Millions and millions of theories thrive in this world that claim to have the understanding of one of the hottest debatable emotion, love. Somewhere through the paths of evolution, we didn’t come to realize as to what this horrific interaction of neurons and neurotransmitters beget the illusions and dreams; of the root of all evils and ironically, everything that is good. Like the conscience that each person houses, this maiden, Love, too has two sides to her. Her fairy supervisor, Affection, and her devious twin from the hot hells, Addiction.
While studying the most studied and yet the most mysterious part of the human body, the brain, my brain fascinates how each of the mental illnesses classified and identified throughout the world, becomes just an exaggeration and more obvious form of the relatively normal behaviour.
Affection. It is the most ‘warm’ feeling that a person feels, and not just the person, but also the person for whom it is felt for. Quoting Robert A. Heinlein, from Stanger in a Strange Land, “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” It seems that all you aim to do after that is to keep your significant other happy. You make sure to remember that they do not find anything upsetting and you try to be the bundle of joy for them. After-all they are your bundle of joy!
And sadly, in that process we forget that we aren’t happy anymore. Though Addiction is the evil twin, she still cares about her vulnerable twin, Affection and jumps in to save her. “You accept the kind of love you think you deserve.” Addiction doesn’t believe in this philosophy. She goes after that person even if she thinks they’re unattainable.
Affection is willing to take all the pain caused by the other person and still enjoy it. Sounds like Masochism to me! And yet, this manifestation of the neurological interactions is accepted as normal, even is sought after, because in a very subtle amount all of us have suffered at the hands of Affection and have enjoyed being vulnerable to the person we assume to love.
The natural histories of diseases have been a great help to us. We don’t realize this, but due to the restless and tireless toil of the researchers and doctors over the world, we have been able to fairly predict the outcome of an infection. Needless to say, over the years, and observing various ‘love-stories’ around me, I’ve been able to identify, the evolution of this emotion (read infection). Much like the widely loved characters Pokemon.
Suddenly this emotion starts to sound like a disease! And indeed it becomes one when Affection evolves into Addiction. This is a quote from one of the messages I received in a group text from one of our very own Lexiconian:
“The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it is not, it is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of, sharing, of going into the deepest core of the other person – without possessing the other, without becoming dependant on the other, without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will still be happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other.”
I never bothered to look up the source. Irrespective of the source, a truth is a truth and that’s all that matters. While this ‘normal’ emotion evolves into the disease, we see it closely resembles addiction to a substance.
Addiction essentially fulfils all the criteria.
- Tolerance: you want to spend more than justifiable amount of time with the other. A long time with them does you no good and you end up complaining, “You don’t have time for me!”
- Withdrawal: Addiction also suffers withdrawal symptoms. In this era of electronizing the emotion, it occurs as threat and intimidation mails, and all the antisocial behaviour one may seem to imagine.
- Increase in dosage : a consequence of tolerance, the person essentially becomes a leech of the other’s life.
- Cut down : an addict will try to avoid the other person. It is just a cry for help, because both of them know the addict is going to come down crawling to the other in no time.
- Time lost : you start dedicating a large portion of time just for the other. You want to make sure that their coffee has that exact amount of sugar that they like, and if that small thing goes wrong, you beat yourself up for it.
- You lose your touch with reality. Even after the other person treats you degree lesser than you’re supposed to be treated, you keep with them. You fight with your friends and family just to get high on the other person.
- You know the other is destroying your life but you still keep them in your life.
Ah well! I seem to have diagnosed many of the ‘relationships’ around as a mental disorder; an addiction, only the substance here is another person. But in the end it’s all a matter of perception. If you think, as I do, it is a disease and if it sends a warm feeling to your pericardial space and causes an enjoyable palpitation, (defying the whole definition, of course) it is same joy that made Meera dance in the praise of Lord Krishna.
Keep up with me, and sure as I know, there’s always a way where I can see these conection of the diseases to a relatively normal behaviour! J
Image source: google images