Part of Parkinson’s is that we have been in Adrenaline Mode for so long, our organs and systems, including our Dopamine, have ceased to function in the normal way they used to function, and that is why we have tremors and all of the physical problems of Parkinson’s. Finding balance between our Adrenaline and Dopamine leads to Parkinson’s recovery!
I have written about the Adrenaline and Dopamine relationship in the past. Here is a brief summary:
Adrenaline — you are walking through the jungle and a lion jumps out and starts chasing you. When your survival mode Adrenaline kicks in and you start running, other things are required of your body. Your stomach gets the message from the brain that says, “eating is of minor importance right now so do not send me hunger pangs.” The bladder and the large intestine get the message from the brain that says, “no time to evacuate, so I need you to shut down temporarily.” The body gets the message from the brain that says, “you are being pushed to your physical limits, but I do not want to hear about your pain — shut it off.” The heart gets the message from the brain that says, “no time for joyful emotions, so do not release Dopamine, just store it for later.”
Adrenaline Mode — your mind keeps running well after the lion has stopped chasing you…and fear is what keeps your mind running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running. I know, just reading this probably increases your tremors. I needed to make my point.
What I am describing here is me. This is the me whose tremors were so severe I could no longer ignore all of the physical changes and limitations that I had been ignoring for the previous year (probably should say “years”). In my Parkinson’s recovery, I learned that my brain was hard-wired to fear. As soon as a situation occurred, my brain’s reflex action was to jump on the fear train and put it in full throttle. When I tried to slow myself down long enough to examine what I was afraid of, the only answer I could find was that I was afraid of life.
Think about it: If you are afraid of roller coasters, you don’t go on them. If you are afraid of scary movies, you don’t go to them. If you are afraid of the dark, you sleep with the lights on. When you are afraid of life, your options are limited. I could come up with two options only: 1. Continue to live in fear. 2. Face the fear and get beyond it. I knew that continuing to live in fear meant I would not be recovering from Parkinson’s, so number 1 got scratched from the list. That left number 2. Face the fear and get beyond it. I had no choice.
I was not well-equipped to fight the fear. Fear was my natural reflex. I needed help, and here is how I got it.
(excerpted from my February 28, 2011 post, “Fighting Parkinson’s, and prayer.”):
“At one point, a friend pointed out that fear and negative thoughts are a constant battle with the disease. Although I had a very positive attitude that some day I would recover, fighting the disease mentally and spiritual was a daily war. My friend pointed out that God was in a much better position to handle my fears and negative thoughts and that I needed to give them away so I could stay focused on my recovery.
I meditated on this and adopted the following prayer for when I felt negative thoughts or fears coming into the forefront of my thoughts: ”Dear God, I have this fear and I do not have time for it to bring me down. I need to stay focused on positive thoughts. You are in a much better position than me to deal with negative thoughts and fears, so I am giving you this negative thought and fear and thank you for taking care of it for me.” The first day I did this, it must have been 100 times I repeated this phrase. After four or five days, the negative thoughts and fears diminished, and then they went away.”
And, also excerpted from the same post, I mediated like this:
“Hello Adrenaline. Thank you for all of the years you have run my body. Without you in charge, I would not have survived. However, all of life’s stresses that required you do be in charge are gone, and you can take a break and you do not need to run my whole body anymore. Hello Dopamine. It has been a long time. Thank you for all of those years you stayed closed and allowed Adrenaline to run my body. I appreciate that you understood it was for survival. Now that those stresses are gone, I need you to flow again. The thing is, I do not know how much Adrenaline needs to shut down and how much Dopamine needs to flow to achieve the correct mix. The two of you need to figure this out with God, and I am going to meditate on something else so I do not get in the way.”
The Qigong healed my body, the meditations healed my mind, and connecting my Inner Divine to the Higher Power Divine healed my soul. In the Peaceful Warrior, Socrates tells Dan, “I call myself a Peaceful Warrior…because the battles we fight are on the inside.”
He is correct. Although Parkinson’s symptoms manifest themselves on the outside, the battle we must fight is on the inside — healing our souls and our minds and our bodies. I know I was a mess on the inside before Parkinson’s reared its ugly head on the outside with diagnosable symptoms. I knew I had to heal myself on the inside to make those symptoms on the outside go away. And, I knew I would be unable to accomplish this if fear continued to drive the train, so I worked hard to slay that demon, and I did…and it never has come back.
That’s one of the most delightful parts of recovery. No fear of living. You can do this. I know you can!
Aren’t you worth it?
All my best,
Please Note: On my previous post, “Fighting Parkinson’s, and it’s time to heal the world,” I explained what we are doing moving toward a clinical study of the Recipe for Recovery. I have received an outstanding response from people pledging to send their neurological records, and I already have received neurological records from people in 4 different countries. Yes, we do have the power to heal the world, and I am grateful for all of you.
Thank you for the much-needed encouragement! I agree, the battles we fight are on the inside. Identifying those fears are the first step in winning the battle. For me, it may be the most difficult part of it. But I’m making progress everyday! My physical symptoms are holding steady at a manageable level. This allows me to focus more on my inside battles–learning to release my fears. Your prayers and meditations will help me do this. Thanks again!
Thank you Howard for your helpful reminders and your ongoing support…. yes, I am committed to notice my fear demons and pass them off to a power more equipped to handle them than I am. I’m getting that this “handing off” is something that requires ongoing attention – again and again in my case. Your post is reminding me to be more vigilant and more loving of myself…. And welcome, Dopamine….the door is open for you to find a way in…..And please have a friendly chat with Adrenaline – I would like you both to find a balance to ensure the health of this old bod…
Yes thanks again Howard. I have for the first time in my life a time now that I am not working, my son is married and I looked after my mum before she passed over so now through Parkinson’s symptoms I have a much slower life style and no responsibilities except for myself and dog. This gives me a chance to face my fears and to find out what they are through dreams and memories. I have been praying for healing and understanding and so in turn the relief I get makes me stronger inside my mind and being. The body gets tired so having the videos of the exercises Howard forces me to exercise and inspires me seeing you doing them to keep it up. Thankyou
thank you so much.my mom loves to hear your blogs again and again. i have posted all the important message on the wall and every week i keep changing it a little and it has made a lot of difference.first thing in the morning she reads them all and gets inspired.
wish you all a speedy recovery too.
Thank you all for your comments. It is difficult to takes life’s situations and say, “Okay, that happened and I cannot change that it happened, so how am I going to deal with it.” Fear has a way of jumping in and making us anxious and worried about the future. This is a constant battle, but the more we work toward acceptance that life is messy and does not always go the way we would like, the more we move away from fear and the anger, frustration, worry, stress and anxiety that come along with the fear…and the more we move away from Parkinson’s.
Blessings to you all,
Thank you for the reminder.I have had the Fear Tiger at my throat the last week and was feeling worse.Back on track now!
You are welcome, Christine. Happy to hear you are back on track.