Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hot Docs: Sleepless in New York


Love is a complicated emotion that makes us do crazy things. Sometimes we are so in love that we forget ourselves. We may sacrifice our well-being and devote all our attention and energy for the hope that we’ll be loved back. When the break-up happens though, we are completely lost and left alone with only our ill thoughts of feeling like it’s the end of the world and what the hell did we do wrong to deserve this?

In the documentary, Sleepless in New York, directed by Christian Frei, we get to view broken-hearted test subject Alley Scott through a brief interview, followed by an MRI to understand the profound effects that rejection has on us on many levels. It was interesting to note that when you are rejected, someone could spend up to 85% of the day thinking about that person.

Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, studies the brain circuitry of romantic love and has coined the term “frustration attraction.” It’s when the dopamine system doesn't get what it wants, and tries even harder. So, despite all best intentions, you love who dumped you even more. It seems a bit sadistic, doesn't it?

This doc has an extremely melancholy feel to it which suits the subject matter rather well. It does have an artistic side as well, displaying a variety of people on a busy New York subway in slow-motion. They are obviously dealing with loss, in some form or another. There is also a lot of narration from the three main people: Alley Scott, Michael Harington, and Rosey La Rouge, who intimately share their stories and don’t hold back from revealing their emotional turmoil while trying to deal with life as a single person.

At times you want to give them a big, comforting hug, and sometimes you want to shake them and say forget about that %)*$#!

If you’re in a situation where you've been rejected and are looking for a few healthy coping tips, it has been suggested that the best way thing to do is to get that person out of your head entirely. This includes removing the person from all your contact lists, getting rid of photos, e-mails, old love letters, and anything that sparks a reminder or memory. Time for a clean-slate. Treat yourself well (often termed as ‘self-care’), and go out and do new things. Get a hobby or hang out with supportive friends.

It’s not an easy road when you love someone and they throw your heart away. I think we've all been there.

The connection can be so strong that it almost seems impossible to pull away. You will go to any length for one last chance, even if that means stalking that person by driving by their house multiple times a night, showing up all the time at places with the hope that your ex will be there, checking their Facebook page hundreds of times per day, and more extreme behaviours.

As we continue this path of self-destruction, we lose a little more of ourselves each and every day.

Moving on can feel impossible, no matter if you have known someone for just a single day or if you've gone as far as actually starting to build a life together. For these three tortured souls in Sleepless in New York, and really for the rest of us in the world who may be mending a broken-heart, rest assure that there is some truth to the old adage that time heals all wounds.