Friday, December 24, 2010

Dr. Deb: A Year in Review


This blog journey has been a most gratifying experience for me. I continually learn new things, get a chance to write about them and enjoy the discussions that my regular readers, as well as passersby, offer.

Every year about this time, I take a look at things, especially which posts get the most reads. I blog about a lot of psychological issues, but the one post that garnered thousands of hits this year was about Broken Heart Syndrome.

Profound emotional sadness can lower your immune system, increase blood pressure, heart rate and muscle weakness. Stress from grief can flood the body with hormones, specifically Cortisol, which causes that heavy achy feeling in the chest area. All of these issues increase the likelihood of heart attack. The actual medical term for this mind/body experience is Stress Cardiomyopathy. The colloquial term is a broken heart.

If you are in the depths of despair consider these tips:

1) Don't hold in your emotional pain. Studies show that expressing emotions greatly reduces the body's stress response.

2) Don't put a time limit on your grief. And don't let others set one for you either. Consider seeking the guidance of a professional who can help you move through this traumatic loss.

3) Make sure you tend to your physical needs. Eat well, keep a routine sleep schedule. If you require medication to help you with sleeping, modulate your moods or for cardiac management, don't feel ashamed. You are going through a significantly stressful time.

4) A broken heart leaves many people feeling stunned and stuck. Move. Get out of bed. Take a shower. Go for a walk. Feel the sun on your face.

5) Above all else, make sure that you check in with your physician. Remember, Stress Cardiomyopathy is a mind/body event.


17 comments:

Shiirazi said...

Merry Christmas!

And what a year you had.

Lily said...

Thank you for your blog. The information you present is always useful and never judgmental or biased. I love that I can come here and expect a good conversation from all sides. Have a Merry Christmas :) Thank you for all of the support this year!

Mz.Elle said...

Merry Christmas!
I love your place and wish to thank you,also. You bring so much to others and it sure is a pleasure to know you. Hugs,love and light,Lael

Dreaming again said...

Merry Christmas Dr. Deb!

onelongjourney said...

Thanks for your blog! I always enjoy reading it :)

Hope you have a good holiday.

As one that is using Ambien more frequently than I would like - I liked that one.

Happy Holidays!

Rose said...

Looking forward to more from you- Have a Merry Christmas and Happy NEw Year!

kenju said...

What Lily said! and Merry Christmas!

SeaSpray said...

I never heard of it as a syndrome.

It is an awful place to be in. breathing is an effort.

My lifelong friend was diagnosed with stage II..but soon moved to stage Iv lung cancer in may. Always took care of herself ..never smoked. She just had her 8th round of chemo.

We met when I was 4 and she was 5. 51 years this summer. Both only children ..in each other's weddings. She *is* a part of me.

I believe in and am hoping and praying for a miracle.

I try not to think anything else.

You have a great blog!

Happy Holidays to you and may you have a wonderful new Year. Dr deb. :)

Awake In Rochester said...

I had hoped to hear more about Doc. Deb's personal life in review. What's up Doc? ;) ... Happy Holidays!

yogurt said...

A great example of why I like your blog so much. Merry Christmas, Dr. Deb!

TK Kerouac said...

In the beginning stages,
I don't think there is anything worse than a broken heart

not just the pysical side
the emotional
the obsessing, the obsessing is worst of all

And around this time of year, there are alot of breakups
Its known as "The Xmas Dump"

Can you die of a broken heart?
Yes, if you don't look after yourself

Great Blog!
Merry Christmas Dr.Deb!

Tery Lynne said...

I cannot wait to see what is in store for next year in 2011!

Teehee said...

Can someone have PTSD from a traumatic break up? It has been almost 10 years since my ex left me and 7 1/2 years since we have spoken or seen each other. It is like he died but worse, as he chose to leave and therefore proved to me that he didn't love me. When he left, I went through the worst depression of my life. My father had died a few years earlier and the pain I felt when my ex left (we had dated for 13 years) almost killed me. If it hadn't been for a friend who I lived with at the time, I think I would have committed suicide...I cried every day, stopped eating, sleeping, lack of hope...this went on for a year. I went on anti-depressants for a short time and during that time, I met someone else...a band-aid, I guess. We dated for 5 years and that relationship ended poorly as well, but it was my decision so I don't have the same residual feelings I have with him as I did with me ex. In the last few months, I have seen the depression creeping back...lack of interest in life, travel, socializing...I am starting to cut people out of my life by isolating myself. I don't want to be around the "happy couples and/or families" because it makes me reflective...then I feel guilty for being so sad and I don't want to ruin anyone's day/event so I just stay away. I have conversations in my head with me ex, re-hear the hurtful words he said to me and envision his life with his new wife and children. My dreams are filled with me trying to talk to him and convince him to come back; I usually wake up crying. To complicate things even more, he is a doctor therefore I am fearful of going to one to get help...even a referral to a phychologist. I stumbled on your blog today and was wondering what your thoughts are on PTSD. It seems like it affects people that had a significant trauma such as a life threatening situation...I guess I feel like the break up was a life threatening situation because it did almost kill me. I really have no one to talk to about this because it has been so long since the relationship ended, I know many people would say "you need to move on with your life" or "quit dwelling on the past". Few people would really understand. If you don't think I suffer from PTSD, which does seem like an exaggeration, why is this pain reoccuring, almost like it was yesterday? Is there help for me?

TK Kerouac said...

Dr.Deb
maybe you should do a broken heart from break ups post

Personally, I think everyone grieves differently, and length of time varies

I've read people who are bipolar,have abandonment issues,codependency issues, have it the worst cause they can't see themselves as a whole person unless they are with someone.

time does make things easier. And personally, I think people grieve for the way they wanted things to be, but the person they are grieving for is really just an illusion. It isn't worth grieving your life away for anyone.
It was just a stage in your life, a part of the journey.
Don't grieve too long, its onto the next journey.

Its never worth grieving over someone who can't or won't love back. Better to take your power back and love yourself in the meantime.

lightfeather said...

This is a perfect ending to another wonderful year of blog postings. Hope your holidays were wonder-filled!

Barb said...

I just heard this term, "Broken Heart Syndrome" in one of the lectures I listened to given by a panel of Integrative Health Drs. It's interesting to me that a term used colloquially for ages finally has some scientific "basis."

S'onnie said...

Happy New Year Dr Deb, I hope 2011 is a good year for you.

Kia hora te marino, kia whakapapa pounamu te moana,
Kia tere karohirohi i mua i tou huarahi.

May calm be spread around you, may the sea glisten like greenstone and the shimmer of summer dance across your path.