Monday, August 15, 2016

Jagged Little Pill

"My brain? That's my second favorite organ." - Woody Allen
I leave it to you to decide for yourself what your first favorite organ is, but Woody's comment was what flashed through my cerebral cortex as I sat in my doctor's office discussing brain chemistry. So much about what I am can be attributed to the way dopamine and serotonin flit about my skull in patterns that, according to my mother, may have been established before I was born. The blog you are currently reading is a byproduct of some of those obsessive compulsions: the need to stay busy, the need to fill the world with words that sound good to me in combinations I string together. 
Backing up a moment, it should be noted that my wife and I go to the same doctor, and we often have appointments one right after the other. My wife uses this opportunity to tattle on me, or to be more relaxed, to share her concerns about me. Which is a nice thing, considering the alternative. That means that when the door opens and I am asked by my doctor if I have any questions or concerns, I know that there are probably already a few in the pipeline. 
Like a lot of humans my age and gender, I have a few extra pounds that eating kale on a more frequent basis along with a decent exercise regimen hasn't managed to disappear. My cardiovascular system was aided by that running and growing up in the thin mountain air, along with some decent genes. Still, my blood pressure was a number that raised an eyebrow on most of the folks who have witnessed it. 
Stress? Could be. That must-do feeling that exists around most every enterprise upon which I embark would be a nod in that direction. Hearing a little about my job made my doctor suggest that maybe mood-altering pills could be handed out at the door of most public schools. And what if there was a pill that could scientifically and safely round the sharper edges of my day? What if, as my doctor described, the pendulum swings weren't quite so wide? 
My immediate reaction was to worry that I would no longer have anything to write about. Would it make any sense to check my blood pressure right before and right after I wrote a blog? Or maybe, as I started to relax into the notion, there was a sense of relief in letting go of all that responsibility for my own stress. That last sentence gives you an idea of how quickly things stack up in my mind. 
And so I am embarking on a trial. To see if there is a little pill that makes being me a little easier. A little pill that makes it easier for me to be me longer because I won't eventually burst like a tick on a hot stove from the internal strife my brain has created all these years. My doctor assured me that I can still keep all the stress in my life, if it is important to me, but maybe I will be able to see the big rocks coming at me and step aside without having the stroke beforehand. That last bit wasn't a medical term, it was more hyperbole. It makes me wonder if there is a medication I can take that will help reduce my stress about the medication I will be taking to reduce my stress. 
Life is funny. Stressful, and funny. 

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