BRAIN CHEMISTRY + HEARTBREAK :: INTERVIEW WITH IRIS G-THRASH, LCSW
WHAT ARE THE GOOD BRAIN CHEMICALS?
So when we are connected, when we are bonded with somebody, all the good chemicals get released. So for example, the chemicals that make us feel happy, the serotonin gets released, the chemicals that makes us feel attracted to others, the vasopressin gets released. That’s why we all have that one person when we see them they are just the most beautiful, perfect person for us. The chemical that makes us feel connected and makes us feel warm is the oxytocin chemical, that gets released. And then the fun chemical the one that makes us like, oh my God, life is so great, we can go to a restaurant and it’s fun, we can watch a movie, it’s fun, or we can kick back at home and that’s fun too, that’s the dopamine because that gets released, right?
WHAT HAPPENS IN BREAKUPS?
So what happens is that when a relationship comes to an end those chemicals don’t get released anymore. And it literally is like going through withdrawals. Your body is missing all of those chemicals and this is why people say, I’m physically in pain when I think about my loss or when I’m going through missing my person or my story. It literally hurts, ’cause you know what? It literally does hurt. And so the irony of it is that we call it a broken heart ’cause that’s what it feels like. Your heart feels like it’s breaking, it’s damaged. And so just like anything that’s broken it needs to heal, it needs to repair.
WHAT DO YOU SAY TO A LOVED ONE SUFFERING FROM A BREAKUP?
So we would never say to someone that had an injury, “Hey, just get over it.” And that’s what we do sometimes and that’s what we tell ourselves too. And that’s why the grieving process is a healing process and we need to go through it, we need to be very compassionate with ourselves. So compassion is kindness in pain, right? So when we’re in pain we need to be kind with ourselves and to know that for one person it’s gonna take them a short period of time because they’ll be able to adjust and adapt and move on. And then for another person it’s gonna take them a long time and that’s okay. There’s no like right way. What’s important to note though is that we’re all going to be okay, this doesn’t break us. We’re going to be okay. We’re going to find a story that’s our story and we are gonna love again.