The headaches first appeared when I was nine or ten. I’ve spent many years tracking behavior, diet, weather, mood, stress, and other factors looking for the cause of the headaches, but I’ve never found anything conclusive. I just get them. Sometimes I’ll go for months without getting one. Sometimes I’ll get three in a week.
What’s interesting is what happens when they end. Sometimes I get this wave of mild euphoria. I’ve been suffering so much that the mere absence of pain is pleasure. It’s a kind of sensation of inner peace. I walk around droopy-eyed, breathing this sort of constant sigh of relief. This period might last up to an hour. It’s pretty nice, although nowhere near worth the price I paid for it. I’m in that phase as I write this at 5:30am on Wednesday morning. It’s enjoyable, although even now in the midst of the it I’d gladly trade it away if I could have my night back, headache-free. I had things I wanted to do, which included getting a full night’s rest.
The reason I bring this up is because I was thinking about how drugs and alcohol work just the opposite: They give you a period of pleasure, followed by an interval of misery. I remember getting drunk a couple of times when I was in my early twenties. The last time I was drunk I found myself puking my guts out. As I sat there on the floor of the bathroom in my parent’s basement, leaning my head against the wall and looking down into the toilet, I wondered, “What in the hell is the sense in this? There is no way this was worth it. Not even close. How can people do this to themselves?” It was the last time I was ever drunk. I still don’t get it. Do other people hate hangovers less, or is drunkenness the result of a repeated failure to do cost / benefit analysis?
But it makes me wonder what would happen with a drug that worked in the opposite direction. What if there was a drug that worked like my headaches: It makes you intensely sick and miserable, and when it wears off the “hangover” is euphoric pleasure. Assume the intensity and duration of the high and the crash are the same as regular recreational drugs, just in reverse order. Would people do it? Would people take the drug? If it was habit forming, would the habit be easier to kick? Would it spread socially like other drugs? Dude, take this. You’ll feel horrible for a couple of hours and totally hate me for giving it to you, but then it’ll feel awesome.
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