Here I am at the completion of this excursion. Reflecting to evolve. Reminiscing to feel. Recalling details to tell my story.
30 Days Dopamine Fast to reset my hedonic set point.
My pain and pleasure baseline.
If sounds elementary to say, “I feel grounded”, but I do.
Not that I did not feel my foot landed on the earth prior to the fast. Of course I have. I feel much in control of my chemical imbalance that potentially caused me the extended depression and relapse with anxiety after grief. Although theoretically, as I did not take any medication to balance my neuro chemicals.
I am either extremely energetic and slightly anxious or a bit in a depressive state even lethargic. Boredom feels like a slow death. Indistinctively noxious yet a sacred space to become intimately acquainted with thyself.
Balance is holding space for both pain and pleasure.
Not pursuing pleasure in excess quantity to escape pain. But in pursuit of modest pain to experience an organic hedonic release of pleasure a.k.a. dopamine through the reward pathway of the brain.
Dopamine is constantly released at a tonic level. Not the only neuro chemical responsible for but is associated with movement, effort, motivation and desire.
I look at dating alone so differently through this lens. When I’m engaging with potential romance I cannot help but perceive and feel how much dopamine our interaction is rewarding them, based on their desire and pursuit of me. I am serious about this. Am I pursuing them and initiating the connection more than they are?
A study was done resulted in a lab rat dying of hunger when the food was in front of the rat not far in reach. You would think, “its right there go eat it.” But the dopamine release wasn’t enough for the rat to eat the food. Not enough desire for it nor the motivation to put in effort to move to have it.
Its not a piece of cake but I can have it. After my 30 days dopamine fast I feel much intimate with my dopamine release. I feel in charge with the conscious consumption of instant pleasure and effort to put in to experience a sustained reward. I can tweak and mobilize my dopamine to my appropriate need moment by moment.
It’s not about doing something just to do it anymore. It is significantly about “to what do I want to attach my dopamine release to and the cause?”
Hormesis definitely is something that is of value to me now. Whether that is deliberate cold exposure or shower, sauna or jacuzzi, controlled famine, intermittent fasting, eating cruciferous vegetables, low level aerobic exercise, short HIIT work, timing my caffeine intake, taking breaks in between YouTube video and Netflix shows, withdrawing from social media from time to time throughout the day even weeks, and perceiving any sort of manageable stress as good for my development, health and evolution.
Going for seconds isn’t always the best option, prominently worse.
The break in between is the sweet spot in order to balance oneself and not lead to overconsumption, addiction, disregulation and disease.
I’m not oblivious that food is my drug of choice. Comfort is pleasurable to me and innately choose what feels comforting.
In the last couple of years I have developed insulin resistance that can lead to Type 2 diabetes if not monitored. I’m thankful that I’m learning about this now and that I can still reverse what is developing within me. Prior to awakening to this I was merely focusing on the image of my slightly obese abdominal waist. I felt a bit embarrassed to be caught wearing a baiting suit let alone naked.
Tho its not an overnight remedy I do not feel inadequate. Loosing weight predominately around my abdomen is more about my health priority than focusing on appearance. I’m fasting from my drug of choice primarily not to loose weight, but definitely to reverse the development of insulin resistance causing the abdominal weight again.
There are certainly so much more addiction I have become aware of that I partake, intake and ingest. I’m thankful they aren’t prescription drugs, over the counter medication nor illegal. I do not and cannot see myself nor do I want to source financial effort to these cause. I have in the past. And some of us do willingly or unwillingly still. I’m not pathologizing that reality. It is real.
For the potency of the drug is in its variety, access, and frequency of use.
Some withdrawal cannot be done without the supervision of a medical doctor and professionally trained individual in a controlled setting. However, some withdrawal from our drug of choice can be done and started today simply by our free will and choice.
What is it going to be for you?