Dark Times: When The World Comes Crashing Down On You

Yesterday was rough. I spent the majority of the day doing everything possible to satisfy my cravings for instant gratification and chemical highs. I ate comfort food, I watched stupid videos, did things I knew I would regret, and wasted the entire day pursuing anything that would give me a hit of dopamine and instant gratification.

The frustration of pissing an entire day away left me feeling moderately depressed, and now that the highs have wore off I’m numb and haven’t smiled since. Even today I immediately began to seek out comfort in instant gratification as a coping method for yesterday. I’m on the brink of falling into a very dark downward spiral.

When you’re consistent it’s easy to place more emphasis on long-term prosperity over instant gratification. However, if you slip up it becomes nearly impossible to break the constant cycle of stimulation and searching for the next dopamine hit. That’s where I’m at right now.

I’ve fucked up my dopamine receptors (The brain’s reward/pleasure center), and now the only thing that can comfort me is more chemical highs. Once your baseline happiness drops below a certain level you tend to do whatever it takes to comfort yourself, or even numb your emotions regardless of the long-term consequences.

Writing this post is the last thing I want to be doing right now. I can’t believe the effort each sentence takes to articulate. Just reading over this my writing skills seem nonexistent at this point, and I can tell from what I’ve written alone that I’m not in a healthy head space.

I have to do it though. It’s painful to write, and I doubt this post will be memorable or even good, but I know the longer I put off what I need to be doing the more difficult it’ll become. I’m an inspiration to a lot of people, so I can’t back down now. This is my chance to get back-on-track. This is the best first action I can take to prevent myself from falling deeper into a downward spiral.

I’ve never lost a war, but I can’t keep putting myself into battles with relentless enemies. At some point I’m going to be overwhelmed so the real answer lies in prevention.

Keeping Baseline Happiness High, And Stress Levels Low

I’ve found that if you can manage to maintain a consistently high level of happiness, and relatively low levels of stress you’ll be almost immune to instant gratification. People will offer you junk food, but you’ll have no problem resisting. Your favorite TV show will be on, but you’ll have no problem turning if off to play with the kids or get more work done.

The problem occurs when your level of happiness dips, or your stress levels elevate for an extended period of time. Fortunately if you pay careful attention to the way your feeling you can usually identify these before you end up binging on something that’ll make you feel worse in the long-run.

This week I’d been working 15 hour days. Between school, juggling, rapping, writing, and lifting I’d often have less than an hour per day where my mind wasn’t intensely focused on something. My “downtime” consisted of driving to and from school, and reading during dinner. That’s it.

I knew the stress was beginning to elevate to dangerous levels by Thursday or Friday, and I knew I needed to go out, socialize, and let loose this weekend otherwise the stress was going to become excessive and something was going to give.

You know what happened though? I got greedy and tried to work through the weekend, and ended up accomplishing WAY less than I would have by going out a few hours each night. I tried to bite off more than I could chew, and I’m suffering for it.

I’m starting to realize it’s all going to be ok though. I wasted a day of my life, and I’m going to be chemically hung-over for several more days, but writing this is allowing me to feel better, and I think I’ve learned a valuable lesson about work-life balance for the future.

No point regretting the past. Ain’t nothing you can do so don’t waste your energy moping over it. Look at it, take whatever lessons you can, and keep moving forward.

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