I tell myself this every day

I tell myself this every day

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Pinocchio Effect

After two weeks of being completely out of my mind and having no control over anything in my head I finally figured out why. I had been eating granola bars with malted barley in them for 6 days.

I don't know if most people know about the connection between bipolar and gluten intolerance. Here's one of many studies done on the subject.

A short and unprofessional version is this- gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Having a sensitivity to it means it activates my immune system- my body literally attacks itself. In the behavioral part of your brain is something that's very close to the gluten protein  My system attacks not only the gluten in my intestines but it also attacks the behavioral part of my brain.

That is a very simple version of the whole story. I would also like to point out I'm not a Dr. If you somehow thought I was medically qualified for any reason you should stop drinking right now and stick to chronic masturbation.

I've been gluten free for almost 4 years. I decided to try it because my meds would work some days and it wouldn't others. That was devastating because the level of my bipolar makes normal life almost impossible. I decided to try it because I was desperate.

HOLY MOTHER OF SWEET BABY FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER!!! After 2 weeks I was a whole different person. My meds worked. My moods were stable and fantastic. My bicycling performance went through the roof. I had so much more energy.

I've had the intolerance my whole life and never knew it. I've always been a strange level of sleepy but hyperactive. I've always had severe stomach issues. I didn't know these weren't part of regular life. I hadn't know any other way of existing. I was unbelievable and it was fantastic.

I was able to be productive and stay on task better at work. I was able to have a social life and my relationship at the time sky rocketed into the awesome zone. Everything was better just because I cut out one simple protein out of my diet.

I was cycling (bicycle) at about 300 miles a week back then. I could do it but it took a pretty heavy toll on me but I've always been pretty dedicated to staying physically active so I just figured that was part of riding so much. With that many calories being burnt up daily I relied a lot on pasta, bread, and similar staples of the American diet. After I cut out gluten I was able to do 300 miles a week no problem and I became significantly faster. I even ended up adding more miles to my weeks. Like was fucking great.

I had never in my life been so stable. Ever.

But like a lot of bipolar people I eventually went off my meds. I was fixed right? I felt so good I didn't need the meds right?

I went full retard.

My younger brother died a couple months after going off my meds. I was not prepared to deal with that and an unmedicated bipolar person is incapable.

I ended up eventually cycling so bad and frequently I destroyed my relationship, job, and just about everything in my life. It didn't really start until about 4 moths after going off my meds when my brother died, but by then I was so convinced I was fine and it was the rest of the world that was fucked up. I never recovered from rapid cycling until going on meds again. I destroyed everything.

Long story short I've stayed gluten free and thanks to someone who genuinely gives a shit about me I've gone back on meds and have been steadily taking care of myself since December 2012. The difference this time is I refuse to let the disorder fuck up my life like it has for almost all of it.

Through all of this I've learned the way to beat this thing is prevention. Once I'm in a bipolar cycle I can't come out of it and my episodes are BAD. I've been spending a lot of my free time educating myself. There is so fucking much I didn't know. There is still so much to learn.

I will have this the rest of my life. I cannot ignore that fact. I currently have a lot going for me and I refuse to let it go. I refuse to lose this time around.

Meds + education + prevention = success.

Also with that I have to stay gluten free. Regardless of whatever meds I'm on if gluten gets into my system my bipolar kicks into overdrive.

I missed an ingredient in some stupid fucking granola bars for 6 days and basically went bat shit insane.

I'm glad it's over and I can't say I'm glad it happened but through that I was able to start this blog and have an escape to help myself cope. I spent the night a couple days ago curled up in my basement switching from uncontrollable crying to fits of complete rage. I sat shaking, gripping my knees until my fingers hurt and then went numb. I sat down and told myself not to get up so I didn't act out. That was the only bit of control I had.

I had to sit there by myself with every terrible thought and impulse rushing through my body all at once. Unless you've been there you can't possibly imagine how terrible it is. As bad as it might look to someone around this- there is no way you could possibly fathom how impossible it is to deal with.

It has passed. I'm turning that horrific experience into a learning opportunity.

The disorder is not my fault. When I'm cycling my thoughts, emotions, and actions aren't my fault. It is my fault if I get there. It's my fault if I don't take the extra second to double check ingredients. It's my fault if I don't educate myself. It's my fault if I don't stay on my meds. It's my fault if I let this continue.

It's my burden to deal with the aftermath of the destruction. It can destroy not only my self worth but it can destroy my relationships, my productivity, and my life.

When you get your mind back and realize the world is ok again it's very similar to the part in Pinocchio where he's excited to be a "real boy." After being in the grip of the parasite and not having control over yourself when you come out of it you're just glad you exist. You feel like a human again- you feel like yourself. That experience is indescribable.

I call it the Pinocchio effect.

Thank you for reading.

P.S. Happy World Goth Day.   Go do something spooky.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds very similar to my situation. Thank you for blogging this. It's made me feel a little less 'crazy' about thinking gluten and bipolar are connected. Now, if i can just stop falling off the gluten free wagon. It's been extremely difficult feeding my family of 5 a regular American (healthier) diet, while being gf myself...