Take it from someone who’s immunity barrier broke from antidepressants, stimulants, narcotic anxiety medicine, migraine meds, birth control, and antibiotics. You can say the long, drawn out, collective doctor-prescribed
use abuse of medications, without him ever suggestion that maybe you’re having a food reaction to the crap that you eat…is the beginning of malnutrition. Malnutrition, on a cellular level, is the birth of disease. If you don’t have cancer, heart disease, arthritis, migraines, IBS, PTDS, ADHD, etc… you name it: you don’t have to. It’s so hard to begin prevention when you can’t forsee yourself with chronic illness, everyday fatigue, or something embarrassing as erectile dysfunction or yeast infections. But start tiny and small, just by opening your mind to a different way of equipping our bodies of healing themselves. You might forego these problems without having to feel old, sick, slow and tired, as you age. But the one thing people don’t relate to food often is depression.
When I was around 16, during the pubescent years as my mother claims, I began to display many issues of a nervous stomach, and following that, a negative outlook and anxious depression. There wasn’t as much sadness as there was anxiety, but eventually being in one low state of mind can lead to another. No one could understood what was happening, this was all new stuff in the Spanish community. I saw gastro doctors, I saw psychiatrists, respectively. The gastro was quick to put me on a health diet. I lost weight and felt good. Until I started eating normally again. The psychiatrist was quick to diagnose me as OCD and Depressive. Never mind asking that my symptoms would happen immediately after eating. Almost anything. At a time where doctors were trusted, I started popping the pills. I needed relief from my increasingly troubled teenage mind. I only grew worse. And what’s even worse is that I started believing the hype and using the misdiagnosed label to explain my erratic behavior almost as an excuse. My poor family went through hell dealing with this little angel who was suddenly emotionally volatile and unpredictable. It was no way to grow up. Of course, I wasn’t always down. Some days were great, but steadily it got harder to deal with the sluggishness and the side effects of the drugs they were pushing on me.
Fast forward to moving out at 19, the dreaded 21 and up years when the mix of antidepressants and alcohol gleefully gave the psychiatrist reason to label me bipolar (another hype I totally bought into because I was relieved there was an answer for my anxiety), and stopping at about 26, no doctors had bothered to make the connection that I might be reacting to the burgers and Oreos I pounded down as a teen, that maybe eating Vaca Frita “fried cow” was slowly debilitating my metabolism, that all the Kool-Aid and Ramen Noodles had MSG, colors, and chemicals that will slowly zap your neurons and freak out your natural body processes. No one told me to take a vitamin or eat a vegetable. All the books I ravaged through to find my answers barely hinted at diet. They spoke of obvious food allergies, but not nutrition in general. All throughout these medications, I never ever felt stable for longer than the first two days that a new med will zone you out. Or as long as it takes an Adderall to wear out.
In short, my immune was compromised since the beginning by food. As early as infancy, the overload of toxins and chemicals start setting up the strength of your healing ability for the rest of your life. Some with blessed metabolisms will clean out these toxins and delay disease until they are older, so it is understandable they feel untouchable when they eat at Subway and don’t spaz out from all the nitrates and preservatives added to the meats and breads. They never gain a pound and are pictures of apparent health (as was my husband until about age 30. Now he’s drinking vegetable smoothies with me). Some of us like the chemicals believe it or not. Boy did I love me some Red Bull aspartame rushes and purple Pixie Stix! Some of us though, start getting ill young and can be easily be confused -even by trained psychologists- as emotional problems. As mentioned earlier, I had health diets here and there. I slowly incorporated new habits of healthy eating as I learned things. I did the South Beach Diet when I was 19. I was vegetarian and vegan for months at a time. But culturally, it was hard to keep up with and the accumulated toxins from previous years were already dug in deep. If your gut (where the most of your immune lies) is not being strengthen and fed well, the mind and body connection are aware of it and will cave eventually.
Come 26 years old, right before my wedding, started the migraines. I had already reduced working out because of joint and muscle pain. I started suspecting something was incredibly wrong. This was the first time it hit me, when the Neuro doctor asked me if I was reacting to foods, to MSG in particular. I started paying attention to what I ate. This is when the great Red#40 dawned on me. I didn’t know much about the hazards of food, even though already having been through a large vegan stint in which I felt fabulous, had read Skinny Bitch (in efforts to lose even more weight on top of working out, I stumbled into this deceivingly but awesome fowl-mouthed book detailing in excruciating details everything that was wrong with animal products), and heard that certain preservatives can cause behavioral problems in children. I knew it was real somewhere in the world, but not me. I was always physically health aside from being pudgy, a few gastro problems, and having mental health issues, which who doesn’t? Right???
