You've probably heard me talk a lot about our recovery goal, which encompasses several key goals. One such goal is to help reduce the so-called 'bad chemistry' (cortisol & adrenaline) while at the same time increasing the so-called 'good chemistry' (serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine, GABA, endorphins). This represents a huge piece of our mission during Benzo recovery.
It's interesting to note that these two levers, so to speak, share a profound interrelationship, by which when cortisol and adrenaline decrease, the good chemistry can increase. However, as cortisol and adrenaline increase, the good chemistry inevitably decreases.
My friends, we NEED good chemistry!
The good chemistry isn't merely a perk in our lives. No. Good chemistry is our natural anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, and pro-health formula. That's nature's psychiatry. In fact, the dysregulation and neurosis is almost always driven by the cortex or amygdala's reaction to the cortex-based anxiety.
Remember. Cortex anxiety is symbolic. It's thought-based. It's obsessive. It's personal.
Why don't zebras get ulcers? Because after a dangerous encounter with a crocodile at the watering hole, which sent their limbic system into overdrive as they fled for their life, soon after, they were able to return back to a baseline. Sure. They're going to be a bit hypervigilant for a period of time, and they damn sure will remember that crocodile and be more weary of the watering hole, but they won't spend the next three months thinking about it and dwelling on it. The zebra won't have an identity crisis over it. Other zebra won't gaslight the zebra and tell him it's all in his head.
Do you get the picture? We create, inevitably, so much of our suffering by how we perceive something.
The very thinking about it IS a huge part of the problem. Thoughts in themselves are almost useless, at least much of the time.
We don't need thoughts to know we are hungry, or thirsty, or in danger, or in love, or to want to play, or be entertained, or to work, etc. Even much of our ability to problem solve happens very unconsciously, automatically. And when we do need to really think about a problem, almost every problem imaginable that has a possible solution can be figured out within an hour.
And if the problem does require more time than an hour to be solved, it usually is no benefit to continue dwelling on the problem for more than an hour at a time anyway. Many of the greatest minds have come to groundbreaking revelations following periods of what is called "incubation," or periods of no mind, no thought, no problem-solving.
It's the scientist who finally takes a break from his equation-solving and instead goes fishing or takes a bath when suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, UREEKA! The answer comes rising up from the depths as if it were buoyant, and our thoughts were somehow weighing it down.
The irony in all of this is that the so-called bad chemistry greatly fuels the obsessive thinking we all battle, whereas the good chemistry has a natural way of making us more Zen. More relaxed. Less neurotic. More hopeful and focused on positive things.
Today's purpose of this article is to remind you that we need to take accessing good chemistry much more seriously. I see so many of us working hard to bring down cortisol and adrenaline in the hope that the good chemistry will increase on its own, which it does. To be fair. It does. But it's not enough. We need more. Think of it this way. Your brain, at the moment, is undergoing an incredible reconstruction job. Like a series of new highways being rebuilt and added onto the old highway system you had before. These roads the manpower required to build them, come from the resources in the area. The road cannot be built if we do not have the manpower to build it, nor the cement and other resources required to do so.
Simply put. Good chemistry is the resource and manpower!
The better you feel, even for fleeting moments, the more expedited our healing. Please keep this in mind. If you're struggling to reduce cortisol and adrenaline, remember their dynamic relationship with good chemistry. By increasing serotonin, for example, we have reduced the bad chemistry, and we give our little brain construction crew the additional resources to speed up the repair job.
So, don't look at the process of increasing good chemistry as some unnecessary perk in our recovery. Don't get too caught up only focusing all of your energy on dealing with the cortisol and adrenaline and the symptoms of withdrawal. These things go hand in hand. Lulling and pushing. Accessing good chemistry while reducing bad chemistry. Yin & yang.