So I’ve been offline for a while. I’m fine now but I actually had a nervous breakdown last fall. There were many factors contributing to it, but the main one was that I stopped being able to sleep through the night. My husband deployed overseas, leaving me completely alone with 19-month-old twins in a neighborhood where break-ins, gang shootings and muggings were common. At first, I was falling into bed exhausted late at night, waking up when the kids cried in the middle of the night, and then getting up at the ass-crack of dawn when my darling children decided the day was to begin. Even when the kids slept through the night, I was still waking up 20, 30 times a night for what seemed to be no reason. I stopped exercising, as I didn’t have the energy. I started having panic attacks, depression, fatigue. Blogging about how awesome life is was the last thing I wanted to do. I wanted to eat a donut.
But somehow I managed to keep to a Primal diet. In fact, during this time I went extreme and starting doing intermittent fasting. Except that it wasn’t really by choice. And it wasn’t ‘intermittent’ – it was every day. I didn’t have time to eat in the morning. Breakfast was usually at about 1 p.m. when the kids went down for their nap. And dinner was at 9 p.m. after they went to sleep for the night. I ate 2 meals a day at really wonky times. I thought that was okay – I wasn’t hungry in the mornings – and you shouldn’t eat when you’re not hungry, right? I lost my appetite, along with my energy. To compensate, I drank lots and lots of coffee. It was all I could do to care for the kids in between panic attacks. I didn’t even get dressed on most days.
For some stupid reason, I once again decided to try modern medicine. I went to the doctor, told him I wasn’t sleeping, said I was depressed, having panic attacks and feeling overwhelmed. I left the doctor’s office that day with the following:
He didn’t ask me if I was eating regular meals. He didn’t ask me how much coffee I was drinking. He never once mentioned exercise. Or meditation. Or yoga. Or putting the damned kids in daycare for the day so that I could have a break. He just prescribed enough medication to potentially kill me, some that was habit-forming, one that can cause diabetes in insulin-sensitive individuals. That particular one (Seroquel) is normally prescribed to schizophrenics. I was told to “take it as needed, it will help you sleep.” I didn’t take it. I didn’t take ANY of it, except for the Valium. I’ll admit it, the “Mother’s Little Helpers” are aptly named. ;)
I knew that the answer to all my problems could be solved naturally. So, after my husband had been gone for about a month and a half, the calvary arrived – Mom and Dad. They drove down from Canada and took over. I went to a hot springs resort and started to put myself together again. The first thing I did was take some time to myself. I did yoga, went hiking, slept outside in a tent. I started eating breakfast. And then, once my energy levels started to rise, I started exercising again. Even if I didn’t feel like it, I got my heart rate up at least every other day. The improvements were noticeable almost immediately. I did research online and found out that many anxiety and sleep problems are linked to caffeine consumption. I limited my coffee to 2 cups a day, and made sure I had them before noon. I started eating complex carbs before bed to help raise my serotonin levels. Once I cut the coffee and added more carbs, the anxiety was gone. The panic attacks stopped. I added a few minutes a week in a tanning salon to help boost my Vitamin D levels. I started to sleep better immediately. And then, everything was better.
I’ve recently been approached by Mark Sisson‘s PR agent about featuring my story in a couple national magazines and she said that what interested her about my story was the fact that I had been to so many doctors over the years with absolutely no results. It wasn’t until I started eating and living Primally that I was able to lose weight, end my PCOS and depression. So why would I turn to modern western medicine again at the first sign of trouble?
I have no fucking idea.
I think that we are raised to trust doctors, just like (most of us) trust policemen and teachers. I was alone, in a weakened state, and turned to someone who is supposed to be there to help. Once again, I was given drugs that don’t solve the problem, they just mask the symptoms. It really makes me sad that so many people accept this as a solution. They would rather just pop a pill than get to the root of their problems.
When I think of the things I could have done with all the time I spent at the doctors – painted a picture, played guitar, gone for a hike, gotten a pedicure – it saddens me further.
So, I’m all better now and I did it by myself, with the help of a few people willing to watch my kids for a few hours. That’s something to be proud of. And unless I require surgery or ER services, I won’t be visiting my doctor any time soon.