Happy Wednesday fellow readers! The week is half way over and I am so looking forward to the weekend. Just as a reminder it is Mother’s Day this Sunday, so call up your mother, mother-in-law, or even a friend that is a mother and thank them for all they do. Being a mom is one of my best accomplishments and I have loved the experience that being a mom has brought me. My children are like little pieces of me fluttering around the world sharing my wisdom and creating their own.
So I wanted to talk today about mental health and what Keto has done so far for my mental health struggles. Long before I even knew what Keto was I struggled with mental health. I have battled depression and anxiety since my teen years, and have been medicated for it since my younger twenties. I cannot even list what medications I have been on and off of trying to find what worked for me. Years and years of different meds, therapists, doctors, and trials I finally found a combination that worked for me and I have been living stuck in the combination for the last 5 years.
That combination has also landed me in the emergency room for severe withdrawal when a doctor mis-directed me on how to change my pills to a new regimen. So I spent the last three years trapped in the vicious lifecycle of Effexor. Effexor has been wonderful in the sense that it really did help my depression and anxiety, but it has been a death sentence in the essence that I don’t know if I will ever be able to get off of it. It is by far one of the most highly addictive medications I have ever taken and I am one year into weening off the medication. The withdrawal symptoms will put you on the floor in the fetal position after simply missing one dose by a few hours. My starting dosage was 225mg and I am just now down to 112.5mg. I am praying that when I go back to the doctor in a month we can go down another step. Every time I try to drop below 100mg though I end up rather ill and start having massive withdrawal symptoms. Still it is progress and I will take it. How I wish I knew what I know now then, and that a pill will never truly fix the problem.
Two things have lead me to the road of even beginning to reduce that medication. Number one is my doctor did some genetic testing and we discovered I have the MTHFR gene mutation, and have a major vitamin D deficiency. So I basically take 15mg of l-methylfolate and 5,000miu’s of Vitamin D daily. I noticed within a week of starting the supplement how much better I felt. So I continue to take it daily and continue to see positive results from it. Second I started keto and within a month I started to notice the mental changes. The amount of clarity was crazy and my energy was through the roof. For once in my life I was starting to see and find the real me buried below tons of years of abuse and sadness. I contribute both of these back to having a supportive healthcare provider who doesn’t think you just need to shove pills at problems. I thoroughly enjoy that she wants to get to the root of things and is always open to natural methods before medication.
The longer I progressed on the keto diet the more I noticed the changes. I actually started wanting to leave my bedroom and do things. Most days now I can’t stand the thought of just sitting around. It cleared my head enough to lead me back to my passion of writing and this blog. It made me want to reach out to others and inspire them on their journey. I constantly see improving in my mind and how it functions, and I believe that switching to predominantly carnivore has helped that even more. Whole feeds heal your body and it just takes time. I am almost 1 year into my journey and the differences between day 1 and now are amazing. My smiles are no longer fake, I no longer hide behind everyone else, I have a voice and I use it. I’m so close to being medication free and it feels absolutely amazingly wonderful. I find the positive in things again and don’t dwell on the negative. I could never lose another pound and it would all be worth it. Keto changed my life and it will never be the same and I am thankful for that.
If you suffer or know someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, know that there is hope out there. There are ways and methods to improve your mental health and you don’t have to be drugged to succeed. Do not be ashamed to get therapy! Do it person or online whatever you are comfortable with. It may be strange at first but it is so worth it to have someone who is biased to talk to. There is hope, and as one of my best friends used to tell me even the darkest hour only lasts 60 minutes. Take it a minute at a time if you have to. You can always reach out to me and I can put you in touch with mental health resources or teach you all about keto and how it can help. You don’t have to be alone! Until next time….Keep Ketoing On!!!!!!
First and foremost let me start this article by saying I am not in any way a medical professional. I have no training in mental health and I am solely sharing with you a journey that I have been through and what has helped me. If you are experiencing signs or symptoms of depression you should immediately seek out medical/professional support.
I am fairly certain my battle with anxiety, depression and insomnia started around the age of 15. I always have been a perfectionist, and around that age I began struggling to keep up my perfection. By the time I was 16 I was in and out of doctor offices and was finally diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). So that is what I assumed was my problem. So I learned to live with it and moved on with things. Fast forward five years and my IBS had now turned into panic attacks, periods of lethargy accompanied by lack of desire, and horrible numerous other stomach problems. As a mom of 3 stuck in an abusive relationship with major financial problems I found myself at a breaking point. So I turned to a doctor who started testing me and diagnosed me with anxiety and depression. Then I began the spiral down the rabbit hole of medication after medication.
After numerous medications and feeling like a zombie most of the time in 2011 I decided no more and stopped all my meds cold turkey. Let me tell you that was one of the stupidest things I have ever done. Withdrawal is a serious thing to mess with, but I did make it through for over two years with no meds, but an uproar in stomach issues persisted again. By 2014, after ending my marriage and going through many changes I found myself back in the pit of despair and back chasing the pharmaceutical train. I finally found a doctor that would listen and finally got on meds that actually allowed me to function, but at a price of some not so nice side effects such as days without sleep. So I basically trained myself to become an insomniac. Any night that I got more than 2 hours of sleep I saw as an achievement.
So with drugs running my life and sleep on a permanent vacation I decided for myself that there had to be something to help me besides this hell I was walking in. So I turned to therapy and let me tell you it was a huge help, but it is not cheap so I couldn’t go as often as needed. Second I found a doctor who is more prone to prescribing holistic approaches to issues rather than a prescription pad. Third I discovered that I have a genetic mutation that directly effects mood and mental health. Lastly I discovered the keto diet.
Once I put all those things together and started making changes, my body and my mind both started to clear. I started to get more sleep, and within a couple months I was no longer on medication to make me go to sleep. I now get 7-8 hours of sleep a night and wake up refreshed. I was put on a supplement that is all natural to help my genetic mutation and within a month of starting that it was like a fog lifted. Four months in to all the changes and I know longer needed one of my stomach meds. Six months in and I no longer need a prescription acid reducer. Almost eight months in and I am finally being weened off my final prescription medication for anxiety and depression. I feel like I am coming to life for the first time in a long time. I actually am beginning to enjoy life!
So am I 100% cure? Absolutely not! I still have days I battle demons , and nights that I don’t sleep. The difference if I have learned how to deal with it and cope better and I’m not afraid to admit that to admit that I have these issues and will always battle them. I’m finding me all over again and so far I like what I am finding.