Fighting Parkinson’s, and Adrenaline, Dopamine, and Surrender

A few days ago, I was asked to write about Adrenaline and Dopamine again. Adrenaline and Dopamine — this is a critical balance in your Parkinson’s cure, so I said “Okay!”. Part of Parkinson’s is that you have been in Adrenaline Mode for so long, your organs and systems, including your Dopamine, have ceased to function in the normal way they used to function, and that is why you have tremors and all of the physical problems of Parkinson’s. Finding balance between your Adrenaline and Dopamine helps lead to your Parkinson’s cure!

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 increased your tremors. I needed to make my point about how powerful the Adrenaline-driven mind can be in driving your symptoms.

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.

Fear of what? Everything! Fear of: “Maybe I won’t be prepared for ______;” “Maybe I won’t know the answer to ______;” “Maybe I am not good enough for ______;” Maybe _____ (bad thing) will happen.” I think you know what I am talking about, and it is a long list. It is the list of things that could happen that we feel compelled to have all of the possible scenarios to so we will be prepared for everything that could possibly happen for the rest of our lives so that nothing will go wrong or bad and everything can happen according to plan. Fear of what? 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 never be cured 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. Connecting my Inner Divine to the Higher Power Divine healed my soul, opened my heart, and allowed my Dopamine to flow. 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 knew 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.

And, how did I heal myself on the inside? In large part, with forgiveness, compassion, and surrender. I began with myself, finding forgiveness and compassion for myself…then for everybody else. I surrendered my rights: my rights to be angry and frustrated and hold grudges and worry and be anxious and feel stressed and to live in fear…I decided that I needed to surrender all of these.

And surrender I did. I surrendered my need for perfection and my need for control of everything that was going on. As I was working on surrendering perfection and control, I came to a sad, but true, realization: my thought that I needed to be perfect and my thought that I needed to be in control and was in control of things were nothing more than illusions I had created in my mind. Quite frankly, I was not surrendering anything I had in the first place. However, I felt an enormous burden lifted from my shoulders.

Surrender continued to pave the way. If you look at the Adrenaline and Dopamine meditation above, it is complete surrender of control. At the end, after giving gratitude, I said, “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.” This is complete surrender of control of the things in life over which I had no control.

And, in the final end, I let go of fear as I surrendered old-Howard, all of me, unconditionally.

That’s one of the most delightful parts of being cured. No fear of living. You can do this. I know you can!

You are worth it!!!

All my best,

Howard

 

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18 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and Adrenaline, Dopamine, and Surrender

  1. Melanie says:

    Howard,
    That was perfectly wonderful! Just what I needed to get me back on track mentally! Funny how easily I wander off the path. I so need your guidance. Thank you so much! I know I can do this!!!!!!!

    Melanie

  2. Debbie says:

    Thanks for the guidance and a boost in an area of my life that I am working on. It is nice to know that someone knows how I sometimes feel. I have made great progress in this area and will continue until it is me. A beautiful way to live my life. Thank you for all the time and energy you put into helping me become healthy and strong!

  3. Barry says:

    This IS the crux of the whole thing, expressed SO simply and effectively. You are getting better in your old, now new, PD-free age! Yaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhooooooooo. Ii take away so much from this blog, fully renewed in that I KNOW what to do, and I deserve it — i.e., being PD-free in my life.

  4. Allen Yarger says:

    “… I was not surrendering anything I had in the first place”. Boy did that wring a beautiful bell – that will be my mantra for the week.

    Many Thanks Howard – the above quote brought gentle relief and kindly amusement.

    Allen Yarger

  5. Betty McMahon says:

    February 1st marks 6 months of being PD-free! Thanks to you, Howard.

  6. Sally Carlson says:

    Thank you Howard.
    I’ve been able to see how automaticly I react to things negatively.
    A speaker I once heard called them A n t ‘s.( automatic negative thoughts)
    I’m an RN and I think early on I liked the adrenilne rush.
    Having this awareness to invite it out of my life is HUGE.
    What we don’t recognize cannot be changed
    Thanking God and Howard for this education.

  7. Jane says:

    The thought of surrendering all that fear—which in my case am realizing is ice-berg enormous—to that “illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind” [Einstein] is so delightful! Your posts always inspire me to do so. But then… like a bear of very small brain [Winnie the Pooh] I forget and go round and round in silly old fear-full habitual patterns… Maybe I should make posters with TGS {The Great Spirit} painted on them and put them up in every room to remind me to surrender?

    Such gratitude to you, Howard, as ever, Jane

  8. Pat in FL says:

    The more I read you, the clearer the concepts become. This post felt like it was written directly to me. Then I read the responses and saw my friends zeroing in on the same truths that spoke to me! Surrendering what I never had in the first place. Recognizing negative thoughts and emotions and giving them to God. Doing this not once but repeatedly until the problem is overcome. Meditation replacing over-thinking and trying to control and understand everything. A healthy positive perspective truly replacing fear and negativity. This is all wonderfully possible! How thankful I am that you continue to repeatedly and patiently explain what it takes to recover.
    I believe I am getting it!
    Thank you Betty for reminding us that recovery is a reality. Congratulations on six months Parkinson’s-free!

  9. Jayne says:

    Yes, I spend my whole life living in adrenaline mode, and the first part of this entry describes me so well. Pat in FL, you really nailed it when you said, “This post felt like it was written directly to me” – it was just what I was thinking too!

    I haven’t committed to your full programme yet I don’t have much time at the moment, but I’m learning to turn the adrenaline off for a while by practising tai chi again, and meditating. It’s helping me such a lot.

    I love reading your posts, they give me lots of hope, and it’s great to also read the comments and know that there are plenty of other people out there who believe in energy healing.

  10. judy says:

    Add to the list of what-ifs the new what-if: what if I don’t get well. What if I’m not doing enough, or not doing it right? Rather than me holding on to the fear, sometimes it feels like the fear is holding onto me .Sometimes I feel very alone and exhausted. But, I’m not quitting! Like I’ve said before, “what do I have to lose?” What other hope do we have? All your posts are inspirational, brave. Thank-you, Howard. I sobbed as I read this. It is me: the holding on, the considering every possible scenario and its remedy, on and on and on and on. HA! No wonder I’m exhausted!….Thanx to you all for caring. ..Judy

    • Julie Chapman says:

      Ditto Judy, you speak for me as well -I think reading all of this has sent me a life raft when I felt I was sinking -I am going right now to write those meditations out so I can say them every time I need them -parky is fear personified and I have been treated for adrenal exhaustion repeatedly! Now I can be my own healer, with help, xxxJulie in Australia

  11. Susie says:

    Congratulations to you, Betty!! That must feel wonderful! I’m chipping away, looking forward to the day I join you on Howard’s list!

  12. Pingback: Fighting Parkinson’s, and Adrenaline, Dopamine, and Surrender, part 2 | Fighting Parkinson's Drug Free

  13. Sylvia says:

    “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power,and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 Thank you for the reminder Howard.

    • Pat in FL says:

      I believe that the Recipe works precisely because it’s principles align with the Word of God. Thank you Sylvia, for this example.

  14. Karen says:

    This may not be related to doing Howard’s protocol for one week,
    but it just may….my sense of smell has returned! What a blessing.
    A friend put a rose under my nose and, to my surprise and delight, for
    the first time in perhaps 4 years, I experienced the full fragrance……

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