Sunday, January 25, 2009

brain-derived neurotrophic factor

After being apart for four months, Reggie visited Memphis for the first time this weekend. He liked the city and is now rethinking his earlier decision to skip Memphis and go on to Atlanta. But either way, I will eventually have to put him on an airplane and send him home to Phoenix.

His arrival and presence (as always) elicits a kaleidoscope of emotions - from delight to frustration and back to delight again. We enjoy each other's company so much, so there is much laughter and joy. But he never stops working. I even woke up very, very late last night to find him on the phone dealing with a situation in Phoenix that apparently nobody else could solve. And as we sat in the darkened movie theatre watching Milk (a marvelous film), his cell phone delivered text message after text message after text message. I worried about the other movie-goers. I'm sure they were annoyed.

His departure will leave a void - his personality takes up so much room - but will also leave me feeling relief to be back in my own space again. I will miss him terribly. This has always been the quandary of our relationship. I always experience this low, low place during the first day or two after we part. He is an incredibly important source of solid, steady, sure reassurance of everything that I am - good and bad. He is my past and present. I am lost without him.

So, facing the sadness that will inevitably accompany his departure, I was interested to read about brain-derived neurotrophic factor today on

Using your nondominant hand to do simple chores can improve your mood and your memory; that's because the action stimulates the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that encourages the growth of neurons linked to long-term memory and mood. "When you're depressed or under stress, your brain's production of BDNF plummets," says Moses Chao, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience and psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine. (One of the lesser-known effects of antidepressants, he says, is to raise the levels of BDNF.) Anything unexpected, smelling rosemary first thing in the morning, for example, can activate BDNF.

So tonight, I will brush my teeth with my left hand. And when he texts me to tell me he is safely returned to Phoenix, I will type my whole reply with my left hand.


jonesnori said...

Huh. Well, it's worth a try!

OyaSophia said...

That was meant to be sardonic. Did it really sound like I was going to do those things? Tee hee!