Managing mental symptoms

The symptoms of mental immmunopathology include apathy, sluggishness, cognitive dysfunction (brain fog), feeling paralyzed by misery, anxiety and depression. Managing these symptoms of microbial die-off is a challenge, particularly when those symptoms are mental. For example, mental immunopathology can be difficult to recognize as such.

There are variety of ways to limit the discomfort of mental symptoms on the Marshall Protocol. These include restricting light, taking antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, and seeking out social and family support. Patients have also reported that a proper, if not always cheerful, attitude has allowed them to do the MP safely and effectively.

Recognizing mental symptoms as immunopathology

A person with periodontal disease can clearly see her receded gums, and there is little ambiguity about the effect of constipation on a patient's gastrointestinal tract. On the other hand, those with illnesses with a profound mental component often have trouble recognizing that part of their condition for what it is. Instead, they tend to overestimate the role circumstance and personal choice play in how they feel.

By all indications, microbes exist in the brain as they do in any number of other unexpected locations: NASA clean rooms,1) two miles below the surface of a glacier2) and hydrothermal vents. Further, an activated immune response is indiscriminate in what microbial communities it targets. Therefore, just as we would expect symptoms of any other conditions to be temporarily exacerbated by the MP, we also expect mental symptoms to become worse. Indeed, almost everyone who goes on the MP for a minimum length of time has some form of mental immunopathology.

Further evidence can come from objectively assessing how symptoms wax and wane in accordance with the administration of antibiotics or olmesartan, or having another symptom. Some patients have commented that having one non-mental symptom such as arthritic pain can actually be a blessing as it offers to oneself (and one's doctor) an unequivocal signal that a person is suffering from immunopathology.

All this said, psychological symptoms are really only completely evident when you no longer have them. Recovery offers 20/20 hindsight.

Role of stress and circumstances

Main article: Stress

As discussed in the article devoted to it, physical or psychological stress, does not appear to play any greater role than many factors which drive disease. There appears a difference between stress causing disease and stress being one of many factors which can influence the progression of disease. Other factors such as the presence of microbial pathogens appear to play a more prominent role.

Not unlike vitamin D metabolism, the human stress response is governed by a sophisticated hormonal system, one which is also dysregulated in patients with chronic inflammatory diseases. Successful management of both stressors and a patient's stress response can temper disease symptoms as the MP is facilitating recovery from disease. However, ultimately, these diseases cannot be cured or resolved through lifestyle modifications including “stress management” any more than HIV, tuberculosis, polio, or any of the other forms of infectious disease can.

Strategies for managing mental symptoms

As with any immunopathology, consult the generic list of strategies for managing immunopathology including lowering antibiotics, adjusting olmesartan, or taking more frequent minocycline. Also consider:

The short-term consequences of not wearing adequate eye protection will be an increase in neurological symptoms caused by stimulation of the Amygdala in the brain. These neurological symptoms include fatigue, irritability, aggressiveness, lack of concentration, brain fog, photosensitivityAbnormal sensitivity to sunlight and bright lights. Also referred to as "sun flare" or "light flare.", transient loss of memory, mood swings, confusion, anxiety, anger, neurosis and even psychosis.

Trevor Marshall, PhD

  • Restrict exposure to radiofrequency radiating technologies….see Can RF radiation make you sicker
  • Antidepressants and other psychotropic medications – Patients on the MP may take anti-anxiety agents, antidepressants, sleep medications, etc. As with many drugs, these can act in immunomodulatory ways, sometimes in ways that have yet to be fully understood. Although the ultimate goal is to discontinue taking these medications, patients experiencing intolerable anxiety or depression should certainly seek relief. If these drugs palliate severe symptoms and allow patients to continue the MP in a safe and tolerable manner, they are not contraindicated.
  • Get support from family and friends – Struggling with chronic disease can strain the fabric of even the strongest families and relationships. Like those recovering from any other disease, patients battling chronic inflammatory disease want and need to have support from family members. Building that support has proven easier for some patients than others.
  • Join (or start) a support group – The MP is a challenging multi-year therapy. As many MP veterans can attest, the chance to talk to a more experienced patient can significantly improve the odds of treatment success. While some patients may prefer to limit themselves to the online forums, an alternative possibility is that of a face-to-face support group. While there are currently only a few support groups, that can change over time. Patients who are interested in building a community of MP patients should seriously consider starting a support group.
  • A dog or cat may be a perfect companion.

