I can’t feel anything, how could a I possibly have an addiction? Doesn’t that take liking something?
Actually, no. Depression is a chemical imbalance in our brains. When we find something that can cause the brain to produce the good chemicals, it becomes very easy to latch onto that thing. Unfortunately, there are quite a few unhealthy things that do produce those “feel good” chemicals. We want desperately to feel something, anything. We beg friends and significant others for attention, and when they give it, we feel so important. When they can’t, we slide back into a low. We hunger for any attention, regardless of whether it is positive or not. Even a look will give us enough, we say. Then we need a smile, to talk, a friendship, a relationship. It becomes insatiable as we search for the good feelings in other people and substances.
Addiction and depression go hand in hand.
It’s okay if you do feel out of control as long as you feel guilty for any decisions that hurt you or someone else. Addiction is a gross thing that is quite common whether people talk about it or not. Not everyone deals with it, but do not feel bad if you do. It’s a mental illness just like depression, and it doesn’t just go away. it’s a conscious choice everyday to be better than the day before.
Finding healthy coping mechanisms is extremely important in fighting this. Addiction is seen as bad because we commonly become complacent in our mess of a life. You can be addicted to healthy things, too. It’s about learning moderation. Our natural instinct is to hoard all of something good so that we have it in case it runs out. We have to learn to first find healthy habits to latch onto.
First, cut out the negative thing completely. It’s going to hurt and feel like a part of you is being stolen from you. Stay strong because this is the hardest part. It’s a soul detox. It starts at a psychological level and can work to a physical withdrawal. Unfortunately, this part can’t be sped up. It just takes time for our brain to get used to not getting that “high” from whatever it was that you were stuck on.
Next, we must find something positive and healthy to occupy our minds. For example, I enjoy drawing or writing. You can play an instrument or build something or read. Play a game. I recommend finding something that is personal and individualistic. This eliminates any possibility of becoming dependent on someone else. We must learn to live alone. Friends are important, but depression is a personal illness. Find something you can do in your free time, alone in your room, at almost any point in time. Relish in a few things. Don’t limit yourself. The more options you have, the more likely you’ll be to chose a healthy habit. This is anything that makes you feel good without bringing you or anyone else harm. If you feel like you have to hide it from even your closest friend, it’s probably not healthy.
Finally, we learn to moderate ourselves. Candy tastes really good, but we make ourselves sick if we eat too much. The key words are too much. This is a tricky balance and also why it’s so easy to become addicted. Healthy habits can become unhealthy very easily. If a habit has started to interfere with your life, it’s more than likely unhealthy now. I’ll use my examples from earlier. I enjoy writing, but if I start skipping classes or work just because I feel like writing, i have become unhealthy. Even though it’s a healthy coping mechanism, it becomes unhealthy because of the addiction. Now, if I’ve had a rough week and need to take a mental health day, it’s okay to take time to take care of myself. If I call out of work because I want to write, it’s bad. If I call out of work because I’m not stable emotionally and decide to write to deal with that emotion, it’s fine. Do you see how it’s a delicate balance now? It may take a few failed attempts to get it right and that’s alright. we all heal at different speeds.
Take some time to reflect on where you get your feel-good chemicals. If it isn’t healthy, detox. If it is healthy, are you letting it control you? Take some time to try and see where the line is.