THE ADDICTION OF EUPHORIA

A friend of mine suggested that I write about the positive side to having emotional extremes. I spent a while wondering why this had never occurred to me before as something to do and there are two reasons.

The first is that positive feelings don’t leave us feeling isolated and scared like the negative ones do, so the need for solidarity isn’t there. I write about the negative extremes of my feelings not only for the catharsis it brings, but so that anybody going through the same, or similar, may find comfort in the awareness that they are not alone. There doesn’t seem, at first glance, a need to do this about positive thoughts. When we feel good, we don’t feel any isolation. And if we do, it is an isolation we are enjoying and choose to experience in that moment, rather than one we feel has been thrust upon us. It is not a feeling that makes us despair or drives dark thoughts about wanting to disappear into our minds. I know that the most overwhelming push into suicidal thoughts is emotional isolation or abandonment, and it is this that I hope to stop anyone else from feeling when I write.

But, on reflection, writing about the other aspect to experiencing emotions to their extremes is probably just as important for anyone despairing about the force of their emotions because, as dark and isolating as the negative emotions can be, the fact is that it isn’t just the negative emotions that are so overwhelming. All emotions are felt very strong by some of us, to all extremes, and that includes the positive, and there is such overwhelming exhilaration to be had. I cannot speak for all people whose emotions shift from one extreme to another at the drop of a hat, but I can’t say with absolute conviction that I would give up the negative aspect if this also meant giving up the positive.

Some may think this isn’t a very healthy attitude to have, which is the second reason I have never written about this. Indeed I have been advised by friends and professionals alike to find ways to curb the highs because for every high there is an equally forceful low. The higher I go, the lower I go, so it stands to reason that in order to avoid the lows I should really try to avoid the highs. And what I am about to say could potentially stop anyone from ever wanting to help me out of the dark again because it reads like I invite it, and maybe I do. But there is something far too addictive about the euphoric state of a high for me to just give it up. I have never taken drugs that enhance perceptual or sensory awareness but, from what people tell me, I imagine it is a similar experience and, just like people often find themselves addicted to a drug, I find myself addicted to that euphoric rush of heightened emotions and sensory experiences. I am all too aware that the use of the word addiction here is telling, but it does it have to be entirely bad? Perhaps I am just justifying this to myself so that I don’t have to give it up. But it is a natural rush, and it is so exhilarating and electric and intense, felt with every single nerve ending in my body, a bit like an orgasm, but an orgasm about literally anything. Taste, sound, touch, love, music, sex… Everything becomes like an orgasm when you are riding the high wave and you feel like literally nothing could ever pop that bubble. (I keep referencing orgasms in my blog entries, I am unsure what this says about me.)

I agree, reluctantly, that it is better to find a middle ground and not swing too far in either direction in order to avoid the crash that makes you want to die. All things in moderation, as they say (except perhaps for moderation itself, I am unsure on that one). But if you struggle to keep things level, like I do, at the very least relish in the highs, I think. Luxuriate in them and enjoy them fully and experience all the rush of love, passion, joy, excitement, euphoria and total invincibility that it brings. If you cannot control it, let yourself be entirely lost in music, feel love to the point of thinking you may explode, watch birds and become them, cry at the beauty of a flower, feel the earth and the moon and let those positive emotions overwhelm and flood you with all their intensity. It is, after all, the immensely wonderful side of having emotional extremes and if the lows are going to happen, why not ride the waves like you are on some sort of incredible trip?

I realise that I sound like a drug addict asking people to please not take my drug away and have entirely gone off on a tangent. I’ve slipped from talking about why the highs can lead to destructive consequences to justifying relishing in those highs. And this is perhaps exactly why they are to be avoided. It is like a drug and the consequences of those highs can be devastating, and all too often are.

So this is why I have never written about this. As you can see I am by no means someone who exists in a perpetual state of depression. Quite the contrary. This is why I laugh so often and cry so much. I feel everything to extremes and, try as I might, cannot seem to stay at a level ground. Maybe the truth is that I am not trying hard enough because I don’t want to. Maybe the darkest secret I have ever kept until now, even from myself, is that there is something about even the negative extremes that I love too much to let go of. Maybe, in some twisted way, I enjoy the despair of deep melancholy, I don’t really know. It would explain why I feed the low state with appropriately sad music. But whether there is some morbid satisfaction to be had in even the saddest states is a topic for another blog entry. I have to end here saying that I struggle to write about the positives because I feel like they are in some way harmful, like a drug, and that I should not be allowed them because I know they precede lows. They feel forbidden, as though I am just asking for the darkness by losing myself in the euphoria to the extent to which I do and therefore cannot complain when the depression hits.

Edit: I do have a last note, however. Before this week I would probably have ended this blog entry there. Someone is, however, opening my eyes to how my emotional extremes impact not just me but other people too. This realisation is, in truth, the impetus I needed to stop feeding that addiction and, whenever I am doing something that I sense is triggering a wave of euphoria, perhaps stopping it. Or at least trying my best to.

 

2 thoughts on “THE ADDICTION OF EUPHORIA

  1. What you describe is symptomatic of bi polar disorder or manic depression as it was originally known. I have never had it but my understanding is that the incredible variation in mood swings can be triggered by virtually anything at all. This means one is not really in control of their emotions. There may therefore be a chemical imbalance causing it rather than specific events in ones life. I do not know how I could cope with that myself but maybe one has no choice but to simply accept it as it is. But kudos to you for talking about it and especially in such an intimate way too. It takes courage to mentally reveal yourself like you have here and in all your posts in general. So carry on producing output like this for as long as you can

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    1. Hi, thank you so much for your reply. It is indeed symptomatic of bipolar disorder, but also of borderline personality disorder, which is what I’ve been diagnosed with. One of the key differences is that the shifts of the latter are far quicker, up to several times a day, than with the former. People with bipolar disorder tend to have longer waves of highs and lows, even with rapid cycles bipolar disorder. And thank you, your comment means a lot to me. 🙂 x

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