Maintaining an appropriate attitude

Maintaining a proper attitude may help to ease mental strain of doing an often difficult treatment. A positive attitude includes:

  • The desire to recover health instead of merely palliate symptoms.
  • Confidence in the merits and validity of the Marshall Protocol and Pathogenesis. Between the Knowledge Base, the MP study site, Bacteriality, and all the papers which discuss different aspects of the MP, there should be enough information available for any patient to make an informed decision about the MP.

Patients have reported that other attitudes have also proven beneficial during a difficult treatment.

Maintain perspective

We know that the attitude of the person greatly influences the intensity of the reactions. If the patient does not react with fear and uncertainty, then their ability to cope increases and allows them to progress further. Remember, most of the symptoms experienced are a reflection of the body's reaction to the increased toxic load and amped-up detoxification and elimination process and not a deterioration.

I often use the analogy of a broken leg. Because the patient is confident that they will heal, they tolerate the pain and limitations well. But if they are uncertain about recovery, every symptom has the potential of increasing anxiety and stress which only aggravates the problem.

In my experience, one must expect an aggravation of symptoms during the early phases of the MP, that is phases 1 & 2.

So, if someone cannot handle the immune system reactions, then they should re-evaluate whether this is the right time to correct this disease or not.

It is vital, in my opinion, that anyone with a complex and chronic condition, no matter what label is attached to it, who is interested in approaching it from the Th1 paradigm have a knowledgeable and interested supervising physician.

One can tolerate significant symptoms if one is reassured that they will pass. I have found that by “proving” the MP (doing it myself), I am able to confidently not only reassure but to also even predict the type of reactions patients can expect.

I also can state the improvements that I have witnessed personally as well as with other patients. I can also reassure them that the meds and dosages used are extremely safe, especially in comparison to more traditional therapies.

Greg Blaney, MD

Nobody has dropped out of our study because of kidney failure or because their heart muscle has weakened or their lung capacity has diminished.

By all means, ask doc to measure these for you, but the real reason that you are having trouble, and that others drop out of the study, is that their brain starts playing tricks on them.

Earlier this year Meg, Amy and I gave presentations at a conference “Cognitive Dysfunction in Disease” at the home of the Nobel Prize organization, Karolinska Institute in Sweden. The difficulties you are experiencing are as a result of the disease process.

You need to cut back your immunopathology, but primarily to allow your brain the ability to reason again. To get a grip on reality again. To plan about walking your daughter down the aisle at some time in the future. To plan what you want to do with your life when these bacteria have been defeated and you get your life back again.

Trevor Marshall, PhD

Cultivate a positive attitude

The MP does not guarantee a “time to a cure”, but it does provide a pathway to a cure together with mileposts along the way. Everyone’s journey will be unique, determined by their disease, their history, and their execution of the MP.

You do not have an inexhaustible supply of bacteria. They will all be killed in time, releasing their toxins into your system as an indicator of their demise.

Your recovery does not follow a gradual trend of feeling better. It can have spikes of very bad pain as you change antibiotics and doses and start killing more and different bugs in different places.

Your perception of your progress toward eliminating the disease is distorted by the very disease itself, working to befuddle your reasoning, your attitude and your hope.

Everything that you are experiencing is predicted by the MP. If you were not experiencing these things, you would have cause to question the treatment and the science.

Despite all seeming contradictions to your recovery, you are slowly but surely eliminating this disease.

Everything is unfolding as it should.

