So the last blog post was a little too rough. Talking about depression doesn’t exactly lift spirits. So I tough this time I’d talk about the two most interesting things I learned in my biological psychology class. This was the first class I ever took at the UW and was an absolute blast. Anyway these are the two things that really stuck out in my mind just because I thought they were so interesting. It just so happens that these two things center around sex which I don’t think says anything about me and my memory but it might.
The male preying mantis is a lot smaller then the female preying mantis so when it comes time to mate the male is scared to death thinking that the female will literally kill him. But, like all males of every species, the need for sex outweighs the need to survive. So he’ll wait around until the female looks like she’s busy then he’ll pounce. While he’s trying to have sex he is still scared that he is going to die which causes him to have issues performing. But he still really wants to mate so, even though he can’t perform, he keeps trying anyway. The female eventually sees him and decapitates him. Really, she rips off his head and then starts to eat it. Now, headless, the male’s body, which is still having sex with the female even without his head, is able to perform because, without the head, he is no longer capable of being anxious and scared. After the headless body is done the female eats it too.
Male rats are always ready for sex, kind of like human men, but female rats need the mood right, like human women. So my professor, back when he was a grad student, had to set the mood right in order for the action to happen and his experiment to occur. So he used to dim the lights and play Queen. He had a particular song he played and I wish I remember what it was but I don’t. Anyway with the mood just right the female will arch her back, move her tail to the side, and the male will go to town. About three thrusts later he’s done and exhausted (poor guy). He’s almost paralyzed he’s so tired. Since the female doesn’t get that tired she has plenty of energy to hang around the male. The male will release a ‘dog-whistle’ type of noise that basically tells the female “leave me alone I’m tired.” But if you place another female rat, who is already ready for sex, in the cage with that male no matter how tired he is he’ll have sex with her too. He could be knocking on heaven’s door due to exhaustion and he’ll still have sex again. This is called the Coolidge Effect, named after the president. The reason why it’s named after him is that at one point during his presidency he and his wife visited a chicken farm. At the farm the farmer mentioned to the wife that his rooster will have sex upwards to a thousand times a day. She asked the farmer to tell her husband that. Hearing this Coolidge asked the farmer if the rooster had sex with that same hen a thousand times a day. The farmer said no. Coolidge asked him to tell his wife that.
Well I’ve never had a blog before so I thought I’d try it out here and see what it’s like. I don’t know how many out there have read anything on my profile page. Hell I just updated the thing for the first time yesterday so if you have read anything that’s pretty good. I’m 21 and attending the University of Washington here in Seattle. I’m a junior right now but plan on getting a doctorate in psychology and focusing on clinical psychology. I want to get into psychology because I have a personal tie to psychology.
In the summer, two years ago, I was officially diagnosed with major depression. I have had the disorder since I was 12 but never knew what it was. When everyone reaches puberty the brain matures and various neurotransmitters within the brain get their production ramped up. Serotonin is one of those transmitters. Serotonin helps control mood and when there is a lack of serotonin or serotonin intake within the brain mood disorders usually develop. The most common disorder to develop is depression, a disorder that can never be cured but can be managed. Most people get their serotonin production increased however I didn’t so as a result I developed depression. Depression is one of those things that is really hard to describe. I’m sure everyone’s seen those commercials where people are in dark rooms, teary eyed, and talking about how they feel hopeless. There is hopelessness but they way it’s shown doesn’t feel right to me. To me, normally, life felt like a terrible job I felt I had to keep. I didn’t enjoy life. In fact, I got to the point where I couldn’t remember what being happy felt like or if I had ever felt it at all. I didn’t really like talking because I didn’t see the point in it. At it’s worse I didn’t want to live. I remember hoping that I could go to sleep one night and not wake up or develop some sort of terrible disease and die from it. We’ve all heard the term ’suicidal thoughts’. Well, I had the normal intentional suicidal thoughts, the thoughts where I couldn’t see myself living another day and how I could go about ending it all, but the ones that really scare me now looking back are the thoughts that I didn’t intend to have. Thoughts, my own but not prompted consciously by me, of jumping in front of a bus while I’m walking on the sidewalk. Thoughts of me dying when I didn’t even intend to have those thoughts as if something reached into my brain and put them in there.
Well, like I said, two years ago I was diagnosed with depression by a clinical psychologist. He worked with me, while I took anti-depressants, to change the way I thought about every situation in life so that, if depression were to creep up again, I could handle it. Two years later and I’m a million times better. It’s amazing to me how much better I am at this point now compared to two years ago. I wrote a new poem “New Pair of Glasses” about this feeling. The feeling of conrolling depression reminds me of wearing glasses for the first time. The first time I wore glasses I was in the third grade and I remember how amazing it was to just look at things as if I’d never seen them before. Things like trees. People take advantage of looking at trees but imagine looking at a tree and only seeing a green top and brown bottom. None of the details, the individual leaves, the design of the bark, all of it, would be lost to your eyes. That was how I saw trees until that day in third grade. It was phenomenal and I look at the world, the people in it, and myself with that same amazement now that I have depression under control.
I want to a clinical psychologist so people who were in the same position as me or in a much worse place can be given the same opportunity that I was given. The opportunity to live life to it’s fullest and not just be a passive part of it.
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