Feelings of Depression or Nobody Likes a Sad Sack

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First of all, let me warn you that I had some depression last week, and I wrote this post back then.  I'm now feeling much better, the depression has lifted, and I think I know what happened and why I was depressed.  But I'll share that in another post… it may have been die off, but there was another factor that I didn't add in until the depression started to lift… on with my tale of woe… 

It has been a rough couple of weeks. If you get queasy reading about other people's sorry lives and depression, come back tomorrow, this might get uncomfortable.  Or go on and jump down to the quotation, it's safe from that point on.

I may be experiencing die off… on the list there has been a little bit of conversation about having die off occur at the four week mark and causing depression, and it seems to have hit me pretty hard.  I do know that stepping on the scale to see that I'd gained weight started me into a tailspin.  It was definitely one of the last straw's on the camel's back.

The depression I was feeling escalated on Sunday the 8th (Mother's Day), and I spend some time during the day in tears. This is unusual for me since starting on GAPS. I used to be weepy and sad and anxious and depressed fairly regularly before GAPS. Now, I'm not the happiest person all the time, but I am nowhere near as depressed as I felt prior to GAPS. I would say on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being “needs medication” — before GAPS I was up to at least an 8.  Now I would say I probably hover around 2 as a general rule, and Sunday was more like a 6.  So, not so bad, but uncomfortable just the same.

I got to thinking on Monday about depression, and rejection and how people tire quickly of a depressed person – at least that has been my experience in my life.  In mulling over that, it occurred to me that I have had bouts with depression throughout my life.  Being a highly sensitive person, I can sense when people are getting to their tolerance point with the depression I'm experiencing.  It even happens in my own household where I can't sink too low into the depths or it affects my husband.  So for his sake I have to try to maintain some semblance of happiness. I have been doing that for years; my sister first pointed it out to me many years ago that my tone would change while we were on the phone if he walked into the room. I have actually had friends tell me they didn't want to talk to me unless I was talking about pleasant things (not in those exact words) and my own mother finds a reason to get off the phone to the point where I find myself unable to talk to her and have a regular conversation since I know she will need to go if I accidentally start talking about negative stuff. Feeling rejected like this can cause me to plunge even further into the sinkhole of depression, unfortunately. 

I tend to cloak my true mood and feelings around most people, in public and in the workplace, and only once I know people well do I share the depths of sadness that sometimes overcomes me. It's very difficult for me to speak to a counselor or therapist because I cannot be completely honest with them until I find where they stand.  Will they truly accept me for who I am?  Or am I going to find myself backpedaling my way out of something I said that has caused them to not want to deal with me? I once saw a counselor who fell asleep during our afternoon visits <!!> and one of the reasons I was seeing her was for body acceptance and she revealed to me that she was on a diet to lose weight for her upcoming wedding.  I never felt comfortable sharing my inner thoughts and feelings to her.  I have one person in my life I know to steer clear of when I'm upset because she will verbally attack me when I'm depressed, which of course can send me into a fit of tears.  This hasn't happened in quite a long time, thankfully, and that is mostly because I am not depressed enough any more, and I learned to keep away from her if I am feeling morose.

I remember as a 15 year old, yes, I know we all have teenage angst… but I remember sitting outside in the dark, wishing I was dead. My stepfather was a horrible mean man.  He was very verbally abusive and physically abusive and I vowed from the age of 10 that I would raise my children differently. I refused to believe that I had to be like my parents or to follow in their footsteps.   I tried to be perfect as a child, as perfect as I could be whilst feeling like I had no energy or desire to do much of anything.

The worst depression came when my mother gave me away to our woman pastor when I was 16.  The pastor had convinced my mother that I had anorexia and was starving myself.  I did not, and was not. At any rate, once I got to the pastor's house she tried to fatten me up by serving me huge amounts of plain white spaghetti.  Now granted, I can eat just about anyone under the table when it comes to spaghetti, but this nutty woman found it offensive if you felt you needed more salt on your food.  I've always been one to need more salt on my food (adrenal fatigue anyone?).  So while I can eat anyone under the table with buttered spaghetti salted to my taste, I cannot do the same with plain spaghetti and no salt. AGH.  Of course it wasn't only spaghetti, but other foods, and another item she made me eat was four candy bars every single day (that I worked), and told me they had to contain glucose in the ingredient list because I had low blood sugar (so she said).  I believed her for a long time. I was scared of her, and I didn't like living there.  The only candy bars with GLUCOSE on the ingredient list were Baby Ruth's.  Those are some nasty candy bars. 

One time I was so despondent living there with her that I crawled into her walk in closet, where her grandson's baby crib was kept. I crawled under the crib and backed into the corner. She got really, really angry at me for hiding under that crib “like a dog”.  She was so hateful. She blamed any bad thing on me, and tried to make me feel guilty. One time one of her grandsons slipped and fell on a glass bottle that had just broken and he was seriously injured and needed to actually have his leg put in a cast.  That was blamed on me, because I'd been going through a depression at that time. She also told me later that night that one day I would feel obligated to pay the boy money (once he became an adult) to make up for injuring his leg.  Another time, their elderly dog was having a stroke, and I walked in and found the dog, of course that was blamed on me as well.

Things got so bad living there, that I begged God to take me home. I thought about suicide a lot, but then I would feel broken-hearted and cry and cry because I knew my mother would be so broken up and sad over losing me.  Within a few months, I almost got my wish when my appendix almost burst inside me.  I had never experienced such pain and nausea in my life, and I felt sure God was giving  me a taste for which I had begged. Obvioulsly I lived through it, and that was the last time I wished to die, and had suicidal thoughts.

