Addiction is known for causing us to experience drastic highs and lows, and understanding them can help us have a clearer understanding of our experience. When we become addicted to a substance or behavior, what we often are most dependent upon is that feeling of being high that feels so much better than the pain we’re trying to escape. Our addictions become our self-destructive coping mechanisms, that we use to numb ourselves from the difficult emotions we’re avoiding having to feel. When we feel high, we can feel like we’re on top of the world, like we’re floating far away from the constricting and painful feelings we felt before. We can feel like we’ve left our old selves behind. The high is a temporary distraction from our painful overthinking, from the repetitive, negative thoughts we feel tortured by. When we feel high, sometimes even our physical pain can feel numbed, albeit temporarily. We feel a rush of dopamine and other feel-good chemicals that the body produces in response to pleasure. Relationships, sex, love and affection can all mirror these feelings and produce these chemicals, adding to the high we feel from our drug of choice.
Because addiction and mental health issues often overlap, many of us are living with depression, and bipolar depression in particular. When we feel the high we so often crave, we can also be experiencing the high of a manic episode phase as well, in addition to the high of whatever substance or behavior we’re using. Our manic high can compound the highs we’re experiencing from our addictive substances, behaviors and relationships. When we’re feeling high, we often feel invincible. We feel like there’s nothing we can’t do, and like there’s no way we can fall. We can feel as though all our problems are solved, and like our suffering is a thing of the past. We have memories of our difficult experiences, but they start to feel more distant. We feel removed from, and therefore protected from, our pain. We feel like we were living that pain in an entirely different lifetime.
On the other hand, when we crash and are in that very low place, what can sometimes be our “rock bottom,” we can be experiencing multiple different things. We can be withdrawing from the addictive substance or behavior, causing us discomfort, physical pain, sadness and anxiety. We can be suffering from overlapse. We can feel painful mood swings. We can be experiencing the fall or the crash, the low phase of bipolar depression, in addition to the crash we feel when we’re coming off of our drugs of choice.
Recovery is about finding our true joy and fulfillment. Bayview Recovery is here to help you with this process. Call 888-570-7154 today for more information.