Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Short Road To The Dumps

     ...Short road back out, too.

     I think I figured something out.  I had a couple of bouts of really dark, dark depression recently, one lasting for several days.  I didn't know why and I remembered having similar troubles about this time last year.

     Cabin fever?  Seasonal affective depression?

     Oh, two more items: each  period of depression was preceded by several hours of happiness.   Annnnd-- this time of year, I have access to really, really good cookies covered in rich, dark chocolate.

     My self-control around those good cookies...not what it should be.  Each time I got the blues, I'd eaten more of 'em than I should've the day before.  Not quite half a box over a few hours.  That's way too much.

     Back when the docs were working on my migraines/facial pain thing, they tried a class of drugs that mess with serotonin levels.  (Antidepressants: they've been known to work on otherwise-intractable pain in some cases.  Draw your own conclusions).  I was very sensitive to them and they had unsettling effects.  Dark chocolate, enough of it, is thought to increase serotonin levels in the brain* and if you use that stuff up quicker than you make it, you can get a nasty little serotonin crash: you run plumb outta the stuff.

     I have moderated my dark chocolate cookie intake.  I feel about two hundred percent better.  Correlation isn't causation, but....
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* Exactly what goes on with serotonin in the brain isn't well understood; for some reason, people aren't lining up to get their gray matter plumbed into a chemical analysis set-up.  Research on SSRI drugs and related matters is pretty empirical; they feed drugs to volunteers and use indirect means to figure out their effects.

10 comments:

Rob K said...

That's about how it works with me. If I eat high-carb at all, I'll be in for a bout of depression. If I keep my diet fairly low carb, I feel so much better.

On a Wing and a Whim said...

Fascinating.

This might explain... several things.

I'll just be back here, pondering my chocolate stash with a raised eyebrow. Never mind me, carry on.

John Peddie (Toronto) said...

Just a thought, but have you been checked for hypoglycemia?

The symptoms you describe are very similar to my daughter's-especially the sugar highs / hangovers.

We put her through all kinds of tests for allergies, found nothing, then a new Dr. tested blood sugar.

Bingo-and now all's well, as long as she controls what and when she eats.

EdSkinner said...

Sugar does that to me. Only "cure" is to binge only before bed and then hope my roommate sleeps through my screaming at the nightmares.

Rob K said...

@EdSkinner, you could just not eat sugar maybe? There are plenty of really delicious things that don't have much if any sugar/carbs in them. And it's better for your teeth too.

DJ said...

Damn, but that sucks. Chocolate is not just for breakfast anymore.

Roberta X said...

I can still have it -- I just mustn't *binge.*

RogerC said...

Worth finding out if it's sugar or chocolate that's the culprit. Good quality chocolate doesn't have that much sugar in it, while the low quality stuff's practically made of it.

Like others here, I find that I feel a lot better if I stick mainly to protein and greens. Grains and refined sugars tend to make me feel sluggish and lacklustre. When I do consume grain products I do so in moderation and make sure they're of the distilled variety :)

DJ said...

"I can still have it -- I just mustn't *binge.*"

Dodged a fate worse than [fill in the blank], you did. I was worried ...

wheelgun said...

For me it was figuring out that Gluten, in all its delicious forms was just not my friend.