I recently read an article called: “Chronic inflammation removes motivation by reducing dopamine in the brain.” Reading the article was one of those “OMG this is me!!!” moments. For the past few years, I just could not figure out where my motivation went. Granted, I’m exhausted and in pain….but I have ZERO motivation for things like cleaning, yard work, shopping, going out with friends. These were all things I enjoyed (ok…maybe not cleaning) that I no longer do anymore. I’m so miserable that I never go out, and all I think about is sleeping. Then I read this article and this paragraph woke me up:
“Modern life is relatively soft and less challenging. With less physical activity, low-grade inflammation is chiefly due to factors such as obesity, chronic stress, metabolic syndrome, aging and other lifestyle illnesses. This could mistakenly cause the mesolimbic dopamine neurons to produce less dopamine. Lower dopamine levels in turn decrease the motivation for work, by reducing the perception of reward while increasing the perception of effort involved. This ultimately conserves energy for use by the immune system.” (click here to read entire article)
I’ve been so depressed, tired, and sick. Inflammation is the bane of my existence. I’ve documented my swollen hands and legs as a way to show the world “Hey, look at me, I hurt!” but it’s harder to document a lack of motivation. I could take a photo of my house in disarray, but I’d be too embarrassed. I could document my depressed through my weight gain…..but I don’t document that stuff. I hide it. I try to overcome the lack of motivation, but I literally collapse when I put in any physical effort. I have been living in such brain fog that I can barely concentrate to read. Thankfully Audible can read to me, but I still feel like I am being lazy. Honestly, reading is too much for my body (eyes and hands) to handle some days, and I LOVE to read. I feel like such a loser lately.
The article goes on to state: “Previous studies by Miller as well as other scientists have shown that a high level of immune functioning in association with low levels of dopamine and reduced motivation characterizes some cases of schizophrenia, depression and certain other mental health conditions. The scientists do not think these disorders are caused by the low-grade inflammation, but that some people who have these illnesses are hypersensitive to immune cytokines. This could in turn cause them to lose motivation for daily living.” (click here to read entire article)
Now obviously, I’m not a doctor, so maybe I am wrong….but if the hypothesis of this research ends up being proved, it would be such a relief. Even the sheer fact that someone is researching it….makes me feel less crazy….less sad.
Now I’ve tried for years to reduce inflammation in my body. I’ve tried every diet and medication. I’ve tried to reduce stress and get more sleep (I’ve failed with this) but nothing seems to get it under control. Those feelings of “failure” always niggle in the back of my mind. A dear friend has convinced me to try a new holistic treatment. It may take 1-2 months to work, but I’m going to be hopeful and stay the course. Wish me luck as I try to get my inflammation better controlled and find my motivation to be back among the living….and even to run the vacuum cleaner….