Thursday, September 24, 2015

Chemical Imbalances: Fact vs. Fiction

If you read this blog regularly, this probably won't be news to you but if you happen to stumble on and realize that this sounds an awful lot like you or someone you know, READ ON.

First, I want y'all to consider the term "chemical imbalance."  Chances are, it conjures up images of people in straitjackets and/or those who are in need of powerful anti-psychotic medication or else they would have to be institutionalized.  That's pretty much what I thought before I got sick.  The truth is that there are millions of chemical reactions that take place regularly in the body every day.  It is very unlikely that anyone is completely level but for most people, the imbalances are not severe enough to produce symptoms.  Factor in pollution, toxic drugs, poor diet and high stress combined with defective enzymes and/or poor detox pathways due to genetic defects.  Sometimes, I am amazed that we are as healthy as we are.

- YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME YOURSELF.  There are numerous key chemicals responsible for regulating mood and energy production.  If any one of them gets too far out of whack, you WILL experience fatigue, depression and/or anxiety.  It has nothing to do with your attitude.  Being emotionally strong or "tough" won't save you.  In my experience, counseling won't help either and will do nothing to solve the imbalances, which are the root of the problem.  The only way out of this nightmare is to balance the chemistry. The problem is with methylation issues, you may not be able to tolerate the pills that you need until you improve in that regard.

-It is independent of your external environment.  Suppose that I was making 6 figures in a job that I love and was married to the woman of my dreams.  Guess what?  I'd still be depressed.  If my external circumstances became less favorable, disappointment is to be expected but I truly believe that I could handle almost anything if I am in balance.

-It will almost certainly strain relationships with friends and family particularly if they are ignorant of the true nature of this illness.  On a particularly bad day, I usually just want to be left alone.  Even if it is my best friend or a girl that interests me, I won't even answer the phone.  I have spoken with several people who have endured a painful divorce or a difficult breakup that was directly related to health problems.

-It will hinder your performance in school or work.  Virtually every time that I did poorly on an exam or turned in a report with errors, I saw it again after I was feeling better and think to myself, "How in the world did I miss that?"  Simple, my mind was not as sharp as normal.  As it is, I've managed to do pretty well in my current job but I ought to be the best in the field on track for an upper management position.  Not likely at this point.  It could be worse.  I spoke to one man in full blown adrenal failure who was so sick that he barely had the energy to feed himself.  Indeed, I know several people who sincerely want to work and live independently but cannot.

First, I want to address the 2 dumbest pieces of advice that I have ever gotten.  The first came on a running forum by someone who suggested that chronic fatigue was treatable with nothing more than a cup of coffee or a can of Red Bull.  The truth is caffeine is one of the worst things you can do for your adrenals and Red Bull contains taurine, which is terrible for CBS mutations  The second came from an actual MD (Mineral Denialist).  He suggested that I need to get more exercise to combat symptoms of depression.  Yes, I told him earlier that I was a runner experiencing a sudden decline in performance.

-You will often by judged as lazy or unmotivated.  In reality, the opposite is true.  Suppose that you saw me walking halfway through a 5 mile training run.  Those who have some idea have asked me if I was okay or if I needed help but most would think that I am just not putting in the effort.  The truth is that it takes every ounce of energy to do what you can.

- Unless your case is among the "extremes of the extreme," you are NOT a danger to yourself or others.  Yes, I've had temper tantrums before and have yelled at family and friends but am always quick to apologize.  I have NEVER physically harmed myself or anyone else and even at my worst, I am repulsed by even the thought of it.

-This could be a bit controversial but in my experience, you CANNOT pray it away either.  All the faith in the world will solve chemical imbalances.  I've found that I could spend hours in prayer, worship or study of the Word and feel no different.  Sometimes, I feel worse because it seems that my prayers are never answered.  What you do have is the "promise" that it won't be like this forever and the eternal perspective.  I also do believe that it helps you to better discern the causes of relapses and how to prevent them.  If my faith had not gone cold this Spring and Summer, I may have realized that B-12 was not good for me at an earlier date.    

Suppose that someone offered me the following deal:
I will be immediately set free from the instability.
I will have generally good health for the next 40 years with good-adequate energy every day.
-Any attempts to run, bike or swim will trigger an immediate relapse
Would I take the deal?  YES.

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