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.

Losing Weight, Bipolar Style

I’ve just realised something about my many attempts to lose weight in the past six years; every time I decide to lose weight, I’m in a manic state. This means I’m pumped, excited, ready to exercise and eat right and conquer the world. As soon as the depression or mixed state kick in, I immediately lose the momentum and completely give up. This is a huge aha moment for me.

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I’ve joined a gym a few times and in my normal or manic state I can really enjoy the gym. Of course as soon as my mood shifts to depression or mixed state, the Social Phobia accompanies it and I have no ability to leave the house, and I want to eat all day long.

It all seems so obvious now, but I had no way of understanding this before. So, and I’m just thinking out loud here, I have the usual amount of human inertia about eating healthily and exercising, with the added difficulty of unpredictable, uncontrolled mood shifts. Give me a break.

I’m wondering if I can create a plan that shifts with the moods? Sounds revolutionary, but that could be my current manic state speaking. One plan for each of my four states, and I act accordingly each day. The speed at which I cycle between moods could be an issue; at times I can experience four states in one day.

I’m going to work on this and get back to you. Maybe it’ll work. Maybe it’s a book in the making. Maybe I’m all hyped up on manic endorphins?

be you xx Rachel

Where I Talk About Bipolar and Writing About Real Life

Hi, my name is Rachel and I’m Bipolar. I know a lot of people hate labels. I’ve heard a few people say things like ‘I’m not Bipolar, I have Bipolar’. Fair enough for them, and I do get their point, but I have to say that right now I always find myself saying I AM Bipolar.

free candle

When I say this I don’t mean that Bipolar is the only thing I am, of course. Bipolar is what I have found myself to be, to suffer from, to struggle with, every fracking day of the year. I can breathe so much more easily now, knowing I am Bipolar. I have over a hundred online friends who are also Bipolar, who I relate to in a way that I’ve never related to anyone before in my whole life. I really get their struggles, I totally understand their pain. I know how it is to be so depressed you can’t see any lights in any tunnels, there’s just hot, deep, black. I know how it is to be a million miles up, high as a kite, without any drugs, just high on manic life, making bad choices, saying stupid stuff, promising things you will never be able to follow through on.

Spending 47 years trying to find out what the hell is wrong inside my own head, made me yearn for the right label. Not telling any of the shrinks that I was depressed and suicidal for over 20 years turned out to be a barrier to that. Who knew? I thought suicidal depression was normal, or irrelevant or so similar to one of my close family members that it could pretty much be expected.

Becoming aware of my Bipolar has not boxed me, it has somehow released me. I know that must sound weird, but I’ve always tried to find out how to act ‘normal’ while my mind did the rollercoaster thing. Now, I find myself not trying to ‘be normal’ at all. I’m being me, and part of me is that I am Bipolar. Wow, feels so great to say it, own it, know it, and be able to find ways to cope with it.

I’ve started writing in a completely different way than ever before. I’m a copywriter by trade, and I have 5 unpublished book manuscripts of my own in my bookcase, but this time I’m writing the stuff that matters most to me. I’m thinking this will make it either much more tempting to want it published or the complete opposite and even more likely to be shoved into the back of a drawer.

Whatever happens to my raw, core-self writing, it feels very liberating to pour that stuff out on the page. I’m closely connected to these words in a way I’ve never been connected to my writing before. I always wanted to write about normal things, normal people, normal heads.

Now I’m going to write about how normal it is to be Bipolar.

be you xx Rachel