Cortisol Hangovers


I sit here under a Magnolia tree amidst a day of disappointments and what seems like a lot of wasted time. Some days, things just don’t pan out.  

It’s a gorgeous day. The pollen has subsided, and we are in that seasonal sweet spot when the humidity is relatively modest and the temps are bearable. There’s a slightly damp breeze, and rain in the not-immediate vicinity. It almost feels like being near the ocean. 

Seems like it should be ideal. However, my central nervous system has other ideas. Since I awoke I have vacillated between dreadful lethargy and amped-up overstimulation and anxiety. At times, barely able to keep my eyes open and formulate coherent sentences. This, interspersed with moments of racing heart, blurry vision, cold, clammy hands and a tight chest. Cortisol floods my body for no particular reason, which then leaves me with a searing headache, sore joints and sour stomach. All on such a beautiful day. 

Life doesn’t make sense like that. It’s an ongoing vacillation of pleasure and pain. Boredom and excitation. It’s uncomfortable when our bodies don’t respond to those stimuli in expected ways. 

Example 1: I get straight A’s in my grad program. My brain and nervous system should  reward me for that behavior and I should feel elated. It doesn’t and I don’t. 

Example 2: I walk into an atrium with only a few people and no one I even must talk to. My nervous system responds like I’m going into hand-to-hand combat with a Nazi juggernaut and I’m probably going to face certain death. 

Uh, hey body…that’s not necessary but thanks for all the adrenaline, I guess.

So, in my constant search for some existential meaning, I’m confounded because the things that cue most people internally are a little bit haywire in me. So, being relatively intelligent, I get to think about everything in great detail while experiencing the world in heightened sensory fashion, and get very little pleasure out of any of it. Hmm…

I can’t cognate my way out of this one. Believe me, I’ve been working diligently on that since I knew I could choose my thoughts. 

I’m going to have to figure out how to change my hardwiring…and that’s no small challenge.