It isn’t your fault. It is a chemical thing!Luke Coutinho
Why do we get hurt and feel sad? Why do we slip into despair when love is lost or when we are faced with relationship issues? Well, it turns out that it is not your fault. It is a chemical thing! Understanding this can change your life.
When you are in love, dopamine and oxytocin are at their highest, especially when love is new. These are chemical reactions to the excitement, physical touch, and you in that environment. As we move along in the relationship, we need new actions, behaviours, and things to keep our dopamine and oxytocin high. So, a mature relationship will evolve, as each partner grows and gets comfortable with each other. Their relationship will be kept alive with dopamine and oxytocin triggers like physical touch, lovemaking, hugs, kisses, movies, dinners, hikes, exercise, travel, doing new things together, pursuing hobbies and passions, and so on.
They call it the honeymoon period, because no matter how deeply in love you are, you will get over stimulated with the same source of dopamine and oxytocin at some time. It is not about you, it is a chemical thing, and when overstimulation occurs, immaturity triggers us to believe that love once shared is now fading, and the relationship is headed for the rocks.
Overstimulation is real. An example of that would be scrolling on social media, levels in games, buying more and more material things, one drink becoming two and then a whole bottle, a joint becomes a gateway drug to the heavier synthetic chemicals, and many more. You keep repeating the act, as the stimulation from the original source fades at some point, and you need a new level of excitement. This is similar to addiction when it takes its course. Hence, if the honeymoon period comes to an end, it is crucial to continue building new sources of excitement, wonder, and keeping physical intimacy strong, as the relationship matures.
Now what happens when you go through a breakup, lost love, betrayal, or death of a loved one? Why does it hurt so much? Of course, emotions like fear, rejection, and loneliness are involved, but what creates this dismal environment around all these emotions? When the love was deep and intense, the brain built and recognized a stable circuit of dopamine and oxytocin linked with everything that came with that love – the person, their words, behaviours, gestures, physical touch, and so on. Your brain built a robust neural circuit around all of this, and impressed it deeply into your subconscious mind.
Now, love is no more. The stimulation, the source of that dopamine and oxytocin is no more. Your brain is craving these chemicals to be produced by that source (lost love), but it is not there. There is a massive drop in dopamine and oxytocin. Hence, serotonin and GABA (neurotransmitters), and the way you feel – miserable, sad, demotivated, unworthy, and you, become a victim of a ‘chemical thing’.
What is the way out?
It is not easy. Of course, there will be emotions that you have to face, but there is a way out. You need to build new sources of dopamine and oxytocin quickly. You must override the old neural circuits with new ones that you create through action. Now, the easiest way out is drugs and alcohol, but it is clear to anyone that those are the wrong neural circuits you want to build. They are destructive ones. You want to develop constructive ones. So, you start meeting new people, or you spend time with loved ones, family and friends, start to chase a hobby or passion, or get a pet – all of which could stimulate dopamine. These constructive actions will help you build new neural circuits that will replace the old ones addicted to those stimulations. You form new ones through the right activities you choose. You may choose to take help or counseling, and as you build new circuits, the old ones fade away, and your new sources provide you with dopamine and oxytocin to help your brain move you from a state of sadness and misery to a state of happiness and joy.
If you keep focusing on the old neural patterns through your thoughts like: “Why me? Am I that bad?”, or focus on the lost love, you keep those circuits alive, but devoid of the dopamine and oxytocin, and this can make you feel worse. Override the old circuits by creating new ones with new actions.
It is challenging, but we have no other choice. You can always have faith in the power of prayer, and pray for help to get you through such bad times, but you can only fully override them through action.
Under stimulation or overstimulation of dopamine and oxytocin drives us to chase new sources. Choose the right ones. The faster you remove yourself from victim mode and into action, the quicker you recover, helping you get out of most depressions, and creating that extraordinary life you deserve.
- Luke Coutinho
Also read: Dealing with Break Ups, Heart Ache, Betrayal, Let Downs & Losses.
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