Should we redefine what an addiction is?

This thought occurred to me as I was watching a movie. A really dramatic and quite ridiculous movie to be exact, Kingsman: The Golden Circle. To just give a super brief summary; a crazy drug lord lady poisons her supply with a deadly virus that will infect whomever uses the drug. It will induce paralysis, psychosis, and eventually death. She does this, and uses it as a threat to the government for money, as her leverage is she has the antidote. In the movie we see millions and millions of people being affected, even some political officials, just everyday people. It’s a ludicrous idea, but it left me thinking. Say something like this seriously did happen, almost every single one of my friends, and even some relatives would be dead. Most of my school would be gone, the people on my block, kids, teens, adults, dead. That is a scary thought.

The legalization of weed is practically on the brink of happening, but lets clarify the real reason why. The government is not legalizing it because they really believe it would help people, it’s a money pit. Same thing with opioids, they are deadly, but again, money. Many people will disagree with me, and I am so open to conversation, but I speak from downright personal experience. Friends that I have since high school have changed for the worse, and it is because of pot and other socially accepted substances. People can not tell me these things are not addictive, because they are. I have friends who have told me, crying, “I can’t stop” or “I wish I could be like you and just say no”. The same goes for drinking. A girl I know drinks half a bottle of wine in between classes because she gets shaky if she doesn’t. Am I the only on that thinks this is a deep issue?

I am a minority, most people I know that are my age drink on the daily. And I’m not implying like going out after work and talking. I mean it’s a mission to get black out drunk and not feel for a while. Friends I have can’t go a couple of days without some sort of substance. They use to do drugs during lunch, rolled joints in class, while driving. They were, and still are addicted.

Granted, these friends and fellow classmates of mine didn’t just stick with weed. They upgraded eventually to acid, shrooms, coke, LSD, even ecstasy. The weed wasn’t enough anymore, and they needed the next best high. Friends I had in HS are now college dropouts, and the worst is seeing recent pictures of them. They look old, and quite frankly, like drug addicts. Newsflash, they are! I’m tired of people, especially kids and teens, being under the impression that pot and alcohol are natural therefore ok. Thinking they can stop whenever they want. That’s not the truth. It is an addiction, I’ve seen it, and so has the rest of the world. My generation has become overwhelmingly stupefied. We classify addiction as a dependence on and inability to stop using a substance. Well, then a huge portion of the young population are addicts. When that becomes the go to, the craving, the need in order to engage in social interaction or function, it is, by DEFINITION, an addiction.

Marijuana has helped adults and children I know with their chronic illnesses or special needs. It hasn’t however, solved anything for my former fully functioning friends. I can see it physically, emotionally, and cognitively. It has been proven that these things deplete the brain of the ability to process information in those who start abusing the drug at a young age. The other side of the argument is that many of the youth now are depressed and need something to cope. That’s not the way to go about it. It’s the same argument for people in pain, they are given opiates and can never really get better. Their “coping mechanism” becomes a full-blown dependence. They don’t even know if they are still in pain, because they have never been given the opportunity to feel without the drugs. This is the same with emotional trauma or problems. We aren’t addressing the issue, we are suppressing it. And just for argument’s sake, is it possible that many of the youth are depressed because they haven’t been given the chance to function normally?They have been given these drugs in the hopes to fit in or seem cool, and can’t get out from under themselves. Why are we normalizing this behavior?

Children with epilepsy and people with cancer arent rolling joints and smoking habitually, they take it in other forms or smoke it occasionally to try to alleviate symptoms of their struggles. So yes, legalize it, but make it clear that it really should be for cases like those. Same thing goes for the excess drinking and other substances, my generation, the one previously and the one following, are becoming addicts.

And I am tired of being shamed because I’m not one.

O

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Kids

Once I was the center of the universe. Like many of the youth I believed that everything revolved around me. That the heliocentric model was incorrect, because what was the sun in comparison to me and my needs?

