Bloodshotbetty Posted February 12, 2014 Share Posted February 12, 2014 I wrote this post on one of my Weight Loss Surgery boards a while back. I wanted to share it here because the Whole30 has continued to improve my relationship between food and my mental illness. I am on Day 13, and I have already noticed a drastic decrease in my anxiety and mood swings. I feel this is largely due to feeling in control of my habits, my body, and the choices I make day to day with food. I have included my previous post to elaborate on how big of a deal this is and how this diet is truly changing my life. For me, my weight is inextricably tied to my mental health. Although I started experiencing symptoms from a very young age, I was not diagnosed with Bipolar disorder until I was 22. Before that my life was marked by extreme highs and miserable lows. One week I was emptying my bank account, working out for 2 hours a day, and rarely sleeping. The next I would shut myself into a dark room, avoiding life, family, friends, and the havoc I created while I was manic. Many people who suffer from bipolar disorder turn to drugs. I turned to food. When I was feeling sad, I would binge in secret until I felt ill. When I was manic, I was spending my money at restaurants and filling my stomach with bad food and beer. My periods of mania were also marked with extreme workouts in the gym. I was running, lifting, stair climbing; seven days a week for two hours a day. I convinced myself I was being healthy and many envied my dedication to the gym. What I didn't know was that I was slowly destroying my back. At age 23, I needed lower back surgery to correct the damage I had done. I became scared to exercise and my outlet for mania became eating. Before I knew it I was 300 pounds. Six years later I am much more stable and my mental illness is (mostly) well managed be my medications. I still have fluctuations and I still struggle with anxiety driven eating. Now my (very mild) mania manifests itself in motivation to get organized- planned menus, planned workouts, and meal preparation. Weight loss surgery was not just about losing weight. It was about learning to accept my history with mental illness and knowing that I did the best I could with the tools I had at the time. I share this story because so few people talk openly about mental illness. It is a harrowing experience that many people don't (and will never) understand. As I lose the weight, I find that my doctor and I need to monitor and adjust my meds regularly. Just last week I had the worst case of mania I have had since I started treatment. I rarely slept and I emptied our bank account, spending what little money we had on alcohol, food, and things to redecorate the bathroom. But what my surgery has taught me is that I ultimately have control over my mind, my weight, and my well-being. I can't dwell on my past actions, but instead I can use them as a learning opportunity to grow as a person and meet my goals. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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