My copper levels have been rising lately, and with it comes ire, and emotions that change from moment to moment. A person with such moodiness and splenetic irritability might have once been called mercurial, but I call it the Copper Personality. Thankfully, my Copper Rising ways have little to do with Roman gods, but with heavy metal in the brain (I’m not sure ‘thankfully’ was the proper adverb).
As you will see in my profile, I love studying the British enlightenment. Within this epoch, my favorite decades were those in the late 17th C and early 18th C. I love the contrasts and the oppositions working side by side in the British people: at once rational and emotional, puritanical and dirty, Christian and pagan. Yes, oddly, that last one is quite true. Look at my favorite poet, for example: Alexander Pope. He was a Catholic (another force of opposition, working in a Protestant society), yet his poetry was just as influenced by the Latin and Greek classics as any other learned man of his time. And, in that, you will find another oddity; Pope was mostly self-taught due to the restrictions on Catholics in his day. This is part of his mock heroic in The Rape of the Lock:
No common weapons in their hands are found,
Like Gods they fight, nor dread a mortal wound.
So when bold Homer makes the Gods engage, 45
And heav’nly breasts with human passions rage;
‘Gainst Pallas, Mars; Latona, Hermes arms;
And all Olympus rings with loud alarms:
Jove’s thunder roars, heav’n trembles all around,
Blue Neptune storms, the bellowing deeps resound: 50
Earth shakes her nodding tow’rs, the ground gives way.
And the pale ghosts start at the flash of day! (copied from here)
See what I mean? The battle of the sexes between British youths is likened to a battle between Roman and/or Greek deities. The Greek god, Hermes, later became the Roman god, Mercury, who, after syncretism in British society, became a popular British god. Roman influence on British society has literally lasted for century, and is evident in philosophical ideals as well as language.
So, when I sense that my copper is rising, I feel that I am a character out of Pope’s mock heroic, even though my mercurial nature has a scientific basis. I am allergic to copper; it is my kryptonite. The copper alloy in jewelry leaves me red and heated; beans and chocolate and avocados burn bright rashes on my skin. And forget nutritional yeast, that coppery devil! Before I realized I had trouble with copper, I used to sprinkle it in tomato juice or on top of soup for an energy boost. After a while, one taste of it made me feel as if somebody had slammed me on the head with a sledge hammer.
By extension, zinc is my friend. If I take zinc, my rashes disappear and my emotions even out. And then I think I can get away with eating nuts and seeds and beans and chocolate and other high-copper foods. And then my copper levels rise, and I’m a miserable wretch. Although I’ve never consulted a doctor about taking zinc, it has literally been my lifesaver (and of my youngest child, but that is another story). I’ve tried talking to doctors. I really have. They won’t listen. They prescribe cortisone for the rashes and walk away. On my last attempt with a doctor, I wouldn’t accept the cortisone and told her I wanted her to actually DO something–oh, you know, like a lab test for copper and zinc levels–and managed to get in a yelling match with her, in which she shouted at me, “There’s not a single test I can do that will tell me why you have those rashes.”
Don’t yell at a Mercurial, Copper Personality, Poet type. Just don’t. Trust me. It’s not worth it. I left her office that day and have never been back. Nor will I ever visit a doctor again unless I am on my death bed, and my husband insists.