Bebe Rexha and Heartbreak

Bebe Rexha and Heartbreak

bebe_rexha_imamess

I’m a Mess

By Bebe Rexha, Justin Tranter, Meridith Brooks, Shelly Peiken

I’m a mess, I’m a loser
I’m a hater, I’m a user
I’m a mess for your love, it ain’t new
I’m obsessed, I’m embarrassed
I don’t trust no one around us
I’m a mess for your love, it ain’t new

 (see full lyrics at the end of this post)

Dear Mess,

If your heartbreak is recent, I am sure you are a giant mess. I don’t know if it is comforting, or just reality, to let you know that a breakup, or a betrayal by a significant other often registers as trauma in your brain and body.

This means that the newly broken-hearted often experience same symptoms as those suffering with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This makes sense because when you experience trauma, life as you know it is no longer the same. When you an attachment injury happens with someone you thought you would spend your life with, that life with them as you thought it would be is over for you. Though not the same, it’s comparable to a death or a life altering physical injury. Symptoms of PTSD include, flashbacks, a sense that your life is not real (more like a movie), a sense of a foreshortened future or that things will never work out again. Physical symptoms include being unable to sleep, jumpy, shaky, and issues with your gastrointestinal system.

Does this sound familiar? The good news is that it is usually easier to recover from a breakup than actual life-threatening trauma. You don’t actually have the full diagnosis of PTSD, it just might feel like you do during the early stages of moving on. The symptoms of romantic heartbreak do not last as long or as intensely, unless the situation included actual abuse and violence.

You should expect to be a total mental and physical mess for around 2 weeks to 2 months. And if this was then end of a very serious relationship, you may not feel completely “over it” for 2 to 5 years. There may be some existential explorations, letting go, and refilling that needs to happen once the smoke and wreckage has cleared. This does not mean you cannot date for 2 to 5 years, just that there may still be some dust settling as you open the doors to your heart again.

It is true what your therapist says: everything will (eventually) be all right and okay. If you do the work to keep moving forward, you will likely emerge just as great or better from heartache; especially if you use this pain as an opportunity to open your heart to even further discovery about yourself and life.

If you would like to read further about the what’s going on for your emotions and body during a major betrayal or breakup, here are some helpful links to articles:

This article gives some helpful explanations and research on how heartbreak is linked with physical pain:

https://www.heysigmund.com/your-body-during-a-breakup/

This includes some similar information, but also defines more clearly how love in our brain can be similar to an addiction, and therefore how losing love can be so maddening. It also includes a bit of an evolutionary perspective on why we are wired to freak out when we feel abandoned:

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/this_is_your_brain_on_heartbreak

This article builds on the science explained in the articles above, and adds some practical advice related to the findings:

https://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/counselling/psychology-of-heartbreak.htm

Finally, for some fun! Here is Bebe Rexha telling us about how she came up with this song. As we see from her story, heartbreak can turn into a pop hit!:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XadX_VFkWFw

Full Lyrics:

 Everything’s been so messed up here lately
Pretty sure he don’t wanna be my baby
Oh, he don’t love me, he don’t love me
He don’t love me, he don’t love me
But that’s okay
‘Cause I love me, yeah, I love me
Yeah, I love me
Yeah, I love myself anyway
Hey

 Everything’s gonna be alright
Everything’s gonna be okay
It’s gonna be a good, good, life
That’s what my therapist say
Everything’s gonna be alright
Everything’s gonna be just fine
It’s gonna be a good, good life

 I’m a mess, I’m a loser
I’m a hater, I’m a user
I’m a mess for your love, it ain’t new
I’m obsessed, I’m embarrassed
I don’t trust no one around us
I’m a mess for your love, it ain’t new

 Nobody shows up unless I’m paying
Have a drink on me cheers to the failing
Oh, he don’t love me, he don’t love me
He don’t love me, he don’t love me
But that’s okay
‘Cause I love me, yeah, I love me
Yeah, I love me
Yeah, I love myself anyway
Hey

 Everything’s gonna be alright
Everything’s gonna be okay
It’s gonna be a good, good life
That’s what my therapist say

Spencer Northey

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