I had been looking forward to this day and I never thought it would come. For the past 5 years, I've been undergoing some form of psychiatric treatment for schizoaffective bipolar type and generalized anxiety disorder. My therapist said I didn't need to come except on an as needed basis. My psychiatrist says I deserve a gold star or gives me a thumbs up every time I come. I've actually gone off most of my medications...the psychiatrist did it, not me. I started changing my diet July of 2008. I was obese and disgusting. Disgusting because my teeth were brown from smoking, I would hardly bathe and my appearance was the last thing on my mind. I couldn't think either. The foods I ate were in the processed category and sweet black tea was my constant companion. I started going to a popular weight reduction group meeting. I'm not sure if I can actually say which one so that's why I'm not naming names. A friend and I went. I decided I would give it a week. I didn't think I would lose because of the thyroid condition and the Seroquel, but I went. I gave it an honest attempt. I knew I couldn't keep to the diet if I drank all the tea I usually had. (The tea consumption was for comfort, one of the few I had since I was horribly suicidal.) I reduced the tea and the sugar along with it. I lost 2.2lbs. that week. It was enough to keep me going. After awhile, I wanted to use my caloric allotment as efficiently as possible. So the amount of tea, processed foods, and sugar were drastically reduced in favor of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats (which I gave up later), and lots of water. I began to notice I felt really good and at first my psychiatrist gave me odd looks. I went from being an extremely depressed, paranoid, highly anxious person that couldn't concentrate long enough to read a comic book to a sort of happy normal feeling person that was a little stupid and spacey from giving up the caffeine, but could read again. The anxiety and psychosis were nowhere to be found. I thought it wouldn't last, but it'll be a year this July. In the process, I've given up most caffeine, cigarettes, and I don't even like alcohol anymore. I still take in sugars but not in concentrated amounts.
I've had awhile to think of all the things that have happened to me. I've chosen not to be sad about all the things I've lost over the last five years and instead focus on the future and what can be. I wonder how many people out there are going through exactly what I went through. Anyone who's gone through this knows that if you're given the rare chance to come out the other side, you really want to help people and you also know what it's like to suffer. You want to lessen that for others as well. Of course, waking up from this sort of nightmare doesn't give you credibility with 'normal' people. I had never looked at anti-psychiatry websites until after I got better because those are the people they tell you to watch out for and sometimes with good reason, sometimes not. You're told to swallow this and you'll feel better, but I felt terrible..worse even after I'd taken it. I actually feel better than me during medication and me before medication. I thought I could be bitter about how in our society we are utterly ignorant of the effects of food on the body. Sugar causes mood swings and caffeine is a stimulant. Cigarettes don't help, either. I'll probably be the only one saying this: I'm glad my psychiatrist was open enough to listen to me when I told him how a previous psychiatrist diagnosed me (paper test in waiting room with people in it in one visit) He considered what I said and later changed the diagnosis to Bipolar 1. My Generalized Anxiety was dropped altogether. I was able to stop taking Seroquel and Xanax leaving me on a low dose of Lithium only. I wouldn't doubt being able to get off that one day. I now have my mind back. I can concentrate...I feel like I can do anything I could before only without massive quantities of caffeine and sugar getting in my way.
My therapist and I also talk about nutrition and how it's changed me, but it's not quite as positive. She's a real model of her cognitive behavioral training. She also acts like she likes me on the surface, but she's sort of uptight about things. I tried not to let it bother me since that day was my last appointment with her (Friday of last week). So we were talking about how much better I felt now that I had changed my diet and exercise habits. I said, "It makes me wonder how many people out there are going through what I'm going through and suffering from something that could be easily cured."
"I do, too." she says.
"But you're never told this could help so no one knows.."
"Oh yes we do, we always made suggestions that you do these things but you never did it, why?"
"Because they say it won't make a difference. This diet is so much easier to do than to take a pill with all those side effects."
"But people don't want to change. They'd rather take a pill. They wouldn't want to change what they eat."
"They might change if someone they trusted told them how much it would help, but the pharmaceutical companies wouldn't like that."
At this point, the subject changed. (By the way, if grammar and spelling is off I apologize. I'm just getting to the point where I think I might have the brain power back to write something coherent. Sorry if it rambles. I tried to remember the conversation as closely as possible.) I left wondering if she was right about people not wanting to change their diets and would rather choke down 5 or 6 pills first thing in the morning or eat healthy. Would you rather choke down lots of horse pills before breakfast that are causing you to lose hair or get diabetes, drool, walk oddly, twitch uncontrollably, rot your teeth (dry mouth), gain about 50lbs, and/or lose control of bladder and bowels or eat healthy meals and snacks all day and not have to take as many pills or any at all? I think most people who have actually lived with side effects would choose the healthy diet but that's my opinion. I know it's hard for depressed people to cut up fruits and veggies and a lot of us are stuck on disability and can't afford anything. By the way, I'm following all of their rules, I go to the psychiatrist and stopped seeing the therapist with their blessing. My psychiatrist has taken me off medications and hopefully I'm on my way out of the maze of disability. Anybody can stop taking their medications, but to me, if the psychiatrist will take you off of it, it means something. I realize that not everyone's psychiatrist is that open-minded. We're being short changed and I really wish there was a way I could help others in my situation, but I don't think anyone will listen. By the way, if you've made it this far, how about answering my question, healthy diet or pills with side effects?
Submitted by GrendelsMom on