Saturday, 29 September 2007

Adrenaline Junkie

Merriam-Webster Online defines adrenaline as 'a colorless crystalline feebly basic sympathomimetic hormone C9H13NO3 that is the principal blood-pressure raising hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla'. Exciting eh?

For the record, I'm not an adrenaline junkie. Adrenaline is not my friend. One reason for that is probably genetics. My mum is actually allergic to adrenaline. So much so that when she visits the dentist she has to have a different type of injection to everyone else. But I think the main reason for my less than friendly relationship with this 'basic sympathomimetic hormone' lies within the whole 'fight or flight' scenario. Adrenaline is one of the hormones released when the body is under undue stress. The brain is programmed to release all this gubbins when it thinks we're in danger. Adrenaline and it's co-conspirators are designed to get you ready for fight or flight. That's all very well, but my M.E. saturated body is equipped for neither. No matter how much adrenaline is coursing through my veins, it's pretty improbably that I'm going to be much use in fighting a fly, let alone something that could genuinely do me harm. Instead I end up as not much more than a jittery mess! Physically dodgy, mentally useless and emotionally spent.

Now you may ask, "Surely Giraffe-a-licious with her M.E. and lack of energy does not often find adrenaline charging around her blood stream?" The answer to that my friends is that I acquire my adrenaline vicariously. Let me use last night as an example. England were playing Tonga in the Rugby World Cup and had to win in order to remain in the competition (albeit just to get squashed by the Australians next weekend). I love sport, I love rugby and I love England but I was nowhere near where the action was happening. There was no reason for my 'fight or flight' mechanism to go into overdrive. Yet it did. Apparently I was personally having my adrenaline handed to me by the England rugby team. It's often sport that causes me this problem. If you collected all the adrenaline produced by my body over the years, purely from watching Tim Henman matches then it would probably fill a swimming pool.

I've no doubt that I would be much better off not participating in the viewing of these events. But I think adrenaline production is also a sign of excitement and having fun. Some people get theirs from rollercoasters, I just watch British sportsmen.

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