After every good party that involves mind-bending substances or techniques, either material or immaterial, the next morning is inescapable. Alterations of the consciousness bring different after-effects. Some are more familiar like a hangover, some are unusual. Sometimes we don’t even connect the way we feel in the moment with the events of previous day. We just feel uncomfortable, oversensitive or overexcited, but are unable to pin point what brought us here. Often the inability to connect the dots and find the relation between the events and discomforts, leaves us frustrated with ourselves. The only thing we know is how we feel in the moment, but what constitutes the moment is not only happening in the moment. The way our memory and cognition are organised is dismissing many process that shape the experience of now.
After my dive yesterday, I could experience the after effects of “oxygen deficiency”. Everything today was slightly more oversaturated and highlighted. Like walking out of a dark forest and facing the light, you know you found the way out but you need a moment to get used to it. Every time that happens light becomes unbearable. The contrast between both conditions is just too strong to adjust. If we take out the pain the eyes feel in the moment, we would be terrified and think that we are getting blind. Remembering the darkness though changes the perspective giving it a euphoric glow.
The thing is that, whether it is an extreme darkness or a bright light, both states are blinding. Both need adjustment period. As I was walking in the sun with a good friend, who allowed me to feel relaxed and tired, I realised that this slightly euphoric feeling that I had today is an afterglow of the shadow talk I had yesterday. The emotional hangover manifested itself through elevated, sensitive and overexcited feeling. I would bet that on evolutionary level, I unconsciously experience a feeling of existential joy of being alive finding the way out of the darkness. Hangover is a state when the elements essential to the functioning of our bodies are out of balance. No matter what kind of substance or activity has happened last night, if things are out of balance, it takes time to transition. First the body has to self-regulate and fix the damage. Some processes run faster than others, organs have to adjust and deviate from their routines, blood has a different pace.
Perhaps you know the feeling, when after a night with too much drinking, our bodily comfort is the main priority. We crave fatty foods because our body demands to eliminate the effects of the hangover. Once the body is back on track, space for reflection opens up. The feeling of regret, thoughts, memories start to flashback charged with judgement. When we experience emotional hangover, chemical imbalance is more difficult to trace. The experience the body was undergoing is invisible therefore the effects are underestimated. This neglect and insufficient recovery care leads to a danger of continuous exhaustion, where every day of non-care piles up new layers of emotional discomfort. Then the vessel is full and we become aware of the body signals.
I believe that looking at a moment as a place where time exists simultaneously might be a way to avoid the overspilling of emotional surplus into a bodily reactions. Connecting yesterday with today and tomorrow is a way to take everything into account and look at whatever state you are in as a complex, layered condition in constant change in time. Once you realise that this quest for balance will never be accomplished, the advice would be: find your orange juice against emotional hangover.