April 6, 2012

"But none of this crying was from actually being sad; I just felt too connected to the lives of others..."

"... to the vulnerability I could hear in someone's voice or hanging plainly on his face," writes Catherine Lacey, who, to become an egg donor, had taken injections of Lupron (which "greatly reduces the sex hormones estradiol and testosterone") and Menopur ("made from the urine of post-menopausal women") and Gonal-F, ("a mega-follicle-stimulating-hormone that is bovine-derived").
If I made eye contact with anyone I immediately wanted to mourn and rejoice them. Subways were impossible. Strangers were emotional landmines. I was the menopausal, pregnant, and postpartum mother of the world.

I realize now that it sounds dramatic. It was dramatic, even to me: I'm not the weepiest woman who ever was. I'm known mostly for well-intentioned sarcasm, level-headedness, and an ability/susceptibility for detaching. So I found the over-emotional side-effect strangely enjoyable, like I was renting some more emotional woman's brain.
It's quite disturbing to think that these stereotypically female qualities are so chemical, that they could be injected, but then perhaps I wouldn't find it so disturbing if I were not myself female.

ADDED: A reader emails:
I used IVF to get pregnant. I took Lupron, Menopur, and Follistim (which is similar to Gonal-F). I didn't have any emotional symptoms at all. The only thing that happened was mild bloating and weight gain. Lacey's experience is totally foreign to me.

48 comments:

chickenlittle said...

Titus has been testy lately. I think it's 'roid rage.

Sorun said...

If you were male, you'd find the explanation very reasonable.

Ann Althouse said...

"If you were male, you'd find the explanation very reasonable."

Not if you were injected with menopausal lady pee.

YoungHegelian said...

It's quite disturbing to think that these stereotypically female qualities are so chemical

To echo Sorun, try a testosterone patch if you want to see how a chemical changes your world.

You'll see the power tool section at Home Depot hold an entirely new fascination for you.

Canuck said...

I don't get why it's disturbing. We all have heard about the emotional results of steroid use.

Not surprising that supplemental testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, or temporarily induced menopause would affect brain chemistry.

edutcher said...

Sounds like she could have used a little time on the couch talking to Dr Freud as well as some Xanax, and maybe a little Zoloft and been happier.

YoungHegelian said...

It's quite disturbing to think that these stereotypically female qualities are so chemical

To echo Sorun, try a testosterone patch if you want to see how a chemical changes your world.


I know opinions are shifting, but the downside of that still seems worse than the up.

PS The Blonde was on hormones and all they did was make her crazy.

Jeffery said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael K said...

My daughter was an egg donor for some close friends and, aside from weight gain and bloating, had none of those reactions. I think that lady has a vivid imagination, or a deadline to meet.

Pogo said...

"It's quite disturbing to think that these stereotypically female qualities are so chemical,"

But how could it be otherwise?

How we are must of necessity be made manifest by our wholly physical nature. Love, hate, empathy, scorn.
All neurochemical.

Hence, abnormalities in over and underproduction must result in a change in feelings and behavior.
How could it not?

But, importantly, not only neurochemical. That is, meaning is not chemical.

Chemistry has no meaning at all.

I find it sublime; evidence of God's hand.

Jeffery said...

Well look at how Andrew Sullivan wrote about the impact of injecting testosterone. He felt more energy, more confident, less able to focus, more volatile, etc. We humans make a big deal of "free will", but there is little, if any, of it in reality.

SukieTawdry said...

No more disturbing than the idea that men are ruled by their testosterone.

rhhardin said...

If you think that's bad, imagine what it's like to be a caterpillar.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It's quite disturbing to think that these stereotypically female qualities are so chemical

Why? Our entire body, our entire life, everything is of a chemical nature.

Men and women and children. And dogs and cats. All chemical creatures.

Understanding that is the first part of understanding our position in the wide diversity of life and how we interact with each other.

EDH said...

I wonder how she'd react emotionally to a "Tiny White Man in her Underpants"?

Dante said...

What's even more disturbing is this beauty:

http://www.cbc.ca/gfx/images/news/photos/2012/03/26/mi-bc-120326-jenna-talackova.jpg

Used to be a guy.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/03/26/bc-transgender-miss-universe.html

Rose said...

LOL - this is a definitely a post - and comments thread - that will make you laugh and brighten your day! Hilarious.

ricpic said...

More proof Sam Johnson was right.

chickenlittle said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Why? Our entire body, our entire life, everything is of a chemical nature.

I love that DBQ!

ricpic said...

Her female empathy overrode the first rule of urban survival: do not make eye contact.

Sorun said...

Let us celebrate our chemical diversity.

ricpic said...

Look out, chicken's about to lay a long chain carbon molecule on us

n.n said...

Has anyone conceived of an experiment capable of distinguishing between origin and expression? I suppose it doesn't really matter. Still, it is an intriguing philosophical juxtaposition.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Look out, chicken's about to lay a long chain carbon molecule on us

LOL!

Blue@9 said...

Psilocybin mushrooms make you feel this way-- hyper empathetic.

And yes, the neurochemicals really do affect everything.

I remember a neat episode of This American Life (yah yah, I know, NPR) where the topic was testosterone. One guy they interviewed had some disease or condition such that he stopped producing all testosterone. Result? He literally could not make decisions. He had no gut sense of being able to choose, because everything was equally blah.

