Communion Of Dreams


Fat and happy.
April 8, 2011, 5:38 pm
Filed under: Bipolar, Depression, Health, MetaFilter, Society, Survival

The uncle I lived with following the death of my parents had a response he used almost whenever someone asked how he was doing. With a big grin, raising a beer almost as a toast, he’d say “fat and happy!”

* * * * * * *

MetaFilter pointed me to an interesting science item from last year that I managed to miss:

ScienceDaily (May 18, 2010) — When people are under chronic stress, they tend to smoke, drink, use drugs and overeat to help cope with stress. These behaviors trigger a biological cascade that helps prevent depression, but they also contribute to a host of physical problems that eventually contribute to early death.

* * * * * * *

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed that my usual bipolar cycle seems to be a little shorter this time around, and I am in something of a downturn.

Nothing too bad yet. And not likely to become so, since my cycle is pretty shallow as such things go. But I am less inclined to write here. It is harder to write in general – for my regular articles, working on the book, even on Facebook.

But I’ve noticed, and mentioned it to friends.

Which is somewhat . . . annoying. I need to rally and beat the ongoing problems from the pneumonia I had last year (primarily through exercise). I have a new big round of ballistics testing coming up the end of the month. Getting the care-giving book out means a lot of work and attention. And there is always book conservation work to do.

* * * * * * * *

Munch.

Munch.

Munch.

This is unsurprising:

Why French Fries Are Such Good Comfort Food

Ever wonder why French fries, potato chips and Cheetos are so appealing when you’re feeling stressed? A new study suggests that elevated levels of salt in the body lower stress hormones and raise levels of oxytocin, a hormone involved in love and other social connections.The research, which was conducted in rats, was published in the Journal of Neuroscience. It found that rats’ response to a stressful situation — being tied down — depended on how much salt they had in their bodies. When restrained, rats with high salt levels showed less activity in their brain’s stress systems, compared with rats with normal salt levels.

Where are the pretzels?

* * * * * * *

The uncle I lived with following the death of my parents had a response he used almost whenever someone asked how he was doing. With a big grin, raising a beer almost as a toast, he’d say “fat and happy!”

He wasn’t really fat – just a big guy, and a bit heavy. I’m easily as heavy as he was then, or moreso.

And to a certain extent, even then I knew that the “happy” part masked the stresses he was under – and which he coped with admirably, at least as I see it from this vantage point.

And, as usual, he demonstrated a wisdom I did not appreciate at the time.

“Fat and happy,” indeed.

* * * * * * *

Jim Downey


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Sounds like a variation on “fake it until you make it.”

Comment by ML

[…] last several decades. It could be a virus. It could be change in our gut flora. It could just be a response to rising stress levels in our society. It could be some kind of leeching plastics, or the use of HFC, or any number of […]

Pingback by Well, at least it isn’t G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate*. « Communion Of Dreams




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