I was in the backseat of my friend’s car sharing an Eegee’s we bought to console ourselves after midterm week, when the conversation turned to his film class.
His professor had informed the class that if they were to fall in love, they should simply inform the professor of their circumstances and he would excuse them, at least for a while.
Though perhaps simply a tongue-in-cheek way to encourage students to be honest about their absences, there’s further wisdom implanted in-cheek.
Why shouldn’t we allow a few breaks for the Cupid’s-arrow-stricken? If you catch feelings, try catching a day off.
Taking a “mental health day” for stress, depression, or other maladies has become relatively common and acceptable in the work place. In a study by the World Health Organization, 82 percent of Americans admitted to sneaking in a day like this.
Love, left unsatisfied, can wreak just as much havoc as any of those conditions.
When we begin to fall in love, we act a little nuts. There’s a reason. Our brain chemistry is going nuts too.
Really, all those pop singers were right: love is a drug.
Studies using MRI scans of the admittedly enamored have shown that the regions of our brains activated by new-found love are the same that start to flare up if we are addicted to drugs.
In the early “attraction phase” of love, How Stuff Works explains, the object of our affections becomes a highly coveted goal. Our brains put blinders on thanks to the heightened release of dopamine and norepinephrine, the notorious “pleasure chemical” and an adrenaline act-alike, respectively.
Along with endorphins, those natural painkillers that make us feel cozy inside, these chemicals produce, not only the elation we enjoy, but the sleeplessness, hyperactivity, loss of appetite, and inability to concentrate that we could do without mid-semester.
Also not conducive to productivity are our skyrocketing cortisol levels, which cause stress, and our rock-bottom serotonin levels, which bump up aggression and obsessive thinking.
When we first fall for someone, the only bona-fide solution to these chemical cravings is to spend time with the lucky someone, says Scientific American.
We’re dependent, ensnared, until this dictate is fulfilled.
In college, love, sex, and lots of somethings-in-between abound, inherent to the campus environment.
If professors remembered their own on-campus experiences and the accompanying scrambled brains, perhaps they too would understand the need for just a couple good mental health days, spent in the arms of our cherished life-ruiners.