Why does it hurt when I'm sad?
June 11, 2012 12:13 PM Subscribe
What is the unpleasant physical sensation I sometimes get when I am profoundly sad?
posted by rhiannonstone to health & fitness (8 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Sometimes when I am feeling very sad or lonely I feel an actual physical sensation. It starts in my chest (maybe this is where the concept of heartbreak comes from?) and spreads slowly through my core and arms. It's a prickly sensation, not like foot-falling-asleep pins-and-needles, but more like the needles-inside-my-skin feeling I get along with the adrenaline rush(?) when I wake up suddenly from a bad nightmare. The post-nightmare feeling comes with rapid heartbeat and breathlessness, though, while the sad feeling comes with a more calm feeling.
I understand enough about the human body to get that this is probably my brain releasing some hormone or other chemical in response to something, but I'd like to understand more about what it is and what triggers it.
If it's relevant, I don't have a history of depression or other mood disorders, other than rare anxiety-related panic attacks, and my panic attacks don't feel anything like this.