Hooked on Stress

Are you hooked on stress? Do you glorify busy? Do you think you’re sacrificing your time and sanity to help your family or others for some noble reasoning in your head? If so then it may be time to reconsider that you’re avoiding the intimacy of a well balanced life, perhaps acting like a narcissist, neglecting loved ones and all the time calling it a good thing. This broken perspective is actually avoidance of life, deeper feelings, intimate connections and true purpose. All of which are much, much harder to bear than hiding a success bubble that isolates you, rather than benefits you, or anyone else.

Hooked on the stress of extraordinary power and the risk of losing everything, they cannot leave their job. Deal making twenty hours a day, they can hardly sleep or be with their families. They play with traumatic possibility and cannot leave it alone. For recreation they love high speed motorcycles, sky-diving, and other high risk diversions. Or on the other hand they drink or take drugs. Or both.

Many of us are hooked on stress and we don’t even know it. We thrill seek, have affairs, get highs and dopamine hits wherever we can. Impulsively at first and then obsessively later on. Once we’re hooked MORE is the other thing that relaxes us, albeit temporarily.

Some professionals (clergy, physicians, attorneys) will have sex with those entrusted in their care (parishioners, patients, clients). Some of these develop a pattern of high risk sex that is clearly addictive. Most were sexually abused as children who learned to connect their sexuality with fear. As adults they feel most sexual when it is dangerous or risky. One of the characteristics is that each episode is at greater risk than the previous until they are inevitably caught.

Depression and Anxiety specialists talk about the “arousal” neuropathway of compulsions and obsessions. Gambling, high risk sex, stimulants, and high risk activities serve as examples of this category. Stimulation and pleasure compensate for pain and
emptiness.

In sex alone, something we don’t speak enough about, the possibilities are endless: sex offending, sadomasochism, prostitution, and anonymous sex – all rely on danger fear to escalate the sexual high. Some relationships are saturated with arousal. Escalators – supercharged sex, violence, dramatic exits, passionate reconciliations, secrets, and threats of abandonment all in the context of “if anybody ever found out about this there would be hell to pay.” This is how soap operas can be so compelling. They are vicarious arousal with scripts based on betrayal. As we shall see, high arousal which comes from fear and danger can be an important ally of trauma bonding. List positive and negative arousal traits of yours.

Hooked on stress, we pursue the easy side of life. We flight. We fight and freeze. But we forfeit connecting deeply says Mark L Lockwood, founder of Contemplative Intelligence.

11 Signs of being hooked on stress are as follows:

· Engaging in high risk, thrill seeking behaviors such as sky-diving or race car
driving
· Seeking more risk because the last excitement was not enough
· Difficulty in being alone, calm, or in low stress environments
· Use of drugs like cocaine or amphetamines to speed things up or to heighten
“high risk” activities
· Feeling sexual when frightened or when violence occurs
· Seeking high risk sex
· Loving to gamble on outcomes
· Sustained, steady tasks are difficult
· Seeking danger
· Constant search for all or nothing situations
· Associating with people who are dangerous to you!!

Neuroscientist and addiction specialist Jim Pfaus says that stress can cause a “natural high” by activating the arousal and attention centers in our peripheral nervous system. He explains that “stressors can also wake up the neural circuitry underlying wanting and craving – just like drugs do.

For more information about anxiety, depression or help for stress please do get in touch with us at our wellness centre. We provide inpatient and online support for people around the world that is second to none. Don’t stay stuck!

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