My anxiety is gone
My anxiety is much better
There is no change in my anxiety
My anxiety is a little worse
My anxiety is much worse
I never had any issues with anxiety up until about 2 months ago when I started having panic/anxiety attacks. Been primal since Jan 2010 leaning more to the higher carb - moderate fat side and always getting plenty of exercise so I don't think my diet contributed to that.
The thing I learned is that anxiety at least in most cases needs to be confronted, if it's a fear you have, you have to learn to love that fear. That's the technique that worked for me (still a work in progress, but it's only because my brain likes to screw with me) telling myself that I was enjoying the feelings of anxiety and that I welcomed them - what's more, that I wanted them to be WORSE. I would say things like "I want my heart to beat faster! I want it to actually have a heart attack. I want my palms to get sweatier, I want the pressure on my head to intensify. I want this, I embrace it." etc etc ... it's a trick, your body cannot actually worsen it's own symptoms and it actually makes it so you return to normal. It's our desire to run away from this unpleasantness that makes them persist and worsen.
My case could and probably was milder, but I talked to a few people and apparently anxiety issues (and panic attacks) are incredibly common, which also helped put me at ease. I still have issues sometimes when I go to sleep, and what I discussed above doesn't always work right away and this is (in my case at least) due to over active thinking and self-sabotage.
I think WORRYING about your diet could obviously lead to issues, but if you feel confident about eating VLC, or high carb or anything in between, then you will be fine. It's all in our heads, or at least a big chunk of it is.
For what it's worth, I do take vitamin D and magnesium daily and both are known to help with stress and mood. I also sometimes take OTC sleep aids when my night attacks just won't go away, but only so that I get some sleep and I try not to do it frequently.
Edit: It's important to say. I have NOT been totally grain-free since I went primal. In fact as of the past few months I have not been good at staying away from grains. I want to again, because I know they're not good for me, but I'm taking it slow. I do assume my mental health would be better without them, as my mood improved dramatically when I first went primal. I guess I'm a slow learner though - and living with my gf now it makes it harder to stay away from them. I seem to have lost my affinity for mostly meat + veg, but I am inching back to it. I think a big help for me mentally is that I love to exercise, so while no excuse for a poor diet, I think if it wasn't for that I'd really be having more issues in the vein of anxiety or depression. Working out helps me put my worries in the back burner and makes me feel free.
I have been having some nagging headaches, where my head doesn't actually hurt but I feel some tingling and mild jabbing. I think they're probably tension headaches, but it could be just a result of eating more grains and/or sugar. I used to be good at staying on the primal path, but it's been quite an issue lately. I feel like I've only been at around 60% and should really strive for a good 85%... I love eggs, meat, etc but been allowing more sweets and even pastries that I NEVER gave a shit about only because they're around. I think they could be largely responsible for the fogginess. Time to shape up!
Last edited by iniQuity; 11-08-2012 at 10:32 AM.
I have to say that my anxiety and depression has gotten worse. I stopped grains and I believe that I was one of those who needs those carbs to feel good. I should really say just to feel OK. I am realizing now that I really cant even drink wine as I chug it because it makes me feel so good. I believe this is not an alcohol thing but a sugar thng. Beer - no problem. But wine to me is like toast and peanut butter, cheese and crackers. Feel good foods.
I am so sad when I think about all the foods I loved that I cannot eat anymore. And of course I loved them because they gave me a shot of feel good to eat them. Hence my weight problem too!
I read a good article about some oeverweight people having less dopamine receptors and therefore need to eat more of those foods which act like opiates in us even to just feel normal. And over time have to eat more to get the same feeling.
So 55 years into this life I figure out why I have a weight problem. I am not just a pig!! I knew it, I just didn't know why.
So what to do? I exercise - alot - walking, cycling, weights, yoga. Not chronic cardio. I try to be out in the sun alot as I've read that helps. I sit in front of a SAD lite in the winter. I take vitamin D.
So this all makes me feel just barely OK( in the winter anyway). Sure want those sugars back but I know I cant. Sucks
I dont mean to be so negative - sucks now but beats cancer, heart disease, diabetes later
Last edited by snoops; 11-08-2012 at 10:37 AM. Reason: to add
Maybe it's a chicken/egg situation. I believe that most people who are LC/Paleo are more anxiety prone to begin with because we are (generalizing) mostly a bunch of type A perfectionists who can't relax.
PJAP - not me - totally not type A at all
My DH and eldest DD have suffered from severe depression and anxiety for many years. DD also has ADD. With both - the sugar has a huge effect on their conditions, however no amount of coaxing or leading by example wil get them truely on board the primal lifestyle. DH will eat what I cook him, but will also eat CW foods whenever he wants. One can lead a horse to water ........
DHs anxiety is so bad , even on meds, that he jiggles around all night in his sleep - some nights (in fact I get hurt some nights. He is usually off on a crusade fighting snakes or wrestling sharks). His Doctor has given him sleeping tablets, which I was really upset about, so instead I have encouraged him to take magnesium and notice that when he does, his sleep is very settled.
But I also notice that when he hasn't been eating much sugar his depression and anxiety are noticably better.
"never let the truth get in the way of a good story "
I read "The Mood Cure" and have taken 5-HTP for depression and L-Tyrosine for anxiety (diagnosed with both 8 years ago) for about a year now, on and off as needed. They help immensely. For the first time, therapy is DOING something for me because I feel like I can actually analyze and learn from my life and feelings. It's amazing. I think the supplements helped set up a good platform for the therapy to be truly effective.
My mood plummets when I eat refined sugar. More than a (flour-based) cookie and I'm screwed. It takes a few days sugar-free for me to recover.
Snoops, you might be interested in this book. If your dopamine receptors are really "faulty" supplementing could help where food alone does not.
I've read it can take a couple of weeks for all that to normalize, and most of the time I feel good - meaning, I'm not anxious and don't have bad thoughts, etc. I would imagine all is well with my dopamine levels and receptors, but I might give that book a read. I considered ordering 5-HTP and L-Tyrosine (and other things) when the anxiety was lasting a few days, just looking for a way out so speak. It took going on a hike with my gf and getting things off my chest regarding my years of drug use, regrets, etc to start feeling better. I think I had to forgive myself and accept my past and start to move forward for the anxiety to subside, and it has, but sometimes it still wants to come around so I might consider at least the L-tyrosine - is there a particular brand you went for? I see iherb.com has a few varieties.
I make my orders from Vitacost or swing by a local Vitamin Shoppe when I forget to order ahead. I've tried a few brands, but I just go for the cheapest now since I never noticed any difference. Just make sure you know what dose you are getting (check for how many capsules make up a dose)/how many servings are in a container. That's screwed me over a few times, ending up with a 15 day supply when I meant to have 3 months worth.
I believe gut health can also have an impact on mental "stability". My depression came back with a vengeance when I started having gut issues a couple of months ago. I'd been without 5-HTP for about 6 months and suddenly needed 250mg ("The Mood Cure" says up to 300mg daily is safe, so it's kind of a high dose) to feel stable and non-suicidal. I think it's partially knowing that I'm ill that gets me down, as well as the physical impact of my gut flora or whatever being imbalanced. There isn't a lot of research on this because it's very hard to get a controlled environment.