In 2020 I had a mild stroke. In 2021... I got Shingles.... and all during the Covid-19 Pandemic. I used to jokingly ask, "What's next 2022?"
Be careful what you ask.
The last time I remember really feeling good about myself was in 2019. Things were going very well with my blog and I was genuinely happy, both with my business and my personal life.
But then came 2020, and the stroke, and then covid, and the beginning of the decline of my blog. Somehow we pushed through to the end of that horrible year, and then came 2021 with more covid, one of the worst heatwaves in Oregon's history, and then a case of shingles.
To top it all off - the number of people viewing my blog, which is my sole source of income, had declined even more, and by the end of the year had dropped nearly 40%.
I was beginning to get this horrible feeling of dread.
Dread, despair, sadness, anxiety, depression - you name it, I was feeling it.
And by January of this year, 2022, it had all come to a peak. I simply could not take it anymore. I felt horrible, was gaining weight, probably due to my self-medication of nightly alcohol, and my blood pressure had gone back up to levels that were definitely not healthy.
And then by chance, I watched a YouTube video talking about ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) - and it all clicked.
I mean every single symptom they described, I would find myself nodding in agreement. My fidgetiness, my lack of motivation, my bouts of sadness and despair, my inability to finish things I had started (remember my Lose 21 Pounds in 21 Challenge? or my Podcast? or my YouTube vids?)
I had my wife watch it and I said, "Tell me if you recognize any of these things in me." When it finished she turned to me, wide-eyed, and said "Oh my GOD! That's YOU!"
My Story So Far
First off - I never had suicidal thoughts. But if YOU do, or know someone who is - PLEASE call the number above. There will ALWAYS be someone there to talk to you!
On January 24, 2022, I made my first doctor's appointment. I was hoping for a referral to a therapist to get tested for ADHD - that's all I wanted. Instead....I got a diagnosis of depression and anxiety and was given an SSRI Antidepressant called Paxil.
One pill made me sicker than I have ever felt in my life!
I woke up to my skin crawling off my body, eyes super dilated, my GI tract was NOT happy, and I felt clammy while also shivering with cold. Scared my wife for sure! I called my doc the next day and he switched me over to an NDRI Antidepressant (norepinephrine dopamine reuptake inhibitor) called Wellbutrin, which I have been on ever since.
I have completely stopped the Wellbutrin and do not intend to ever take it again. Why? I haven't slept more than 3 hours at a time in over a week.
I'm done with pills. DONE.
I realized I was slowly entering "the system", where they treat your symptoms instead of even looking for a root cause, and before you know it you're taking another pill for this side-effect and another pill for that side-effect....
NO - THANK - YOU!
And I also realize that thanks to Covid - finding ANY kind of therapist, let alone a local one, is going to take a while, maybe a long while, so unless I want to be on this medicine for the rest of my life - I need to do something different.
So this is my new challenge:
Treating my anxiety, depression, and possible ADHD - NATURALLY.
Since Wellbutrin works by keeping the neurotransmitters Norepinephrine and Dopamine in your system longer, I started searching for ways I can boost these mood chemicals myself.
And you are NOT going to believe what I found....
- Sunshine for Vitamin D
- Nature Therapy (Walking Wednesday ?)
- Good SLEEP
- Drinking Enough WATER
- Vitamin B12
- Omega 3 like Flaxseed and Walnuts
- LOTS of Fruits and Veggies (a lot more than I eat now!)
- A HIGH FIBER Diet
- Probiotic Foods
- GOOD protein from beans, legumes, and soy
- NO alcohol
- NO processed foods
- NO refined grains
- NO gluten
- NO junk food
Isn't this what I teach already? That a good Diet and Exercise can fix almost anything?
I KNOW THIS!
Now, I just have to put together a plan, a DAILY plan, to incorporate as much of the above as possible. Yes, I eat healthy already, but I can always improve. ALWAYS.
And now that I know that a good diet and exercise not only affects your physical health but can also affect your MENTAL health.... it should make it easier to stick to, whether I have ADD or not.
Another plus is I was just at the doctor so I have a fresh lipid panel to use as a baseline.
So I'm off.
This is my new 2022 Challenge.
My new journey.
Better Mental Health through Diet and Exercise.
You're more than welcome to join me, and as soon as I have a solid plan in place, I will share it with you.
Thanks for always being so supportive.