Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 17 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Conversation with my Brain

Today I learned more than I wanted or needed to know about the female menstrual cycle. "What does that have to do with you," you ask? I'm getting to that. It seems you and at least one female Hormone share a particular affinity for a crucial neurotransmitter.

You know the Hormone family, don't you? Sure you do! They're okay one-on-one or even in small groups, but once a month they invite all of those loud relatives from god-knows-where and party like there's no tomorrow! Yes, see, I knew you'd heard them before! In fact, didn't they just leave a few days ago? My God! Seems like they were on an extended stay this month, didn't it? They really wear me out with all that revelry!

So much activity stresses me out, you know. I get headaches, and backaches, and downright irritable. Hard to be a good neighbor with all that going on. Anyway, what was I saying, Brain? Oh yes, you and that female Hormone...

Well, I know how much you value your serotonin, Brain. But it's actually my serotonin, remember? You're just supposed to be caring for it. Yes, yes, I know you care for it! But...you know how they say if you love something you should set it free? Yup, you're supposed to let it go! That's what the saying means. Setting it free is part of caring for it.

If you care, you'll set my serotonin free, Brain. No, I am not implying you are selfish! Yes, I realize you are working on letting go, and I appreciate that. I know you've even let go of a smidgen extra serotonin recently, and that's just great! But we've got to get to a point of regular letting go, routine letting go. Remember, sharing is caring!

I know. I know. You're worried. If you let it go, serotonin may be up-and-taken from you. But don't you realize how sad I feel when you hang on so tight? In fact, when you hoard my serotonin, sometimes I feel just like I did last week when the Hormones were in town--irritable, sad, heavy, and slow. I feel just like I did...

WAIT A MINUTE! That's it!
Of course! That makes perfect sense!!

What?

Oh, sorry, Brain. I was having one of those light-bulb moments. (Hey, aren't you supposed to be in on those?)

As I was saying, Brain, you and this Hormone-chick seem to share a particular affinity for my serotonin! So it makes perfect sense, when she's here rockin' out with the rest of her clan, I feel like crap! And it makes perfect sense, when you selfishly "care for" my serotonin, I also feel like crap! AND here's the kicker, if Progesterone Hormone (that's her name, I guess) happens to be visiting at the same time as you happen to be hoarding my serotonin, I feel like DOUBLE-TRIPLE-CRAP!! So what do you think of that, le Brain? Well?

What am I going to do about it? No, you're right, I really can't expect the Progesterone bunch won't come. I could ask, but I'm sure they'll show up anyway. It's gotten to the point where I can almost feel them coming. Once a month, just like clockwork, Miss Progesterone and her entire rowdy clan roll in! And I heard they arrive even more pronounced in their middle years, although maybe with less regularity. Hmmm... Doesn't seem right. They shouldn't be allowed to interfere with my life so much! They must get old and tired sometime, don't you think? Perhaps then they'll stay home.

But what about you, Brain? You've got to shape up! Let my serotonin go! I'm not going to put up with your BS. Yes, I did call you selfish. I'm sorry about that, but if the shoe fits... It's time for you to grow up, to see the bigger picture. It's not all about you!

What about me, Brain? Don't you see? When you hang onto my serotonin, I feel sad and tired. But if you let go, I feel better. And if I feel better, I can stimulate you with a lot more interesting stuff! See? It's a win-win situation! So, whadaya say? Will you let my serotonin go? Please, Brain, let my serotonin go.

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