Phil Schoner

The MP is like climbing Everest; you can't run up the hill, you can't even run back down the hill. You put one foot carefully in front of the other in a mind numbing trudge and you keep going. It's slow. You'll lose faith from time to time. But you keep going. You'll curse your fate and think it's unfair. But you keep going. You'll give up activities you love (for now). But you keep going. You'll have days where you can't even remember what it's like to feel normal. But you keep going. You will find strengths and weaknesses you never knew you had. But you keep going. You will gnash your teeth and rend your garments in the best Old Testament tradition. But you keep going.

That's the reality. It's a book that allows no reading ahead. The punishment for rushing or cheating is something you won't want to repeat. Slow and steady is the only way you can get through this. You can live an even fuller life when you are well, to make up for all you sacrificed to get there. When in doubt, curl up in a 30 lux room with a good book and put another day of the MP under your belt. Every day is a victory.

It's two years to the day for me on the MP. I'm beat up, run down, and sorely vexed. But every day is a victory. And I keep going.

Knochen MarshallProtocol.com

Don't micromanage the healing process

The symptoms you've asked about have been reported by others on the MP. The exact molecular mechanism for them is obscure and a topic best left to the scientists. The simple explanation is that Th1 inflammation during the disease process and during immunopathology affects a wide variety of biochemical processes.

All of those symptoms are caused by the disease. Your organs will be weak, that is caused by the inflammatory disease. If you are typical of the folks who come looking to the MP for relief, then you have a body which is very ill. It is systemically ill, and there will be no part of it that has totally escaped damage. The biggest issue, IMO, is trying to micromanage the healing process.

Trevor Marshall, PhD

Never mistake a clear view for a short distance.

Paul Saffo, veteran Silicon Valley forecaster

Concerns about progress

The exact nature of a patient's progress on the Marshall Protocol (MP) can be variable. Depending on the level of inflammationThe complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli such as pathogens or damaged cells. It is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli as well as initiate the healing process for the tissue., locations of infection, exposure to light, current stress levels, dosing and frequency of olmesartan or antibiotics, and any number of other variables, patients can experience minimal to a strong immunopathological reactions that wax and wane.

There is no evidence that the MP worsens a patient's health. If anything, the strong exacerbation of symptoms as the immune response recovers, is an indication that the MP is working all too well. For patients who are experiencing intolerable immunopathologyAn unbearable or unsafe severity of bacterial die-off reaction., there are a number of strategies available.

In the interests of safety, it is important that patients proceed on the MP at a conservative pace, leaving themselves a margin due to the highly variable nature of immunopathology.

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Other patients experiences

I'm really struggling with the severe depression. I'm pretty sure this is Zithromax and I know Zithromax takes 40-45 days to get out of your system. I last took it 7 days ago. So I just have to take one day at a time to get through the next month or so.

k, MarshallProtocol.com

I am choosing to dose or skip my antibiotic by noting how often I do something especially dumb, along the lines of storing my keys in the fridge.

The “events” that I care about aren't so benign and often involve moments of poor judgment while driving, or reacting badly in a meeting, or spending a busy day with little focus.

John McDonald, MarshallProtocol.com

Balance problems have been a part of my symptomology for many years. In fact in the early days of my illness before I received any treatment I had severe vertigo attacks. These issues have all cleared in recent years due to MP.

Therefore I am not surprised at these symptoms…as Joyful says they are part of neurological IP. Benicar may help. The best thing to do when symptoms arise is to stay close to home and rest. I hope they resolve quickly for you.

When I was at my sickest, I used to love to go out on a boat because it felt right to be bobbing around on the water. It was when I got off the boat that I would start feeling seasick.

Aunt Diana, MarshallProtocol.com

The Free Ticket idea is a great one. This is an area that this family will shine. MCS has strong neuro reactions so we are totally accustomed to one of us flying off the handle with anger, tears, hysteria. The best ones are where you can't stop laughing. That's a lovely reaction to a chemical.

