Serotonin as a resource in capitalism.

“Such is the cruel physics of love. Those that crave it most will repel it, and only the dang rich get richer."

I started taking SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) a month ago. Strangers started saying hi, and want to be around me, sit facing me in coffee shops, and look at me.

Mental stability and love and care come from childhood, and they are built from there. In individualistic and capitalist societies: Serotonin is a scarce resource. The hormone that regulates emotions, makes you able to listen to others instead of constantly needing to be listened to and reassured. If too many people are low in serotonin in society, there is a crisis, and people that can offer that missing reassurance and illusion of protection and safety are wanted because they are scarce.

When you are comfortable with silence, while talking with someone, you are able to sit there, without pacing, looking at something for a prolonged period, stable, and the person feels comfortable. When you acknowledge the silence, you agree with them that whatever they say, is okay. You also tell them that you do not need them as much, and it is liberating, it is their turn to do effort, and you are comfortable if they do not, because you are comfortable with silence, and therefore you are comfortable with yourself, and therefore, you are comfortable leaving, and being by yourself. You tell them that they can speak, I can hear you now, I don’t have to be constantly the person speaking and needing reassurance for every little thing about me or my stories.

Eye contact is not scary. Supporting someone, just by being there, and not resisting your urge to “fix them, the situation, or how their feelings,” but simply accepting that you can only do so much, like listening, and being okay with that, is related to how much anxiety you have. It is easier for some and much harder for others. People who were deprived of love during childhood take on so much more pain on someone feeling bad in their surrounding, and take in so much pain from abandonment. It takes adequate levels of serotonin in your brain to open yourself to the insecurity of the world, and trusting that you will survive: Trusting that you will survive after goodbyes, being alone, abandonment, etc.

The size of your amygdala, the levels of serotonin in your brain determine how good you use your prefrontal cortex.

The prefrontal cortex has limited energy, if your amygdala is overactivating, the prefrontal cortex tries to regulate that, it gets tired easily if your amygdala is powerful. Therefore, people with lower serotonin will have less time to be able to focus, think, be productive, be empathetic, etc. They need more energy, time, and they have less ability to think logically.

The prefrontal cortex is the one that regulates the amygdala, but is also the one responsible for focus, doing the “right thing.” It is the one that keeps you from earing chips and fries in the early morning. It is the one telling you we have work. It is the one that tells you we should go to a coffee shop or the library to get motivated to get work done, etc.

In a capitalist system, people with low serotonin levels and more anxiety are left alone to deal with their problems in ways that exacerbate their issues. People have the individual freedom to pursue people with more serotonin, and the system encourages that. This happens in who bosses choose to join their company and the workplace, who we chose to marry: Do we leave this person who has lower serotonin levels than adequate for someone with more? If the answer is yes, they will suffer even lower serotonin levels because of abandonment and lack of support, and they will be less able to function in society. Therefore, because of other people’s encouraged selfishness and individualism in capitalism, anxious people are more likely to end up with substance abuse problems, addiction, and homelessness. Ultimately, inequality increases.

Levels of anxiety and depression, and the levels of serotonin in the brain affect the personality and the life of the person in many ways that we immediately think about.

Eversense I started medicating, I started liking pop music, I was more able to say no in my life and my habits: I stopped scrolling on social media when I caught myself feeling bad because of it. Before medication, the anxiety-fueled more anxiety, and I would not be able to roll back until I sleep for the next day. And then when the next day happens, I need to maintain a whole more effort than normal people to stay healthy, able to focus, able to regulate my emotions around people, etc.

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Nabil Houari

Nabil Houari

Utopianist, in the lines between fiction and reality. I’m a social science researcher & I blog on lifestyle and mental health.