In Kaitlyn’s things are 2 flash drives. One was in her pocketbook; the other was in the bag that held her medical school IBM ThinkPad notebook computer. All these months after her death, I never really thought about popping one into my computer to see what was in there. I have never used a flash drive for anything though I see people with them all the time.
So one day, it popped into my mind, hey, the secrets of her mind may be in there! There may be some of her writings that will explain the source of her misery, or her thoughts about them or something. Maybe some deep dark secret will be revealed. So the other day I popped one in. There were a few pictures I had seen before. Nothing else. Then I popped the medical school flash drive into my computer and immediately so very many images began to come across my screen. Yes, the secrets to her mind all revealed to me……they were pictures of all kinds of cells of the body. No revelations there. Pretty, pretty multiplying cells. I had to cancel the download because there were hundreds of them. The mystery continues and always will.
But when you stop and think about it, cells are the mystery to my daughter’s depression. The cells of the brain are called neurons. They remind me of funny looking stars in a way. They communicate with each other by what is called synapses. One neuron communicates with another neuron by releasing chemicals called neurotransmitters. When someone says depression is caused by a chemical imbalance of the brain, the neurotransmitters are what they are talking about. There are many different kinds; Serotonin, Norepinephrine, and Dopamine are a few, but are the ones linked to depression. A decrease in serotonin can cause depression and suicidal ideation. Dopamine is also linked to depression. It regulates our drive to seek out rewards and obtain a sense of pleasure. If the above 3 neurotransmitters are not at their correct levels, then depression can occur. So that is what is meant when one says “depression is caused by a chemical imbalance.” Drugs given for depression try to correct these imbalances which hopefully the result will be the alleviation of depression symptoms.
So maybe seeing these cells reminds me of what Kaitlyn suffered, a chemical imbalance. Though the cells I saw are not neurons, (I don’t know what the heck cells these are) but seeing cells made me think again. Maybe there was no deep dark secret, no part of her past that was horrible that I did not know about, but simply, or rather NOT so simply, a chemical imbalance.
The things a simple picture of a cell will do to my mind.
Below is a picture of a neuron (brain cell).