Researchers have established relations between inflammation and negative moods––affirming the old saying “we are what we eat.”
About two months after the mid-May incident in which a hit-and-run driver crushed my collarbone, requiring surgery, and to date 3 ½ months of recovery, I began to fall hard and steep into depression. It was BAD. Only in the last week or so am I beginning to climb out of it in the usual ways, using coping skills, support, and goal-setting.
Of course, there are emotional and situation-specific reasons for the depression –- I was hit by a car after all! But in discussing my sudden, severe drop with my psychiatrist, he also mentioned recent studies regarding inflammation and mood. Some studies seem to point to aspects of inflammation in the body linked to depressive symptoms. My p-doc was not surprised at all that the continuing inflammation in my body, from the trauma of the incident, recovery, and from weaning off pain relievers, contributed to my quick and harrowing mood descent.
Well, isn’t that interesting (!), and to a certain extent, a great relief, because I was scared—very, very scared, as I hadn’t experienced a fall into darkness like this in a long time.
Along with a making slight medication change, I began looking into how to reduce inflammation in my body quickly, and with little side effects. Once again, the answer is in lifestyle and diet:
Exercise: I am still in physical therapy. I upped my time there. I sweat!
Water: Up to 1 gallon/day
Anti-inflammatory foods by the ton: blueberries, flaxseed, avocado, almonds, tuna, salmon, kale, apple-cider vinegar, and dark chocolate
Slowly, my mood has improved, and physically, I am feeling better, too. Sometimes depression (and mania) can be exacerbated by more than just what “in our heads”.
Do you feel inflammation has affected your mood?
Beth Brownsberger Mader was diagnosed in 2004, at age 38, with bipolar II disorder and C-PTSD, after living with symptoms and misdiagnoses for over 30 years. In 2007, she suffered a traumatic brain injury, compounding bipolar recovery challenges that she continues to work on today. Since these diagnoses, Beth has written extensively about bipolar, its connection to PTSD, physical illness, disability, and ways to develop coping skills and maintain hope. She also writes about bipolar/brain disorders and family, marriage, relationships, loss, and grief. Beth finds the outdoors to be her connection to her deepest healing skills, where the metaphors for life, love, compassion, and empathy are revealed, and how her bipolar and other challenges are faced head-on with perseverance and determination. Beth served as a contributing editor/featured columnist for bp Magazine from 2007 until 2016, and as a bphope blogger from 2011 until 2016. She returned to blogging for bphope in 2019. Beth continues to work on her unpublished memoir, Savender. She holds a BA from Colorado College and an MFA from the University of Denver. Beth lives in Colorado with her husband, Blake, and her service dog, Butter. Check out Beth’s blog at bessiebandaidrinkiewater.wordpress.com.
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