Tag: anger

How my brain gets high on anger and how I escape the spiral of compulsive negative thinking

I’m convinced that being self-denigrating is a drug. “I suck” “Everything is awful” “I hate myself” etc are statements founded in anger, and anger has been shown to release adrenaline, dopamine, and endorphins which can give us a physical high. As a culture, we think that being angry and resentful is caused by external factors, but often this might be psychological projection of internal causes onto external objects. We sit and stew in our anger while reading internet posts and news stories that feed that anger by repeating the narrative that we are threatened. Someone like Donald Trump becomes a drug dealer with each tweet releasing feel good chemicals into the brains of readers. The scarier the imaginary monsters in the post, the more feel good chemicals are released.

I say all this because I am an anger junkie myself. My imagination is capable of formulating limitless scenarios which trigger me again and again. For me, this leads to addiction to substances. And the only way I’ve been able to get away from compulsively using substances is with psychological detachment I’ve learned from Taoism and Buddhism, self-reflection, and also with support groups where individuals purposely avoid those feel good chemical inducing states of mind.

I had to wake up to the fact that when I really examined my life and the things that have happened to me, yes painful things have happened, but from a young age I became identified with being viciously angry at the world and at myself. This snowball of rage culminated in repeated suicide attempts where I came within hours of dying. Something flipped five years ago. I saw the anger as sad and immature in a flash as I lay dying, while paramedics pulled me back from death.

Because of the limitless ability of the internet to manufacture rage and resentment, I believe we are quickly racing to the edge of sanity, where we will be forced to acknowledge that a union of peaceful stability and selfless love is the only way forward. Or we will go out like any low bottom junkie, lost in a dissociated haze of highs and withdrawal as our civilization crumbles. The human mind was not designed for the internet or even for books. Our addiction to negative, imaginary threats is accelerating to the point that we cannot manage our lives. Reaching the end of this exponential growth curve is the apocalypse, the second coming, or the fabled eschaton.

I don’t know the details of how this will happen. But speaking from experience as a recovering addict to negative states of mind, I can see the zombie like behavior in my peers. Our gadgets and social media are powerful drug-inducing devices. I have trouble myself not indulging in this kind of high.

But I admit daily that without help from a power greater than myself, I cannot manage my life. And I network with other people who choose not to push the button in their brains with negative and imaginary thoughts. I have to be vigilant over my behavior because I swam in pools of rage and resentment, purposefully triggering myself with thoughts of danger, doom, lack, and hatred for self and other. I was led out of this state by a spirit within me that continually told me that I still had hatred for God and myself within me. Finally, in a shamanic possession by the spirit of Neptune I was told that “being critical of other humans is the cause of misery.” I see now that only positive support of self and other can heal myself and our society.

In this way, one must love one’s enemy as oneself. One must abandon all angry criticism of self and other. And one must positively support fellow humans while also abstaining from reacting to the bait of the angry criticism from those still stuck in the compulsive trap of anger. Love is the only answer to our problems. But when we see anger and resentment as illogical and self-defeating we can enter a new state of peaceful joy and contentment. Is this easy? No. I was given every “legitimate” reason to be angry and loathing. I see now that this is my fate. Now that I am overcoming my delusion of legitimate anger by abandoning all self-pity, I can see how everyone can achieve this.

But really, “I” don’t achieve this. We achieve this. I surrender daily to the God of my understanding. Do I still feel pain? Yes! I have a chronic pain disorder that will randomly subject me to debilitating stings of pain. But I feel the pain and leave it at that. I still have to use my processes of therapy and structured social groups to address and free old pains and resentments from my mind and body. But each day has less and less residue of resentment. The pain of life remains. But now joy and peace are slowly eclipsing the pain of everyday life.