This story isn’t for pity, but rather to show where I was and how far I’ve come. Hopefully if anyone is in a similar situation, it will show how things really can get better. There is a TL:DR list of my issues at the bottom.
I’ve had issues with my health since childhood. From ear tubes at 3, to pneumonia, childhood asthma, chronic fatigue, and anxiety. Also countless colds, sinus infections, stomach bugs, and antibiotics.
By the time I got to middle school i had symptoms from acid reflux and went on an antacid and my first therapeutic diet. A very simple one that I didn’t stick to 100% since I was a preteen who wanted to eat everything. This was when my undiagnosed ADHD and depression started showing up. I also noticed neck and back pain, which I attributed to my love of the violin. I also had horrible acne, although not cystic acne, just a billion small bumps and several big red or white heads. It also showed up on my chest and back, pretty severely. My hair and skin was also incredibly oily.
High school hit me like a ton of bricks. My anxiety and depression got much worse and I ended up with mononucleosis which was undiagnosed until after I had “recovered.” Chronic fatigue, nausea/vomiting, aches and pains, fever, and all the symptoms were chalked up to me adjusting to high school, which only made my depression worse. I was also having diarrhea almost every morning before school (lovely, I know) and frequent nausea. My acne did get better after starting birth control.
It goes without saying that I had a complete inability to concentrate and I started noticing more aches and pains. I was put on an intense cocktail of anti depressants, sleeping pills, and other pills I don’t even remember, trying to figure out what would cure me. Nothing helped and I began to struggle with panic attacks, then self harm and suicidal thoughts from frustration. There were a few short stays in a psych ward following a suicide attempt at 15.
The second half of high school improved in some ways, but brought new problems to light. My meds narrowed down to one anti depressant until I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue at 16, then put on a pill for narcolepsy. Unfortunately I still slept through most of my classes and struggled with frustration. I also was still having many gut issues, particularly frequent diarrhea. It wasn’t all bad, I made a lot of friends and had moments of really enjoying life. I graduated high school in 2006.
Unfortunately, my first two years of college were spent being anxious, isolated, and depressed. Smoking a lot of pot, self harming, and I finally developed bulimia which had started around 16, but had been getting better before this. Just before I turned 19 I ended up with E. Coli which put me in the hospital for a week. It completely destroyed what little gut health I had. I was diagnosed with IBS-A, which I probably had since around 14. It was around this time I went on ADHD meds to help with my inability to concentrate and my fatigue. I treated the fibromyalgia pain with pot which created its own problems. I was also getting frequent sinus infections and constantly off and on antibiotics.
I eventually overcame bulimia in 2010 after a 6 year battle, which is a story for another day. I should mention that I was going to college for a degree in dietetics, which I earned in 2013. I tried so many of the diets we learned in class, nothing worked. I followed every rule, and really tried to live what I was learning. That’s one thing that led me to seek help for bulimia, in addition to an emergency room stay due to heart palpitations and a panic attack (my rock bottom, I suppose). I even went off anti-depressants since my life was a little more in order.
After working at a hospital in 2014, I realized how much nutrition advice was complete bullshit when patients on a heart healthy diet could eat burgers but not salmon, because salmon had too much cholesterol…. So I started to do more research on my own to see what my classes didn’t teach me. (My reasons for not becoming a dietitian are also a story for another day.)
In 2017 I started the autoimmune protocol diet and had relief for so many of my issues. My eczema had been getting worse and I kept getting rashes and blotchy spots on my stomach and lower back for about 3 years prior, they all went away on AIP. Same goes for my oily hair and skin, everything cleared up! I could even skip days washing my hair, which I could never do before. Eventually I went into a paleo-ish diet when the AIP diet proved too difficult to do while working. My symptoms became loads better but I still wasn’t 100% “normal.” It was clear I had a gluten sensitivity but I couldn’t figure out which other foods bothered me.
It is currently 2018, and with the arrival of my 30th birthday, I decided to try even harder to fix my symptoms that I’ve been living with for so long. I went off my adhd meds and birth control (which I had taken for 12 years), so I am med-free! My current diet is a carnivore diet, at least 98% carnivore anyway, and my reason for starting this blog. This diet has alleviated all of my issues, and that’s not an overstatement. Well the gut issues, I still have a problem with chronic sinusitis, but for the most part the only time I have problems is if I cheat. I didn’t realize how much fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans negatively affected my gut. It seems so counter intuitive, but I’m not alone.
TL:DR Problems included childhood asthma, chronic sinusitis, acne, oily hair and skin, lots of antibiotics, history of mental issues (mainly depression, adhd, and anxiety), IBS-A, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome, eczema/blotchy skin/rashes, food sensitivities. After starting the carnivore diet, my problems are basically gone unless I cheat. Sinus infections are still an issue but very mild.