How Does The Devil’s Dopamine Keep Us In Dysregulation Hell?
Making It Easy To Accept “Help”.
Bad day? No problem, a quick trip to the liquor store, dispensary, or other place to pick up our “poison of choice” is the first step. It’s easy, convenient, relatively cheap, and makes the pains of our experiences just melt away, so we can deal with them later.
We all know later never comes though, and that’s where the catch is. Before any meaningful effort is made to change, we need to first understand WHY. Why is it SO important to change our approaches, despite the fact these are such common practices everywhere?
Eliminate The Issue at The Root.
Seeds of dysregulation are first planted at the site of the incident. We experience emotions when our values and morals come into conflict with the experience. These experiences serve to forcibly destroy our previously held beliefs and values about the world and others. We have been conditioned to “be strong” and hold all of our emotions in. This advice is well intended, but contextually inappropriate, and unhelpful. We absolutely need to keep it together while the experience is unfolding, until it’s conclusion. After that is where things start becoming problematic.
Understanding The Root.
Emotions are a prompt. Emotions should not serve as a guiding light, as they are muddied by ego, and our own biases based on our learned perspectives. Often, emotions cover other emotions making things even more confusing. Anger is an epinephrine that overpowers the root emotion. Our body does this because feelings of guilt, shame, abandonment, grief, failure, etc, are too much, and too painful to keep moving. They hold us in a stasis hell, and that’s where anger steps in to take over. If anger is a pretty consistent feeling, or anger words are primarily used to describe things, this is a big red flag to investigate.
This is one of the hardest steps to take, but is the beginning of the path of true healing – acknowledgement. It’s hard to see how we fall, or get an accurate gauge of where we are with emotional blinders on. We need to sit with these underlying emotions, face them, dissect them, and observe parts of the experience we may not have realized. More often than not, there are good points on the other end of things we fail to observe because we are wired to collect survival data. We need to collect ALL the data though, to get an accurate read of situation. The experience may have been horrible, but what was learned? Were there good observations? Did we still do well, following our moral compass in a stressful and out of control (initially) situation? How did my co-workers, friends, or peers do? These are only a few bigger themes, with more to be discovered.
The Ugly Truth.
Trapped emotion will cause “electrical irregularities” in our nervous system, for lack of better way of describing it. These emotions still need to be released or “discharged” from our bodies or the cycle of dysregulation will continue. This is an extremely difficult thing to do, due to well intended, but incorrect social conditioning. We bury and try to forget things, or ease the pain, but the pain will always come back unless we let it out ourselves. It’s not constructive to voice these things publicly for two reasons. 1. Others will try and help you by easing your pain. This doesn’t address the problem and only serves to prolong it. 2. Your pain is yours and has to be let out. Having a sanctuary to do so matters.
The Benefits To Confronting The Issue At The Source.
Performance. A clear head, and a regulated body make for a much stronger mind/body connection while interacting with the world. It’s easier to see the truth for what it is by being able to notice more. By doing that we stress less, and can make a better game plan to navigate what’s in front of us. A regulated body doesn’t have “power leaks” as much, physically. We have more energy to do the things we like, and not feel like we’ve been run over by a steamroller afterwards. Awareness of the emotional states of others becomes a lot clearer as well. If we want to truly help each other this is important, as it influences the descriptive language in a more contextually appropriate manner. It’s much easier being present with and for someone when we don’t have our own big distractions.
Cheap Dopamine Kills.
Engaging in the devil’s dopamine serves to prolong and torture our minds and bodies. A real quick cheat sheet looks like this: is it internal, or external? Making our peace with things helps us to understand more of our character, our morals, our world, and our place in it. Using substances to help temporarily offload pain serves only to give us temporary relief to be marginally more functional in the short term, but will destroy us long term. Please look after yourself first, and then your friends.
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Thanks for reading! – Grant