I wrote before about my recent breakup with the Russian geek-chick. A spectacular chick. A spectacular breakup. Spectacular heartache afterwards.
I was, if I tell you the truth, nearly incapacitated with heartache for days. I couldn't think, I couldn't eat, I couldn't work. Memories of Her intruded upon my every thought. I couldn't listen to a song without thinking of her. She was on my mind when I went to bed at night, and when I woke up. I was utterly unable to stop thinking about her, completely overtaken with memories of her, and unable to stop the terrible, gut-wrenching, never-ending heartache.
I discovered two things that helped, one of which was pharmacological, one of which wasn't. Let's go with the non-pharma thing first, because it's important. The non-drug thing that helped was to find a friend who had had a similar experience, and talk it out with him. We talked it to death, then put it aside. It was cathartic as hell, I have to admit. It felt good to know that someone I trusted (someone with a lot more "love experience" than myself, actually) had been through a very similar experience. And he knew everything I was going through. He knew just the right things to say.
But I also did some online (Web) research to see what I could find out about drugs or herbs that might be able to disrupt and/or end the painful pining-away that I was experiencing. I was pining for my lost Russian lover constantly, and it was exhausting! I couldn't get any work done. Something had to give. Suicide was not an option. But losing my job seemed like a definite possibility, if I didn't get my act in order, quickly.
In my Web research, what I found out was that "pining" is correlated to a certain part of the brain involved in alcohol addiction (and other addictions). It's near the amygdala.
I also found a couple of animal studies (with rats) that showed an unmistakable ameliorating effect for nitrous oxide on certain chemical responses in this part of the brain involving dopamine metabolism and addiction pathways.
Putting two and two together, I hypothesized that breathing nitrous oxide might "break the vicious cycle" of pining, by breaking the addiction pathway in the part of my brain responsible for pining.
I decided to do a little experiment of my own.
But where can you get nitrous oxide on short notice? I didn't want to take a trip to the dentist (OMG are you fking kidding??), or invest hundreds of bucks in a NOS-system for my car.
Well, it turns out that nitrous oxide is used as an aerosol propellent in two common products, but only those two. Nitrous is too expensive and too flammable to use as an aerosol propellent in ordinary spray products. So don't go looking for nitrous in just any spray product.
The two places you *will* find nitrous are
1. Vegetable-oil cooking spray (Pam).
2. Aerosol whipped cream.
Nitrous is used in these for its foaming effect. It turns out other gases cause whipped toppings to "fall flat" when dispensed by aerosol; nitrous is extremely soluble in dairy products and causes super-foaming to occur when depressurized.
And by the way, if you've ever sprayed Pam on a hot open-flame BBQ grill and been startled as f*ck by the vicious fireball that erupts when you aim the blast at the grill, now you know why. Nitrous oxide is a potent oxidizer. It's used in some rocket engines. (Remember that airplane-looking thing that Burt Rutan built, that went into space carrying some 50-year-old dude who thought he was hot shit but almost went out of control? That was a nitrous-oxide engine.)
My experiment involved buying a can of whipped topping, and obtaining a large plastic freezer bag (a large Baggie). No no no, I did not stick my head in the bag. It wouldn't fit anyway! The bag is way too small to put your head in, unless you're a goddam mutant.
What I did was stick the nozzle of the spray can deep into the bag, place the bag over my nose and mouth as best I could (with the rest of the can still sticking out), and shoot a blast of whipped cream into the bag while inhaling deeply. The cream fell to the bottom. I breathed the vapors. And I held my breath for a while (at least 15 seconds), to make sure the gases got trapped in my blood.
Verdict: Son of a gun if it didn't actually work! Within 15 seconds, when I opened my eyes and exhaled, I could feel the heartache fade and my heretofore dreamy, idyllic perception of the Russian devil-bitch fade into the daylight of calm rationality.
I took a total of just two more "hits" from the bag (with fresh blasts of cream, to get fresh propellent). Again, each time, I held my breath for about 10 to 15 seconds. When I started breathing again, I felt incredibly better: sober, awake, focused. I had "snapped out of" pining mode.
I worried that maybe I'd snap back into pining mode when the nitrous oxide wore off (as it does, after a few minutes). Not a problem at all. The amazing thing is, once you get your mind out of pining-mode, you can continue the momentum on your own, particularly if you genuinely do have work to do. (I did have work to do. I had fallen behind on my job because of the Russian.) All you really need to do is break the cycle of addiction. The rest is easy.
Did I become addicted to "the bag"? Hell no. A hit now and then would take the edge off, as needed, and a phone call to my friend would do the rest.
Oh, and a few nights after I discovered the NO2 cure? I called whats-her-face on the phone, told her what a heartless cold messed-up psycho bitch-who-can-never-hold-onto-a-man she was, and hung up while delivering an ancient Anglo-Saxon invective with gusto.
Haven't pined over the little mofo since.