Wrong. After the wedding …and I mean, right after the wedding!!!… is when the barrier broke and all the tiny chronic issues amounted to one autoimmune inflammation disease. Barely able to hold a job, stand for an hour, and drive to a store. Poor husband had a newlywed cripple in the house and we were both unsure of how to go about this. I decided to drop the migraine medicine which seemed to have destroyed the last bit of immune I had left. I battled with antibiotics because of infections that were becoming resistant. At doctors’ insistence, I just needed to take more antibiotics, weakening and depleting my immune more.
Until… I found a Rheumatologist that had more integral view: I was put on the anti-inflammatory diet. I dropped Adderall (the stimulant drug for lack of focus), refused all antibiotics, and flushed the migraine medicines. Half of my symptoms declined. I kissed gluten goodbye and suddenly I could see and think clearly! Recently, I dropped dairy and the inflammation is significantly reduced. Not just the swelling, but actual weight. I can breath, not even registering that I wasn’t breathing optimally before. My skin has cleared up nicely, a few wrinkles have reduced, and the flaky patchy problems are almost gone. Hormones seemed to be balanced, there is energy coming through, and though Lupus is still raging a war in my body, I’m winning most of the battles. I have a hard time imagining how I ever used to be such a depressed, and disturbed child. If you discount our enemy, PMS, my mind and mental state if stronger than ever. I’m a pretty damn optimistic person. On no synthetic medications at all. (There’s no cure for my sarcasm and dark humor though).
Moral of the story, and there are many:
- Don’t attribute all of your problems on life, and yourself, and others. Forgive yourself easier because the root of underlying problems may surprise you, even absolve you.
- Check your diet. Drop one food at a time for two weeks and see how you feel. Do your symptoms get better? Do you have more energy? Are you regular?
- Don’t trust doctors and medication. Not that your doctor isn’t trained well. He just is not trained in nutrition. If you watch the video links I gave you, you will find that they hardly touch the subject in medical school. That is, if you don’t want to read this shocker: What The Drug Companies Won’t Tell You and Your Doctor Doesn’t Know. I was devastated to find out the our caretakers were being manipulated by a money making machine. Our friend Merck has dreams that we stay ill to keep his profits up.
- Do your research. Goes hand in hand with the previous two points.
- Rely on nature. One thing we forget (or were never taught) is that you can’t just turn off a problem with a pill, we can help our bodies heal themselves. It’s pretty miraculous really.
- It’s hard work to protect yourself and the ones we love from the dangers of the world, but its doable if you can find, admit the problems, and create change.
- Add your own….
For anyone curious of trying this (you can take on top of your antidepressant) please see link below for instructions on how to increase a Niacin (Vitamin B-3) supplement. You have nothing to lose except a few bucks. I know someone trying this and the gradual results are extremely promising. And as usual, eating healthier always helps the healing process.
Dr. Hoffer’s story on how Niacin treatment was successful, but rejected, as a treatment for alcoholism (rooted by depression and anxiety).
Note: I used to feel self conscious about talking about depression. It wasn’t yet outwardly common. It bared a heavy stigma. Today, so many people are going through these conditions that we joke about our need for valiums and xanax in our coffee. However, the stigma still lives. I don’t feel self-conscious about it any more and that is why it took me so long to actually write about depression. Especially when I went through a few ups and downs after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Just as much as society needs to embrace a new understanding of nutrition, cleansing (detoxing and colonics, oh yes, i said colonics), and natural healing, we need to accept that many of us are sick emotionally and mentally. Our friends and family are going through depressions whether they wear it on their sleeves or not, whether they’re getting medical attention for it or not. I spent a long life battling emotions and except for the valid and occasional I’m-sick-of-it-all days, by trial and error and lots of research, I have come across natural and simple ways to improve life quality (Even while still being crippled on some days). Do not neglect yourself or loved ones if they’re are struggling with depression symptoms.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a trained professional. These suggestions and methods are all based on personal research and experience. Everyone’s physical make up is different and may are subject to individual conditions. Any changes in your diet and supplemental health should be done at your own risk while consulting a health professional. Unless you’re like me and do it without anyone’s approval.