Keto, Mental Illness and Truth Bombs

The keto diet can clear your mind and give you unexpected extra energy. This has been my personal experience and I’m here to warn you to take care how you use these new magical powers.

I have thyroid disease, hidradenitis supperativa, type two diabetes, coeliac disease, and a number of mental illnesses that I prefer not to name because of the stigma often applied to people who suffer with them.

As you might imagine, I’ve suffered low energy and a muddled head, among other problems, for years. Trying to beat back the symptoms and live my best life has been a huge struggle.

Within the first week of trying the keto diet, I felt different in myself.

Keto Energy

I was talking a lot more, bringing up subjects with my family and really having a good conversation with them. Before, I’d have been taking big breaths to find some energy to engage with other people, answering their questions and feeling dizzy if I talked too much.

Not so now.

When I see something in the house that needs doing, I just start doing it. No thinking, overthinking, beating myself up, berating myself for not being able to do more, just getting it done.

The keto diet is not a cure for my illnesses, but it has given me a strength that I never had before.

Low Carb and Energy

I still have low carb days where I have less energy, I suffer pain, or my mind decides not to cooperate. But those days I can live with.

I still have extra strength social phobia, which limits what I can do.

Keto Side Effects

But today I’m writing to warn you about a side-effect I’ve experienced due to my newfound awakening. An unexpected problem that makes me wary and careful of my words.

This new alertness I’m enjoying has made me very conscious of the way I think and feel about the people in my life. Especially the people I have had unexpressed issues with for years.

Twice in two weeks I’ve told people what I really think of them, and both times there have been unexpected casualties.

In hindsight of course I can see that the way I blurted out my feelings was over the top and not even entirely accurate.

Of course, in the past I’ve opened my big mouth and said the wrong thing to someone. We all do that. But this was different. This was me, in a moment of anger and frustration thinking of the exact right thing I wanted to say to take the other person down a notch and then bam, saying it.

It didn’t turn out well. Either time.

I’ve burned bridges, unfortunately.

Note to self: write it out in your journal before you decide in the moment to ignite a word bomb.

I’m very grateful for the clarity and energy the keto diet has given me. I just need to learn to use my powers for good and not evil.

I urge you to beware the empowered self, take care in case you lob a grenade and take out an entire roomful of people, instead of having an argument with someone where you feel one is due.

Leaving The House Can Be Terrifying When You Have a Mental Illness

Today, I have plans with family I love who live about an hour away. I’ve been looking forward to seeing them ever since I made the plans.

Now the day is here and I’m dizzy, taking short breaths and I have to keep reminding myself not to grind my teeth.

My brain doesn’t let me access the positive emotions I’ve experienced in the past while visiting this part of my family. That’s a horrible part of my own personal mental illness circus.

Why am I so anxious? Is it the thought of seeing them? Nope. Is it the car trip? Yes, somewhat. Is it the thought of being away from my home, my nest, for hours at a a time? Yes it is.

Leaving the house is one of the hardest things in the world for me. It doesn’t matter how much I know I’ll love time with family or friends, it doesn’t matter that I love my car, it doesn’t matter that my fiancé will be with me the whole time. I am very anxious.

What does it feel like? Imagine standing at the edge of a very high cliff and leaning as far forward as you can until you’re on your toes. Unless you’re a lover of high places, you can imagine this would conjure feelings of sheer panic, terror and a sickness in your stomach.

That’s what it’s like to have a serious mental illness where part of it is social phobia, anxiety and a panic disorder.

I’ll put on make-up, a nice dress, get in my car and we’ll be there in no time. I’ll enjoy catching up with everyone, I’m almost sure. Later, on our way home, I’ll berate my stupid self for being anxious about the visit. I’ll beat up on myself and tell myself that next time I’ll be better. Next time I’ll be fine.

That’s part of the circus, the pretending that it’s all a choice.

Is Halloween Scary if You Have a Mental Illness?

Halloween 2020

What could be scarier than mental illness paired with a whole day and night of people trying to frighten the life out of each other?

What is scary about Halloween if you have a Mental Illness?

