If we fall in love in our brains, why does it always ache in our chest when we’re heartbroken?

Do we though? Do we though. Do. We. Though.

Love in the brains? Is that how it works? And when my heart gets properly burst the ache goes everywhere. Chest collapse, energy pouring to every extremity. Search for numbness everywhere. Stasis. Cocoon. Tears and weird media obsesions.


Hide from memories. Don’t think. Don’t think. Don’t think.

Thinking hurts more than anything.


I’m not so sure I accept the assumptions of the question. But it raises the weirdest dichotomy, and one that I’ve spent years trying to deal with in myself.

What is the line between feelings and thoughts, and where should it be?

There is a sense, rhetorical or experiential depending on who you ask, that our brain (in our head) does the thinking while our heart/gut/etc (everywhere else) does the feeling. There’s a dualism that crops up again and again, and seems quite intuitive to people.

But, of course, it’s all in the mind. The sensations reported in the body are calculated in the brain. The brain tells us which bit of us is feeling what. And, presumably, it is emotional experiences in the brain that decide to feedback to us through the sensations in the other parts of our body.

Our heart is responsible for pumping blood around our body. Not falling in love and getting broken.

Our gut is largely responsible for digesting food and extracting nutrients. It is also often full of shit. It has nothing to do with instinct or worry or fear or clairovoyance.

And if our hearts got broken we would die. We wouldn’t just hide in duvets and cry and eat ice cream or drugs or whatever else we can find to numb the pain and hide the world away.

But there IS feedback. When I hear powerful music I feel it in my chest or perinium, and it courses through my body outwards. The sound impacts my body, through the brain. When I love I get nervous and flustered, but also feel my body lighten and float upwards.

And when it all crashes down, we know what happens.

So it appears the brain creates a feedback loop. It communicates with us through our body. Tells us what we’re feeling using all means available to it.

My only thought is that this must be because it knows we don’t listen to it.

I don’t think our consciousness is as self aware as we like to think. I think that stream of thoughts we consider our usness, is only a fragment of what’s going on. I think whatever it is in us is confused and weird and wild. So it lets us know what’s going on by any means possible. And we ignore it. We rationalise over the top of it. We use our intellect to stop it from speaking clearly.

So it grabs our metaphors, our hearts and our guts, and it squeezes.

I don’t know what that means. If that’s useful or okay.

But it feels true.

Illustration by Adam.


About Alex Ava

Joiner of Dots. Player of Games. Unreliable Narrator. Dancing Fool.
This entry was posted in Illustrations by Adam, Questions by Bex. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to If we fall in love in our brains, why does it always ache in our chest when we’re heartbroken?

  1. Pingback: What’s the best way to keep the Heart light? | Unstruck

  2. Pingback: What is the best question ever? | Unstruck

  3. Yah very correct ……. Now my heart is aching …

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