Metyrapone: Eternal Sunshine

I’ve never been divorced. I’m not married, so that rules out the divorce part. My cousin got a divorce a year after she was married. She was 27. She said, “I wouldn’t wish divorce on my worst enemy.”

I know being married after a year with no children doesn’t really seem to compare to the marriages that end after 20, 30 or 40 years; but, her comment still struck me. It came from such a raw place. Like when you know, only those who’ve been through it can understand.

Even though I’ve never been divorced, I’ve had a few serious boyfriends in my past. My first real relationship started when I was a senior in High School and ended after my freshman year of college. I was 19. My breakup at 19-years-old was the closest thing I knew to my world ending.

When I think about my first boyfriend, I’m reminded of everything great about young love: watching movies together, talking on the phone into the middle of the night, making out until the wee hours of the morning . . . .

And then, I remember, the crazy:

Ever so gracefully, those warm and fuzzy memories come to a crash and burn ending with a fit throwing, heart-rending, sobbing marathon of pain.

And it was all over something I don’t even remember anymore.

The crazy is pain at its ugliest; the result of that same love gone awry. What Darth Vader referred to as the “Dark Side“. We’ve all been there. Some of us spend a weekend, or a mini vacation, others, a hiatus. When it came time to dapple with the dark side, I didn’t just stick my big toe in it, no, I dove right in, headfirst and swam around.

It involved a lot of screaming, a lot of crying and a broken heart. With each slobber filled, runny-nosed gasp of air I took between sobs was the conviction that everything that once felt comfortable to me: what I knew as my safe, happy little world, no longer existed. (Somebody had to be held responsible for this heartache, and at 19, it certainly wasn’t going to be me.)

I always hoped, if I ever ran into my ex, that he would remember the good stuff and that the crazy wasn’t as bad as I imagined. There is, however, something about being that exposed and feeling that vulnerable. Going through so much pain with someone you loved; it was the ‘raw’ I felt in my cousin’s comment.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to get a divorce, but what I do know is that pain seems to be the common denominator in all of them.

Which brings me to the ultimate question: If you could take the pain away, would you?

Oscar Wilde once said, “No man is rich enough to buy back his past.” Unless, that is, you are living in the 21st Century.

Scientists have discovered a drug that has been able to erase unpleasant memories tied to traumatic affairs. Metyrapone reduces the brain’s ability to retrieve negative emotions associated with painful memories. The drug affects the amount of cortisol that is released in your brain. Cortisol is a stress hormone often associated with tragic events in our lives.

source: Psych Central

source: Psych Central

Scientists found that if the hormone is decreased during the time of the recollection, the feelings attached to the memory are minimized.

Researchers see this breakthrough as a way of helping victims of post-traumatic stress disorder: PTSD. This would refer to people who have suffered from witnessing or being victims of a traumatic event.

While Metyrapone seems like an excellent way to help those suffering from PTSD, at the same time, the effects of the drug have obvious moral ramifications.

What if everyone had access to a drug that took the pain away? One that was not called heroin, oxycotin or Jack Daniels? Those drugs are known more for numbing the pain, than for removing it altogether. . . (so, I’ve “heard” anyway.)

Could we really be trusted with such a drug? If I had to choose among my most traumatic events in my life up until now, my breakup with my boyfriend at 19 wouldn’t be on the table, however, if I were my 19-year-old self, it absolutely would.

My cousin ended up remarrying. Today she is still happily married with four kids. I can’t help but wonder if her first marriage had anything to do with her second? If somehow all of the suffering was worth it?

Which brings me to my next question:

How much of the pain that we experience is beneficial to our lives?

What if we were given the chance to make that choice ourselves?

When you’re going through a painful experience, you will do everything in your power to make that pain go away. Yet, somehow after the gut-wrenching feelings finally subside there seems to be a calm. And we move on, in spite of every self-doubt we had that we could ever do it. It’s the method to the madness. I believe that the pain from my past has led me to the man that I’m with today.

As for my crazy, those times have become minor splinters of embarrassment: the ‘wrong way’ signs on my map of memories. And perhaps, those splinters are just enough to hold me from crossing as far over into the dark side, leaving me with a few less detours.

 

Before You Spin Avoid These Seven Mistakes.

