Brief UnDiet update: Still staying comfortably within my 6 hours eating period, and the exercise is going well. I tolerate it easily, try to increase slowly, and don’t dread it. The lack of dread is huge for me.
In addition to UnDiet updates, I’m going to do a series of articles on health connections doctors often fail to recognize. This is the first of those.
I was diagnosed as “Atypical Bipolar” for years—atypical because my “bipolar” episodes were intermittent over the years and brief. I had my last one in 2010, and it was severe; I was high energy, given to frequent bouts of rage, then I would crash and want to sleep 24 hours or more at a time.
I visited my doctor. She sent me home with a bottle of Lithium. I sat on the couch and stared at the bottle. I knew that if I started that route, I would never go back. I was bewildered – continuing my present state was not an option, but neither was going the Lithium route. Neither my doctor nor I were wholly convinced that “Bipolar” was the problem, and yet she was stymied as to what else it could be. (Note: I had consulted many doctors, including psychiatrists over this. Most of them simply said, “You’re depressed. You always will be. Take your Prozac.”)
I couldn’t do it. I had been following natural health practices for 15 years. I knew that there was something else wrong. So I pulled up Google on the computer and started to research. One thing I’ve learned (and hopefully, any avid Internet user know this, too), is that you have to look at many, many different articles on the same thing and weigh them all to find the truth. It’s kind of like hearing a story from both my mom and my aunt. My mom always saw the negative aspect of anything, my aunt only the positive. I knew if I took the middle ground between their narrations that I would find the truth of the situation. But on the Internet, you have to read more than two accounts.
I found this article by psychotherapist David Kern, http://bipolarbychance.blogspot.com/2008/06/10-diagnoses-that-mimic-or-co-occur.html which says, “On the biological front, there are several illnesses which can be confused with Bipolar Disorder. One is a thyroid condition. Both depression and symptoms of hypo-mania can be due to synthroid imbalances which can be successfully treated.” /facepalm. How many doctors had I begged to run tests on me because I truly felt something was physically amiss. I was a bright, cheerful, optimistic sort with hair-trigger anger issues, nervous irritability and such a low tolerance for any kind of disturbance. I knew it was more than just “depressed.”
Psychologically I felt better just thinking about the possibilities, but it would be weeks before I could get another appointment with my doctor. I was working and couldn’t afford for it to continue for “weeks.”
I discovered (through the Internet) that depleted adrenals can cause thyroid problems. And what causes depleted adrenals? I don’t remember the other causes, but the one that caught me was “long-term stress.” I started to laugh. Long-term stress was my middle name. (I have since remedied 90% of that, by the way.)
Long story short, I ordered Gaia Herbs Adrenal Health and Thyroid Support (completely herbal) and the entire thing mitigated in less than 3 weeks. I took double doses of the Adrenal Support for several months, but after 18 months I was able to cut back to a regular dose, and now I only take one per day. I don’t take the Thyroid Support at all anymore. At this point I show no more symptoms of hypothyroidism which I had for years (the Bipolar episodes were just the most extreme of these).
Part of the problem is that this does not show up as hypothyroidism on regular thyroid medical tests. However, I had 13 of 18 classic symptoms of hypothyroidism according to the Mayo Clinic site. But chances are your doctor will only rely on the tests.
Bottom line, if you have a group of “mystery symptoms” that not even your doctor can figure out, or if you get a diagnosis that just doesn’t seem right to you, research it yourself, thoroughly. Find out as much as you can and consider consulting a naturopathic doctor. I am a Natural Foods and Supplementation Specialist certified by Bastyr College and the Natural Products Association, so I have some training in that area, but if it were something I couldn’t figure out, I would see a Naturopath.
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