The human brain is brilliant and complex. Over our lifetime, our brain – its cells and nerves and all of the important parts within it – are challenged by daily living. Some of these challenges help the brain, and some hurt it. There are so many things affected by brain function, such as thinking, feeling, habits, balance, and behavior, all of which include one or more of the primary regions of the brain – limbic, cerebellar, prefrontal cortex, basal ganglia, anterior cingulate gyrus, and temporal regions. Our ability to change our mood, motivate ourselves to get out and exercise, detect errors, shift focus, and pay attention, not to mention our ability to learn and remember and make decisions in life and even have compassion and feel love, all are part of the brain’s design. With all of the trillions of neural connections our brain has, it’s not surprising that despite so much that can go right, there’s a lot that can go wrong.
Over this past month, I’ve shared my thoughts about the issue of bipolar disorder, which my mother has endured since before I was born. In working to help my mom, I’ve learned so much about her history. Her swings of highs and lows certainly correlate to repeated episodes of stress, impacting how her body processes information.
A massive chemical change in my mother’s body after my brother was born caused a bipolar episode, which sent her to the hospital. Sadly in the ’60s and even ’70s, a frequent treatment of the day was electroshock therapy (EST). She endured treatments for over a month. Certainly this type of treatment affected the gray matter in her brain along with her limbic functions and all of the regulatory processes that occur in her cellular system.
But what about people who seem to have a great life, fairly average amounts of stress, perhaps struggles in relationships or work? Could having a simple surgery cause brain issues, sending them into a steep depression?
The answer is yes. Even if it goes right, surgery and post-surgical treatments can shift our ability to process information on a chemical level and cause what I’m going to define as cellular instability.
Cellular instability can cause our entire nervous system to go into overload. When this occurs, symptoms can not only arise, they can erupt and cause a cascade of disorders from headaches to eye strain, neck pain, jaw pain, depression, anxiety, elevated heart rate, and even low blood pressure.
Some of us have genetic predispositions that can be triggered by surgery or simply some traumatic emotional event. These are frequently not even considered as a source of prolonged symptoms. The symptoms themselves can then send a person down the rabbit hole of medical processes, increasing the problem because even more symptoms arise after treatment.
Something called oxidative stress syndrome can wreak havoc in the mind and body. It can arise not only from an acute traumatic event like a surgery but also from poor diet, environmental stressors, and just daily life.
The process of oxidation happens as our bodies metabolize (or process) the oxygen that we breathe. This produces free radicals, which interact with the molecules within our cells resulting in damage or stress to nearby cells, the power center of cells called mitochondria, and even our own DNA. If the body can’t eliminate free radicals fast enough, they alter our own repair processes, leaving our body to work harder to do something that should not take so much effort.
If your immune system is always working to fight off a perceived threat, inflammation can skyrocket. Where does inflammation begin – in the extracellular matrix (ECM). As the ECM becomes more and more polluted, your cells stop in taking nutrients and a vicious cycle starts.
Some free radicals and viruses can seep through the blood-brain barrier, and now more problems arise:
- Cloudy head
- Headaches and migraines
- Eye strain and vision issues
I could keep going, but as it continues, the mind suffers more and more. The cycle just can’t stop, your head hurts and you feel depressed, you feel depressed because your head hurts…
Can you stop this cycle? Yes. Even something as simple and gentle as MELT can trigger changes. Gently allowing the stress reflex to quiet down, supporting the fluid flow through the extracellular matrix, and tuning into your body can help combat the issue.
Decreasing sugar and processed foods, and eating healthy proteins, fruits, and veggies can all help boost and restore your cellular stability. At the very least, this makes you feel better. And when you feel better, your spirit and energy improve.
But sometimes we need even more. Today there are many naturopathic ways to restore mental clarity and reduce headaches using IV drips and specific things like glutathione, alpha lipoic acid, vitamin C, and other substances to set a fast track to detoxify the cells and boost cellular stability.
Depression and brain imbalance can occur out of nowhere or it can be a slow accumulative process. If you are suffering and feel like you have tried everything and seen every specialist, I want you to stay strong. I want you to stick with your body and know your body is fighting for you – it’s never failing you.
The mind is malleable, and even when it seems like nothing will change, keeping a positive attitude is the secret. When the limbic system is overactive, it causes emotional shading, which increases depression. Do what you can: Talk to people, take a walk, watch a funny show and laugh, get a hug to keep your spirits up.
No matter how your condition started, protecting yourself from oxidative stress is a must. We must actively partake in helping our body when it seems like it just can’t work any harder. We must take up the slack even when our mind is telling us we just can’t do it.
If you are suffering, make sure to send us a message. We are here to help you stop the pain cycle, stop the mental mishaps, and grab your life by the you-know-what to set you back on the path to better health.
To close Mental Health Awareness month, I want you to remember, you are NOT alone. Together we can help you help yourself and others live a more active, healthy, pain-free life. We have empowered hundreds of thousands of people to learn more about staying well even when our minds just won’t let us believe it.
Stay strong. Your body is counting on it, and so am I. Thanks for reading this blog and for sharing your stories with me all month long. I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve got more to share.
Here’s to your good health!