Today is my 38th birthday and I have had a beautiful day. I have got some gorgeous gifts from my boys and phone calls and messages from my beautiful friends and family. I feel so blessed. This is a different story to the last six months that I want to share with you. I'm not sharing this for pity but maybe for awareness and to let you know that its not always sunshine, roses and art and that's ok too.
I have suffered with anxiety and depression most of my adult life. Which means being medicated most of my adult life. I can clearly remember when my first bout of terrifying anxiety hit. I was living on my own in Adelaide studying nursing and working at a nursing home. I was in my second year and I was studying for exams. I remember being unable to sit still and getting extremely agitated to the point where nothing I did could calm me down. I had this feeling of absolute dread that wouldn’t leave.
That first bout of anxiety saw me fly home to my parents home where I stayed for about three months while I began my first lot of anti-depressants and my mother nursed me back to health. Since that first diagnosis I have tried to come off the antidepressants twice without success.
Six months ago I decided to come off the anti-depressants again. I was feeling great so I thought I can do this thing called life, without them.
The first month was really good, I was the calmest and most chilled I had been in a long time. I was eating well and sleeping well. Unfortunately the calm didn’t last. During the next few months, I started to become more and more frantic and obsessed about my heath. I was also becoming more and more exhausted.
I noticed that during the time I ovulated and before my period, I would go into a deep depression and my self-worth was terrible as well. I went to a psychic and she told me that my adrenals were shot. I knew it wasn’t all in my head so I went and saw a Naturopath to make sure!
The Naturopath assured me that my anxiety and depression was not in my head. She recommended I start a clean eating plan and I get some bloods taken. So being the good student that I am, I cut out gluten, dairy and sugar all at once. You know what, I think my body went into complete shock.
My body was not getting its daily dose of serotonin from my antidepressants and it wasn’t getting its daily dose of all the carbohydrates and sugar that I loved and consumed regularly. So, the only thing my body could do was to scream out for help by making my mental health oh so much worse.
My obsessive thinking and scary thoughts started to get much worse and my anxiety was through the roof. My mind was racing and I wasn’t sleeping.
To say I was in hell would be fairly accurate.
Frighteningly it got to the point where I didn’t want to be on this earth anymore. Fortunately, however, I reached out for help and I ended up in hospital.
Somewhere between Christmas and my hospitalisation I was able to do a stool specimen (oh yeah I forgot to mention that my bowel pattern was all over the place with diarrhoea after most meals) and a DNA test to see what else was going on in my body. After 4 weeks in hospital and back on my anti-depressants I came home and although I was feeling better, I knew within me that I wasn’t 100 percent.
That’s when I got my results back from my Naturopath.
The stool specimen showed that I have too many opportunistic bacteria in my gut which is causing me to have a leaky gut. My DNA came back showing that the overall inflammation in my body is high (hello sore back and sore joints, oh and hello inflamed brain), it also showed that I have estrogen dominance (hello crazy pms and sore boobs) and that my liver is not coping at all with any of it.
So my gut is in a whole world of misery and I want to find out how I can heal my gut which will in turn help my brain.
I’ve recently been listening to a Quirky Journey Podcast with Jo Whitton and Foud Cassard. They share stories about how they have healed their families through something called the GAPS diet.
GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome which was discovered by Dr Natasha Mcbride who helped heal her sons Austism through food.
After hearing so many amazing stories about how people have healed through GAPS I bought the book and read it in a couple of days. I am fascinated by how the gut affects the brain and I am hopeful that by healing my own gut lining and decreasing my own bad bacteria (that I have likely had for all of those years) that I may just help my mental health too.
I am going to begin the GAPS intro diet in the next week and Im looking forward to documenting the journey.