibility of accepting that a project can succeed but also fail. Few manage to tolerate a frustration: we live in a world that advertises and sells happiness, beauty, immortality like goods.

Love should not, therefore be synonymous of possessing but consist of being flexible, of finding an intermediate space where similarities and differences can be cultivated. The pain of loss would not, therefore, be eliminated but could become the thrust to a new world of being happy (again). Reinventing yourself.