GETTING MARRIED: When you reach this space, stop- even if you have moves left. Take a LIFE Tile and add 1 people peg to your car. Then spin and move again.

Before you spin, an article from knot.com, 7 Relationship Mistakes Even the Smartest Couples Make, provides us with the seven most common blunders we make once we are married or become settled in our relationships.

Mistake #1: Not Dealing With Debt

According to knot.com, money is the #1 thing most couples fight about. This makes perfect sense. Everybody handles their money differently. When I was getting marriage advice for my sister’s wedding, my much older, happily married cousins told me, “Talk about money. Talk about it while you have it so you don’t fight about it when you don’t.”

My friend, Sara, confesses she had a hard time with this when she first got married. The fact that she couldn’t go on shopping sprees and spend money however she wanted, took some getting used to. After getting married, she learned she had greater responsibilities with her money. “When you get married, you realize it’s not just about you anymore.” She and her husband began following a budget in order to build savings for things like their future kids, a bigger house or a business her husband hopes to one day start.

MONEY: Choose one player to be the banker. This player is in charge of all money paid to and from the bank. The banker separates the money into piles by denomination, then gives each player $10,000.

The knot.com has a budgeter where you put in both of your income and then expenses. They create both a monthly budget and an annual budget for you to follow.

An article from about.com, Marriage and Money-Planning Your Financial Life Together, says the first financial decision to make is whether you are going to keep separate or combined bank accounts, or have both separate and combined accounts. Author, Jeremy Vohwinkle, suggests having a joint account for family expenses and personal accounts for individual expenses. This way you are able to keep track of both types of spending. Also, I think it maintains a sense of autonomy in the marriage. As well, Vohwinkle suggests following a budget: How To Create a Budget.

INSURANCE POLICIES & BANK LOANS:  Separate the Automobile Insurance Policies, Homeowner’s Insurance Policies and Bank Loans. Place each pile near the game board.

The article further discusses a retirement plan and planning for the unexpected, which includes a life insurance policy. I know it seems strange to put money away every month for basically someone else to enjoy when you die, but there are plans that allow you to pull from these accounts. I have one myself. It’s good to know I’m covered when I die and nobody will need to front the very expensive bill of my funeral (being that it will be a huge party with people coming from all over the world: Oprah, Ryan Gosling, Hillary and Bill- yes, the Clintons, William and Kate, Kristin Wiig and the cast of SNL, along with all of the alumni. Eddie Vedder and Mick Jagger will probably want to sing…so, it’s gonna be pricey).

Gosling, crying the graceful cry.

(Mistakes 2-7 to follow)

Somewhere between Church and State.

In year 1215 the church took control of matrimony forever, laying down rigid new edicts about what would henceforth constitute legitimate marriage.– Committed

Originally, the Church frowned upon marriage. Relationships were encouraged to be with God only.  The highest calling for a man was to be a priest, for a woman it was to be a nun: both resulting in celibacy. Yet, despite the Church’s attempts to dissuade its followers from marrying, people were still choosing to. In ancient times, marriage was preserved as a means to produce heirs, strengthening familial power and land. (Pretty much having everything to do with government only.)

The Church eventually got on board around the 5th century after the Roman Empire collapsed. With it’s followers increasing in numbers (due to procreation from marriage), in 1215, the Church declared it as one of its seven sacrifices. It wasn’t until the 16th century that a wedding ceremony would traditionally take place in public, with a priest and witnesses.

I was surprised when I first read this in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Committed. I was raised in the Catholic Church. I remember what a big deal it was for me when I had my First Communion in second grade and then six years later, my Confirmation. The next big sacrament for me  was Matrimony. I expected to be married around the age of twenty-five. I never thought I would instead decide to wait, or even possibly not participate in it altogether.

One of the main reasons people get married in a church is to get married in front of God. During college I began researching avenues other than Catholicism. Eventually, nature and meditation replaced church and priests. These were the new  vehicles that ignited my spirituality.

When people don’t understand why Mike and I are not married, a lot of the confusion stems from their religious views. Though, to me, if anyone knows what’s going to happen down the road, it’s God. I guess I just feel like God has been there from the beginning and we are the ones trying to learn what is in front of us.

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