Basal Tears – What keeps your eye wet.
Reflex Tears – What keeps your eyes free of dust, and the tears your cry when cutting onions.
Psychic Tears – What you produce when crying.
Some of the chemicals in Psychic Tears:
Prolactin – or luteotropic hormone is a protein that is mostly known for its role in lactation, but it also has roles in the regulation of blood clotting, water and salt balance, growth and development, endocrinology and metabolism, brain and behavior, reproduction, and immune regulation and protection.
Adrenocorticotropic Hormone – aids in the increased production and release of corticosteroids, which are involved in a wide range of physiologic processes, including stress response, immune response, and regulation of inflammation, carbohydrate metabolism, protein catabolism, blood electrolyte levels, and behavior.
Leucine Enkephalin – is a pentapeptide involved in regulating nociception, which triggers a variety of autonomic responses and may also result in a subjective experience of pain in sentient beings. Nociceptors are triggered by physical pain, and transmit a signal to the nerve endings, spinal cord, and brain that the body is experiencing pain.
Psychic Tears have a different chemical makeup than Basal, or Reflex Tears. Psychic Tears come from the lacrimal glands, and are triggered by the autonomic nervous system, or the involuntary nervous system which functions mostly below our consciousness, and controls things like heart rate, digestion, repertory rate, salivation, perspiration, papillary dilation, urination, and sexual arousal.
So what does all of this mean?
Well it means that I have been crying a lot, and after a good cry feeling way better. I heard an interview with author Peter Carey who just published a book called The Chemistry of Tears. In this interview he mentioned how tears are composed of many different chemicals, and hormones, one of which is released during sex. Needless to say I was intrigued. Peter Carey was at a loss of what these chemicals were named, and now that you have read the names I bet you can see why they slipped his memory.
From my research into the makeup of tears what I gather is that yet again the human body is miraculous. I think had I spent more time in biology in High School I would have perhaps gone into the medical sciences rather than fashion.
When I think of my tears, as I cry, I also think of Zoë’s. How many times she cried, for pain, for discomfort, out of frustration, out of fear. And as she cried, and I was helpless to help, her tears were triggering in her body a response to sooth her physical and mental pain, and comfort her. To boost her immune system, and to give her hormones that would calm, and comfort her.
I have so many pictures of Zoë crying. At first when she was colicky and a hard to please new born I would snap pictures of her crying to show her someday just how difficult she was. To be able to tease her, and say, “Just look at what you put me through.” Then I started to take pictures of her crying in the hospital, to show her just how strong she was.
When I see these pictures they break my heart. The one where she is, “eating her shirt”, taken moments before she was taken off for her big surgery is the hardest one for me to look at. That day was one of the hardest days for me, because I had to watch my hungry baby beg for me to feed her, and I could do nothing, but watch her cry.
I have cried many times in my life, for physical pain, for mental suffering, for joy, for anger and frustration. I have never held back when crying, and I know that I always feel better afterwards. Now I know that as I cry my body is sending chemical signals to sooth me, and to comfort me.
Oh…for all of you diet conscious people out there…tears also slow your desire to eat. This is why after a good cry you are probably not as hungry. So this could be a reason why on Zoë’s surgery day she stopped crying, and was happy to look around, and watch the doctors when she got into the operating room. Maybe this could aid me in my efforts towards both mental and physical health? Have a good cry just before meal time, and cut back on my caloric intake?
I sign off with this. Lacrimosa for all of you not up on your Mozart, or Latin is the Latin word for weeping. It is also the title to a wonderful Regina Spektor song in which she sings:
We keep on planting their bones in the ground
But they won't grow, the sun doesn't help
The rain doesn't help
If my garden would have a fence
Then the rabbits couldn't just come in
And sit on the grass and eat all the flowers
Hi, I'm Icarus
I'm falling down
Man for judgement must prepare me
Spare oh god and mercy
Man I have a terrible feeling
That somethings gone awful wrong with the world
Is it something we made
Is it something we ate
Is it something we drank
Hi I'm Icarus
From the dust of earth
Returning back for judgement
We must prepare
Spare oh god and mercy
They keep on burying our dead
They keep on planting their bones in the ground
But they won't grow
The sun doesn't help
And all we've got isn't a giant crop of names
Hi I'm Icarus, I'm falling down
On this day of tears and mourning
From the dust of earth returning
Man for judgement must
Spare me, spare oh god and mercy