But it tickled my brain and as it settled I started to shift my own paradigm. Suddenly, I saw self-medicating in a whole new light. My own son came to mind. We have always made a point of making sure our kids knew they had ADHD and whatever co-occurring conditions that each of them have individually, no secrets here. In addition we have made a point of making sure they understood their conditions and how their brain works. So it wasn't a surprise one night when I overheard my son talking to his dad, "I am having a panic attack," he was vibrating with neurotic energy, "can I go roller blade? I need some dopamine right now!" A personal awareness victory for sure. A triumph for self-advocacy, he knew what he needed to pull his world back into balance and asked for it. Exercise would be the no-brainer on the list of things you can do to lift your mood, re-balance your life, release some dopamine, and feel better. Exercise is a quick way to get those happy chemicals coursing through the brain and body but certainly not the only way.
Engaging in a creative activity results in the same flood of chemicals. For my friend it's writing, we have some writers in our house. Writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers, actors the rush that they get from engaging in these activities is a powerful way to self-medicate. In addition to the chemical release in the brain that reenforces that these activities are good and bring happiness, these more creative outlets allow the individual to express what they're feeling. They're a form of release.
|Nai Da Zip|
With this new perspective I see
|running lines for The Mighty Kubar|
And one that works for me too, I can disappear for while into another world, work out my feelings, express myself, get some positive brain chemicals flowing, and emerge feeling better about the world.
What I came to realize, after I gave it some thought, was creative endeavors are a great way to self-medicate, maybe one of the best because they fulfill so many wonderful purposes at once. As I am writing, right now, there are several kids singing, guitar being practiced, drawing, a set being dressed to start filming on The Mighty Kubar tomorrow, and acting all at this very moment. And I think of my friend and her writing and the great coping mechanism it is to her. I'll never think of self-medicating in the same one-sided negative way again. In fact, now I think I can only think of all the great and positive ways we can find balance and happiness by self-medicating through positive ways.
** The Mighty Kubar and all the artwork, music, lyrics posted here are the property of Hannah Aro, Rachel Aro, Mark Aro, Lisa Aro respectively