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I am looking for a word that refers to the state of extreme, deep melancholy mixed with pain, anxiety, and wistfulness; the state in which one feels that their hearts are going to burst with sadness.

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'Single word' is not a single orthographic word. –  Edwin Ashworth Aug 10 at 14:38
    
broke? poor? skint? –  Joe Blow Aug 10 at 15:46
    
The word you used, melancholy, already has the sense of deep sadness combined with wistfulness and anxiety. You might be best served to use that. –  Dan Bron Aug 10 at 18:28
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It's not exactly what you're looking for but I really like hiraeth. It implies everything you ask about and more, but usually in the context of longing for ones roots/home(land) etc. –  Ben Aug 10 at 22:07
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You may want something stronger than the answers here, but see Is there an equivalent of “reverie” where one is lost in unpleasant thoughts? –  Scott Aug 11 at 20:45

14 Answers 14

Anguish is a suitable word to express the type of pain, a mix of anxiety and grief, that arises when a relationship breaks up or a loved one dies.

Alternatively, another expression which often accompanies grief is sorrow, a feeling which is more intense than sadness.

Sorrow
a feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others. an event or circumstance that causes sorrow

source: Oxford Dictionaries

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Your description reminds me of the expression: Mal de vivre. (Ngram)- whose English translation might come close to:

  • Depression of spirits from loss of hope, confidence, or courage; dejection.

TFD

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The adjective disconsolate is more usual than the nouns:

disconsolate adj.

  1. Seeming beyond consolation; extremely dejected: disconsolate at the loss of the dog.

... disconsolateness, disconsolation (nouns) [AHDEL]

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I've noticed no one has yet suggested Despair

de·spair [dih-spair]
noun
1. loss of hope; hopelessness.
2. someone or something that causes hopelessness: He is the despair of his mother. verb (used without object)
3. to lose, give up, or be without hope (often followed by of ): to despair of humanity. verb (used with object)
4. Obsolete . to give up hope of.

Though the definition doesn't quite meet the description you've presented, it has often been a single word I've used to try and describe what (I believe) you're referring to.

Source: Dictionary.com

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If you added a definition, a link, and the name of the source, I would vote for this. –  bib Aug 11 at 21:08
    
Allow me to edit... –  MegaMark Aug 11 at 21:26

"Weltschmerz" is a German loan word and literally means "world pain". It is commonly used in reference to Romanticism in art and literature and refers to a sense of listlessness or enduring pain not necessarily attributable to the circumstances of an individual.

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It's a bit old-fashioned, but melancholia is just what you are asking for.

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Consider depression and if two words are acceptable consider clinical depression.

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"Bummed". Or if two words are acceptable, "Totally bummed".

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"Melancholy" is an appropriate umbrella term for all the emotions you identify. In casual usage, "melancholy" appears to be less overwhelming than its classical definition, but you might emphasize its degree (ie, "all-consuming melancholy").

I refer you to Robert Burton's magisterial Anatomy of Melancholy, in which he defines his subject as :

(T)hat ... melancholy which goes and comes upon every small occasion of sorrow, need, sickness, trouble, fear, grief, passion, or perturbation of the mind, any manner of care, discontent, or thought, which causeth anguish, dullness, heaviness and vexation of spirit, any ways opposite to pleasure, mirth, joy, delight ... Melancholy in this sense is the character of mortality.

Burton identifies melancholy as a confluence of many mental and emotional states. These states include the "pain, anxiety, and wistfulness" you mention. Among them, Burton also numbers (in the beginning of Section 3 of the Anatomy) :

Fear and sorrow without a just cause, suspicion, jealousy, discontent, solitariness, irksomeness, continual cogitations, restless thoughts, vain imaginations ...

He also ties melancholy to physical symptoms, including (again, in Section 3):

convulsions, cold sweat, heaviness of heart, palpitation, cardiaca, fearful dreams, much waking, prodigious fantasies ...

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Used in this very sense throughout Edgar Allan Poe's gloomier works as well. –  Mark Raishbrook Aug 11 at 22:14

the most extreme one I know is inconsolable - which is, actually, not really what you're saying but the sort of word you'd see in a popular novel today, for this.

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To echo Josh61's suggestion (which I somehow failed to see until just now), I note that one relevant option is despondency. From The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition (2000):

despondency n. Depression of spirits from loss of hope, confidence, or courage; dejection.

And Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) defines despondent as follows:

despondent adj. feeling or showing extreme discouragement, dejection, or depression.

A usage note beneath that definition clarifies how several related terms differ:

DESPONDENT, DESPAIRING, DESPERATE, HOPELESS mean having lost all or nearly all hope. DESPONDENT implies a deep dejection arising from a conviction of the uselessness of further effort. DESPAIRING suggests the slipping away of all hope and often despondency. DESPERATE implies despair that prompts reckless action or violence in the face of defeat or frustration. HOPELESS suggests despair and the cessation of effort or resistance and often implies acceptance or resignation. [examples omitted]

One vivid metaphor for despondency is John Bunyan's "slough of despond" in The Pilgrim's Progress, which a Wikipedia article describes as "a deep bog ... into which the character Christian sinks under the weight of his sins and his sense of guilt for them."

Another term with something of the same sense of existential pointlessness is anomie, which the Eleventh Collegiate defines, on the personal level, as follows:

personal unrest, alienation, and uncertainty that comes from a lack of purpose or ideals

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How about woe?

woe /woʊ/ noun

  1. grievous distress, affliction, or trouble: His woe was almost beyond description.
  2. an affliction: She suffered a fall, among her other woes. interjection
  3. an exclamation of grief, distress, or lamentation.
    Source: Dictionary.com
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"Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth!" Rev. 8-13 –  Mazura Aug 11 at 18:09

ennui? Among others, wikitionary says:

A gripping listlessness or melancholia caused by boredom; depression 
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Welcome to ELU.SE.This answer seems to be a verbatim quote from an external source. Mods are instructed to delete on sight without further warning any content that is not properly attributed. Please edit your answer to include the source in plain text; a link is always valuable too. –  Andrew Leach Aug 10 at 18:33
    
How does one link to a google response? I used the quoting mechanism, so it should be obvious it's a quote; it's a request for a word, what other response should there be besides the word and a definition of the word? –  Alice Aug 10 at 21:14
    
... 'properly attributed'. eg 'My pet parrot once said ...' –  Edwin Ashworth Aug 10 at 22:02
    
@Alice You need to say where that quote came from (Google is only an index, not a source). This is particularly important with something like Wiktionary because its CC-BY-SA licence requires it. –  Andrew Leach Aug 11 at 5:57

Ennui - a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.

Source: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/ennui

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Please cite your source. –  Manish Giri Aug 11 at 11:27
    
xkcd.com/888 (see mouseover text) –  Phil Frost Aug 11 at 16:26
    
It's Google's definition –  Alan Sutherland Aug 11 at 18:10
    
It's actually from ODO, which Google has reproduced in its index of instances. Please edit the attribution (and preferably also a link) into your answer. –  Andrew Leach Aug 12 at 5:49

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