Sarah is so skilled at dealing with her reactions, I didn't even notice that she'd had a rage attack. She looked understandably irritated and frustrated. When she's well, she should work in the UN or as a hostage negotiator. In this family you can feel and talk about anything.

We've found that keeping things out in the open helps folks know you are in trouble and to not take your behavior to heart. You are responsible for your actions, but your feelings sometimes are pure brain.

Juanita, MarshallProtocol.com

One, you might want to be careful taking Valium to manage anxiety. That is, make sure that you feel less anxious after taking it and watch for rebound. If you you feel more anxious, then it is not helping. If you find you are rebounding, the rebound may be worse than the original anxiety. It took me three years on the MP before Valium actually started behaving like Valium and having an anti-anxiety affect. (This is the reason I never took Tylenol for headaches; it gave me a worse headache. I also rebounded too much from guaifenesin and anyone taking that would be advised to pay attention… many people have a very good experience with it though as a way to lessen IP.)

Two, make sure you are not being exposed to too much sunlight or bright light in your eyes. If you are not taking full precautions, then do so for at least two weeks and see what happens to your anxiety. If it reduces, then you may be having a neuro response to sun and bright light exposure. And then you can test out this theory and better understand the precautions you need to take now. This can change on the MP journey–get better and then worse (as your immune system begins to work better)–and so must always be considered.

Three, after checking light issues and checking in with yourself and determining that you are really not anxious with anything in your life (if you are, then deal with it because not dealing can make you more anxious) and you are pretty clear that the anxiety you are experiencing is IP, then you could try any number of techniques to manage the anxiety.

For me the two best techniques were distraction and focusing on my breath. At the worst moments… and at the worst moments, focusing on my breath–noting when the air would begin to pass in and out of my nose or only one or the other, which is more tricky–would totally eliminate the anxiety in that moment.

Distraction is a personal thing. Here are some of the things that worked for me:

  • Reading in the tub (I sometimes find being confined to be helpful… I mean, it is difficult for me to be restless and feed the anxiety when in the tub because I have to use the energy to dry off first).
  • Watching movies in the tub.
  • Knitting.
  • Knitting while watching movies.
  • Listening to books and programs on tape without commercial interruption with the lights off while focusing on my breathing.
  • Listening to the same programs over and over and over again if I found the speakers voice comforting.
  • If you have any hobbies that you might be able to enjoy doing, then don't deny yourself the time to do them. Make time for yourself because distraction takes time.
  • A glass of wine might be good, more than that can cause an increase in physiological excitement and so you can rebound later. (That is, at first it is depressive, but then the down wave inverts and tends to go above normal… the more one drinks, the greater the wave on the other end.)

Lastly, avoiding:

  • negative news. I find that the world goes on without me without me needing to know what's going on politically. I love myself by giving myself this time to take time for me to get well. The world will still be here when I am better.
  • television, particularly television commercials… they are designed to provoke anxiety so you will buy stuff to reduce your anxiety. Non-commercial feel-good comedies (where the point is not to make fun of others for laughs) tend to be good and anxiety reducing. A good laugh helps.
  • scary, thriller, or suspense movies.
  • dramas on TV and off (unless avoiding confrontation will cause you more drama… the point is to avoid people who thrive on creating drama).

I'm not saying that you might need to do any of these all the time, but they are ideas to help give you a break every now and then. Hope something in all that helps,


===== Notes and comments =====

when the section in development, waves, goes on line a link should be placed (to https://mpkb.org/home/waves/rf_overview) in par. 'Strategies for managing mental symptoms'

  • Legacy content


=====References =====

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[PMID: 16332755] [PMCID: 1317422] [DOI: 10.1128/AEM.71.12.7806-7818.2005]
Voracek M, Tran US, Sonneck G. Facts and myths about seasonal variation in suicide. Psychol Rep. 2007 Jun;100(3 Pt 1):810-4. doi: 10.2466/pr0.100.3.810-814.
[PMID: 17688099] [DOI: 10.2466/pr0.100.3.810-814]
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