In 2004, a film motivated couples into heated discussions. In each movie theater the reactions seemed to be the same. The question posed by the story was this: how much damage are you willing to endure in order to forget a great love?
Director Michel Gondry asked that question to audiences worldwide who went to the scrutiny of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in 2004. The film tells the tale of Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet), who experience the consequences of a devastating breakup that leads both of them into a hurricane of memories and melancholy that slowly destroys them.
The film became a cult hit, and it’s not surprise why. We’ve all been at the wrong end of a breakup where our souls are shattered through emotional turmoil.
Psychology and medicine have identified a series of physical and mental conditions that are related to breakups. Depression, anger, and fear are just some of the experienced effects the two parties go through. These discoveries have made us wonder if it’s possible that all those issues already inhabited your body and it was only a matter of time before they erupted.
One of the most common emotional disorders left by a breakup is anxiety. This ailment comes with frequent bouts of nerves, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, sharp chest pain, and constant anguish. Can a breakup truly bring all these symptoms?
The medical community has yet to establish the traits that make anguish one of the biggest ailments of the twenty-first century. However, they have been able to locate the biological similarities it shares with bipolar disorder, including excessive production of cortisol, higher activity in the brain regions related to movement and personal relationships, as well as less activity in the brain areas related to cognitive function.
This situation makes bipolarity and anxiety ailments genetically transferred from parents to children. In other words, genetics will determine whether we are more likely to suffer an episode of anxiety or depression at the end of a romantic dissolution. Tears, self-pity, resentment, even anger are not because of that person leaving us. It’s actually proof of parentally inherited demons.
On the other hand, wrath and fear fall directly from the altered point of view that results from a breakup. The causes that lead a state of pure anger to erupt are quite similar to those presented during an emotional or psychological break.
The American Association of Psychiatry claims in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM), that falling in love is not classified as a medical condition, and yet all of the physical side effects from it are seen as clinical pathologies.
Life’s stressful moments can also lead to a psychopathological breakdown. Teenagers, the elderly, and pregnant women are among the most vulnerable groups to these moments. The last two seem to be far removed from the hysteria of falling in and out of love. According to the DSM, in order to consider a behavior as a disorder, this needs to cause clinical anxiety or at least be detrimental to social, work, or any other part of life. Without these situations, love, relationships, and unexpected ends would be nothing but an unfortunate yet passing experience.
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Translated by María Suárez