“I was once extremely ambitious and all I wanted was to conquer the world…today all that is left of my ambition is a dark cloud of helplessness…a stinging feeling of being incapacitated to change anything in my life with a vision of a bleak future. I don’t look forward to anything. There are days I wish the nights don’t end, so I could just hide under my sheets and not face the world in broad daylight. I feel even more worthless as I watch my friends effortlessly tick off all the milestones in their career, relationships and lifestyle. I have quite often in a fleeting moment even considered if taking that leap might bring more peace”
While your mood engines are croaking dry, others around you are able to tolerate similar adverse circumstances with much more serenity and navigate through immense stress, uncertainty and failures with commendable control.
Did I just describe you? If yes…then I am also going to give you some validating and hopefully some very valuable solutions too!
Several clients at my detox center express the exact same feeling of a dark cloud that has descended on their once enthusiastic zest for life. The pandemic has unfortunately contributed to a startling increase in enrolling more members to the club. Not just adults who are battling with overwhelming debts to close or sore relationships to heal, a startling number of children have begun to express symptoms of feeling ‘blah’ about life.
What has increased the sense of helplessness is the unresponsiveness of many towards traditionally reliable remedies like psychotherapy or spiritual counsel. It has now become evident that Emotional and Mental Detox Therapy requires another vital tool to heal – Nutritional Therapy.
The first step to lifting the dark cloud and restoring the zest for life lies in identifying the cause. Much of our emotional distress stems from nutritional deficiency of the 4 main mood engines in our brain:
1. Serotonin: The wonder chemical that builds up as you catch up with your beauty sleep. If you stock up enough you project a positive vibe brimming with confidence and have an easy-going personality. A deficiency makes forces you to see only the half empty glass, become obsessive, constantly irritable and a worry wart. If you are struggling with low self esteem, if you have an obsessive or controlling personality, if you are angry and throw tantrums often or you are tormented by fear or anxiety then you are experiencing an absolute serotonin deficiency. Digestive disorders like constipation begin to ease off once serotonin levels are restored. A post lunch craving for sweet is also a classic symptom of serotonin deficiency.
2. Catecholamine: You are usually high on it when you are in a state of eustress – an enjoyable state of stress where you are enthusiastic, energized and alert. When you are completely burnt up, even the most basic need in life like enjoying a good meal or taking a shower becomes arduous. The only enthusiasm you are then left with is to lie around and feel lethargic. If you are feeling ‘blah’ about life it only means you are low on your cats. Low calorie or high carb diet quite often cause depletion of Cats. I find this quite common among youngsters whose diet has become rich in processed refined junk food. Imbalances in estrogen or testosterone levels are another cause for low Cats. If you need that morning dose of coffee or tea to kick your day started then you are probably running low on your cats. Vit D deficiency also reflects in low Cat production.
3.GABA: I like to call it the Zen effect. When you are high on it, you are calm, relaxed and can respond to even the most nerve-racking situations with poise. When the sufficiency levels drop, your wired stressed side begins to grow anxious. Even the smallest of tasks begins to feel overwhelming. Low tolerance to loud noises, quick to tear up, sweet cravings, lack of thirst, clumsiness, feeling tired even after a whole nights sleep, food allergies, fatigue are all classic signs of a gap in you GABA levels.
4. Endorphins: The opiate for your brain. Endorphins are what make you feel a sense of euphoria post a good workout, a scrumptious meal and even after great sex. If you are teary eyed every time you watch a sad scene at the movies and feel sensitive and hurt for every little harsh comment hurdled your way…if you are an emotional mess after a breakup then its an indication your store of endorphins has depleted.
Now that you have identified which mood engine/ engines of yours need refueling the next step is to identify what is causing the fuel to deplete.
1. Did you inherit it? Have you ever paused to see if your mood swings and intolerable behavior is actually similar to that of your mother or father or siblings? Just as you are likely to be genetically predisposed to diseases like diabetes, wheezing or heart conditions you are highly likely to inherit mood genes. Fortunately, just as epigenetic can help prevent a lot of inherited disease traits, inheritance of unproductive mood genes can be effortlessly with nutritional therapy coupled with traditional counsel. A Naturopath or Functional Medicine practitioner can help you with this journey.
2. Your Diet? Historically we are in a more peaceful ear as compared to the gore, fragile mortality and uncertainty faced by our previous generations. Despite that I have seen my 100yr old grandmother who has seen gory wars, slavery, communal riots and devastating loss, wake up every morning bubbling with childlike excitement to face a new day while I have had days when I really would have to coax myself to even get out of bed. Her diet was filled with rich protein, unprocessed fat, GMO free fruits and pesticide free vegetables. The refined and highly processed foods we consume today are filled with chemicals that create havoc in our body, mess up our gut environment and eventually lead to unhealthy thoughts. Extreme depression can quite often be an over exaggerated symptom of an unhealthy gut. Fortunately, it is easy to reverse the damage. A simple yet through Gut Detox and a Liver Detox go a long way in healing moods. I have seen many clients experiencing a revival of their zest and enthusiasm for life right after their detox sessions.
3. Lifestyle? Sleeping at odd hours of the night, falling asleep watching TV, sedentary lifestyle, long hours in an air conditioned environment all these can deplete the mood engines. Most of us push ourselves until the last straw breaks our body’s resilience. It is imperative to incorporate a “down time”. Incorporate a 1 hr down time from the digital world before you go to bed. Make sure that 11 pm to 4am you are in a slumber party. Excite your right brain – the creative side by picking up new hobbies. Spend time outdoors playing with kids, walking your dog or just taking a walk by yourself – UNPLUGGED (No Mobile Phone). Sit at the dining table during lunch and dinner away from your computer or mobile screens. Look at human faces and have a conversation.
4. Hormones? Your Thyroid, Adrenals, Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone play a vital role in effecting your moods. Bring them into perfect harmony for a fantastic mood show.
If you feel anxious, fearful, depressed or stressed you are not alone. We are living in a bad-mood pandemic. We all feel pain that is unexplainable and sometimes even inexpressible. Understanding that it is not ‘all in your head’ and a lot has to do with your body chemistry will help you gain a new perspective.
Asking the right questions, digging deeper with the right tests, supplementing and restoring the required imbalances with the support of the right practitioners is all it takes to reverse even the most intangible emotional turmoil.
– Dr. Ashmita Boopathy Moturi
M.D Alternative Medicine
M.S Medical Engineering
MSc. Clinical Psychology