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Highs and Lows - It's just a chemical reaction!

Saturday, 05 May 2012 01:32

Written by Loren Goldenberg-Kosbab

Do you ever feel that your on a roller coaster ride that never seems to end? You thought you booked a train journey to wonderful destinations with every intention in the world to live life to the fullest. In reality your stuck in a loop experiencing thrilling turns and new highs one moment, then whoosh you hit a low point without a moments notice and your left feeling like you have to use all your will to get back up to level ground. I call these low moods where everything grinds to a halt for a few days and it takes an incredible amount energy to get out of them, life becomes totally counterproductive and darn right miserable. 

I am not talking depression here which are extreme low moods, that last a lot longer than a few weeks at tops with no highs in between...I suspect however, that continual lows will lead to that eventually, if not addressed or help gained.

Even with all the wisest advice and knowledge from sacred gurus, I still find myself at times back in this place. I can blame it on the stars in the heavens, the full moon, time of the month or Joe Bloggs causing me stress but at the end of the day we all have to take responsibility and be accountable for how we feel and our progress through life.

Really wanting to get off this roller coaster ride, I have racked my brains over the years as to why I experience this swing back affect and never really correlated why. This last few months hasn't been easy and for once I did something different which highlighted something for me. It was a bit of a Eureka moment. 

I have plenty of friends and a lovely family but in times of crisis I tend to go inside myself. I don't like to burden others with my problems, although I will speak about them, but I feel guilty that I have aired them, because I know others have their problems, and often feel I am lowering others positive vibration in doing so. Plus, there's my pride reminding me that I am supposed to be invincible! So I muddle through, trying to be strong, until I get through the phase or something external lifts my spirit. This time, so overwhelmed by what was on my plate, I asked for help and I got it!

Wooo, I have been on a hell of a roller coaster ride these past few weeks, I have never had so much attention. My friends calling me, texting me and visiting, lots of laughter and open displays of love and affection, I felt like a drugged up hippy, no matter what was thrown at me it bounced off. However, I noticed that after a few days with out contact, that happy clappy feeling started to dissipate, and I was left with hopelessness and despair waiting patiently to jump in, if I gave in. I didn't.

You can read all the philosophies in the world but they won't change how you feel immediately. I needed to understand what I was feeling in order to lessen the occurrence, after all it becomes tedious not only to you but to others in your life.

At this point I had a duh moment...I worked in science how could I not make the connection before??? Humans are sensory beings, we use our senses to pass information to our brain and in turn our body, they are chemical reactions.  Being happy, sad or angry are all feelings triggered by external stimuli, in turn memories often surface from past experiences and your perception at the time becomes distorted. 

Lets face it we are a cocktail of chemicals. When something makes us happy, we are stimulated and we experience a rise in endorphins and other pleasure making hormones. When the stimulation stops, you get a drop in these, your mood changes along with your outlook - which often becomes clouded (as does a high).

Now we are also habitual creatures, so for the most part when we start to feel this way, we fall back on things that have stimulated us on a normal day and we plod along. Sometimes though when you have had such a high (like I did), anything else just doesn't cut it. We lose interest in all those daily habits because we now crave what ever new came into our life that made us feel really good. We want more!!!

When we don't or can't have more of the feel good factor, we will often become ill. These are withdrawal symptoms. Ever noticed how you come down with an illness out of nowhere when your feeling like the world is dealing you a bad hand? Yet when you in the happy zone you can achieve magnificent feats, even do things you would never consider doing before.

Where best this is highlighted is in relationships, as it affects us all. Whether in an existing love/friendship or potential love/friendship. When your feeling vulnerable, you crave that interaction of another human being, you miss those pleasurable feelings, like laughing, hugging, kissing, the stimulating conversations and sexual interaction. For the most part you get all you need from friends, partner, family and flirtatious interactions.  However, it becomes more prominent when you are single or not getting what you need from an existing partnership. So your desire leads you to find a special person who you can be intimate with and allow you to feel those good feelings more regularly.

We've all been there when someone new comes into your world and starts to stimulate you and you them, it becomes more heightened as you start matching on many levels, your ego becomes plumped, you become more daring. The world is a pleasurable place again, all is wonderful and you don't want it to stop. Problem is, it always does. By now your hooked you have become infatuated with this person who makes everything feel so nice, taking you away from the problems that over hang your daily life. You may even put them on a pedestal as a result, or claim it's love. Is it? It could be, but you will know if it's love or not by the feelings you feel when that person is not in your life for a single day. Do you get on with life happily or do you mope around in doom and gloom entering the realm of the low mood?

For the most part it's infatuation. Infatuation is a chemical response to stimulation and you become addicted to that feeling (just like a drug addict) because soon as they stop paying attention to you for what ever reason, the first thing that you will feel is the craving for the pleasure to return and some go to many extremes in order to regain it. You will also give up on all that has been part of your life for so long, make excuses as to why you don't or can't continue, it makes you unhappy, resentful, angry, act out of character and can even make you become ill. This is not love, because love inspires, it cares, it heals and it augments everything in your life.

So, going back to where all this kicked off I realised my low mood was a case of pleasure withdrawal, I wasn't being stimulated enough. You can't ask your friends to entertain you endlessly but you can find an alternative.

If you find yourself on a similar roller coaster ride and often hit low spots, don't despair or beat yourself up (that leads to depression) instead accept that it's likely your experiencing a withdrawal symptom from a high point. Find a healthy alternative or look to what has made you feel uplifted previously and see if it will evoke feelings of pleasure once again.  Just bare in mind excessive chocolate munching is going to make you fat where as exercise is a more healthy option. Yoga and dance is what I chose in my case.  You should also make sure you eat nutritious meals, as often we forget about food when feeling low. You may not feel that super high, but what it will achieve is more balance on a daily basis.

 

 

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