I can finally say that I’m feeling better. Really! I can’t even explain how happy I am to be able to say that. All my weird abdominal pain, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, night terrors, nausea, and most of all the anxiety. Oh the anxiety. I’ve always been a person full of worries, but it had reached a special level of awfulness. I would lay awake at night with a pit of dread in my stomach, only to fall asleep at 2am and experience horribly stressful nightmares. I would wake up gasping and in a panic as if I was late for some non-existent appointment. Panic attacks were happening almost every day leaving me with this awful tight feeling of butterflies in my chest. When my system finally got so worn down from the constant adrenaline, depression would settle in and my good friend apathy. Crawling out of the depression, just meant a return to anxiety and starting all over again. It was awful and had reached the point that I was ready to make an appointment to beg for medication, any medication to make the cycle stop.
So what fixed it? Giving up dairy and gluten. Can you believe it? I actually think that dairy makes me crazy. I had met with an IBS and allergy clinic and after relaying all my symptoms, the doctor said that it sounded like I had a dairy allergy. She ran a bunch of tests, but while I was waiting for the results to come in, I decided to give up grains and dairy and just see what would happen. Within 2-3 days I started noticing some big changes. I didn’t have headaches and the awful pain in my gut went away. Then the anxiety cloud lifted and I felt like a whole new person. I think this is what normal people feel like!
My tests came back and the bacteria in my gut looks fine, but I had a ton of food reactions including a flat out allergy to psyllium which is the common ingredient in fiber supplements (like what my GI doctor had prescribed). I showed a reaction to dairy in all it’s forms, including goat and sheep milk, with the main culprit being whey. Guess what protein shakes I had been drinking over the last year? Whey protein shakes. I also showed a reaction to gluten and all it’s many sources. Sound familiar? We had tests run on William several years ago that came up with very similar results.
So now I have a list of foods to avoid for the next few months and then maybe I can add a few back in. I don’t know whether the real culprit is the dairy or the gluten, or if they both just hate me, but there are a bunch of other foods that I can hopefully reintroduce once my gut calms down. (Oats, corn, sugar, vanilla, and yeast, being my biggest wish.)
The funny thing is that it isn’t all that hard to change my diet. It requires more cooking, which I had already been doing since Ben is trying an elimination diet of sorts for some other issues, and I have to make my own chocolate sweetened with maple sugar, and give up my soda, (ok, so maybe it isn’t totally easy), but the temptation to break it just isn’t there. I made chocolate chip cookies the other day for the kids bake sale and I had zero desire to have any. Usually I stand over the batter bowl trying to guilt myself out of taking a bite for weight reasons, but this time it felt like poison to me. There isn’t any cookie in the world that is worth having anxiety for. Truly.