Friday, April 23, 2010

Chemical Reactions, Baby.

The thought popped into my head this morning that really all we are is just a bunch of chemical reactions. I'd been thinking along this line for a while, musing on hormones and neurotransmitters and wondering how much they control who we are - versus what we believe to be free will.

See, two weeks ago I had a couple of days where I felt like All That. I just felt pretty, and relatively thin, very happy in my own skin, proud of who I was. And in the middle of feeling that way, I wondered why I didn't always feel so - because I certainly don't. I hadn't eaten chocolate, but it felt a bit like a chocolate high, the one that brings the confidence I crave (albeit temporarily) and which fuels the addiction. Only this one lasted several days and wasn't, I believe, fueled by food.

I do have great days like that once in a while. But more often I have days where I feel fat and frumpy and sad and anxious and lonely and not good enough. Often within close proximity to the other days.  Clearly a few days (or hours!) is not enough of a time lapse to truly morph from frumpy blob into sexy blonde or vice versa - so it's gotta be all in my head. And if it's all in my head, what does that mean? And how do I keep the biochemicals on the fun side, rather than the irritable crabby low self-esteem side I usually seem to reside in? I really wanna know. Chocolate does it, but only temporarily, and with some bad side effects (i.e., Fat Ass Syndrome). SSRIs don't seem to have a permanent effect, based on the day-to-day mood fluctuations.

I just wonder how much of who we are is bound up in what kinds and amounts of chemicals and chemical reactions we have going on in our individual brains.

Am I in control of the chemical reactions, or are they in control of me?

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