like i’ve mentioned before, healing from depression is not just emotional healing. it involves working tirelessly for physical and social health as well.
about the time i was diagnosed with severe depression, my naturopath decided to do a series of blood tests to see if there were other factors contributing to my declining health. boy were we in for a surprise.
turns out i was severely anemic (an iron deficiency common in women with periods). i also had a b12 (vitamin) level so low that i was in danger of serious neurological damage. i was extremely low on d3 (all washingtonians are – its the lack of sun). i was having chronic migraines; almost one every single day. etc etc. you get the picture.
bottom line: my body is terrible at being a body. if our world was truly survival of the fittest, i would have died a long, long time ago.
all of these imbalances led to a long list of medications and supplements. it’s almost embarrassing how many pill bottles i have.
- celexa x3 (anti-depression and anti-anxiety)
- wellbutrin x1 (ditto)
- magnesium x4 (headaches and serotonin)
- d3 x1
- b6 (to increase mood)
- b12 shots x1 (energy, mood, etc. (it’s a super drug i swear))
- iron x1 (combat anemia)
- fiber x2 (combat the side effects of iron)
and i’m 99% sure i’m forgetting something. but that is my daily med cocktail. it’s impressive, i know.
to top it all off, my family has a history of weird food allergies. mine are:
this made eating at gonzaga extremely difficult. if you’re ever been to a university cafeteria, you know that the meals are pre-made. and while gonzaga, in all its splendor, has over 6 school-run restaurants in the cafeteria, i could rarely eat there. this meant i had to start paying for meals instead of getting my food for free. match that with a poor college child and you’ve got a hot, steaming mess.
it took about three months for me to gain 50 lbs. i sincerely wish i was exaggerating. throughout high school my weight only varied by about 3 lbs. so for my body to suddenly balloon was very out of the ordinary.
but there wasn’t much i could do. with crippling depression i couldn’t workout, and with an extremely limited budget i couldn’t eat as healthy as i wanted, and i was allergic to the healthy food provided by the school.
as my weight increased, my self-esteem decreased, which as we all know is a nasty cycle.
once i moved back home i tried desperately to lose weight. during a few months in the summer i would workout extensively twice a day; once for cardio, and once for weights. add in a low-cal diet and i lost about 4 lbs before i plateaued. i was extremely discouraged.
then in november i tried again. i paid a few bucks for a well-researched diet plan that i found on the internet (which also fit my food restrictions!!) and gave it a try. i was eating 1,200 calories per day and working out daily.
guess how much weight i lost.
i actually gained weight doing this. i don’t think i’ve ever been so frustrated in my entire 19 years. i consider myself to be quite a logical, grounded person. i trust numbers, facts, tangible evidence. so for me to be everything scientifically right and still gain weight? blasphemous.
i know what you’re probably thinking. “well cameron, if you were really doing everything right you would be losing weight – clearly you’re doing something wrong.” and my response to that is no. i promise you that i was doing everything right, from nutrition to exercise to water intake.
so add inability to lose weight with severe mental illness, and what do you get?
an eating disorder.
that’s right friends, to top off my depression and anxiety, i developed anorexia. granted, it wasn’t very severe and only lasted a week or so, but it was enough to terrify me.
once my mom realized how i felt, she took it into her own hands. my mom has also struggled with her weight, so my pain was something she could empathize with.
a few days later we walked into west coast weight loss.
after providing the team with a list of my ailments and medications, i was told that my inability to lose weight was no fault of my own. the side-effects of some of my medications was weight gain (this wasn’t just an excuse, i looked it up).
the team promised that, by resetting my body’s chemistry, they would help me lose weight. after extensive research, i agreed.
low and behold, i’ve lost 4 lbs in 4 days, by all-natural and safe methods. by finally getting a handle of the physical aspect of health, i am able to continue my healing upwards and onwards.