Where Did Everybody Go?
During the winter and spring months, I get tons of visitors to my house. Living in warm and balmy Central Florida means I have a constant flurry of Northern family and friends to my sunshine-y home. I love this!
Every year around this time, I happily anticipate moments of airport pickups, meals shared, and the cheerful sound of laughter resonating through my house. As much as it’s extra effort for my husband and me to prepare for our guests and endure a whirlwind of activity during their stay, we’re always honored and thrilled that they want to come to stay at our house.
Their visits leave me feeling grateful for their company and filled with so many memories.
The part I don’t like is the moment right after everyone leaves and my house feels too quiet. Physically, I get a hollow tightness in my chest, I'm sad, and I feel like my whole body has just gone through some sort of battle.
I’m not sure if it’s the sudden disappearance of other people around or the ceasing of constant busyness. All I do know is that I feel so deeply empty and worn out when everyone goes home.
To help myself understand why I always feel this way, I did a little research about stressful experiences and how they affect the human body and brain.
A psychologist that writes for Psychology Today thinks that this is a common condition and she calls it Post Adrenaline Blues.
According to her theory, “When we push and push and push and then STOP, we often experience "Post-Adrenaline Blues." It's usually a temporary condition, but while we're in it, we feel miserable. We’re depleted, dissatisfied, and prone to questioning everything about our lives.”
This makes so much sense to me because after every time I have company to my house, I get so depressed when they’re gone. In fact, any type of event, project, or activity that I fully immerse myself into leaves me feeling anxious and sad when it’s done or when I stop doing it.
It seems to me that post adrenaline experiences can somewhat feel like Addiction Withdrawal.
Addiction Withdrawal refers to the physical problems and emotions that a person experiences if they are dependent on a substance (such as alcohol, prescription medicines or other drugs) and then they suddenly stop taking the substance.
Not so familiar with addiction or addiction withdrawal?
No worries. Here are a simplification and comparison of both…
*When our body gets stressed, our brain sends messages to our Adrenal Glands and produces hormones; Adrenaline (which causes the Fight or Flight Response in our body) and Norepinephrine (which causes arousal and a surge of energy) and Cortisol (which causes a stress response).
Except…if there is no real danger that our body needs to protect us from, too much production of these hormones can leave a person feeling overly anxious and stressed out.
A person who is experiencing addiction withdrawal endures similar stressful symptoms when they are detoxing and recovering from a substance.
During the second stage, a person usually then experiences Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS), where there are more emotional and psychological withdrawal symptoms; Inability to think clearly, Memory problems, Emotional overreactions or numbness, Sleep disturbances, Physical coordination problems, and Stress sensitivity.
Keep in mind that certain substances, such as stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, amphetamines, cocaine and ecstasy, are drugs that stimulate the central nervous system into working faster. (*Similar to the effects on the body during its production of stress hormones.)
This is not to say that every time we feel sad (when we have produced stress hormones because of a stressful event in our life that has finished) means that we are “jonesing” for or from it. It’s just really interesting how our body goes through similar symptoms after busy and stressful experiences like it does during addiction withdrawal.
Furthermore, its not a surprise that what we sometimes use to eliminate our stress (substances) may just cause us more stressful symptoms if we use them too much. The answer? Balance I guess.
Aside from that, what is the most comfortable way to recover from consistently stressful moments that bring us periods of sadness afterward?
Here are some ideas that I’ve tried…
- CRY it out! Just let all those yucky feelings pour out of you. Sobbing loudly helps rid your body of all that stressful energy, so find a space where you can cry at the top of your lungs.
- WRITE it out! Put pen to paper or tap away your blues on your device. Write down whatever is on your mind about the feelings you are having or write something that makes you feel happy.
- SHAKE it out! Walk, run, dance, exercise. Move through your uncomfortableness and physically get it all out of your body.
- TALK it out! Sometimes just verbalizing your woes to someone who will listen is enough. Grab a comfy spot next to a pal or family member and let it all come out. Or even better, just like Elsa, sing it out and just let it go!
- ART it out! Draw, paint, sew, scissor, glue! Making something artsy helps direct all that pent up stress and puts it into a productive and possibly beautiful place.
- CLEAN it out! Organize those cupboards or get down and dirty cleaning up some other areas in your life that have been neglected while you’ve been busy.
- REST it out! Probably the most important way to relieve all your stress is to sleep, pamper, heal, and nurture yourself back to your stress-free self.
In our busy and complicated world, it’s so human to go through stress. It’s also innately human to try and fight it. Sometimes to the point of a hormonal war with ourselves.
But…why engage in battle with our body and brain when we can find more comfortable ways to relieve it instead?
Tracy Bryan is an award-winning Indie Author. She writes whimsical books for kids ages 4-12. She likes to tackle important and diverse topics that affect kids and their families. She has a book series for kids about addiction.