Saturday, January 21, 2006

Fat, Depression and Brain Chemicals

As someone who would love to blame something other than my own laziness and poor diet for being overweight, I love reading studies like this one that suggest that a shortage of a chemical called leptin which may help regulate fatty stores could potentially factor into the cause of depression. So hey, the same chemical shortage making me chubby is also making me depressed. How happy would that make me?

When studies like this come out, though, I can't help but wonder if doctors and pharmacological researchers have any clue about what they're doing and why it works. I mean, if depression could be caused by one failure in an interaction involving more than 40 chemicals and the cure is based on which chemical is malfunctioning, then clealry, we are in the stone ages of treatment when psychiatrists basically toss the same SSRI at every patient. I'm not comforted by the lack of scientific rigor involved in tinkering with my brain chemistry at the moment. At best, it makes me nervous and at worst, it makes me entirely paranoid that I'm a desperate guinea pig willing to endure unhealthy side effects and damaging amelioratives in a fruitless search for an impossible cure. With that kind of attitude, it's not wonder that I'm nervous.

I had a lovely brain fart this week and forgot to take my morning meds two days in a row. That's the easiest way to discover that your meds are actually doing something, even if you don't think they are. I have to say that I think that erasing a hiccup like that takes twice as long as the duration of the hiccup, at least. So, for example, because I missed my meds for two days, it'll take four days before I start to feel more stable again. But anyway, I've been ridiculously emotional lately, which is rather tricky for me because I've never been one of those weepy girls and I'm not sure how to deal with this influx of utterly dumb emotions. For example, somewhere in the middle of Glory Road, I was crying my eyes out for no particular reason. When I was planning the final details of my wedding in December, I had similar problems when I'd listen to certain songs on the radio or on my iTunes. Listening to the radio shouldn't be accompanied by a 30% chance of tears, but these days, I can't help it. Like if I hear that country, the 'If this is Austin, I still love you' song, I'm a goner.

And I never used to be like this! Ugh. I'm getting soft in my old age and I'm not sure whether I like it or not.