But I continued to feel depressed throughout my life and there was always that smack down from someone to let me know this wasn't acceptable behavior.  I feel crushed when that happens, so I try to keep to myself when hurting.  Still, I reach out every now and then.

My feelings of depression grew progressively worse as I entered my mid-forties.  In the months before I started GAPS, I was beginning to have – along with what I considered to be mild depression – lots of anxiety and anxiety attacks. I was taking Kava Kava almost every single day, and sometimes more than one time a day, just to take the edge off the anxiety.

While mulling over my experience with deression, something else I realized was that expectation I keep mentioning, that I need to keep up appearances?  I realized what it was. I don't want people interested in GAPS, to come here looking for information and find nothing but depressing, sad posts.  But you know, unfortunately that is just how it goes sometimes. I wish I had complete healing at 17 months on GAPS, but I don't.  I'm not giving up.  And I'm so happy that I don't have any desire to give up. I don't have any feelings of thinking “I just want to eat an entire cake” it's more like “I just want to eat some grapes” lol or “an entire almond flour chocolate cake with peanut butter chocolate frosting” all perfectly GAPS legal. 🙂

You know, this food is real food.  It was created and designed by God, not man.  Everything is so nourishing and tastes so delicious.

I started to feel better in leaps and bounds on Monday afternoon, when I read Dr. Natasha's newest post to her blog titled, “One Man's Meat Is Another Man's Poison“.

The first area where it made me feel better is I realized I'm okay for “cheating” on intro.  I didn't cheat with Ding Dongs or Dr. Pepper, after all.   At the moment I can't even remember what I cheated and ate that wasn't on the stage I was on, but it's okay, I'm okay!  I'm not a failure!

Dr. Natasha says:

If you were following the GAPS Introduction Diet to a letter and felt well, but then one day you get a strong desire for, let's say, raw tomatoes (which are not included into the plan), then listen to this desire! This is your body telling you that it needs particular nutrients at this particular time, and raw tomatoes will provide them. If you deny your body that need, you may get yourself into trouble: your electrolyte balance may get upset or your hormones may not work well, or something else will not work. Yes, you would have ‘cheated' on the diet by eating tomatoes, but once that particular need of your body has been satisfied, you can continue with your programme. Any progress goes through two steps forward then one step back, and healing is no exception. So, don't worry about ‘cheating' on the diet sometimes if your body has really asked for it. This is not cheating; this is working with your body and respecting it. Remember, your body knows infinitely more about itself than we will ever know with all our intelligence and science!

That is just beautiful.

It has inspired me to try harder to work with my body and to give it the respect it deserves.  It has housed my soul for forty-seven years, it has carried and created my children, it has been here for me, now it's time for me to try and listen more closely to what it needs and desires.

Instead of being angry and hateful at my body for gaining weight, I'm going to try and listen more carefully.  I'm going to try to follow this from Dr. Natasha:

However, if you listen to your sense of pleasure from food, then you will not overeat because you would stop eating as soon as the food stops being pleasurable. Pleasure on / pleasure off are the signals your body gives you to let you know about its needs. Your sense of pleasure will keep you eating as long as your body still needs the nutrients from that particular food; as soon as your body had enough of those nutrients, the food will stop giving you pleasure.

I'm going to try my best to eat only when I'm hungry.  The biggest question I have about that is do I need to wait until my stomach actually growls?

I'm going to be more mindful of what my body is hungry for. I am going to try and be more attentive while I eat, and mindful of cues.  Am I just eating what's left on my plate because it's there?  How did I know that's how much my body wanted?  I may be able to figure that out by carefully observing the way I feel with each bite.  Set the utensil down, chew.  Does the food still taste wonderful?

I have tried to practice this mindfulness in the past – prior to GAPS. It was a disappointment but now that I am eating good nutritious foods, maybe it will be easier.

Thank you for sticking around to the end whether you skipped over the depressed parts or not.

Hugs,

Starlene

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8 comments to Feelings of Depression or Nobody Likes a Sad Sack

  • Read it all! I accept you and love you, Starlene 🙂

    Great post!! Your history is utterly heartwrenching. However, this -and your struggles in healing- are also what make you an empathic person who understands what to offer to those going through similar things.

    You rock!

    Baden

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    @Baden, thank you for your kind words. I am so glad I am feeling better. Whew. No fun!

    [Reply]

  • Tiffany

    Oh Starlene, thank you for being so honest!! I can really relate to alot of what you said…especially about other people being able to only tolerate so much sadness/depression/anxiety. You are such a strong and capable woman and I admire you. You are helping so many people!

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    @Tiffany, wow, thank you for the kind words. It is hard sometimes, isn’t it? I hope one day I won’t experience depression and I’m glad it finally lifted. Warmly, Starlene

    [Reply]

  • FarNorthGirl

    I did really well on the SCD for 8 months. I discovered GAPS and added more bone broth and probiotic foods. At first I did really well but then
    I started having episodes of anxiety followed by fatigue and depression. I discovered GAPS is a high histamine version of SCD and I am sensitive to histamine! Try taking out the high histamine foods and see if you feel better.

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    @FarNorthGirl, I should take a look at that. Thank you for mentioning your experience.

    [Reply]

  • Liz

    I was wondering if you did just straight GAPS or if you added in any additional supplements to help with depression?

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    Hi Liz, I still haven’t 100% hammered out what causes me to have depression, but it seems to have a lot to do with eating too many carbohydrates. I discussed my theory in this post recently: http://gapsdietjourney.com/2012/03/i-feel-better-than-i-have-in-weeks/ I have never really taken supplements to help with depression… I did used to take Kava Kava but learned a few months ago that Kava Kava lowers cortisol and my cortisol levels are already low. Does that answer your question?

    [Reply]

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