After I got scammed, I felt depressed on and off. Sometimes I felt so hopeless that I didn’t do anything but lay in bed. I missed work a couple of times. Then, finally, I realized that the world was not really so bad. My view of it definitely was, though.
The world is bad and good. I could, of course, brainwash or drug myself into ignoring the bad, but this would go against my principles and basic duty of calling it out and trying to make the world a better place. Still, my negativity was rubbing off badly on others. Not many others. Just a few. Enough, still, for me to tell myself something has to change.
One day, I had been laying in bed more than usual and from what I recall, I suddenly leapt out of bed, came to the computer, and canceled all my upcoming subbing jobs. I realized that mostly, it’s a depressing job seeing as the schools are dreadful, oppressive places. (Later, when I felt better, I picked up a few days just to make it look like I still work that job.)
But that wasn’t enough. I still felt very negative. Especially about my upcoming book. I obsessed over how it wasn’t going to sell, and I’d be embarrassed all over again.
I realized, also, that kidney disease causes depression. It is not easy to find articles or studies on this, as most of the research is on patients on dialysis. From what I can tell, it’s the dialysis itself that causes depression. For obvious reasons!
I could find very little on how kidney disease itself can cause depression. Actually, the reason was that a lot of these studies don’t mention kidney disease or renal disease in the title, so they weren’t coming up in searches. I knew, however, that kidney disease messes up very badly with aldosterone, which is a hormone. If I recall correctly, raised aldosterone also causes insomnia, because either the melatonin receptors aren’t working, or you aren’t producing melatonin, or both.
Aldosterone has something to do with cortisol, which is known as a stress hormone. This, too, could cause insomnia. People with primary hyperaldosteronism (meaning that there’s no obvious cause as to why they have raised aldosterone) might have malfunctioning adrenals, that is, they are overproducing aldosterone.
So I started thinking. What can I do to lower aldosterone, if, indeed, this is causing depression? I started poking around in the world of natural medicine. A lot of what you can do, I was already doing. It’s just that I’d gotten lazy recently.
What changes could I make? What bad habits could I eliminate? What good habits can I adopt?
I targeted my caffeine consumption, which had gotten worse and worse over the past few months. I still have my one small cup of coffee in the morning, but I was also making a habit of taking caffeine pills. I didn’t think much of it, which was likely making it worse since sometimes, I lost track of how many I’d taken.
A little caffeine is likely good for you. It helps the kidneys excrete salt. If you normally have trouble with sodium, then a little caffeine will lower your sodium level and possibly even decrease blood pressure. Or it could raise it.
I honestly don’t know why I was chugging caffeine pills. Maybe it started while I was teaching school and then, it became habitual.
I stopped the caffeine pills cold turkey (I’m not sure when!) and nothing bad happened. I didn’t get headaches at all. After a few days, I realized I never “needed” them.
Hmm….my mood improved. My energy improved, too, not that I am lacking in that! I feel more ambitious, an area where I am generally not lacking, either. It’s just that the energy and ambition had focus again, instead of being scattered.
I still don’t quite understand the aldosterone connection and I am still studying it. By the way, it’s very easy to get aldosterone tested. I doubt this is a normal part of routine blood testing. You likely have to ask for it.