My health journey hasn’t been a simple one and I still don’t have all of the answers.
What I do have are a few answers, a willingness to solve my problems, and the mindset to conquer anything that gets in my way.
I battle depression, Celiac Disease, anxiety, ADHD, allergies to dairy, peanuts, pork, lima beans, chemical colour, some chemicals, cats, dogs, and mold, hypothyroidism (slow thyroid), hypertension (high blood pressure), and nutrient deficiencies.
Some have been warnings of other conditions and some have been caused by others.
At 16, I presented with a dairy allergy and further testing showed that I was also allergic to pork, peanuts, cats, dogs, and mold. I grew up consuming many of these things so I was surprised to find that they were allergins for me. I also had cats throughout my younger years.
It wasn’t until my 20s that I would learn that the dairy allergy was a warning for worse problems.
I was always quite active in high school. Full-time classes, co-op, sports teams, a part-time job, and a social life kept me going but I wouldn’t say that my grades were very good.
At 18, I left the foster care system to enter a semi-independent home and depression took over.
Soon after I had a breakdown and got help. That same year I moved to Kitchener, Ontario looking for a change.
In Kitchener, I signed up as a background actor and started carpooling back and forth to Toronto for sets.
I also took part-time jobs and had some experiences with the independent film industry.
At one point I took a full-time job sitting at a computer and my weight quickly jumped up to 180 pounds (I had been 140 pounds steady for years). I was also constantly getting sick from people who came to work with colds and flus so wasn’t getting out much.
Once I quit that job I went back to taking background (extra) work in films and television shows traveling from one city to the next on a whim.
Upon moving back to Toronto, I did more film work and started working as an administrative assistant on a temporary basis through an agency. At one point I also took a part-time weekend job.
But my health was declining.
I was always getting sick and my body just wasn’t willing to cooperate.
I had to quit everything.
In my mid-20s, my thyroid slowed to a crawl and my weight ballooned to 210 pounds. My anxiety was growing, my depression was taking control, and besides thyroid medication, no one could tell me what was really wrong, except that it must be my depression.
I kept trying.
I took a part-time job in the bakery section of a grocery store until it got to the point that I couldn’t move my neck, my hands swelled, and my bowels and stomach just weren’t working.
I saw a specialist and was diagnosed with chronic depression and ADHD but that didn’t cure me.
I had to quit.
A Turning Point…Sorta
I had seen mention of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity for a few months at that point and finally was curious enough to check it out.
As I read the list of possible symptoms I was shocked and immediately called my doctor for an appointment.
I quit eating gluten and soon the swelling in my hands had gone away and I was slowly functioning again.
But I was still struggling with chronic fatigue and muscle pains, diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
I went through a few more years of mounting anxiety and frustration.
I began to accept that my life would never be what I dreamed.
I was resigning myself to the new, sick me. Someone I couldn’t possibly recognize.
Until late 2017, when I decided that I would cleanse myself a bit by going off of my hormonal birth control (depo provera) for a bit.
Up until this point losing weight had proved impossible and I thought my anxiety would rule forever.
A month went by and nothing changed. But by November I had started seeing the scale move. I lost 6 pounds in 6 days and I cried.
Slowly, over time, I noticed that my anxiety was decreasing and that my energy was coming back a bit.
I started feeling like the old spontaneous, restless person that I used to be.
I started going to the gym in mid-January (2018). I had hoped not just to lose weight but also to get back more energy and be in less pain.
This wasn’t happening.
In March I realized that even though I was taking medication for my hypothyroidism (slow thyroid) my hormones were badly out of balance.
I started drinking magnesium and taking my calcium with vitamin D supplements regularly.
I can finally sit on my couch without feeling like I’m just going to fall asleep.
I have lost 20 pounds from exercising and changing my diet.
I have also been discovering that I have allergic reactions to some chemicals as well as chemical colour added to foods; there’s no test for this, so it’s on a product by product basis.
My depression is more situational now and my anxiety isn’t gone but everything is easier to work through.
I make a lot of my food from scratch and am looking for more natural cleaning and body care products along the way.
But the journey isn’t over yet.
I’m not entirely healthy yet and I still have about 60 pounds to lose.
The Journey Continues
I will happily share my journey with you.
I know the frustration of wanting to change our lives but struggling against our own bodies.
It can feel like no one is really helping you and that things are impossible to change.
Don’t give up!
My life may have been distorted by bad health and mental illness but I will put the pieces back together and follow my dreams.