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kathleenp

Gluten Intolerance And Bipolar II?

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I am undiagnosed but definitely fit the diagnostic criteria for Bipolar (major manic episode with hallucinations and multiple major depressive episodes many years ago, and most of my life rapid cycling between hypomania and depression and experiencing many mixed states.)

I consider myself very lucky because over the years I did manage to enjoy mental health that was not interrupted by major episodes. My symptoms have been mild enough that I have not needed to use medication (and early on when they were bad I did not get the help I should have). Even before discovering diet had something to do with it, I had learned to be very careful about sleep, stress, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and other drugs. I also did a lot of therapy, use Cognitive Behaviour Therapy techniques.

The most important thing I did (and do continually) was accept that my perceptions are not always reality, (or more that even if they are, that they are not always the reality I am choosing to live in). I paid very close attention to how I feel, the thought patterns I have, and the things I do (or want to do) when I am transitioning into mania or depression. Finding myself in one of those patterns is my cue to practice thoughts and behaviours that combat the mood-state I'm heading into. It is also a cue to look back and see what may have triggered the mood change. When I can spot something obvious, (like one time accidentally having caffeine regularly for a week triggering mania), that can really help me with my ability to separate what I am experiencing from the reality I have committed myself to. I let everyone close to me know to pay attention to these things as well. I've found that if caught early enough, I can minimize the impact of hypomania, mania and depression on myself and my family.

So, all that said... when we went gluten-free I got emotionally less healthy. I was crabby, irritable, anxious, and generally miserable, with wildly swinging moods (add physical symptoms as well). Then we read all about GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) and tried that. At first I had a hard time. Giving up sugar was very, very disruptive. I started stuttering and being anxious a lot (anxiety is nothing new to me), but physically a lot improved for me. The stuttering is now gone, and I have been through some big stressors lately without anxiety or big mood swings/bad states. Now I do believe I am much more mentally stable than I was before, though it is a cautious kind of belief. One thing that did become clear is that cheese is a no-go for me. Being off it for quite some time made it clear it makes me crazy. I think my mood disorder being helped by the GAPS diet, though I hate to jump to conclusions too soon. We've been on it for 6 months.

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DA-it sounds like you have had a really big improvement. You know things are changing when you react without stress to situations that would normally have you in a panic attack.

I have been thinking about this a lot. I really do need to make a committment to do this for a long length of time in order to see if this really is the answer.

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I am much better by I do still struggle. Today I am actually pretty down. The difference is it isn't completely crippling, though right now I'm having a hard time facing the day. I don't have the hopelessness, I know it will pass.

It does take a commitment to tell if you are improving. The patterns in mood problems traverse long spans of time. And when you start to change, everything goes out of balance and needs to find a new rqualibrium. A bad day doesn't mean it's not working, a good day doesn't mean it is.

I highly suggest you read the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome. I have a link to GAPS Reaources if you search the blog lInked from my profile. My personal opinion is that for me the positive changes are not just due to getting rid of the gluten, that GAPS made the bigger difference.

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