THE studies have already shown that you can indeed die of a broken heart, and several of the people All Woman interviewed for this story say they came close to it.
“A lot of persons don’t place much stock on coming to terms with their feelings after a relationship ends, but the depression and the stress levels can lead to serious problems,” said Counsellor David Anderson.
“We always say that at the end of a relationship persons go through the same process as when someone dies, and this grief can be so much that it affects their health.”
A recent study out of St George’s, University of London, published in February on Science Daily’s website, revealed that chances of a stroke or heart attack double after a partner’s death.
According to Dr Sunhil Shah, senior lecturer in public health at the university, who is also a co-author of the study, “We often use the term a ‘broken heart’ to signify the pain of losing a loved one and our study shows that bereavement can have a direct effect on the health of the heart.”
She added: “There is evidence from other studies that bereavement and grief lead to a range of adverse responses including changes in blood clotting, blood pressure, stress hormone levels and heart rate control.
“All these will contribute to an increased risk of events such as heart attacks and strokes after loss of a partner.”
All Woman asked a few readers to share their experiences with broken hearts — the type they thought they’d never recover from.
Well, we dated for four years and I honestly believed he was the one for me, the one I’d spend the rest of my life with — you know, get married and have children with. Then I started noticing changes in the relationship. He started distancing himself and then he called me one day and hit me with the news: “I don’t love you anymore”. At that moment I literally felt my heart stop, and believe me, the feeling is real, very real. I cried, stopped eating, started isolating myself. I questioned so many things, and it was worse when I found out he had left me for someone new.
I lost 20 pounds in two weeks, started having nightmares and fainting spells. I thought I would have died. I started seeing a counsellor and that’s when I started recovering, because he had hurt me throughout the years with cheating, lies, the works. Right now I’m making progress. I’m not healed, but I’m getting there. It’s been six months and I’m proud of myself because compared to where I was, I’ve got over a lot, but there are still more hurdles to cross.
He was the one to ask me out and at first I wasn’t interested, but he insisted and I said yes. We dated for over five years before getting married and in the beginning it was great. He would spend time with me, send me texts and cute emails and we never kept secrets. We each had access to the phones, emails and our social network accounts. When he started getting all secretive, changing his passwords for everything and constantly working, I knew something was wrong. He’d get angry all the time and start arguments as an excuse to not be around me and he’d confide in his male friends about me. I found out he cheated through a number on Facebook and BB messages and texts that were on his phone. After I moved out he confessed that he had been unfaithful for a very long time with a male friend of his. It broke my heart, but a bigger betrayal happened after we decided to work on our marriage and his boyfriend tried to bash my head in when I found out that they had been living and sleeping in what was supposed to be our bed. Being cheated on is a terrible experience for any woman, but when you’re cheated on with other men the heartbreak is on another level. I wanted to die and I tried to kill myself. I cried every day and cried myself to sleep. Who could console such a case? If it wasn’t for my family and extended family who took me in I would have lost my mind because I was in the stages of a psychotic break. I am thankful to them for their hugs and prayers and support even today. I can say I’m 90 per cent over what happened and it’s a daily movement. I haven’t cried in almost a year and that says a lot. Time heals all wounds and slowly mine are being healed. Forgiving him was my biggest obstacle and once I did, I could speak to him without hatred. I pray he gets wisdom before it’s too late and he loses even more than losing me. In everything I am thankful because it has helped me to become a better, stronger, wiser young woman.
We were best friends, we shared everything for four years. He decided one day that he had had enough and nothing I did could change his mind. He cut me off completely. There was no cheating, no explanation, it seemed he was just tired of me. To this day he hasn’t told me why. There is no other woman. I had invested everything into the relationship; worse, he had bonded with my sons. When he told me that no matter what I did, I didn’t stand a chance, I bawled. I lost weight, I considered suicide. I had the spot mapped out — where I’d kill myself. I was in a dark place and it was hard to get away from that place. Even today the depression is still there. The worst thing is that I invested so much in him and in us. He was able to just resume his single life like nothing happened, while I was left to pick up the pieces of something I didn’t even know was broken.
August 26, 2008. I went home and she had left with the furniture and the children. Sure we had fought. Sure the bills were piling up, but I thought we were both in it for the long haul. I couldn’t contact her and it was about three months later that she contacted me, cold as ice. She said the kids wanted to see me. I found out later that she had moved in with one of our mutual friends, someone she had cheated with throughout our relationship. You want to know pain? It’s 2014 and it’s still impossible for me to move on.