They also interviewed a woman who was undergoing gender transformation and began taking testosterone injections. This woman/man admitted that prior to her injections she was often disgusted by men and their singleminded sex drive and objectification of women. After the injections? "I couldn't stop staring at women's butts."

chickenlittle said...

ricpic said...
Look out, chicken's about to lay a long chain carbon molecule on us

I monomer I should turn to be.

chickenlittle said...

"A monomer" not "I monomer"

Typical bad Friday for me.

dbp said...

"Not if you were injected with menopausal lady pee."

That's not so bad, plenty of women take Premarin.

Lem said...

If you think that's bad, imagine what it's like to be a caterpillar..

Behind a dummy cabinet.

Sigivald said...

At some level, all any of us are is chemical.

Mentality is a phenomenon of biology, which is "just" chemistry, which is "just" physics.

Really complicated and subtle and full of interactions, but that's it.

(What Pogo said, really.)

Lem said...

She is what political campaigns call.. a bundler.

Chip Ahoy said...

Okay, I know what mega means. And I know what follicle means. And I do know what stimulating means.

10 to the 6th power, hair, raise the level of activity.

A drug that stimulates hair growth by a million times. I would take some of that. What the heck, I eat cows already.

No wait. The bovine could be a bull. And derived, well, that could be anything. This could be a trick to get people seeking hair growth times a million to drink raw bull sexy drips. I must say no thank you until I know more about this new miraculous hair growth drug. Presumably body hair, right? The woman became hairy? Where ladies usually aren't but men are?

Lem said...

Not if you were injected with menopausal lady pee.

This is another example of the thugs at the AMA rolling over the EPA ;)

traditionalguy said...

Being super sensitive to another's pains is a blessing for them that aids in their healing. But as this writer pointed out, it is a burden to carry and one that we usually assign to a strong women. Some like Clara Barton do a great service to injured men.

A touch and a female presence is all that is needed sometimes.

Can love be proto-cannibalism in a socially acceptible forms?

Hormones recieved from another human whether taken orally or injected intraveniously are still the sharing of chemicals in a good way.

Love that results in the sexual act of sharing in the other one's fluids containing their hormones can be excellent therapy whether taken orally or by injection. So our chemicals design us for love in this material world.

And some Catholic please jump right in here and explain transsubtantiation again, that designs us for love in the spiritual world as well.

wyo sis said...

Sigh, I just thought we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." It's seems so tawdry when we talk about injecting pee.

Pogo said...

Very nice, wyo sis.

edutcher said...

Sigivald said...

At some level, all any of us are is chemical.

I believe Dr McCoy taught us that.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

"It's quite disturbing to think that these stereotypically female qualities are so chemical..."

Only disturbing to the Left. Homosexuality aside, they maintain that all human behaviors and desires are culturally programmed; hence their drive to de-gender language, etc.

Even moderately lefty blogs trade in the nurture-over-nature nonsense. The feminist blogs especially feature writers and commenters frothing at the mouth about "gender assignment" etc ad nauseum...

A. Shmendrik said...

Bring out your urine, all you post-menopausal women!

Bring out your urine...

ellie said...

To most who have taken an SSRI, another psych drug, or hormones, it's quite apparent that all emotions are chemical.

Q said...

After the injections? "I couldn't stop staring at women's butts."


Heh.

Though I've noticed that women tend to stare at men's butts as well.

Bob_R said...

"I don't get why it's disturbing. We all have heard about the emotional results of steroid use."

Sorry. Go through the posts about fat. Read about all the people who have "will power" and "self control." Don't you think they would be disturbed if those are chemically induced - not the product of "good character."

Q said...

Go through the posts about fat. Read about all the people who have "will power" and "self control." Don't you think they would be disturbed if those are chemically induced - not the product of "good character."



The two are interconnected to an extent. Thinking "the right thoughts" can alter your brain chemistry, as well as brain chemistry altering your thoughts. People are more than just electro-chemical wind-up dolls.

Rich Rostrom said...

Some years back a commenter at Two Blowhards said that "For a week, I was a woman." That is, he was given doses of Clomid, an estrogen analog usually used as fertility drug in women. It was done to balance the side effects of steroids he'd been given for some condition.

And for that week, he was weepy, emotional, etc. (At least, compared to his usual state.)

And jeez - haven't we heard a million jokes equating testosterone with aggressiveness? There was a recent book on the banking crisis which suggested it was caused by excess testosterone in the trading rooms.

deborah said...

If you think that's bad, imagine being a chameleon placed against a plaid background.

Blue@9 said...

Go through the posts about fat. Read about all the people who have "will power" and "self control." Don't you think they would be disturbed if those are chemically induced - not the product of "good character."

The two are interconnected to an extent. Thinking "the right thoughts" can alter your brain chemistry, as well as brain chemistry altering your thoughts. People are more than just electro-chemical wind-up dolls.


This.

Just because chemicals affect us does not mean the brain is a static stew. The brain changes through "nurture," people can learn and train themselves to act differently. Of course, some people are just born too much out of balance to do it without medication.

Michael said...

We all imagine we're free beings, and we're all creatures of genetics and our chem-- GET OUT OF MY LANE A-HOLE!!!

Hagar said...

Perhaps Meade can slip some testosterone supplements into Althouse's diet towards the end of October?

J said...

If you weren't female, you would find females disturbing.

That's not always a bad thing though.