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

Yesterday, 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 was me. This was 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 you feel compelled to have all of the possible scenarios to so you will be prepared for everything that could possibly happen for the rest of your life 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 meditated 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 Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery® is a soul, mind, and body recovery protocol. The Medical 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 you must fight is on the inside — healing your soul, your mind, and your body. 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, love, joy, gratitude, 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 those.

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 is 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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24 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and Adrenaline and Dopamine…and Surrender

  1. Zehra says:

    That is truly a remarkable post. So to the point, and describes the internal state so clearly. Thank you Howard!!

  2. Jan-UK says:

    Thank you Howard – great guidance and hope, Jan

  3. Heather P says:

    Yes, thank you so much, you described my state of anxiety so accurately, I will try your meditation, substituting the ‘universe’ for ‘God’! and I hope that you approve…
    Thank you Howard!

  4. Petra says:

    This week, I met two friends, from my marriage time,
    Old stories came up how they saw me at that time. Afterwards, I drove home feeling guilty about the past: why this and why that? It took me quite some days to feel these emotions, it’s old I know, but still they have influence on me. I think Howard, I have to surrender these emotions, they pull me into the past. I can’t change the past but I can change by surrendering these rare emotions.

    SURRENDER.

    🌺🌺🌺

  5. Bob says:

    Thank you Howard for this recipe for releasing our dopamine. It is a powerful message! I’ve been telling myself for awhile now that this is all just a state of mind. This helps me put the old Bob in perspective. I will be rereading and meditating on this post. Thank you!

  6. Margaret says:

    Very encouraging post thank you Howard, I’m trying to be more light hearted to encourage my dopamine to rain down!!
    Love to all

  7. Karen In Ireland says:

    Hi Howard and fellow warriors. Howard I love this post because of the simplicity of it and the gentleness of it. Petra I feel for you when you say how old emotions effect you. They come out of nowhere and you get frustrated thinking “ What? I thought I was done with that and had it resolved”. You are not alone in it my friend. I was listening the other day to Michael Beckwith, a spiritual guy who is passionate about the power of God within us and how powerful that makes us. I digress. Anyway he said a line that really struck a cord with me “ stop carrying the CARCASS of your past, drop your story and reveal your glory” . Thinking of my past mistakes as a dead carcass that I am carrying with me, was not a pretty picture lol . So when the past comes to mind from now on I will not be giving it any headspace. ( not to mention the smell lol) I hope this helps you.
    Big love to all.
    Karen xx💕

  8. Lynn says:

    Wonderful post, Howard.

    Thank you for the prayerful reminder ❤️

  9. Lex F says:

    Thank you, Howard. Peace be with you . . .

    Lex

  10. andrea says:

    Thank you Howard and fellow warriors.

    God’s blessings and peace to you all.

  11. Glen R says:

    Thanks Howard, An excellent reminder of “letting go”.
    I too have an over active mind, trying to figure out in great detail, any project or life circumstance before working on it. As a life long home improvement guy I am a perfectionist and was pretty hard on my self when things didn’t go as planned.
    I would also preplan in my mind any activities that needed completion. Over and over again before working on the actual task. I now see how much energy I wasted with these
    mental exercises and also how unnecessary they are.
    One of my current mantras is to simply “do more and think less”!
    Thanks Howard for keeping us on the road to recovery.
    Glen R

  12. Rick says:

    Thank you Howard for the reminder, something to concentrate on . Love to everyone 😀😀😀😀

  13. Val H says:

    Dopamine and adrenaline – I’m sure there’s a limerick in there somewhere! But, seriously Howard, this is a thought-provoking post on a theme well worth reprising.
    I recognise in your description my own patterns of behaviour and stuckness in adrenaline mode.
    Somehow, I associate adrenaline mode with someone else draining the tank and dopamine with living for oneself.
    I think my Parkinson’s recovery would be best served if I detached myself from everyone to whom I feel the slightest obligation, so I can focus solely on healing. But that would just be setting myself up for internal battles. And if there is one thing I’d like to live without more than fear, it’s regret.

  14. Tery and Werni says:

    Great post, Howard, as ever, but this is really a main point for us to understand.
    Thank you very much for supporting us all the time, it enlightens our days.

  15. Najib says:

    Thanks Howard for providing some sense of direction to a confused and cluttered mind inflicted with “Fear”.

  16. Julie R says:

    Thank you, Howard, for this positive encouragement!

    And, Val, here’s that limerick you suggested:

    Adrenaline took over my brain
    and shut down the dopamine strain.
    My thoughts raced in high gear,
    and it soon became clear
    That adrenaline was producing a brain drain.

    So adrenaline and I had a powwow.
    I said, “Thanks, but I no longer allow
    you to assume free reign
    to take over my brain —
    Move over, it’s dopamine’s turn now!”

  17. Anne says:

    Beautiful and clear explanation and wonderful to hear from others.

  18. Rabindar says:

    Thank you for the post on adrenaline & dopamine and the surrender one has to give in to get peace of mind and hopefully the recovery. I do the adrenaline/dopamine prayer daily and at times it increases my internal tremors in my right leg.
    God bless and thank you

  19. Chris says:

    So I need to surrender my illusionary control and perfection which I use as my primary tools for dealing with my illusionary fears, worries and concerns?

    What a mess and quite right, not much to cry over losing here!

    When we talk about surrendering all of me, we mean the ego-mind and subconscious mind that created the afore mentioned mess in order to maintain control?

    And yes, yes, yes, how delightful it must be to quite rightly surrender the fears, worries and concerns that torment us all so much!!

    Love to all, Chris

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