I am depressed and tired all the time. What can I do about it?
More and more scientists and looking at inflammation
as a contributing factor to many chronic conditions. In the
case of Parkinson’s, it makes logical sense to speculate
that neural networks function poorly when the tissues
connected with the neurons are swollen.
Think about how you feel when you eat too much.
I personally feel bloated, sluggish, blocked and immobile.
All I can do until some of the food is digested is to sit up
straight and pray I do not have to move for a while.
Meditation is a choice, but I usually fall asleep.
This is precisely how neurons feel when they become
swollen. Give your neurons a break. They have feelings
themselves you know. There is not enough room for
the neural networks to function when the tissues are
swollen. Electrical pathways become obstructed.
The distribution of hormones to your muscles
and tissues also becomes difficult when inflammation
is present. The tissues throughout your your body
are busy handling another emergency.
They have little space to receive the sweetness
of any uninvited hormonal visitations.
It is like seeing two friends having a huge fight. They are both
furious at one another. As their friend who is witness to the fight
you try to squeeze in a word or two, but your friends ignore you.
They are too preoccupied with their own fight. In a similar fashion,
hormones have difficult squeezing themselves into tissues that
When all of the healthy cells function at their peak levels,
you will feel better and find relief from the symptoms of
Parkinson’s. Conversely, you will certainly feel worse
when the tissues in your body are inflamed. Depression
creeps in. Fatigue becomes a way of life.
OK. Inflammation causes problems. What can I do
about it? When I exercise for a long time the tissues
in my body become inflamed. I often take one ibuprofen.
It reduces the inflammation in several hours, but
taking ibuprofen imposes a potentially life threatening
challenge to the kidneys. So ibuprofen is not a long
Consider another possibility. Perhaps the
tissues in your body have always been inflamed.
Since you do not know any other way to feel,
you have become used to feeling lousy.
It is the only way you have ever known.
Why then are the tissues in your body always
inflamed? You may be allergic to a certain food
(or foods) that you love to eat. A hidden source
of inflammation for most people is allergic
reactions to something they put into their bodies.
How do you know if you are allergic to any foods.
And, if you are allergic, how do your figure out which
foods they might be?
It is very easy to know. Stop eating the foods you
suspect that may be causing the inflammation
for two weeks. See if you feel better. This sounds
easy, but it is anything but easy. Let me explain why.
Lets consider one food by way of example: ice cream.
I love eating ice cream myself. Here is my conversation
with myself (and I am not making this up).
“Maybe the inflammation is being cause by eating
ice cream. Oh, I think not. After all, when I eat
ice cream I do not get sick. I do not have rashes.
I do not have stomach aches. I do not sweat or
puke or turn purple. It it must not be ice cream.”
Being the logical person that I am, I continue eating
ice cream. I stop eating turnips instead to see if turnips
might be the problem. They are not. All is well. I still get
to eat the ice cream.
There is a double twist to my logic. My body has
become acclimated to processing and digesting
ice cream. If you also love to eat ice cream, you
have probably liked eating ice cream since you
were a child. As an incredibly cleaver living entity,
the body quickly learns how to turn on systems
that reduce the allergic reactions to ice cream.
In other words, the true symptoms are masked when
we eat ice cream regularly.
You thus conclude “I do not feel that bad when
I eat ice cream.”
In one sense this is true. In another sense you
would be feeling so much better if you stopped
eating ice cream and started eating healthy
Because you have always eaten ice cream
your entire life, the truth is that you have
actually always felt lousy. You just did not
know it. It is the only way you have ever
felt – lousy.
Ever heard yourself say,
“I seem to be so depressed all the time.”
“I drag every day of the week.”
There it is.
Because you become acclimated to feeling tired
and depressed, you forget what it is like to feel
good. The only way to know if a food is causing
fatigue, inducing depression and entangling neural
networks is to stop eating that particular food for
at least two weeks. In my example, the test is to
stop eating ice cream for two weeks.
Then, eat a lot of ice cream one day.
Indulge yourself. Reward yourself for doing
the test. Eat a quart or two of your
favorite ice cream. Make it three. Then see
how you feel. If you notice a flare up of
fatigue and depression after eating the ice
cream you can almost certainly conclude
that ice cream is causing inflammation
in your body.
I report this truth with such detachment
as if it has never happened to me. But it
has and it did. My naturopath muscle tested
me for various food items and suspected
that I had allergies to dairy. I love eating
cheese. I love chocolate milkshakes.
“I am OK when I eat these foods.
I love them. That can not be the problem.”
Did I stop eating milkshakes for two weeks?
Of course not. I convinced myself that I was
actually very healthy and that I deserved
a little pleasure in my life.
After fighting this battle for years, I finally
did the gold standard test for allergies.
I did not drink milk shakes for two weeks straight.
The anticipation of being able to have a milk shake
became more and more intense with each passing
day until day 15 arrived when I ate two milk shakes,
one chocolate and one vanilla. They were
thoroughly yummy as always.
I paid a dear price for those few minutes of bliss.
I became seriously depressed for several days. The fatigue
was overwhelming. I really just wanted to sleep and
forget about working or playing. I was miserable.
The truth is that I did not realize how tired and depressed
the ice cream was making me until I gave my body a chance
to detox itself from dairy. After 14 days of not eating ice cream
the inflammation that was literally always present
in my tissues had subsided.
My experiment was a success. When I added back into
my body the dairy, my body told me in no uncertain
terms that it could not tolerate dairy. I now know this is
why I had constant ear aches as a child.
Of course I did not like the outcome, but excellent
substitutes for dairy do exist.
If you have Parkinson’s you need energy to feel better.
It is hard to do the things that will make you feel better
if you are depressed or if you are tired all the time.
It is thus highly probably that a big reason why you feel
bad is because of food that you are eating.
My problem is dairy. Your problem may be wheat or
corn or soy or whatever. Give the experiment a try
and see what you can discover for yourself. Most people
are allergic to something. They just do not know it.
The test is free. It requires only determination and
discipline. The end result can have a huge impact on
how you feel.
Say goodbye to depression and fatigue.
Say hello to life.
Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
© 2008 Parkinsons Recovery