Monday, June 16, 2014

hopeless pedantic

Another hormone the pituitary gland is supposed to dispense is oxytocin.  Responsible for the way people develop a sense of affinity for each other.  A sense of trust in the people around them, friends, family, and even a bond with the greater society they're a part of.

I've read that issues with oxytocin receptors have even been tentatively linked to xenophobic intolerance of cultural differences.  I've always been very appreciative and open to other cultures, all sorts of cultures, and that may be a silver lining of sorts, but I've never felt like I belonged amidst any of them. 

My whole life, I've been plagued by the anxiety of feeling like an foreigner without a homeland.  I've struggled to figure out why this is, maybe I moved around too much as a kid, or maybe just lack social skills, or maybe I'm just eccentric or neurotic, for no good reason at all - only to discover that there's this chemical responsible for how the brain develops such feelings, controlled by the gland I've been having problems with since I was only five or six years old.  

I've been told I can be quite aloof when meeting new people, but I think most don't give it much thought.  Not consciously.. although it's difficult to tell.  These variations in hormones tend to cascade, from interactions with other hormones, into emotional changes, into behavioural changes, from the very subtle, to the more overt.  Inadvertently conveying my lack of trust to everyone I encounter.  Leading into a stand-offish distrust that goes both ways.  

I don't like to talk about this much, as it seems so very uncool, but given what oxytocin's more commonly known for, it's probably worth putting down here.  I've also been obsessed with the concept of love, dating all the way back to page one of my first journal, started when I was only ten years old. Reading about that, I find myself wondering if I've been a hopeless romantic, more literally than I could have ever imagined.  Maybe it's all been about these receptors, starved for a chemical they were supposed to be getting. 

My failure to connect with people has become such an intricate and multifaceted enigma, but it could all be because of this.   If I'm understanding correctly, it's not actually produced by the pituitary, but stored and secreted by it.  Given my lifetime of evidence, the clump of sludge where that gland is supposed to be is very likely to be fucking that up.  

My hypothalamus is fine though, so oxytocin should exist in sufficient quantities in my blood, but might be difficult to maintain or trigger neurologically.  Oxytocin doesn't cross the blood-brain barrier, which is why the pituitary is vital to some of its functions, but not others.  

It might seem contradictory that increased oxytocin levels have been found in people with social anxiety disorder, but it could be for this reason.  Excessive attempts to stimulate production, which fail to get it to the brain, where it's really needed, yielding great difficulty in building trust and coordinating that with others in such a way that yields healthy social connectivity and interaction.  Not to mention the whole lot of it being impossible, as long it all spirals into a life of hiding from a world full of people that just make me anxious.

This is like yet another puzzle piece that appears to fit exceptionally well, yet I'm a bit wary, as I know the mind can be deceptively good at connecting dots.  Such as with tarot card reading, where no matter how the cards land, it just takes a little ingenuity to weave them together, and into nicely fitting little story.  Or the belief that we create our own reality, which inevitably seems to be supported by an outlook that amounts to essentially pretending it's working, by adapting our perspective to fit that end.  

It isn't very scientific, but common to see patterns in ways that suit our goals.  Maybe this is why I spend so much time typing it all out.  I don't have the means to approach these things scientifically, so I have to resort to just laying the pieces out here, trying to figure out if that's really all I'm doing.

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