Witnessing firsthand and personally experiencing too many of those aforementioned harmful effects in my life manifests deep pain and empathy for people, which is a pivotal reason for choosing to help others. A dominant universal goal regarding all spiritual realms is to mitigate pain and suffering. Caring for individuals working as an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse constantly makes me question, “Is there something we as a community, society, nation, and global enterprise can do to help prevent these tragic fatalities?” Tears of compassion and frustration well up and trickle down an anguished face, while contemplating the horrors that families of these loved ones face and endure.
“I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized that I was somebody” (Lily Tomlin). Can such tragedies be averted? Young teenagers and adults are too often admitted for heroin overdoses with irreversible anoxic brain injuries, while ventilators keep their bodies alive as the brain swells, crushing parts of the cerebrum or spinal cord ending in brain death. All four extremities spastically and uncontrollably jerk up and down with both eyes transiently shooting open seemingly bulging from their skulls as their necrotic viscera pour out. Paralytics are administered because families do not need to witness such horror. Others drink themselves silly, which leads to irreversible pancreatitis or hepatic destruction, culminating in multisystem organ failure and subsequent death.
Even today, visualizing and feeling the glowing warmth, energy, kindness, and friendly smile radiating from a fellow high school classmate’s face 20 years later is poignantly palpable. His abundant energy, radiant countenance, joy, and ability to make others laugh was contagious. He made the tragic decision to try heroin one time, which ended his short life. Let’s decide to help others make better choices by making them for ourselves first.
“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense” (Buddha). We live vibrantly and courageously or die dastardly, mostly because of habitual choices we make. Let your thoughts, attitudes, words, behaviors, and environments lead to fuller, more joy-filled lifestyles. To each their own—nihilism or usefulness, meaning, and dignity. We must decide for ourselves the best path for our own unique journey through time. Insight, advice, principles, other peoples’ experiences (OPEs), beliefs, and suggestions from others can help formulate what we ought not to do or must do to acquire all the splendors this wondrous world offers. Live without regret, guilt, resentment, blame or shame by owning your own discerning decisions, while not judging others. We can choose our actions, but not the consequences. Learn to smile and laugh during any situation, for suffering and death are only parts of life, which help us feel—knowing we are alive with breath in our lungs, while transcending and transmuting fear, anxiety, and depression into forgiveness, joy, peace, and love.
Downregulation decreases neurotransmitter receptors, whereas upregulation increases receptors. Sensitivity to molecules decreases with downregulation. Smoking anything containing nicotine can cause upregulation, necessitating more nicotine to obtain similar effects. Additionally, note that nicotine has an affinity for the hemoglobin molecule, which is on the red blood cell carrying oxygen to every cell in our body. Nicotine takes the place of approximately half of the oxygen molecules on hemoglobin. Remember that oxygen is life and life ends when our oxygen supply ends. In ischemia, lack of oxygen perfusing or circulating to tissue and vital organs, cells can die. If this sounds scary, it’s because it is! If you’re serious about stopping smoking—do it! Read the book, “The Little Engine That Could,” each night for 30 days. You can do anything with a changed and made up mind.
You are not alone in your suffering. No matter what you are going through or have gone through there is someone both better and worse off. People have overcome exactly whatever difficulties, tragedies, terrors, and challenges you’ve experienced or are experiencing. Always try doing your best, while letting go of the past. Live in the present, hoping for and cultivating your future. Plans backed by action pave uncharted roads toward discovering newfound joy and peace, hence success.