Don't read this.
Hello, thank you for not reading. My name is Josh, and I've lost 120-ish pounds on my primal journey. That's a bad thing, because I reached my goal weight of 180 back in July and have been muscle wasting ever since. I stopped taking Effexor and Lamictal a few months into my diet, thinking I had cured my depression. I was right and wrong, really. I've come to realize that while my mood didn't entirely need balancing by the medication, it did reduce my stress significantly.
That stress ripped a huge hole in my life. It's always been lying dormant in me, but as soon as I made food my medicine, I started having uncontrollable irritability that turned into a violent rage which stays with me to this day. Like I said, I've always had a hidden rage inside of me that would occasionally rear its ugly head, but now it's front and center and kind of ruining my life. I don't know what I did exactly to exacerbate things, but I do know that my health has been slowly deteriorating since I went off the medication.
The obvious advice in such a situation is to see a doctor. Last year I let my sense of pride overtake my common sense when I switched from my parents' absolutely fucking fantastic health insurance that covers everything to company insurance that cost $200 a month that didn't cover shit and carried a deductible I couldn't afford. So I trapped myself in a corner. I was stuck with my shitty insurance for a year before I could use the good insurance again. That year has come and gone, and it was incredibly shitty year, and now I'm able to use my parents' insurance again. Unfortunately, during that time I found myself getting inspired, for better or worse (worse), by all the n=1 experimenting people were during in the paleo community, and I decided it was worth a shot to try to fix my "metabolic derangement" on my own.
I visited my PCP a few times in the past year to get random blood work that everyone seems to agree a person should have. So here are a few things I know. I have low B-12. It sits at the very bottom of the range. I also have low folate, which from what I've read can occur as a result of low B-12. I have low testosterone. It doubled from the 200s to the 400s between the periods I had it tested, with the first test years before I started dieting. It's still less than half of what I'd like. I'm 24, so I figure it's not too unreasonable to be unhappy with that number. My 25-OH D is 29, I think. I'm not concerned with that. I haven't had a comprehensive thyroid panel, but everything was in range and my TSH was low.
Through my research I learned that it's extremely hard to be deficient in B-12, and if you are it means you're an idiot vegan or you have some sort of digestive problem, so I figured I had a digestive problem. It wasn't a hard sell. Since I made the switch to a low carb, high protein, ketogenic Atkins-like diet with lots of dairy, I had very consistent diarrhea. I took dairy out of my diet after a while and my bowel movements improved... slightly? I found myself going several days between bowel movements, and most of them were soft and painful, but not full blown diarrhea.
My research on gut health led me to the standard advice you hear: probiotic, betaine, digestive enzymes, bone broth, yadda yadda. I didn't really want to admit it at the time since I was staunchly low carb, but I had the hardest time digesting fatty meals. They left me nauseous and killed my energy. As I transitioned to things like potatoes and rice I found my digestion improved and my energy returned. So that was the death of low carb for me, but I still had my issues. I considered my low B-12 status and figured I just didn't have enough stomach acid, so I supplemented the betaine.
After I did that, everything went to hell. The pain and bloating I was experiencing after meals went away, which was good, but my violent outbursts became significantly worse, I was stressed as all hell all the time, and I experienced whacky fucking arrythmias. One night after a violent outburst I was lying in bed and it felt like my heart was vibrating and rotating around in my chest like a rock tumbler (that's bad, right?). Also, that's when I lost all the strength, energy and motivation I previously had to exercise, and I lost significant amounts of lean mass everywhere - my back, shoulders, forearms, legs. The only fat I kept on my body was in my abdomen and thighs.
I've since been--what's it called, reverse dieting?--to add fat and lean mass to my frame, but it's not working as well as I had hoped. Either way, I'm now seeing a gastroenterologist so I can get a proper diagnosis, which almost seems like a dirty word in the primal community, judging by how many people I see writing about how they're "healing" their "gut problems" and "sensitivities". Will they ever be fully healed? I hope so, but it's hard to treat a disease without a diagnosis. Well, I'm tired of chasing ghosts. I'd like to know exactly what's wrong with me and actually have it fixed so I can feel like a human again. I'll use this journal thing to provide occasional updates on my treatment. Right now I'm awaiting the results my recent labs. He ordered lipase and tTG.
I don't mean to be overly harsh about people trying to fix things on their own. It just frustrates me to see so much of an anti-medicine sentiment in this community. I tried the n=1 thing, and I ended up fucking myself because I'm an idiot. I hope all you other people who go it alone do it more wisely than I did, or if you reach a point where you've done more harm than good, you can let go of your pride and get some real help. That's what I'm doing.
Thank you again for not reading.