 Younger people tend to have such a frosted perception, not only of themselves but of the atmosphere around them. Kids believe that the world is their stage and everyone else just contributes to the performance. As children we didn’t have to plan ahead. Not by a year, not by a month, not even by a day. We lived minute to minute only acknowledging the existence of ourselves. It was so nice living in a world that only was what you wanted it to be. You didn’t have to acknowledge world crisis, or issues amongst humanity. You didn’t see evil or pain, because as far as we were concerned, things like that didn’t exist. If you were happy, the rest of the world had to be happy right?  I wish it was as simple as my underdeveloped mind perceived, but as the inevitable task of letting go of your child-self is up to be completed, the concept of stepping out of your comfort zone develops a whole new meaning.

 

Now I am a part of it, the universe. I am a part of history, the present, and the future. We all are. We are part of a system. Not the one that we call society, or the one that people tend to feel oppressed by. I’m talking about the system that everyone is involved in, whether they like it or not.  I am talking about a species. We biologically, evolutionarily, and capability wise, are all the same. I am in someway connected to all of you, and you to others, but we forget that. There are so many layers that are placed in between people, separating them. Color, religion, political affiliation, gender, even technology. We have adapted to see sensitivity as a weakness, and in turn have suppressed the ability to sympathize. No one can dispute certain facts, not even myself. We think that reading an article on Facebook makes us aware of what’s going on, or sharing a post to your timeline can help relieve someone’s ailments. Punching in your credit card number to purchase an item which donates a fraction of the profit has somehow become humanitarian. We have reached the point that when listening to a tragedy on the news, the death toll determines the severity. We breathe a sigh of relief when it is found out only one person has passed. “Thank god it was only one” is something that I have heard often. That was still a life. Someone connected to a family, friends, someone who worked and played a role in the system. One of the biggest falls in this human civilization, has been the rise of desensitization.

 

Everyone can agree that after helping someone it has not only benefited them, but is has also benefited you. Why do we ignore that? Human connection is so powerful, and it can help change the separation in our culture. It can remind us that we should embrace the fact that we are all the same, yet celebrate the things that make us different. We live in fear of feeling sad, or guilty that someone is suffering somewhere else. So we just don’t acknowledge it. Like we did as children, acting as if it does not exist. As we grow up we can no longer be our selfish, child-selves. As we go out into the world we start to affect others, and we have an unspoken responsibility to create a positive impact. If something you see or read causes you to have an emotional reaction, listen to it. If you choose to ignore that feeling due to the common fear, change will not occur. We need to help each other, we all occupy this same space, and everyone has value. We can no longer fear the unknown under the assumption that if we cage it, it can’t hurt us. You will never be able to cage the unknown, it will cage you. Engulfing you into its opaque walls, sucking the ability to experience from your lungs. We were not designed to grow up and remain as selfish children, thus, we should not act like so. In order to progress as a society we need to feel the pain so we can recognize when it’s gone. Get out there, help someone, feel not only for yourself, but for others. Let us regain our humanity.

 

O

I don’t want to die, just not exist

Without the research into the statistics, or diagnosing the youth of the general population, I can safely say I have witnessed such an increase in depression. So many resonate with constant feelings of sadness, or not even realizing they are sad because they’re constantly numbing themselves with whatever they can. Not just drinking and smoking, but with risky behavior. Adrenaline rushes help distract from the empty pit slowly being filled with these anxious, dark feelings. I write about this because I feel it too. More recently stronger than I ever have. When I was a senior in high school, I was internally a mess. I had anxiety that no one could have imagined and a pretty intense eating disorder. This was sparked by an emotionally abusive relationship I was in, and the fact that I felt so poorly about myself that I didn’t think I could make it through college. I went to therapy, dumped the boy, and yet I still wasnt happy. I wasnt eating, and when I was, I was secretly bingeing. I felt like no one liked me even though I logically knew that wasn’t the case. I was getting attention from guys and when I explained I didn’t hook up or send naked pictures, I guess word traveled. I then wasn’t the first pick anymore. It started to turn me further into myself.