For some people with a mental illness, Halloween will be an opportunity to hide behind a costume and a mask and maybe feel a sense of relief at being able to be completely anonymous.

Some will enjoy the irony of other people getting their anxiety tested as the most adventurous ones celebrate the holiday by giving and receiving a real fright.

For some though, even being surprised and frightened in fun can raise anxiety levels so high it becomes difficult to function.

It’s not that the act of frightening these people that is the truly scary thing, it’s that when you have an anxiety disorder, one that treatment, therapy and medication does not lessen, you become one big human shock button.

That shock, the horror of a big fright, is so much fun for so many people. If you have an anxiety disorder or some other mental illnesses, and someone shocks you, it can trigger an anxiety attack/panic attack that will write off Halloween and possibly a few days that follow.

Halloween Ideas

If you know someone with a mental illness and you want to celebrate Halloween while being sensitive to ways your friend might struggle this month, do one simple thing and reach out and ask them. Here are some questions to ask your friend or family member with mental illness, at Halloween:

– How are you with Halloween?

– How can we celebrate Halloween 2020 in a way that you’ll have as much fun as everyone else?

– Are there Halloween decorations, Halloween treats and Halloween ideas you love and find easy to enjoy?

– If we hold a Halloween party, what can we do so that everyone feels comfortable?

– Would you mind being in charge of the scare-factor of our family and friends Halloween celebrations? Can you keep it to a level where everyone will be happy?

– Is Halloween something you’d like to skip this year? We can do lunch another day and catch up without all the chaos if you prefer?

A Better Halloween This Year

I guarantee your friend or family member with a mental illness will be grateful that you caring enough to include them in the planning of Halloween. If you love to get the bejeezus scared out of you, there are plenty of places to go and things you can do. Maybe stop a moment the next time your heart is in your throat with shock, and remember that some people with mental illness feel this sensation on a regular basis, and it isn’t much fun.

Be a good friend, have fun, and enjoy Halloween!

Pandemic Living

Pandemic living is a lot like living with a disabling mental illness. You think nobody wants you out on the street, nobody wants you too close to them, and even if every other day of the year you want to stay home and watch Netflix, all of a sudden you miss going out. Even a trip to the supermarket makes you want to put on lipstick and a dress. You want to keep the safe distance from people, the magical 1.5 metres, but in the aisles there just isn’t that much room. Even the businesses that only allow four people per aisle, you get into choke points, spots where we all need to pass one another and it’s much closer than 1.5 metres, we all stand back, trying to be well-mannered. It’s awkward and it’s crazy.

 

It’s Really Hard To Write Today

It’s really hard to write today.

My life is choc a block full of…

I am trying to be positive…

I don’t know how to handle all of the things that are happening…

I’m tired of being positive and coping with life with a mental illness, and now I have a shocker of a new diagnosis; cervical cancer. Tests, multiple doctor and specialist visits, biopsy, god only knows what next because I have to wait another week to find out what stage the cancer is at and what treatment I need. Not a happy camper.

be you xx Rachel

Taking Charge of My Own World

Life truly is awesome when you do what you feel you’re meant to be doing. For me, this has involved rejecting a whole truckload of shoulds and oughts. In the last twenty four hours, I have been having big realisations about how much I’ve put on myself in regard to who I should be, what I should be doing and how I should be doing it.

flower6

I read a lot. Reading is one of my favourite things in the world, but thanks to my MI, sometimes reading can mess with my head. When I’m manic, I sometimes read quotes by famous people about how life is great if you make it so, and I start to pile all kinds of shoulds and oughts on myself. I should be happy, because, after all, all of the books say that happiness is a choice. Crap! If I’m depressed or manic/depressed, I’m here to tell you that telling me to choose to be happy is about as intelligent as telling a diabetic to spontaneously produce enough insulin. No can do, sunshine.

Something I’ve learned to do is to hit the blogs and Facebook pages of other people with BD, and read how they make their way through the dark times. Humour plays a big part in this, especially the ability to laugh at your own moods, reactions and choices.

be you xx Rachel