Life presents a wide spectrum; it is the limitation of one’s mind that restricts the expanse of that endless stream flowing on either side. Euphoria rises to the pinnacle of that swinging pendulum; the high that reaches, follows upon a subsequence reversal of the tidal wave, and comes crashing down in fits and tumults of dismaying turbulence. Does it necessarily need to be contained?
In modernity, and in society generally, there is a level and pitch of discomfort when intense feelings and exuberant outbursts of excitement surpass a certain arc of acceptability; there is no rule or law governing the demarcation where acceptance, discomfort and outright rejection are dissected, but it is there nonetheless. It is like the line between light and darkness created by a campfire in the twilight on a beach that reaches forever beyond the darkness of the sea; yes, somewhere the glow of the fire ends and complete darkness begins, but we can never perceive with clarity where that boundary lies.
Some neuroscientists ascribe to the view that the extreme of euphoria occurs when there is a simultaneous, concurrent activation of all hedonic trigger-points with the brain’s rewarding system of stimulus-responses, but surely many have experienced such a state without the coalescence of such a perfect storm? As the antonym of dysphoria, it is perhaps another hidden vestige of our evolutionary past, where intensity of emotional response was necessary for survival in a state of nature.
In civilized society, however, tempering euphoria – except in limited circumstances of heightened stimulation within the privacy of one’s home and restricted to context-appropriate circumstances – is what is expected, presumed and demanded. There is always somewhat of an experiential oxymoron when a person manifests an unfettered state of euphoria; somehow, we all suspect that behind the uncontrolled exuberance will follow a “down” state which closely aligns itself with depression and despondency.
Is there really anything wrong with unrestrained expressions of pleasure and happiness? Or, are we just being old fogeys and fuddy-duddies when we raise an eyebrow to such unsolicited declarations?
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have filed a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue of tempering euphoria is applicable within the context of having contact with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Waiting for months upon tiring months for OPM to respond can be exhausting. Then, when a decision is made, one can become overwhelmed by the sheer revelation of information, whether euphoric or dysphoric.
Why tempering euphoria is important, is because filing for Federal Disability Retirement through OPM is a process, and must be seen as such. There are many potential “stages” to the administrative process, and the bureaucracy as a whole does not lend itself well to emotional states of responsive exuberance.
In the end, it is not only civilized society that sees the benefit in tempering euphoria through normative means of behavioral reactions, but for the very sake of keeping expectations and emotions in check, tempering euphoria is a necessary mandate when dealing with the juggernaut of OPM’s indifference in the multiple stages of a Federal Disability Retirement application.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire