Love is a beautiful emotion at least what we are hearing, reading and watching about romantic love. Although there is no doubt in it that the Romantic culture has been popularized by media and especially in this decade social media, However, no one can deny its existence. Whether you felt it at 18 or 80 before or after marriage my purpose isn’t to get into nitty gritty of poetry and this mysterious multifaceted emotion.
The purpose of this read is how restless and desperate this emotion can make a human being especially our youth, let me add, adults also. I am a clinical psychologist, I work with addiction patients besides all other causes I am highlighting here some stories as per the nature of this title, who have suffered break-ups, deception, manipulation and they are suffering from substance abuse disorders.
Clinically, we may say the patient has what we call borderline traits that is why he suffered and because of his faulty coping he resorted to drugs. However, we all know this emotion has built and destroyed empires. It has made and break people. We also know emotional pain is much severe than physical pain, as evolutionary psychologists call it haven been beneficial for our survival and shield against future deception.
That may have been there but what about present time when at every instance people and society are disintegrated. Whom should we call borderline personality victims or survivors? What about people who have no empathy only that much which is required for keeping that phony layer of personality intact. Should we call society disordered and borderline or victims, lets read few stories about people with whom I have talked; the people suffering from substance abuse disorder, I acknowledge deeper causes whether their brain areas are dysfunctional, whether they come from broken families, whether there is media and peer pressure.
But let us try to pick up this driving force of love, separation, betrayal and how it pushed these people into substance abuse. (Names have been change and stories have been, added, little bit fictionalized and changed to other context for ethical reasons)
Ahmed was in final year of his engineering in a reputed college, he was very brilliant, philosophical and was fond of novels. He was fond of art, and would paint as a hobby. He met this girl and according to Ahmed, they got along from the very first day, actually the girl was in junior year and Ahmed would love to listen to her aspirations, she was quite ambitious about becoming a mechanical engineer. They started often chatting and talking on phone about studies, life and it was like they knew each other from quite long time. As its human limitation we don’t get along with someone we wish, rather we just get along some people may call it a tragedy, especially I because, people can’t choose out of it and don’t have multiple choice options.
Either they are defied or they defy and this is definitely a human emotional tragedy. This girl got very close to Ahmed and since Ahmed was a well-mannered gentleman, He got worried about her and the brewing up feelings between them. Ahmed was uncomfortable with close emotional relationships as it was something to do with his faulty attachment style in childhood. Now Ahmed and this girl had been in contact for a year now, there was no formal expression of feelings but for human beings to understand that was enough of a signal from the girl to the Ahmed, finally after Ahmed thinking seriously about the growing relationship, he formally told the girl about the feeling. The girl, as Ahmed told me, girl felt some upgradation in her esteem and it was normal we all do. She didn’t tell him anything clearly but they remained in contact as before. One day the girl started behaving strangely and told Ahmed in college she is getting engaged soon. It was a huge shock for Ahmed and obviously when he was forced to walk on untrodden path. Ahmed was in pain and in this pain, he was introduced to heroin an opioid very addictive and potent drug. Now as you could have understood he was now Caught between devil and deep blue sea, running to his friend caused more pain and he resorted to heroin, wasting his resources, health and peace of life. As he said, “yeh heroin nasha nahi ha yeh ek virus ha”.
Since Shafiq was a kid, he started liking a girl, she was living just few houses away from his house they were kids since they knew each other. Living in a village they could meet as they used to play together, as narrated by Shafiq, they would say we are bride and groom and eventually this all developed in a relationship when they grew up as both were studying in same class also but different schools. Their relationship grew more and more deep and each day they got attached more. Society would question this was wrong, but who stopped them from making such a deep investment, the emotional investment. Suddenly the families got to know, the girl’s family didn’t approve of this relationship. They intimidated the family and the guy and in short time got the girl married to a guy who was almost 15 years elder to her. The girl wasn’t willing and also as recounted and related by the guy she started developing fainting episodes. The guy could not tolerate this emotional pain, as we know emotional pain is as real as physical pain in order to soothe that pain, he started abusing heroin and became addict, he has attempted suicide and his arms are all slashed. We can clearly say the patient has symptoms of borderline personality disorder. The question is how the symptoms got precipitated, if they were dormant and there was some dysfunction in his brain which was inherited, however, isn’t it understood that even if we lose a phone, we are attached to for a year we get sad. Now what about two human beings with volcanic emotions. Can we say we are contradicting our own selves, either there should not have been this environment or we shouldn’t have kept such fake societal qualifications for two people to get together legally? We can’t deny treatment through any means at any time of this whole process but we all know where the real treatment lies, we need to recalibrate, retune our values, customs, social rules.
Mushtaq belongs to a lower middle-class family, he did his diploma in automobile engineering and wanted to work in a workshop to work on automobiles. He said, he had a natural tint towards repairing machines. However, emotions and drugs were not in favour of going into right direction. He was in a relationship with a girl for 12 years and finally the girl got into relationship with someone else. This emotional turmoil drowned his reasoning and he started soothing himself with cannabis (charas) then eventually when charas couldn’t give enough soothing he resorted to heroin and got caught into the quagmire. When I tried to explored his pre-morbid history from reliable family members he was reported as a nice kid and a nice teenager. Obviously, there are subtle predisposing factors, however this relationship or attachment loss was a good reason for him to resort to drugs.
Irfan was admitted for heroin addiction, usually every patient comes in some level of readiness, however this guy clearly said, I want treatment so that I can get physically healed so that I can again inject drugs. Some people have such emotional reactivity, sensitivity, and emotional dysregulation that its very tough for professionals to get them to level of motivation where they are mentally prepared to leave the drug. This stems from a baggage of past emotional bruises and abuses.
Sehraan was abusing drugs because, his insecurities in relationship, which is a pathological sign if it crosses a threshold, He would get suspicious fight with girlfriend and resort to drugs which would become an antecedent for more conflicts and more drugs.
This is just a one factor, but as per my understanding one of the most important factors which leads to drug abuse is emotional turmoil due to romantic relationships. Everything at last boils down to emotional dysregulation all our miseries and all our fears. As a society we have to make emotionally rich, tuned and regulated individuals who can cope with stressors of life. Media has a great role to play for example, watching a movie where the protagonist resorts to drugs after love failure will vicariously give him the same idea if such situation arises in his life.
Since fire and petrol are both available in great quantity, Romantic relationships from very young age and rising number of drug peddlers who leave no opportunity pulling the young people into drug abuse and make them drug addicts. We have to create a large gap between this fire and petrol and maybe if we can channelize this natural fire, which is there from start of human life, through legal means when someone is within this fire lets facilitate to make it legal and conducive to normal life rather to bring hollow and fake social customs a hindrance. With respect to drugs and their facilitators at every level we have to burn it with their own petrol. I used a harsh word here, which may not be palpable for some people but when drug addiction enters a family it burns a family destroys it to ASHES.
THESE ARE AUTHORS PERSONAL VIEWS
Writer is a licensed clinical psychologist
Currently working at drug- deaddiction center imhans.