The drugs don't work
|"You are not my methadone" July 10, 2016 Instagram @missviviennechow|
Recently in the New York Times, Melissa Hill wrote about the science behind heartbreaks. Breakups are painful because of our body, not just our heart. And love is essentially a drug:
"What's crazy about the pain of a broken heart is that your body perceives it as physical pain. Love activates the same neurological reward centres as cocaine, and losing love can feel like going through withdrawal after quitting drugs or alcohol cold turkey.
Regardless of whether we're in pain from withdrawal or experiencing an emotional rejection, neurons in our anterior cingulate cortex and insula start firing. We think the only way to feel better is to experience the high again; we physically crave it."
It wasn't the first time that I came across writings that compare love to drugs. In 2010, The Guardian had a story about a research conducted by the Stanford University dedicated to this matter. It was discovered that love could serve not just a painkiller. Love could also stimulate parts of the brain that were activated by drugs like cocaine and morphine.
In this regard, overcoming the agony of a heartbreak is no difference from quitting a drug.
I remember when I was a child, I often came across notices about methadone clinics around the city of Hong Kong. I didn't know if there were that many drug addicts around town, but these clinics provided a great source of entertainment for us in our primary school days. We always made fun of the use of methadone, acting as if we were taking a dose by drinking orange juice in a small plastic cup - it was the image that we saw on TV back then.
Today, the Department of Health still has a list of all methadone clinics, and to my surprise, there are quite a number of them.
None of these methadone clinics, however, would offer treatments for heartache. But thank god to technology, dating apps like Tinder and what-not have become the methadone for heartbreaks.
How many times have you told your friends suffering from a heartbreak by finding a new girlfriend or boyfriend? "Get over it and move on. Find a new girl/ man - as quickly as possible." "Find a new lover before your ex does so."
So essentially the way to get over your ex is to find a replacement - you are not quitting the drug, you are just subscribing a certain dose of methadone.
You sign up for one of those dating apps and embark on a journey to look for the brand of methadone that would meet your needs. You want to find a new lover before your ex does. You want to show him or her that you are living a great life and you don't need him or her in your life any more. It has become somewhat a competition, even if your ex doesn't see it that way.
You get on with the programme, swiping left or right whenever you have a moment off from Facebook or other social media. You going on dates that can make you feel good about yourself. It takes the pain away temporarily - even just having a new texting buddy is a nice distraction from any thoughts about your ex and the failed relationship.
Nevertheless, you will soon realise that such dating methadone isn't the cure for your heartache. Methadone, at the end of the day, is just methadone. It isn't helping you come clean of the addiction. It only numbs the pain for a fleeting moment and after a short while, your pain resumes, because sometimes, the breakup itself isn't the cause for agony. It opens a can of worms buried deep down your soul that will take not only a long time but a great deal of efforts and courage to heal. And no one, no methadone, can help you, except yourself.
The Drugs Don't Work - The Verve