posted on Mar, 18 2019 @ 01:01 PM
Over the last year some of my addictions have been producing conditions that I have now gone through for the third time.
To be precise, my stomach and digestive tract is completely and utterly off. What caused it? I smoke medical cannabis and, contrary to the popular
representation of cannabis as harmless, there is a fairly common - and under-reported - condition termed "cannabinoid hyper-emesis syndrome". Recent
studies indicate that as many 2.75 million cannabis smokers in the U.S. may deal with it.
This is not me merely waxing about how horrible a condtiion like this is - and it is pretty bad. But rather, I want to discuss how feelings are
formed, and how feelings correlate with ideas, concepts, or narratives.
When I feel this way, thoughts I hadn't known for months or years return with a vengeance. First, my body starts it: the body always carries the
symbolic meanings of how your behavior in relation to the world 'operates'. We all know this, but lets explore the hell that this condition puts me
Sweating, nausea, and a full-body 'jitteriness' floods my experience. Why does the stomach hold such a powerful control on our perceptions? In my
weakness, my brain is not getting any energy to regulate my stomach. My feeling states are a literal representation of my body-situation. Hence, my
feeling states represent the effort of my body to 'fix' whatever is happening in my neuroendocrine system vis-a-vis the medication I'm taking.
The logic is simple: body wants something; mind isn't doing it; the consequence is that the body projects the meaning of its situation into the mind.
Mind is now 'frozen' in the state being created by the feeling-body. It's perceptions are perceptions of a horrible discomfort.
Yet don't we think? Anyone with an education in theology or metaphysics is going to experience a horrible backlash from an experience like this. New
percepts could arise that 'feed' directly on this state-of-body. Nihilistic or meaningless impressions of existence - as a total farce, for instance
- can creep up if the person happens to be particularly educated. Being exposed to Nietzsche, for example, and having his words/perceptions in your
mind, can emerge in a situation like this. "Nietzsche is right" the mind might say. But isn't that melodramatic? Isn't the perceptual/cognitive
state an illusion created by the feelings? And don't we need to take a third person perspective on our self-functioning in a larger ecological
environment to properly - and equitably - capture the "reality" of what we are?
So, the thoughts come and go. If a wave of nausea comes, the anxiety/discomfort returns, and a thought can arise. On the other hand - this being the
tricky nature of the mind/body connection - if I'm tempted to think something of an existential nature - BOOM! - the stomach feels sensitive/agitated
again, as if the amount of energy required for such affective perception "sucks energy" from the stomach, and in the process, creates this
'backlash' experience. Mental work and bodily weakness do not seem to go together.
So, ultimately, I am curious as to how people often understand their experiences. For instance, I am probably susceptible to this condition because of
a history of PTSD. The brain composes/synthesizes its own opiates in the periaqueductal gray. Endorphins, dynorphins, and cannabinoids, are examples
of opioids produced/synthesized in this brain region. Cannabinoids are found throughout the midbrain and the enteric nervous system - the gut - and so
is theorized to be a fundamental ingredient in the stomach-mind connection. Endorphins on the other hand are "relaxing" molecules. Attachment in
early life sets the brains baseline for endorphin regulation, so that, if early-life isn't filled with caring and supportive caregiving, than the
endorphins will be rather low, and the HPA axis - the stress molecules, overly high. This produces a "tension" throughout the system - in brain,
endocrine/torso, and musculature.
I had a difficult early life; difficult birth, but more relevantly, my moms father suffered a major stroke when I was 8 months and her grandma died
right after. This put her in a depression which, of course, stimulates/fosters aggression against others. In this way, my endorphin system was
'under-regulated'. So the endorphin/cannabinoid connection appears to be: endorphins allow relaxation for social connection, whereas cannabinoids
regulate the mind-body connection. Both of them arise out of the same brain site, so it stands to reason that lower endorphins - i.e. PTSD - can
create/make the stomach more vulnerable to dysregulation.
Such scientifiic perpectives pay attention to how "metaphysical thinking" is always fed through the feeling body. If the body is feeling negative
and irritable, it is almost inevitable that whatever you think will be a projection of that condition. At most, if you feel bad, you can simply remind
yourself that "under these circumstances thinking isn't useful/valid".