Over the summer of my freshman year in college, I decided that I couldn’t take it anymore and I started eating again, whatever I wanted. I will always be a health conscious person, but now if I want a damn piece of cake, I have it. This helped me regain some of my lost high school confidence and I felt more mentally strong. Yet, even in my now sophomore year, I have moments where I don’t want to be here. Where I feel so alone and without purpose that I dig myself into thoughts so heavy, I feel like I’m sinking. I stay up at night thinking about irrational fears in which people, who I know at the forefront like me, really don’t. Or about how I’m never going to find someone who values the fact that I do, in fact, have a brain. There are even moments I cry uncontrollably because I’m in such distress. The worst part is, I do it alone. I am so embarrassed about expressing my true feelings because I have fabricated this girl who has it all together. A challenging job for my age, a hard major, good grades, even works out. Those around me explain that sometimes I’m “intimidating” and that I’m this “savage” because I can read into people. The truth is, I can sense people’s hurt and insecurities because I too feel that way. We spot what we know, and what I know is sadness.

Within the past few months I have had a couple of days in which I think closely about not existing, not being here in this life, even just for a moment. When I wait on the train platform, I feel the breeze and see the lights approaching. I then I close my eyes and think about how easy it would be to just jump. But by the time that half-second thought is over, the doors have already opened to board, and I have to continue with my day. I am scared to die, but frequently I don’t want to exist. I say this because I feel misunderstood and frustrated. I don’t know what I could do better. It’s not like I could get sober, work harder in school, or go get a job, because I already have these things. So why the hell do I feel so horrible and unmotivated?

A problem I think many people have is the fact that we are glued to our phones. Glued to looking at people’s profiles and getting discouraged at the fact that they seem to be having a better time in life than you or me. Remember though, would you post about your bad grades, a picture of those jeans that no longer fit, or your puffy eyes after crying about a breakup? No. We post what we think makes us look the best, but its hard to remember that. Social media feels so real to us, yet it’s such a mirage. I used to think about working out solely for being able to look good for Instagram.  That is a sick thought, but it is so commonly the driving purpose for many desicions made.

We are influenced by every interaction in our lives, and not just human to human, our lives on our phones impact us too. I’ve been thinking deeply on it, and I’ve realized that it makes me sad. I’m living my life through the pictures of others, or in my imagination depicting what I want in my future. I’m wishing time away because I don’t like my now. We need to enjoy our now. Indulge in these current moments as best as we can or else we will always be fantasizing about the future instead of building it. Its hard, its lonely at times, and it takes strength to fight depression and anxiety. It’s a scary place to be, because like me, most are very good at hiding it. I dont want to hide anymore. These emotions take up space in my head and in my body. They consume your thoughts and  goals then turn them into seemingly impossible tasks. Self love is a term tossed around by everyone these days, but no one explains how damn hard it is. How hard it is for everyday people, who dont have a modeling career or a huge successful business, to learn to love ourselves when those claiming they’ve reached this self-love Nirvana are commonly not every day folk.

This comes back to my point about being so engulfed in the lives of others, especially online. Turn of your phone, go for a walk, write, sing, pet your dogs, tell your mom or dad that you love them. Do something that centers around your life and not others online. Do for other people. Volunteer if you can, even just give a stranger a compliment. This could help someone who may be having a dark time like you feel a little hopeful, and it could fill something in you as well.

In my heart I know I don’t want to die, I really dont. I want to exist because I value my abilities. I will continue to sweat to love myself, to cry to love myself, and to laugh to want to be in my own skin. I never want to allow my mind or body to leap off that train platform, and I dont want yours too either.

O

Oxymoron

You are the bitter seed in a candied apple.

You are the maturity in a playground. The salt over my left.

You are the definition of undefined. An antiqued youth. The integrity of a crook. The silver lining to a tragedy.

The color of chaos. For you are everything I am not. Everything cautious beings should avoid. However, I find myself attracted to you.

Attracted to those red flags stitched with warnings that you hold so boldly in my face. You insist to me that you are not the one, that the open difference is what keeps love from ignition.

I scream the opposition of this separation.

You are my sacred solace in the trauma they named life.

For you are everything I am not, and that is why I need you.

O