My story is one of mental health transformation as well as other health challenges.
I’m a 50 year old woman from Australia and in the past few months it seems I have resolved my Bipolar Type II using a carnivore diet.
During my one year on a ketogenic diet I have lost 17 kilos of fat (37 lbs) which is half way to my goal. I’m only 163cm (5’3″) and still weigh 78Kg, (171lbs) so I have a way to go yet.
My health is transformed. Severe tooth decay, weight gain, constant colds and chest infections, allergies
, acne seborrhaic dermatitis and in more recent years, joint pain were just some of my ailments. But none of them comes close to the life crippling effects of the mental health issues.
I had a history of vegetarianism and vegan tendencies in my 20’s which correlated with my severe Bipolar breakdown. In my pre-teen and adolescence years I had joined in with my mum’s extreme low fat Pritikan diet, during which time I had severe cystic acne and depression.
Then, in my 20’s, I went on to have horrible hypo-mania and depression that was life crippling and because of it, I nearly didn’t get my degree. Throughout my 30’s and 40’s, I had ongoing struggles to survive mentally and emotionally. I was not taking psychiatric medication after an initial trial of lithium which I found intolerable, but just doing my best to manage the Bipolar symptoms on my own and trying to deliver on my responsibilities at work, relationships, self care etc.
From the outside I was high functioning so many people would never ever suspect anything was up, but scratch just a little below the surface, and there was a whirling torrent of chaos and never ending turbulent mood swings that held me back in every direction.
I started Keto 12 months ago and 3 months into that journey, I was able to stop self medicating with alcohol
. I’d been drinking
heavily for 22 years, except during pregnancy. A few months after that during the summer, I then came off my prescribed psych meds which, it just so happens, contribute to metabolic syndrome as one of their side effects! I’d gone on them 12 months prior to starting keto due to a recent worsening of psych symptoms and high work-life stress that I wasn’t able to self manage any more.
The psych meds were a life saver at the time, stopping runaway feelings of dread, ongoing anxiety which had amped up to being more like terror and racing thoughts and sleeplessness, and I think those meds are the reason I could attempt the Keto, so they formed part of the chain of one positive step leading to another.
After about 9 – 10 months on keto, and much research, I decided to give myself permission to eat as much red meat as I felt like and it turns out it was a lot. It allowed me to stop eating nuts which caused tummy rumbles, to cut way back on cream and dairy, which had been a nightly dessert ritual along with stevia sweetener which I think triggers cravings for me, and to even give most of the green veggies a miss 90% of the time. Satiation, and appetite control were new sensations.
Now, about 2 – 3 months into this diet of increased animal sourced foods, my anxiety is gone. My depression is gone. My impending sense of doom is gone. I no longer experience the world as hostile. I feel clear and able mentally. I no longer judge myself as lacking or wrong. I can see I am fine and I am looking around at the struggles I had with my life with sadness as it has all been so unnecessary.
Self esteem which has been building since I stopped the drinking
no longer seems to be something I have to work daily on. Affirmations were my lifeline to replace negative thoughts, but now I can find positive ways of looking at my life spontaneously arising form my own mind. I am telling a different narrative about myself.
Thanks from the bottom of my heart to you and all others in the Keto and Carnivore social media and research spheres. You people are the reasons I have arrived finally at a place where I have real hope I can fulfil my potential instead of devoting all my energies to survival and fighting demons.