It’s day five of my chocolate sensitivity test. Last Tuesday I decided to go off chocolate, for a while, to see if it would help me with my issues.
What are the symptoms of my issue? Glad you asked. I always have a headache. It’s behind my eyes and is deep inside. It makes my face and jaw twitch badly and I suspect it has something to do with my TMJ.
I’ve been reading “Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst” by Robert M. Sapolsky. Fiinally, someone has described what happens to a person’s brain when they have PTSD. For a long time, since doctors couldn’t point to something in the body that indicates PTSD, it’s been treated as though it were a weakness, something in our heads.
And of course, it is in our heads. It’s the amygdala. Apparently, the amygdala holds all of our old primal fears. You know, the dark, snakes, people who don’t look like us, people who do things differently than us, etc… But that’s not all it holds. It also adds layers to itself to accommodate new fears, especially fears having to do with trauma.
He didn’t actually say it, but I suspect that the reason people with PTSD have headaches all the time is because the damn amygdala has gotten too big for its space in the brain.
Side Note: I think that it’s both fascinating and horrifying that we have come so far as a species and yet our amygdala is still running programs that are outdated and do nothing to help us now. IE. Racism and any other “-ism” that separates us as humans.
This is where I started. Now, what can I do about it?
What’s the Trigger?
What is the trigger anyway? I don’t drink very much since I don’t tolerate it anymore. (I just found out from my brother Rick that my paternal grandpa was the same way) I try to limit sugar. I don’t do a lot of peppers or spicy food, even though I love the spice. What the heck is it?
Maybe it’s chocolate.
I love chocolate. It’s my drug of choice. I’ve had chocolate almost every day for decades. My mother was a chocoholic, my grandmother was a chocoholic…
“Hi, my name is Karin, and I’m a chocoholic.”
Chocolate has properties that are similar to caffeine, and I don’t tolerate caffeine very well, plus caffeine makes my jaw hurt.
Maybe it’s chocolate…
I really don’t want it to be chocolate.
I’m addicted to chocolate.
For years, I’ve been like, “well, at least it’s not rum and cokes, or cocaine, or heroin, or gambling, or men who abuse me.” And I’ve found solace in that attitude.
And why not, chocolate is fairly benign isn’t it? No one is making me show my ID at the store to get it. I can have as much as I want, and I won’t test positive in a DUI test.
Mothers let their children have it. Friends make cakes for you on your birthday using it. You can even go to The Chocolate Festival and indulge. It’s a luxury. Something special.
I don’t think there are any Chocoholics Anonymous groups out there. No hypnotists specializing in chocolate addiction removal. The Betty Ford clinic would probably have security remove me if I showed up there.
So what if I’m addicted to chocolate?
What’s the big deal?
Why should I even care?
Anatomy of Addiction
On Tuesday, when I finally decided to pull the trigger, I found out why I should care.
I’d been thinking about running a test, stopping the chocolate for a week, for a long time. And I kept putting it off, rationalizing why it couldn’t be chocolate.
When I decided to do it, I found out what addiction actually is.
Everything in my being rebelled against the idea that chocolate may be the problem. I practically had a panic attack.
My brain was telling me, “Maybe it’s a brain tumor and not chocolate. Maybe you don’t have to give up chocolate at all!”
What the hell is that?
How can having a brain tumor be preferable to figuring out the trigger for my problem and eliminating it, creating more health and space in my life?
And this is chocolate!
It’s not cocaine, or alcohol, or gambling!
I was shocked at the level of addiction I was actually at. I had no idea.
It gave me a level of empathy for other addictions. If I’m having this much trouble with chocolate, how hard must it be for someone addicted to heroin? It must seem impossible to them.
I wonder if there is a place in the brain that holds addictions?
Chocolate has it’s claws in me.
On day two of Karin without chocolate, I was laying down with my feet up on the wall (I have circulation issues), and I could feel this blob of something roll down my sinuses and the block my nose so thoroughly that I couldn’t breathe.
Maybe it’s sinuses…
Maybe it’s not my amygdala…
Maybe it’s not chocolate…
For crying out loud.
It’s day five of no Karin without chocolate and I’m in a quandary.
I still don’t know if it’s chocolate or sinuses, the test is still running. But what if it really isn’t chocolate? What if chocolate is not as bad as I thought it might be?
There is a part of me that thinks that if I’m that addicted to chocolate, I need to get off it for good.
Another part of me questions whether being addicted to chocolate is really that bad? I mean, aside of withdrawals due to a chocolate shortage, what’s the harm?
Chocolate has affected me in the past. In 1991 I went to Israel and had a special relationship with the bees of Bethsaida. See Karin and the Bees for that story.
Is it a test of willpower?
Is me eating chocolate again a surrender into mediocrity?
My noodle is spinning in the cooker trying to figure this all out.
Maybe I should go to spiritual healer for guidance.
And that’s where I am? Do I eat that damn chocolate again? Or do I take it all to the ComedySportz Rec League practice and give it away?
Maybe tomorrow I’ll know the answer.