Medium Two Milk
I take great pride in having control over my life, sometimes even to a fault. But when it comes to feelings and biological functions it can be a bit tricky. I have been working in a coffee shop for the past four years now and upon accepting this job, little did I know how it would affect me in a neurological sense. I met a person who has the ability to make my brain bubble and swell with excitement when I see them waiting in line for their coffee. Thus leading to one of the many reasons I chose to take this course; to gather a better understanding of how neurotransmitters affect the body, mainly when it comes to love. The three neurotransmitters I plan to focus on are: dopamine, norepinephrine, and phenylethylamine. I will explore what exactly these neurotransmitters do and how they affect the body in the terms of love.
The first neurotransmitter dopamine is the reason why you are experiencing a feeling of bliss, or feeling. “high” and/or “falling” when in love. This neurotransmitter is produce in the ventral tegmental area, also produced in the substantia nigra and is released by the hypothalamus. When this neurotransmitter is released intimately, the individual becomes addicted to it. The person you are falling in love with becomes all you think about, you desire to see them more and more. It is the reason why the jealousy and clingy feelings are so apparent. Also dopamine triggers the reward system of the brain, it feels good to be around the one you love. They keep popping in and out of your head, wondering when will you see them again? Which is evident in my case, as I find myself wondering everyday at work if he will be in today?
Furthermore, dopamine acts as a precursor for the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. When the brain produces enough dopamine, norepinephrine will kick in (which stimulates the production of adrenaline) and as a result, our hands and legs shake, hearts race, sweaty palms, loss of appetite, and we get “butterflies” in our stomach. Norepinephrine is regulated from noradrenergic neurons, which form a norepinephrine system and originates in the locus coeruleus and the lateral tegmental field. This stimulates arousal and the reward system, it is responsible for elation and sleeplessness nights hoping to yourself that they are not in love with someone else.
In the end, you can not have dopamine or norepinephrine without phenylethylamine. This neurotransmitter is located in the central nervous system and works to help increase the production and release of these two previous neurotransmitters. Phenylethylamine also works on blocking the action of other transmitters so the concentration of dopamine and norepinephrine are higher. Upon the first attraction for someone, phenylethylamine is produced more and acts as a releasing agent of norepinephrine and dopamine; it is a stimulatory neurotransmitter. It drives you right into those dizzy feelings that correlate to the feelings of love, it makes you feel so high like you are floating in the clouds, that every moment has led you to this moment; writing this essay.
All of these neuronal connections are being made when I am lucky enough to be graced by his presence. Not only did this class help me to better understand how I feel, it has helped me to better understand what exactly neurotransmitters do and how they react in terms of love; they are very unruly, and that is the funny thing about life, some things are just out of your control. One minute you are applying for a job, next you are falling for someone with an enchanting smile. Maybe in some sort of way this is a confession. Something I cannot say out loud, not yet anyway. I just find it interesting how one simple coffee order, a medium two milk, can have such a powerful grip over me. How it can turn my day from a bad one, to a very good one. These neuronal connections that I have felt for the past four years have been wonderful. He is wonderful. The feeling of flying from the dopamine, the shaky hands and legs from the norepinephrine, and the overall euphoric feeling from the phenylethylamine. I would np trade it for anything. So, this is it, my message in a bottle, and maybe by hitting “submit” I’m casting it out into the ocean, into the world, and maybe he will read this, maybe he won’t, who knows. Only time will tell.